35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
As I begin this sermon I realise that maybe Jonathan would be able to give us a very eloquent sermon based upon his personal experience of his crossing the channel yesterday!
In Mark’s gospel, we have a whistle stop tour of Jesus’ ministry, beginning not with all the details of Jesus’ birth but starting from John the Baptist and Jesus’ temptation. Jesus called Andrew, Simon, James and John four local fishermen among others. As the disciples followed his call they were confronted by the question, who is this man?
The crowds flocked to hear Jesus, which meant he preached just a bit from the shore in a boat and probably at the end of another busy day he said let’s go to the other side. He fell asleep…
Familiarity leads to faith in ourselves (It’s all about me)
It’s alright though, he had chosen fishermen for such a task, they knew this sea like the back of their hands, they could do this easily, they didn’t need Jesus to help them. It was there job, they knew all there was to know. In their hands they will easily make it to the other side.
You can just imagine as they pushed out the sun was beginning to set it was still…
And then the wind began to pick up, the waves began to swell and the boat began to lurch and water broke across the bow of the boat…
When I lived in Bangor I occasionally went across to Dublin on the ferry. One particularly stormy day we crossed the Irish Sea and the wind began to pick up and the waves swelled, up and down (keep repeating) sorry if you are feeling sea sick, and as everyone around me clung to something to anchor them, I tucked in to my MacDonalds…
The perfect storm
Picture how small the boat is against the sea
They couldn’t do it in their own strength and skill they were going to meet with disaster.
I know that I am tempted each day to live it without a second thought for needing Jesus. Tempted to do the daily tasks of life without stopping and asking for help.
- What about you?
- When you work out what you are going to spend?
- When you go to work or out and about?
- When you decide what you are going to give or how you are going to shop?
“Hearing God’s voice is often like trying to hear a satnav that you have locked in the boot of your car because you thought you wouldn’t need it”
I don’t know about you but I am tempted to do plenty of everyday things without a thought for his guidance and often I become aware of how out of my depth I am.
I need help making good decisions with my finances, with my children, with my conversations, with what I buy and what I spend my time on.
I faintly hear the satnav.
What about you?
What do you do every day without thinking about needing help from God?
IN the midst of the storm they cry out…Mark seems to capture the urgency and fear of the situation.
The wind and the waves have already heard this voice
When Jesus speaks it is the same voice that creation heard at the beginning…
…in the beginning was the word…
Jesus had calmed the storm, which could be translated “muzzled”…the wind and waves held on a short leash and muzzled and is still before Jesus. ..
I When the physical storm is calmed another storm rages within
The disciples had left the crowds but they couldn’t escape the storm and as he stilled the fierce storm raging around about them a new storm rages…
Who is this man?
They would get there but he wasn’t relying on their strength or ability…
What did they face on the other side?
Demons bowed, the sick were healed and death had to submit…
The people were afraid…
Yet Jesus continued to reveal himself to be the one who not only said nice things but also had a power about him which was scary. Following Jesus is not always easy, we need to pray before we start work that he helps us…
The same question the disciples asked among themselves is allowed to be asked here and with your friends and on your own…
- Who is this man that the wind and waves obey him?
Maybe it is time to remove the Satnav from the boot.
- Why try and live this life without him?