- Sermon Notes
In the Middle of the Storm
Intro: Riding the waves.
This morning we are going to open up to Mark chapter 4:35-41, where Jesus gives orders for His disciples to get into a boat with Him and cross the Sea of Galilee. The disciples followed Jesus’ instruction, and in so doing would soon be in the middle of a storm more formidable and fiercer than anything they had previously seen. It would challenge their skills and abilities; but most of all, it would challenge their faith. This storm would provide an opportunity for Jesus to remind them of who He is, and what there were to do in the middle of any storm.
These verses will be an encouragement for me and for you as we seek Jesus for what we are to do, when the place we find ourselves in, is the middle of a storm like we have never seen.
Read: Mark 4:35-41
What immediately strikes me about this passage is that the journey they were going on across the Sea of Galilee, and the timing of that journey, were both in accordance with the directive from Jesus. Jesus knew where they were headed, what they were headed into and that they would make it through. They were headed into a severe storm.
Upon finding themselves the in the middle of that storm and seemingly trying all they could on their own, they remember whose boat they were in and they call upon Him. And for those in Christ, this is an important key to any storm you are facing currently.
I. Remember Whose Boat You’re In
Mark 4:35-36, On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.
- In verses 35 to 36 there are some important details that key to everything that is happening.
- The first is that Jesus told His disciples “let us go over to the other side.” and as they head out to the other side, leaving the crowds that were following Him, there are other boats going out on the water as well.
- So, they had been given the destination, and while there were other boats out on the water, the disciples are in Jesus boat.
- With those details in place, they head out onto the Sea of Galilee.
- The Sea of Galilee is about 13 miles wide one way and 7 miles wide the other way. It is just over 600 feet below sea level and directly to the north is Mount Hermon, which rises over 9,200 above sea level.
- Violent winds come down off of the mountain, the cold air meets the hot, and causes the wind to swirl and intense waves to begin crashing suddenly on the sea.
Mark 4:37, There arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.
- Mark calls it a fierce gale of wind. This pictures a whirlwind, a violent storm with furious gusts.
- The waves were breaking over the boat. The book of Luke reads that they were swamped and in danger (Luke 8:23).
- In the book of Matthew, it is called a “great storm” (Mt. 8:24). The word translated for “storm” here is the Greek word seismos. It is where we get the word seismic which related to earthquakes or vibrations of the earth.
- In fact, this term is used 12 times in scripture, and this is the only time it is translated “storm.” Every other time it is translated “earthquake.”
- What came upon them was a sudden storm that fiercely shook up their situation to the point where the disciples would question their ability to continue considering the conditions.
- The storm shaking the waters, the waves covering the boat, so much so that the boat was beginning to fill up. The disciples are worried for their lives, whether they would make it given the fierce wind and waters.
- And it is at that point we clearly see that Jesus is not at all worried.
- Jesus is sound asleep on a cushion in the back of the boat (Mk. 4:37-38).
- This is often a picture of our reality. We set out on a particular course…Things change quickly, we worry and question our ability to go on or continue, and Jesus is not worried.
- Jesus knew where they were going, He was sure in what He had said…And He was with them!
- It was His words and that they were in His boat that they needed to continually call to mind.
Illus. Just a few quick calculations.
Illus. Not in the same boat.
Isaiah 43:2, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.
- Choose Faith, Not Fear
- So, the disciples are in this storm, with the waves continually crashing, so much so that the boat was filling with water, and after they have tried everything they could, the disciples turn to Jesus.
Mark 4:38, Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (NIV)
Matthew 8:25, Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!
Luke 8:24, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
- When we face sudden storms, fierce winds and waves of all sorts we often think the same.
- The reality of their situation, and ours is that we need to choose faith, not fear. We must draw near to Jesus and understand that He is not worried, and He has told us not to worry.
- Jesus is sleeping during the storm, in the midst of heavy wind and the waves crashing continually. How would it be possible for a person to sleep during a storm like that? It seems only to be possible if you fall in one of two categories: 1. You know the One who controls the storm, or 2. You yourself are the One who controls the storm.
- Jesus was in category number two in control, Emmanuel, God with them was with them. And today, God with us, Emmanuel, is with us. And He is not worried about how it’s all going to work out. He has already worked it all out, and His Word has spelled it out.
