Summary: 1 of 5 messages on the Miracles of Jesus. This message is on calming the storm. It was presented at our annual outdoor worship at a band shell in Lansing, MI

Calming the Storm

August 26, 2007

Band Shell Sunday

Part One:

What are you afraid of?

Ferris Wheels

Have you ever been afraid?

I have been. I don’t mind working on roofs and climbing a ladder but there are some moments on the edge of a roof I feel like I’m about to pitch right off the edge and tumble down to the ground in a mass of broken bones and a puddle of bloody flesh. Some people call that an unreasonable fear. Personally I prefer to think of it as healthy respect for gravity.

Some people love roller coasters and all kinds of death defying rides at the amusement parks. I enjoy them all but one. That old flimsy, held together with baling wire, chewing gum and coat hangers, carnival Ferris wheel. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s not really that tall but it’s down right scary. The bucket isn’t much more than a padded plank with a couple of ends, a back, and a foot rest painted gray with a red pinstripe design. The safety device is a wooden bar that is clicked into place by a skinny man with a scruffy beard, a half a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth, and a pack of Lucky Strikes rolled up in his dirty white t-shirt. This is just plain scary.

That’s one kind of fear but there is another kind. It is the fear of the unknown, the unseen, and the uncontrollable.

Have you seen the first movie called Pirates of the Caribbean? In it an evil captain of turned to another character and said: "Argggg" there be monsters’ Have you heard that line before? Have you ever wondered where it comes from?

In the British Museum in London, there is an old mariner’s chart drawn in 1525 outlining the North American coastline. The cartographer who created the map did so from information gleaned from ocean-going crews of the day. There were notations on where reefs might be, and where the best harbors could be found. But there were certain sections that were relatively blank. And in those sections were notations like the following:

Here be giants!

Here be fiery scorpions!

Here be dragons.

In other words: Here be monsters. Ever since man has gone out on the water in boats, seafarers have always been just a little afraid of the unknown, the unseen and the uncontrollable. And they felt great fear. We all often feel great fear with the unknown, the unseen and the uncontrollable in our lives. Some of us really struggle with worry, anxiety, depression, and a looming sense of dread.

Interactive Question: So what are you afraid of?

Part Two: Why are you so afraid?

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, Let us go over to the other side. 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 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?

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, Quiet! Be still! Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

Mark 4:325-40

Jesus had spent the day preaching and sharing parables with the crowds that gathered to here Him teach. Evening has come and He tells His disciples to set out in the boat. About half way across the Sea of Galilee, a terrible storm descends upon them. The winds blow, the waves broke upon their ship and they began to take on water. In fact, there’s so much water coming in that the disciples are afraid they might sink.

But in the stern of the boat, Jesus is asleep. It’s been a long hard day and virtually nothing seems capable of waking Him. The disciples can’t understand this. In fact, they seem to be a little angry as they shake Him awake and say Don’t you care that we drown? Jesus gets up, calms the sea, and then asks Why are you so afraid?

Why are you so afraid? Was Jesus rebuking His disciples for being afraid?

Now - what strikes me as so unusual about Jesus’ question is that it would seem the Disciples had every reason to be afraid. These are experienced sailors, fishermen who made their living on the Sea of Galilee. When these men got scared of a storm while out on the water you can pretty well bet, they had good reason.

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