18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. – John 6:18 NLT
The disciples became concerned when Jesus didn’t return before dark. Assuming that He had gone on without them, they started to cross the sea of Galilee. Sudden storms were not unusual on this sea. Even though they were experienced fishermen, crossing the sea at night could be dangerous. Seeing someone walking on the sea anytime, but particularly in these conditions, would certainly be frightening. Jesus assures them that it is really Him and they shouldn’t be afraid. Gladly, they allowed Jesus in the boat with them. Now, an amazing thing happens, There is no mention of Jesus calming the sea. Instead, they immediately find themselves at their destination. The sea (or lake) is 8 miles wide and they had only rowed three or four miles. Wow! Forget Disney World, that trip across the rest of the lake is one I would love to take! So, when we find ourselves in stormy seas, we just need to hang on, Jesus is coming for us and we are going to take a trip with Him that has never been equaled or even imagined. We will join Him in the air and He will take us home to heaven! So, now matter how bad it seems right now, just remember what Paul said:
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. - Romans 8:18-21 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown? — Mark 4:38 NLT
I wonder how many sermons we have heard preached on this passage of scripture from Mark.
Some emphasize how frightened the disciples are, others question why Jesus would sleep during the storm or how He could sleep during the storm. We have heard that when we are in the storm, God will calm the storm or He will calm us. But I wonder if we are missing the real point of this story. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples:
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I wonder if what Jesus really wanted to know was if the disciples had enough faith in Him to take care of them in the storm, no matter how high the waves. In our lives, do we trust God to take care of us when the wind is blowing hard against our sails and the waves threaten to sink our boat? Does it matter how strong the waves are when we are anchored in the SOLID ROCK? If God chooses not to calm our present storm, He will deliver us in the storm or through the storm. We just need to keep your eyes and thoughts focused on Jesus, not on the storm. Peter was able to walk on the water as long as He was focused on Jesus but he begin to sink when he focused on the wind and the strong waves.
3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. — Isaiah 26:3, 4 NIV
The eye of a hurricane is the calmest part of the storm, there is usually no wind and the skies are clear. It is usually true that the stronger the storm the better defined the eye of the hurrciance will be. The eye is surrounded by an eyewall of thunderstorms that contain the most dangerous weather. When a hurricane is at sea, the eye is still calm except at sea level where waves may reach a height of 130 feet. If we can compare the violence of the world around us to a hurricane, we can see that there is a place of peace and calmness in the middle of all that chaos. But we can’t just sit on the surface and wait, we have to prepare for the storm by keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on the world. By trusting completely in Him, we can rise above the waves and live in peace in the midst of the storm. When the storm starts to dissipate, the eyewall will start to break down and we will experience some winds but they will not be strong enough to harm us. There will be some rain but only enough to water us and make us grow, not enough to wash us away. God never allows more than we can bear. If we choose to focus on the world and its carnality, we will find ourselves in the eyewall of the storm. But if we repent and pray Peter’s short prayer. “Lord, save me”, He will stretch out His hand and pull us to safety. We can’t stop the hate and violence in the world, but God has provided a place of peace and safety for His children. The choice is ours. We can choose to stay focused on Jesus and live in the peace that He gives us or stay where we are and live in the chaos.
10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. — Isaiah 54:10 NIV
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. — Matthew 7:24, 25 NIV
In the early days of aviation, long before the technology that produced GPS and other navigational aids, pilots would fly using only visual references. Using nothing but their sense of direction, the location of the sun and familiar landmarks, they were able to go from point to point. They would often pick out a road and follow along that route. Pilots kept the aircraft upright, straight and level by watching the horizon and the pressure they would feel on their posterior to determine if they were ascending or descending. This type of flying became known as “flying by the seat of your pants”. Because the pilot used only his physical senses, he would, at times, become slightly disoriented. Needless to say, this type of flying often ended up with the pilot flying or following a path that was not always a straight line. If the pilot became too disoriented and confused, the result was a crash often ending in the pilot’s death. The pilots could only fly in clear skies so that all the physical landmarks would be visible to the human eye. At that time, it was impossible to fly above a cloud layer or through storms. Avaitors had to wait until techonology was developed to help them navigate and maintain orientation to fly above the clouds and through the stormy weather.
