Summary: PENTECOST 5, YEAR B - Jesus calms the storms
The story opens in a hospital room, late in the evening. The man laying in bed had been waiting all day for the doctor to arrive. The doctor had promised he’d be there first thing in the morning. But here it was, seven o’clock in the evening, and still no sight of him. He was anxious to hear the results of his surgery. He couldn’t eat. And he tossed and turned. The television irritated him. And he couldn’t concentrate enough to read. The surgical dressing tugged against his skin. And the wound of his surgery ached. And clearly the pain medication was beginning to wearing off.
Finally the surgeon shuffled through the door. He looked hurried and distracted, as though he had to be somewhere else. He wasn’t known for his bedside manner. His skills were tuned for the operating room. He barely lifted his eyes from the 3-ring binder that held his charts. He opened his mouth and began to speak. The patient heard words instead of whole sentences. Bits of sound, each delivering a crumb of dreaded, terrible information. "not as good as we’d hoped couldn’t get to all of the malignant tumor chemotherapy, possibly radiation not sure how long twenty percent live at least five years don’t worry." With that the doctor shuffled out of the man’s room off to see another patient. The man was left all alone in the room with only his own thoughts. You can imagine what they must have been, can’t you? “Cancer” “Five Years” “death” “Where is God?” “Does God even know what I’m going through?” “Does God even care what I’m going through?” Do those questions sound familiar to you? Are those questions you yourself have asked at the dark times in your life? I know I have. And it is because of the dark storms that periodically rage through our lives at times and the questions that these storms raise for us at those moments that we are tempted to look at our scripture passage this morning and interpret it as a word of “Comfort”. “If we have faith in Jesus” “He will calm all of our storms.” and that would be a wonderful sermon the hear wouldn’t it? But there’s only one problem, that’s not what the passage is telling us. We know this by this one fact. When Jesus finished silencing the storm the disciples were not comforted by his action. They were not joyful, happy or relieved. They were terrified.
And here is the clincher. Whereas before they were afraid of the storm afraid that they were about to die. Now they are terrified. Terrified of the one who calmed the storm, Jesus. So terrified that they cry out, “Who is this man?” You see, when the disciples got in that boat to cross that lake they had gotten in with Jesus the man. Jesus the servant of God. Jesus the messiah. But now having heard Jesus command the storm and the seas to “Shut Up, and Knock it off” and seen the wind and waves obey. Now, they’re not sure who it is that’s in this boat with them. But what they do know is what the Word of God has told them: “God alone has power over His creation”
O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?
You are mighty, O LORD,
and your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
and the cloud is not rent under them.
He has described a circle upon the face of the waters
at the boundary between light and darkness.
By his power he stilled the sea;
By his wind the heavens were made fair;
Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways;
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”
You can imagine the terror rise up within them as they realize, “Oh----MY----GOD” “He has authority over the winds and the seas and we---just----yelled at him.” My brothers and sister in Christ. The wonderful truth in our passage today IS NOT God --- CALMS all of our storms. The wonderful truth in our passage today IS NOT EVEN God is --- WITH US in this boat. The wonderful truth that we need to hear is that it is GOD who is in this boat with us.
DON’T YOU CARE?
Does God Care? Yes God does care! That same God who created the Heavens and the Earth by simply saying, “Let there be.” Who created humanity out of the dust of the earth and then breathe into them divine life. Who parted the red seas and led Israel through the desert. Who promised though His prophets to one day redeem fallen humanity and cleans us from all of our sins. This God of Glory, Honor, and Majesty. So cares that He gave up all Glory, Honor, and Majesty and came down. He came down to be in this boat with us. Not to simply comfort us, but to redeem us. To redeem us from a greater danger even then death, the danger of judgment. Unlike the popular TV show “Touched by an Angel.” God did not simply send an angel. Nor did He send a prophet or a man or woman of God. God came Himself for our redemption.