Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus Calms the Storm

1)   The Disciples obedience led them to problems

One of the things that is taught sometimes is that if you stay with Jesus then you will not have any problems.  That is just not the case and Jesus tells us the opposite of that.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

You may not realize that you bought into that lie and you only have to watch what you think and say as you go through life to discover that you do believe that sometimes. Some people will get green lights as they are driving or get a great parking spot and so they say that God is on their side today. Remember the Christian news is about God helping us when we could NOT help ourselves. We do not earn God’s favor by anything we do but only by accepting what Christ did on the cross.

So when you give your life to Christ it does not mean that everything will go your way and it does not mean that you will always be protected from harm.  We will not fully understand God’s ways this side of Heaven but we can trust Him no matter what we are going through.

2)   Storms can surprise us

Mark 4:37 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.

Just like the Disciples were suprised by the quickness of the storm we are sometimes shocked when the storms seem to come out of nowhere. They say that the storm they experienced was similar to an earthquake that would have shaken them to the point that they could not stand on their feet. The storms of life will sometimes knock us off our feet and although we are shocked by them God is not. Jesus was asleep on the boat while all this was happening and He was not phased by it. Jesus knew that He had a purpose to fulfill on this earth and until that was done then He did not have to worry about what storms came His way.

3)   Their abilities failed

Although they were experienced fisherman they came to the point in their life where all their abilities could not save them. It is amazing how much we rely on ourselves and not on God. We will do all we know to do until that point where we know we have no where else to turn but to God. These experienced fisherman had to turn to the carpenter to help them out.

There was a story of a Captain of a Ship that was an Atheist and one night a bad storm arose and swept him overboard. The crew frantically did all they could to find him in the dark of night with the storm rocking the ship back and forth. They were able to find the captain because he kept screaming for God to help him. When they brought him back on board they asked him why he was calling out to God and the captain replied, “in the storms of life everyone needs a God they can call on”.

The Christian message is about how our own abilities cannot earn us back into a relationship with God and we need to cry out to Jesus for Him to save us. The way this passage is written  is exactly what was happening as they woke Jesus up. The cry they cried out was more like a prayer to Jesus.

4)   They questioned God

Mark 4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

When we believe God should act one way and He acts another it causes us to question Him. The cries of the disciples were a desperate plea and one that we may not fully understand unless you have been in a situation where you really thought death was the likely outcome. It is usually a storm that causes us to question God and cry up toward Heaven, why God why?  It is good to know that God used and uses many people that have felt this same way.

Psalm 10:1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Habakkuk 1:2-3 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save? 3 Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?

It is good to know that even in our times of little faith our God is still faithful. It is when the times get confusing that we have to remember what is told to us in Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

First of all we cannot go through life on our own understanding because it is limited. With all that is known about our Earth and Universe we know that we know very little. It is when we do not understand that we have to trust that God has a plan and is still in control. Life does seem unfair most of the time and every critic questions God for how He acts. We all have conversations in our minds that say, If I were God I would______________________ The problem with this thinking is that if I were God I would not have died for others sins but I would have made them earn their way to Heaven. If I were God I would have struck many people down including myself.

Christianity is the only religion that can truly ask where is God when life is unfair or evil seems to be prevailing. In 2004 when the Tsunami hit Indonesia it was only the Christians that could ask where was God. The Muslims said it was fate,  the Hindu and Buddhist chalked it up to karma.  A naturalist can’t blame God because the Tsunami would have just been part of the evolutionary process.

The good news of Christianity is we can ask God and we can search for answers. Just like in the book of Job we may not get an answer but by calling out to Him we are at least calling out to the one who does know. It is at this point that we have to trust Him no matter the outcome.

5)   Jesus proved He was God

Matthew was setting out to prove Jesus was the Messiah to his Jewish brothers and so Matthew, by telling this story, would have reminded them of a verse they would have heard.

Psalm 107:23-30 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end.[
a] 28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.30 Then they were glad that the waters[b] were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Jesus rose up and rebuked the wind with a word which shows the power in His voice. The same voice that created the universe with a spoken word now demonstrated its power over the very creation He created.

Most storms start calming down over time but the way this was written is that it was immediate so the disciples knew it was not coincidence but the act of Jesus.

Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

One of the things that is missing in our Churches today is the respect that we should show Christ. If you really have an encounter with Jesus you will understand His power and not treat Him as if He is here to do your bidding if you pray by faith. When people have an encounter with Jesus it was not like what most people experience in churches today.

  • Isaiah cried woe is me (Isaiah 6:1-5)
  • Daniel said he fell to the ground as if in a deep sleep from the sound of His voice(10:8-9)
  • Peter fell down at Jesus feet  (Luke 5:8 )
  • The Apostle Paul fell to the ground (Acts 9:4-8)

We need to get to the point where we trust Jesus for who He is and not what He does. We need to come to Him humbly and realize who we are and who He is and keep our focus on Him and not ourselves.

6)   Our Trust is in the Person of Christ not the things He can do

We do not believe that God set things in motion and then stepped out to come back later and check in on us. We believe that God in His infinite wisdom is in charge although it seems at times that He is not. We also know that when Adam and Eve sinned they turned the world over to Satan who is now considered the ruler of this world (See John 12:31, 14:30) Jesus came the first time as a humbled servant to redeem mankind back to God, but when he comes again it will be as a  ruler to take back all of His creation.

Does God allow the storms in your life? Yes because it is through the storms of life that you realize what you really believe about God. The Disciples had to learn to trust in Jesus no matter what they were going through and the storm showed the areas of their life where they were not trusting God by faith.

The main test when you build a boat is when you actually have to put it into the water. The boat may have a nice paint job a great engine but the true test comes when it is put in the water to see if it will float.

Trust in Jesus is shown in not what we say but how we trust Him in the storms. Jesus rebuked them not for waking Him up but for their lack of faith.  Faith drives out Fear and when we learn to trust Him no matter what the situation then by faith we know He has a plan.

These disciples, who would go through so much pain in this life, learned to trust in Jesus because they came to know Him for who He was and not just what He could do. Their focus changed from having satisfaction in this life to focusing on the life that is to come. Although they would face pain, persecution and unbearable hardships in this life, they learned to trust the person of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to run away from him- but in heaven’s name to what?” G.K. Chesterton

The storms of life will come and we have to decide if we are going to trust Jesus no matter if we are saved from them or not. It is as you go through these storms that God will show you more about Himself then you would have ever learned if life was always easy. No matter what you going through you can trust Him and His plan.

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