Grace For The Journey
We are studying our way through the Book of Luke, verse-by-verse, allowing the Bible to determine our topic each week. Verse-by-verse biblical studying and preaching through books of the Bible safeguards us from deciding what we want to talk about and then looking for verses to back it up. Rather, biblical studying and preaching through books of the Bible allows the text to speak for itself. It allows God to select the topic and allows God to do the talking. Rather than placing ourselves above the Bible, we place ourselves below the Bible, submitting ourselves to its teaching, listening carefully to what God is saying to us.
Last time, we left off at verse 21 in chapter 8, so we pick up in verse 22 and go through to verse 25. The text today is a small one. Many of us are familiar with this passage of Scripture. It concerns our Lord Jesus’ mastery over the wind and the waves. Jesus miraculously calms the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
In 1986, one of the most significant archaeological discoveries was made on the Sea of Galilee. On the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee a fishing boat was discovered that dated back to New Testament times. Radiocarbon analysis, as well as a pottery cooking pot and a lamp found with the boat, dated the boat to 2,000 years, the time of Jesus. The boat, now on display in a museum in Israel, is approximately 26 ½ feet long, 7 ½ feet wide, and could hold about 15 people. It would have been a boat very much like this one that Jesus and His disciples were traveling in as they crossed the Sea of Galilee.
As they attempted to cross the Sea of Galilee, the sea is actually a freshwater lake, the largest freshwater lake in Israel, also known as Lake Gennesaret, something happened that happened frequently. In fact, it continues to happen even today. This lake lies very low, nearly 700 feet below sea level. It is also surrounded on nearly every side by tall mountains that make for a powerful chute or tunnel when the winds blow at certain times. In one moment, the Sea may be relatively calm, but suddenly the wind comes whistling down those mountains and hits the water, often causing unsuspecting storms in an instant.
That the way your life works. Things are relatively calm and then suddenly: Storm! Years ago, I heard someone say the Christian life was like this: at any given point every Christian is either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or getting ready to head back into another storm. Where are you this morning? Are you in a storm? Or are you coming out of a storm? You are like, “Praise the Lord, I got through that!” Or, without even realizing it, you are heading back into another storm this week, a storm at work, a storm in your family, or some other storm you could have never anticipated.
This small passage contains big encouragement for us today! Luke’s main concern in the passage is to stress the greatness and power of Jesus Christ. After Jesus calms the storm, the question on the disciples’ lips there in verse 25 is the question, “Who can this be? For He commands the winds and water, and they obey Him!” Luke wants every one of us to ask that same question. He wants us to seriously consider, “Who is this Jesus? Who can this be? He speaks and calms the violent storm! Who is this guy?!” Some of you may already be asking questions of Jesus, ”Who is Jesus? Is He merely a prophet according to the teaching of Islam? Is He merely a wonderful teacher showing us how we can be wonderful people, too? Or is He more than a prophet? Is He, in fact, God Himself?”
I want us to look at that question, the question of the disciples in verse 25, “Who can this be” with the question that precedes it, the question of our Lord in verse 25, “Where is your faith?” I would like each of us to consider the answer to that question of our Lord’s, “Where is your faith?” Really look at what do you believe about Jesus and how does it make a difference in your life? As we journey through these four verses, I want to suggest three actions that surface from the text. The first action requires our being honest about our fears. The truth is, storms often cause fear and all of us are susceptible to the reality of fear.
I. Be Honest: Storms Often Cause Fear.
We may be tempted to think that there is something wrong with us when we become fearful. We think we are not as spiritual as we ought to be; that we are an inferior Christian! We should be encouraged to know that no less a disciple than the great Apostle Peter was fearful when this storm hit. In the boat with Peter are the two disciples known as the “Sons of Thunder,” James and John. Their names sound like a couple of guys who would never be fearful. Yet, they too cry out in verse 24 with the others, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” They, too, were afraid.
We need to be honest and admit that storms often cause fear and fear hits anyone. Saved people fear. Spiritual people fear. We are emotional beings and fear can hit any of us. It is often noted that there are at least 365 occurrences in the Bible of the phrase, “Fear not.” 365 times our Lord says to us, “Fear not.” That is one for every day of the year.
But Jesus asks the disciples, “Where is your faith,” and maybe they began to wonder whether they have any faith, at all. Were they like those in the preceding parable with hearts of rocky soil? Were they those “who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but having no root, believe only for awhile and in time of trial and affliction and storm, fall away” (8:13). No, the good news is that Jesus does not say to them, “Hey! You guys do not have any faith!” That is not what He said. He did not rebuke them for never having faith. He asked, “Where is your faith?” It is as if Jesus says, “I know you have faith, but you seem to have misplaced it.” Where is it?! Find it!