- If you know Jesus, you fit into category number one, you know the One who is in control. He is not worried and has told us not to worry.
Luke 12:22;25, Do not worry…Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
- The Greek word here is meremnao. It is here translated “anxious,” and commonly translated into our English words worried, worry, or concern. To be anxious, troubled with cares or worry. It is used 19 times in the New Testament.
- The root of this word is interesting as well. It comes from two root words together. The first means to tear, separate, or divide. The second, means the mind.
Illus. Break in.
Illus. Stuck in a fog.
- Paul used the same Greek word for “worried” when he wrote, “be anxious for nothing…” Be anxious for nothing…Be worried about nothing!
Matthew 6:34, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Psalm 46:1, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
- The Bible does not deny that there are storms, there are troubles we face, but each and every time we are drawn to the solution to the storm, where to turn in trouble.
1 Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.
John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
- Jesus says you will have trouble, but do not let your heart be troubled.
- This speaks to what we allow. To be troubled is to take away calmness, disturbed, stirred up, terrified. Jesus says not to let that happen.
- Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. That means full of fear, to be afraid.
2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
- Remember who the Bible tells you to look to.
Matthew 14:29-30, And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, Lord save me!
Hebrews 12:2, Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
- I love that picture of Jesus, He is not pacing, jumping up and down, worried about the turnout, He won, and is seated.
Mark 4:39, And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.
- The disciples are in the middle of the storm, Jesus is sleeping. It is interesting to me that the waves and wind did not wake Him. The storm did not disrupt His sleep…But at the point that His disciples called upon Him, He responded.
Psalm 50:15, Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you…
Psalm 91:14-16, The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.
- To the storm, to the wind, to the waves, Jesus says, “hush, be still”
- And at His command, the wind died down and became perfectly calm.
- There were specific elements that are represented in the storm that Jesus had complete control over.
- There is much “wind” and many “waves” that are apparent in the storms of today. And regarding the we see currently, perhaps the Lord wants to say similarly to you and to me, “hush, be still.”
Psalm 46:10, Be still, and know that I am God.
Exodus 14:13-14, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
- It was at that point the people had said enough…Rather than more of their own words…they needed to…
- Hold on to What He Has Said
- Holding onto what Jesus had said was what the disciples needed in their storm, and it is important for you and for me in any storm we are facing currently.
- Upon getting into the boat with Jesus, the disciples were given a destination “the other side,” and were told that it was to the other side they were going to go.
Mark 4:35, Let us go over to the other side.
- Notice Jesus didn’t say, “let’s go drown,” “let’s go get lost at sea,” or “perish.” or “let’s go sink our boat.” He said, “Let’s go over to the other side!”
- If Jesus is in your boat, and He told you that you will be headed to the other side…Don’t sweat the storm!
Matthew 28:20, And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Isaiah 41:10, Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
- When you are in the middle of the storm, remember what He said, hold onto and remember that what He says is sure, true and will come to pass.
John 16:33, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
- Between the book of Mark and the book of Matthew, we see two different ways Jesus responds upon waking up.
- The book of Mark has Jesus addressing the storm first, and then the disciples. The book of Matthew has Jesus addressing His disciples first and then the storm.
- I like that they show it from two different perspectives. I appreciate it because there are storms we go through in this life, where the Lord addresses the storm first, and other times where there is something He wants to address in us before the storm subsides.
- In Matthew 8:26, prior to addressing the storm and after the disciples wake Him up, He turns and addresses the disciples first, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”
- Fear is the opposite of faith. They are mutually exclusive, one or the other. When you have fear you don’t have faith and then you have faith, your fear is banished.
- There are five times Jesus uses the phrase “you of little faith,” and in every case it had to do with worry, clothing, or life span (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28).
- While in the storm, the disciples were afraid for their lives. Luke records the disciples waking Jesus saying “Master, we are going to drown!”
- What one’s fear is fixed on may be different from person to person, but who one’s faith must be build upon is the same, it’s Jesus. He is the answer to fear.
- I hear the words of the Lord today in the middle of the storm, in the middle of trouble… “Take heart! I have overcome the world!”
1 John 5:5, Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself 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?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”