On Sunday I preached on Luke 8:22-26. This is the passage where Jesus calms the storm. It is an amazing miracle, and the intent of the passage is to make clear just what kind of person Jesus is. He is not just a gifted teacher or religious pioneer. At the end this section his disciples are in shock. We read in v.25, “they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’”
Some folks take passages like this to mean that if we have enough faith that Jesus will calm all of our storms. And though we should gladly embrace his ability to calm every storm. And every Christian I know can tell numerous stories of help and rescue. But, we should remember that even the very disciples in the boat on this occasion would later face storms that would NOT be calmed. Peter and James would both later be imprisoned. Peter would escape, but James would loose his head to the sword of Herod (Acts 12:2) just like John the Baptist those 21 Egyptian Christians that were martyred by ISIS.
There are several important lessons for us from this text.
First, Jesus is the eternal God come in the flesh. He is a real man that can take dangerous trips, and be so exhausted that he will fall sleep in a boat. But he is also has power over the wind and the waves. The ability to calm the storm is clearly a power reserved for the LORD God alone. His disciples as well as anyone familiar with the Old Testament would recognize this. For example, Ps. 89:9 “You [LORD of Hosts] rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” Our savior is powerful. He has strength to rule heaven and earth.
Second, He is with us in the storm. From one perspective, this is why he came into the world. He entered this world full of death, suffering, and fear so he could bring the death of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Even in the middle of the storm, Jesus is there. And after rebuking the storm he rebukes them, “where is your faith?” These men, including several professional fisherman, were so taken with the problem that they forgot that Jesus is with them in the boat. When they finally wake him and ask him for help, it is sadly not an expression of faith. We are never alone in our suffering. The one who holds heaven and earth in his hands will never leave us alone.
Third, He cares. Mark relates that after waking Jesus, the disciples scolded him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) When we are in the middle of a trial, there is always the temptation to think that God is unconcerned. We may not think we are alone, but that he is distant, or that he is not taking our phone calls. But based on the rest of the story, we know this is not true. Not only did Jesus calm this storm. He entered another storm that could not be calmed with a word. He went to the cross for our sins. He swallowed up the storm of death with his own death and resurrection, and he did this by taking our suffering upon himself. We may not know all of God’s reasons for our trials, but we know what the reason is NOT. It is not that he doesn’t care, for he has demonstrated that beyond dispute at the cross.
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