How many of us live our lives “by the seat of our pants” depending only on our feelings and the things that we can see to guide us? Like the old pilots, we may do all right as long as there is clear weather, no storms, no clear air turbulence and no major wind shifts to blow us off course. But what happens when the storms of life come? What happens when our feelings lead us off course? We have Someone that we can trust to carry us safely through the storm. When our sense of purpose fails us, we have One who will keep us on course and fly us straight to safety. But, God is not satisfied with being our navigator or our copilot, He wants to be our Pilot and He does not need a navigator. He doesn’t want to be our Pilot just in the storms, He wants to be our Pilot in the clear skies as well. With God, the plan is always “all in” or it won’t work. Build on the Solid Rock and trust Him with every part of your life.
God is waiting to show you the Way.
25 “I have told you all these things while I am with you. 26 But the Helper will teach you everything and will cause you to remember all that I told you. This Helper is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name. 27 “I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid. .—John 14:25-27 (NCV)
God has sent the Holy Spirit to abide with us. He sent the Spirit in the name of Jesus. That is the Trinity of God — Father, Son,and Spirit. They are one and the same but with different functions. God created, Jesus redeemed and the Spirit calls us to accept Jesus and be a child of God. Jesus gives us the gift of peace. It is not peace that means there are no wars or violence or problems in our lives.That is what the world thinks of as peace. But true peace, the peace that Jesus gave us is the kind that keeps us calm in the middle of a storm, in the middle of medical emergencies, financial emergencies or any other bad situation that you can name. The peace of God is available to every child of God, but we have to decide to accept it and abide in that peace, just as we had to decide to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We can accept the peace that Jesus offers us or we can hang onto our cares and worries and let the devil devour our peace and joy.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.–1 Peter 5:6-8 (NLT)
Humbling ourselves under the hand of God means that we completely agree with Him that He can and will do exactly what He said He would do. To believe anything less than that is to deny the Omniscience, Omnipresence and the Omnipotence of the great God that we serve.
1 Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. So how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.—John 14:2-6 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We have a place that has been prepared for us by God Himself.. One day, Jesus will return and take us there to live with Him for eternity. Paul said that if Christians had hope only for this life and not for eternity, we should be pitied..
19 If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.—1 Cor. 15:19 (NCV)
But because we have placed our faith in God and, in God alone, we can be assured of life eternal. We can know the way by accepting Jesus and being led by the Holy
Spirit. We are guaranteed that this promise will be kept. Because God has deposited the Holy Spirit in our hearts and He abides there to lead us.
21 Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. 22 He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.—2 Cor. 1:21,22 (NCV)
If we truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible and that Jesus is the truth, we have no reason to fear or dread anything that man can do to us. Jesus gave us a gift of His peace, not like the world’s peace that means no storms will ever come our way. His peace keeps us calm in the storm because we believe He is in perfect control of every situation.
10 God says, “Be still and know that I am God…”–Psalm 46:10a (NCV)
12 Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” 13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making false claims about yourself!” 14 Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me with all your human limitations, but I am not judging anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone — I have with me the Father who sent me.—-John 8:12-16 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
The claim that Jesus made “I am the Light of the world” was true. It was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.-Isaiah 9:2 (NLT)
Where the light shines, it dispels darkness, the two cannot abide together. Those that follow the light of Jesus can walk without stumbling and they will be led to eternal life. When we were being led by the flesh, we walked in darkness and misjudged people just as the Pharisees and the religious leaders did. We were unable to see and understand the truth. When the Holy Spirit shined the Light of Jesus upon us, we could no longer live in darkness. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are now the light that shines in the darkness of the world.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.—Matt. 5:14, 15 (NLT
This reminds me of the old hymn by Philip Paul Bliss. The hymn was inspired by a story told by the well known preacher, Dwight L Moody.
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
We are the lower lights, we must continue to shine to lead others safely to the shore.