It is not that they did not have faith. They did. They had faith. They believed in Jesus. They had seen Jesus cast out demons from people and heal the sick. They had seen Jesus raise the widow’s son from the dead. They believed. But it seems they had forgotten. The sights and sounds of the storm and the wind and the waves have paralyzed them. They seem to have forgotten what Jesus has done in the past and that they were going to be alright.
This question is one that Jesus asks of us, “Where is your faith?” He wants us to know that we have faith, but you seem to have misplaced it. He wants us to remember what He had done for us. He wants us to remember how He has met our every need? He wants us to remember that He has saved us by grace through accepting His redemptive work on the cross and through the empty tomb you, and stand upon His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us!
The second action illustrates something positive that the disciples did. They went to Jesus . . .
II. Be Wise: Let The Storm Drive You To Jesus.
Rather than running around fearful, wringing your hands, and worrying ourselves to death, let the crisis of your storm drive you to Jesus. Credit the disciples for doing the right thing here. They went to Jesus. Of course, they went to Him in fear, not seeming to realize that He need only speak a word to calm the storm, but they ran to Him, nonetheless. He is asleep in the boat, and they come and wake Him up crying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
When the crisis of your personal storm hits you, where do you run? It is okay to run to others for support and counsel, but we must make sure that their support and counsel agrees with God’s Word and His revealed will. If you are going through a marital storm, you do not run to a non-Christian storm counselor. You run to a storm counselor who loves Jesus, knows His Word, and one whose counsel agrees with the Bible. Let the storm drive you to Jesus.
If you are going through a storm at work or school, go to Jesus in prayer and trust Him to guide you through it. He is not going to always rescue you from the storm right away nor is He going to allow us to presume upon His storm-calming abilities. By that I mean, if you have not studied all week for that science test do not come running to Jesus and pray, “Dear Lord, get me out of this storm! Help me pass this test!” No, but He is there for you to help you through the consequences of your having not studied. That’s how it works.
But be wise and let the storm drive you to Jesus. He will help you through it. These disciples would have been relatively familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures, and I wonder when this thing took place did they recall Psalm 107:23-30 which says, “Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.”
That is what our Lord does for us. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. And Jesus can do this because He is more than a prophet; He is more than a man; He is the God-Man, fully God and fully man, two natures forever joined together in one person. This is Luke’s main point. The question, “Who can this be” is answered with, “He is more than a man. He is God.”
So be wise and let the storm drive you to Jesus who will calm the storm for you.
This brings us to our final action. We have noted that we should be honest – storms often cause fear; be wise – let the storm drive us to Jesus; and number three . . .
III. Be Encouraged: Jesus Is In The Storm With You.
This passage of Scripture tells us that Jesus is in the boat! If you remember nothing else from this study today, remember that Jesus is in the boat. He is in the boat with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is in the boat.
He says to the disciples in verse 22, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” He already told them where they were going. He says, “We’re going to cross over to the other side of the lake. We will get there. We will get there no matter what should happen between here and there.” And Jesus says to you and me who know Him as Savior and Lor, “I am with you always. I will never leave you. I will get you from here to there.” God says to His people through the prophet in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” You will cross over with Him to the other side. He will get you from here to there. He is with you in the boat. He is with you in the storm. Because of that, it is going to be okay.
I was encouraged to read about men and women who are believers in Thailand and Laos. The mission team shared the testimonies of the faith of men and women who had been through numerous storms. Pastors and leaders had undergone persecution for their faith. One man shared that he had been arrested four different times simply for being a Christian. Imprisonment was not something new to this man as he had spent 13 years in a concentration camp. His last imprisonment for his faith occurred during his wife’s pregnancy. Because he was not allowed food in prison, his pregnant wife sold her jewelry to buy him food. He remained faithful to the Lord and the Lord granted the salvation of many others during his imprisonment.
Another man shared that he had been imprisoned for 3 years and 1 day. And during his imprisonment, many people had come to know Jesus Christ as Savior. One of the most stirring testimonies came from a woman whose husband was murdered for his faith in Christ. I listened as she tearfully recounted the story of his death and how she is now carrying on the work of ministry and how many more have come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Where is your faith? What are you worried about? And why are you worried about it? Do you not know know that Jesus is in the boat with you? He is in the storm with you and He is going to guide you safely from here to there.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”