Summary: I love the fact that Jesus was asleep during the storm on the Galilee. First, Jesus was a man who experienced fatigue just like us. Second, He possessed such a strong sense of tranquility that He could sleep through the storm.
That’s not a typo. We all face storms, but do you have the ability to faith the storms of life? Faith is more than a noun; it’s also a verb.
I think one of the hardest jobs would be a weather forecaster. There was a Native American chief on a remote reservation in South Dakota whose tribe asked him if it was going to be a cold winter. He didn’t want them to know he couldn’t predict the weather, so he snuck away and called the National Weather Service. The forecaster said, “We’re fairly certain that it’s going to be a cold winter.” So the chief went back and told the others to collect a lot of firewood for the cold winter. A few weeks later he called back and asked the forecaster again. This time the forecaster said, “We are more certain now that it’s going to be a very cold winter.” So the chief went back and told the tribe to collect even more firewood. A few weeks later the chief called the forecaster again and asked about an update on the forecast. The forecaster said, “We are now certain that this will be one of the coldest winters we’ve ever had.” The chief said, “How can you be sure?” The forecaster said, “The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy!”
In our text today, Jesus and His disciples were planning to cross the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is actually a fresh water lake. It sits at 600 feet below sea level making it the lowest lake in the world. It’s about fourteen miles long and about 7 miles wide. It is shaped like a harp. On any given night, it should have taken the disciples about three hours to sail or row across the lake. So Jesus and His disciples started out on a three-hour tour. The weather started getting rough. The tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless Lord the disciples would be lost.
Mark 4:35-41. “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 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?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’”
On the second floor hallway of the Crosswalk Conference Center we have The Life of Christ Art Gallery. This is a series of paintings that portray the life of Jesus from His birth to His ascension. One of my favorite paintings is “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by the Dutch Master, Rembrandt van Rijn. It was painted in 1632. It was displayed for many years in an art museum in Boston until it was stolen in 1990. Its whereabouts are still unknown. If you see it in someone’s basement or vacation home, call the FBI because there is a $5 million reward for information leading to its recovery.
But let’s focus on the picture itself. A tiny boat is tossed and turned by the angry wind and waves. There are thirteen disciples, because Rembrandt actually painted himself into the picture. He’s the little guy holding onto the rope staring out at the viewer. He’s wearing his ubiquitous beret. Just in front of him one of the disciples is leaning over the edge of the boat, apparently sea-sick. The message I think Rembrandt was trying to convey was there were some disciples who were fighting against the storm, their focus was the storm. But there were some of the disciples gathered around Jesus, their focus was the Savior. This painting begs the question, “When you face the storms of life, do you fearfully focus on the storm, or do you faithfully focus on the Savior?
Let’s learn five lessons on how you can faith the storms of life.
I. You can be close to Jesus and still encounter storms
Jesus knew all things and when He said let’s go to the other side, He knew they would encounter a storm. Sometimes people who know and love the Lord think they should be exempt from stormy experiences of life. Some Christians make the mistake of thinking that just because they have the Lord in their life that they will be immune to trouble, tribulation, and problems. Even though Jesus was in the boat, the storm still struck. And even if Jesus is in your life, you will still encounter storms. There are physical storms, financial storms, emotional storms, and relational storms which can strike you suddenly with no warning. But just because you find yourself in a storm it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you or is punishing you. Jesus led the disciples into this storm to teach them to trust Him, so don’t be surprised when you face storms.