Summary: Every day at the beach isn't a day at the beach, this message looks at how Jesus wants to be the master of our lives
It was a dark and stormy night. I’ve always wanted to start a story like that.
The wind howled blowing the top off the breakers before they crashed back into the troughs below. The darkness was broken by momentary streaks of light as the clouds raced across the face of the full moon. Could it be? Yes it was hard to believe but there was a boat there. In the middle of this tremendous storm was a little open boat, barely afloat. Hard to believe but there it was. And if we were able to zoom in on that hardy little fishing boat we would discover that it was occupied by thirteen men, twelve fighting for their lives and one sound asleep. And you’d have to ask yourself, how in the world did experienced fisherman who had fished this area all their lives get themselves into this mess?
Well the story is found in Mark chapter 4. It had been a long day for Jesus and the disciples. Christ had just finished preaching the Sermon on the Mount, had cleansed a leper, and healed the centurion’s servant.
Peter’s mother in law had been healed and Christ had touched and healed many others. The multitudes had gathered around and evening was coming so he decided it was time to have a break and so the thirteen of them got into a boat which was probably either Peter’s or James’ and headed across the sea of Galilee. And then we read in Mark 4:36-37 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
In the Sea of Galilee it could happen just that quickly, because of the funnel shape of the valley and the shallow depth of Galilee a relatively calm sea could be swept into a deadly cauldron which would explain Matthew's words “a terrible storm suddenly struck”. Listen to how Luke describes the scene in Luke 8:23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.
Sometimes I find myself identifying more and more with the apostles. I spent three years at sea and saw some dozy storms during that time. The smallest vessel I served on was a a hundred and twenty foot tug? and the largest was a six hundred and thirty foot oil tanker.
And during that time there were two or three times that although I wouldn’t say I was afraid I was a mite concerned.
So there they were, thirteen men in an open boat, twelve terrified and one is asleep. Now he’s not just resting, not just dozing, not just taking a nap, this dude is sound asleep. Now if you’ve never tried to sleep on a boat in a storm you don’t know what you’re missing.
You can pick one of two position to sleep in, either your bunk will be fore and aft that is your head will point toward the bow, that’s the pointy end. And if your bunk is like that your entire night is spent with your head pushed up against the wall and then your feet, you wake up six inches shorter then when you went to bed.
The other way you can sleep is thwart ships that is sideways and if that is the way your bunk is situated then you spend the entire night trying not to roll out on the deck.
Whichever way you sleep you are like a coiled spring and you wake up in the morning with sore elbows and knees from bracing yourself. And so that is the situation that Christ was sleeping in compounded by the fact that it was an open boat and so Christ must have been wet as well as uncomfortable. And so we read in Mark 4:38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
Now I don’t know why they woke him up. But it reminds me of a story about a fellow who was being interviewed for a job as a truck driver and the boss asked him, “what if you had to drive from here to Toronto, pick up a load and drive back?” “Well that’s easy” came the reply “my brother’s a truck driver too so I’d take him, one of us could drive and the other one could sleep.” “Ok, then” said the boss “what would happen if you were coming down a long steep grade in your truck, and your brakes suddenly failed?” “Well I’d wake up my brother” “why in the world would you wake up your brother?” “Because he’s never seen a real good accident before.” Maybe they woke Christ up because he had never seen a sea disaster before.