[Note: Sermon is unedited, spelling and grammar have not been corrected]
Matthew 8:23-27 [NLT]23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
First of all, storms happen; they are a common fact of life and they happen to everyone. As Jesus pointed out in the conclusion of the Sermon on The Mount, storms come to the foolish and the wise. They come even when Jesus is in the boat with us. They may approach slowly or they may come out of nowhere and hit us unexpectedly. The storm described above came up suddenly. Storms are also frightening, they can scare the ever living daylights out of us. Most of us have a “Frighting Storm Testimony.” You are probably aware of everything that I just said but did you know that storms have a purpose. It is true, storms are necessary.
Let me give you two quick examples: first of all, lets think about a thunderstorm with the rain, wind and lightening. They can be frightening when they get close but lightening which can be deadly to humans is breaking down the composition of the nitrogen in the atmosphere and making it unusable for plants here on earth. The pure nitrogen which makes up 78% of the atmosphere is too strong for plants; it has to be broken down and this process occurs during electrical or thunder storms. The plants cannot survive without nitrogen and we can’t survive without the plants. Thank God for thunderstorms, right!
Thirty years ago scientist were trying to figure out how to stop hurricanes and in their research they came to the conclusion that hurricanes do not need to be stopped. If they were to stop the hurricanes, North America would become a desert. The hurricanes are the air movers that regulate the earth temperatures. They work like circuit breakers. When things get to hot around the equator, the hurricane moves the hot air toward the polar ice caps. Without hurricanes plants, animal and people around the Equator would burn up from the intense heat. Here in the states, we would suffer draught. Hurricanes are the number one draught breakers.
So lets review quickly…
- Storms Happen
- Storms Happen to Everyone [Even when Jesus is in your boat]
- Storms Happen Suddenly and can be frightening
- Storms Happen For a Reason and one of those reasons is teach us.
What is the message of the storm?
- STORMS ARE A TEST. What is your make up? What kind of character do you have? Are you courageous or fearful? Are you strong or weak? Storms put us to the test and they bring out the best and the worse. The disciples panicked; they were scared to death. This storm revealed their lack of faith. In the Greek “faith” and “little” are one word. It was a nickname that Jesus had given the disciples and He uses it a lot. Literally he says to them, “Why are you worried, you bunch of little-faiths?” The storm revealed their lack of faith. Four guys were playing golf, one repeatedly made bad shot after bad shot until he threw his club as far as he could send it and then added a few choice words. One of his buddies said, “Man, what is the problem?” “I’ll tell you what the problem is,” he said, “this game is giving me a terrible temper.” His friend smiled and said, “The game is not giving you the temper, it is revealing the temper you already have.” Traffic does not give us impatience, it reveals the impatience that is in us. The storm is like the traffic, it brings out whatever is in us. Sometimes that is tremendous faith and sometimes it is the lack of faith. You may be in a storm right now; how are you responding? What is the storm revealing to you about you? Don’t waste a good storm.
- STORMS ARE ALSO A TEACHER. Take the storm in the text today, what all did the disciples take home from this storm? There are so many that I know I will leave something out but here goes…
- This storm taught the disciples that JESUS HAD SOMETHING THEY DID NOT HAVE. Jesus was sleeping through the storm. How could anyone be aboard a tiny boat like this and sleep through one of those horrific Galilean storms? Jesus had perfect and I do mean perfect confidence in the Father. Jesus had perfect peace. He was not worried in the least about this storm. Wow! How envious I am of Jesus! O to have perfect peace. No have no worries, no anxieties, to have perfect calm in the soul…Jesus had it!
- The second lesson of the storm is that JESUS IS THE GO TO PERSON. Got a problem take it to Jesus. Do you feel like your ship is sinking, go to Jesus. Are you weary, are you heavy hearted? Are you grieving over joys departed? Tell it to Jesus. Are you grieving over clouds of sorrow? Are you worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow? Tell it to Jesus. There is no other such a friend or brother: tell it to Jesus the Savior. Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
- The third lesson from the storm is that JESUS IS GREATER THAN THE STORM. The disciples thought they were going to drown but they had forgotten or did not understand that Jesus is the maker of even the storm and no water can swallow the ship were lies the Master of oceans of earth and skies. The Creator is always greater than His creation. The storm was a terrible and frightening monster to the disciples but it was more of an intempent child to Jesus, He just stood up and rebuked it. It doesn’t matter what your problem is, He is greater than the problem. I do understand that some of you are battling stage 4 cancer and you have prayed for healing of the body but it has not come, how can Jesus be greater than the cancer that is destroying your body? I will tell you how. Cancer will not have the last word: Jesus will have the last word. Cancer may kill the body but it has no power of the soul and Jesus is going to give you a new body, one that is cancer resistant. Cancer is not the final word because physical death is not the final word. Jesus came to Bethany four days after Lazarus had been in the grave and Jesus had the final word, “Lazarus come forth.”
- STORMS ALSO TRANSFORM. This is one of those life changing experiences for the disciples. They see a side of Jesus that they have never seen before and they are awed, amazed and visibly shaken. I don’t think any of them where ever the same after this event. It was what we call a DEFINING MOMENT. We all know storms [crisis] usually do take us by surprise: the news of a terminal illness, an unexpected car accident, or perhaps our doctor telling us we have cancer. The uncertainty of what is going to happen tomorrow is probably our greatest anxiety.Have you ever had such defining moment? One that literally changed your life. Think about it: how could you be present and hear Jesus command the elements and walk away the same. It is great that Jesus had the power to calm the seas but just as amazing is His ability to calm the soul.