Summary: #5 in a series, this sermon uses the event of Jesus calming the storm to ask where do we place our faith.
Questions Jesus asked #5
“Where is your faith?” – Luke 8:22-25
By James Galbraith
Bethel First Baptist Church – February 8, 2004
Swan Quarter Tale
Sometime in the 1870s, the good citizens of Swan Quarter, North Carolina decided that it was high time to build a church. Various local craftsmen offered to donate their services. All that was needed was a lot on which to build. After a diligent search, a prime parcel was decided upon, and representatives of the future congregation went to call upon the owner. Much to their dismay, he courteously but firmly refused to sell. A second lot was chosen. Soon, the proud new structure began to take shape.
Just as the church neared completion, a terrific storm struck the North Carolina coast. The screaming winds backed more and more water into Swan Quarter Bay, flooding the town. The new church actually floated off its foundation and proceeded "before the wind" down what was the main street. After colliding with the general store, it eventually came to rest on the lot the congregation had first chosen.
Apparently seeing the hand of providence, the owner ceded the property to the church. Not long afterward, Providence Church sat atop a new foundation on its chosen land. Today, a new brick structure has replaced the original building, but the old church that floated down the street is still used for Sunday school. If you are interested in visiting the church, walk north along the main road and you will see the new brick structure on the left. The old church is just behind it.
Sometimes storm serve a purpose much higher than we can ever imagine…
famous saying - “calm seas do not a sailor make”
The disciples face a storm in our passage this morning, one which will Jesus to confront them with the question…
Where is your faith?
- shows importance of this event to the biblical writers – all 3 gave it space
- also shows authenticity in that each records it slightly differently
- some details I share may come from the other “tellings”
- one of three stories which, in a sequence, show the power of Christ over the natural, the supernatural (demons), and even death itself
- after a long day of teaching and dealing with the crowds, Jesus and disciples climb into boat to cross Sea of Galilee
- to hold 13 men and some travel gear, had to be a fair size, possibly equipped with a small mast and sail
- open Boston whalers from HMCS Quadra, overnighters with 15+ cadets
- a tired Jesus falls asleep, leaving the sailing to the fishermen.
- Mark – sleeping in stern on a cushion
- when you’re tired, you’ll sleep anywhere – I fell asleep in an engine room once
- a storm breaks out, threatening to swamp the boat and all it’s crew
- since the Sea of Galilee is in a valley, amidst hills and gorges,
winds funnel through it and made for powerful windstorms.
- it takes a lot to scare a fishermen, let alone one in the company of others,
but this storm has them frantic
- they wake Jesus up and warn him of their peril
Luke - “Master, master, we’re going to drown!”
Matthew - “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
Mark – “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
- they wanted help, but they did not know all that he was capable of
- end of story shows that they were surprised at his power
- Jesus stands up in the boat and, with a simple command, calms the sea
- “Quiet! Be still!”
- when teaching this story at camp, the sun broke through clouds just as
I shared this line with my cabin group
- he turns to the disciples and asks them – Where is your faith?
Matthew – You of little faith, why are you so afraid?
Mark – Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
- but these boil down to “Where is your faith?”
- after asking this, we have a pretty good idea of where the disciple’s faith was…
- fear and amazement show a growing belief in Christ as Son of God
- a belief expressed a short time later when Peter declares Jesus to be
“the Christ of God” – the one sent to save Israel (and the rest of the world)
- the storm had definitely played a role in forming this faith, it had tested them and driven them into a deeper appreciation of the nature of the Jesus they followed
- storms can do that to us too, when we learn the right answer to the question Jesus asked – Where is you faith?