Summary: This story in the life of Jesus and His disciples, in the boat upon the sea, conveys another world, a world where storms rise up out of nowhere and life itself is put at peril.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 20
There Is A Purpose In The Storm.
In 1976 Gordon Lightfoot recorded a haunting ballad entitled “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” [1976, Moose Music, Ltd.] The Edmund Fitzgerald was a real ship and Lightfoot’s song is a tribute to the shipwreck and the men who lost their lives.
The Edmund Fitzgerald was a giant ore freighter 729 feet in length and was the largest carrier on the Great Lakes from 1958 until 1971. The Fitzgerald was labeled “the pride of the America Flag.” On November 10, 1975 the Fitzgerald was hauling a heavy load of ore to Detroit, Michigan when it ran into a severe storm. This storm generated 27-30 ft. waves with a following sea. During the evening hours the ship disappeared from radar screens, apparently it sank in a matter of minutes. It now rests on the bottom of Lake Superior broken in two with the bow upright and the stern upside down still loaded with its cargo of ore and all 29 hands.
It is a fact of nature that the inland waters possess a special kind of treachery. Sometimes due to geography the inland water ways are more subject to violent changes of weather.
Although the Sea of Galilee is only 5 miles wide and 13 miles long it has a history of terrible storms. The fact is that the Sea of Galilee is 600 below sea level, and great storms develop when the cold air and warm air meet in this natural basin.
Such a situation was developing as the disciples set out across the Sea of Galilee after Jesus had finished speaking.
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. (23) But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. (24) And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. (25) But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"
It had been a long day of ministry for Jesus that began with confrontations and continued amidst the press of immense crowds. So as the day drew to a close Jesus moved to the stern of the boat, where he wearily collapsed into a deep sleep. The disciples in obedience to his command hoisted the sail and begin the five mile trip across the lake with a flotilla of admirers in their boats following.
When very unexpectedly and according to the Matthew account “without warning” (8:24), they were in the midst of a terrible storm. Matthew uses the word seismos (literally earthquake) to describe the storm. Today I want you to see with me some great principles drawn from this story in our message, “There is Purpose In the Storms!”
1. Some Times We Will Face Storms In Our Lives (vv. 23-24)
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. (23) But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.”
As one sits in an air conditioned and comfortable auditorium it is easy to think good thoughts about the world outside. But you know how life is; there can be and probably will be darker, more difficult days than this.
But this story in the life of Jesus and His disciples, in the boat upon the sea, conveys another world, a world where storms rise up out of nowhere and life itself is put at peril. If you have ever suffered from a life threatening disease then you know that world. The once placid lake of our life becomes a storm tossed, angry, raging sea. This is a story about that.
When the physician comes back with a bad report or when you are startled in the night by a late telephone call and the voice on the other end says, “I am afraid I have some bad news!” Then the waves begin to beat and the boat seems as if it is sinking and you cry out, “Lord do you not care that we are perishing?”
The whole point of the story and of the parable is that storms happen. An analysis of the storms in our lives reveals that sometimes they are brought on by our own stupidity or our sin. Sometimes they are caused by ones own bad decisions. They may be caused by the actions of someone else. At times they just seem to happen and we have no idea why. But no matter what storms come up in our life, we can call upon Jesus.