22 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 the immense crowd. 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.
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 ft below sea level, and great storms develop when the cold air and warm air meet.
Such a situation was developing as the disciples set out across the Sea of Galilee after Jesus had finished speaking. 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, let us look at some great principles drawn from this story, with the question that Jesus asked His disciples, “Where Is Your Faith?”
There will be times that we will also face storms in our lives, v23-24: “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”.
“Where Is Your faith”, When the storms hit? What is Faith? And What does it do?
To understand what faith is we must get past certain misconceptions about faith.
First, that faith is the ability to manipulate God. This is the approach of the “health and wealth” prosperity gospel. This approach only sees faith as having one aim – one fruit – a life of ease and full of blessings.
Second, that faith is a set of beliefs. You must believe the right doctrine. But Paul says in 2 Tim. 1:12, “I know whom I have believed.” If your beliefs are not founded on the right person it does not matter what else you believe.
Third, that faith is a blind leap into the dark. To many unbelievers faith is the anti-thesis of science. To these saying- “you just have to have faith” is the same as saying “just have to act contrary to everything you know and trust that it will all work out for the best.” That’s sounds more like “fate”, to me, than faith.
Finally, that faith is simply devotion to whatever god one happens to follow. It can be said, “He is a person of deep faith” about a follower of Mohammed, Buddah, the Ayatollah or of a Christian denomination. What matters is, as long as they are sincere.
But, unfortunately none of these is true faith. Hebrews chapter eleven portrays what real biblical faith looks like.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
True faith is confident obedience to God’s word in spite of circumstances or consequences. Faith is described in a two-fold way. It is the “substance of things hoped for,” and “the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the foundation that gives the believer the confidence to stand. The verse could be translated “faith is the confidence of things hoped for.”
Now, back to our text. There is always a purpose of the storms in our lives. Let us take a step back, look at the disciples, and hopefully…be able to answer the question of, “Where Is Your Faith?”
You see, 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 in peril. If you have ever suffered from a life-threatening disease then you know that world. The once placid lake of life becomes a storm tossed, angry, raging sea. This is a story about that. A Sudden, unexplainable storm.
The whole point of the story is that storms happen. 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 lives, we can call upon Jesus.
James tells us the purpose of trials is to test and deepen our faith.
James 1:2-3 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
When We Are In A Storm We May Think That We Are Out of God’s Will. Just like the disciples, when they called to Jesus, “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”.
Perhaps you thought or had been taught that life would be smooth sailing with Jesus in your life. You thought with Jesus in the boat, there would be no storm, no unmanageable waves and no fear. No, that is just not true. And if you have lived long enough, you know that it is not true, based on your own experience. But perhaps you thought, “Then there must be something wrong with me?”
“Even when believers follow Christ’s bidding, they may face hardships. For example, Jesus’ disciples were doing God’s will when they took Him across the lake, for he had commanded them to do so. Yet they were buffeted by a dreadful tempest, and they seemed to be in danger of drowning. A storm - and Christ on board! It seems a contradiction. Wouldn’t His presence ensure a peaceful journey? Not at all” (Our Daily Bread)
You can find a storm and be right in the center of God’s will. The disciples did. Notice that the disciples were in the midst of a storm not because they had disobeyed, but because they had obeyed. If they had just thought for a moment, they would have remembered that Jesus had said, in verse twenty-three Jesus commanded, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." He said “Let’s go over to the other side.” He didn’t say, “Let us go to the middle of the lake and drown.” They had no need to fear when they were with Him, they were obeying Him and He had revealed His intention to be on the other side of the lake. Jesus had a plan.
Even though the disciples had no way of knowing it, during those terrible moments, that storm was divinely appointed to teach them about God and His power in their lives. Without difficulties, without trials, without stresses and YES!!! even failures, we would never grow to be what the Lord wants us to become. Without adversity, we would be self-centered, proud, one-dimensional and empty people. Faith must be tested before it can be trusted!!!
When we are in a storm, we may think that God doesn’t care. The parallel account in Mark 4:38 tells us that Jesus…
But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Although in just a few moments he would calm the storm with extraordinary display of divine power, at this moment He slept in a weary human body. To the disciples however…Jesus seemed unaware or unconcerned about their circumstance. Does Jesus know? Does He care? We mistakenly conclude that we are alone, that no one… not even God, knows what is happening in our lives and how we are feeling.
While these seasoned sailors were panicking because of the intensity of this storm Jesus was fast asleep. He was asleep seemingly unconcerned, quite detached and indifferent. Isn’t it true that we feel like that too at times? When we are in the midst of a crisis, of one form or another and it seems that Jesus doesn’t care, He just does not seem to be interested or concerned with what we are going through.
God has never promised our lives would be empty of pain, disappointment, or storms. Anyone who tells you otherwise is Not!!! teaching the truth of the Bible. What God does promise are resources to journey through the raging waters. The fact is that Jesus was right there with them in the ship, facing the same storm with them! They were never alone, they were never in real danger. Jesus was there! Physically…Jesus was there!
Whenever we are in a storm, we may react in fear, doubt, helpless, even hopeless. Rather than putting our faith in God, who controls all things… “Where Is Your Faith?”
Soaked and no doubt shivering, terrified to the core, the disciples had strained to keep the boat headed into the wind. They just knew that the next wave would take them to the bottom. In a near state of panic the disciple approached the sleeping Jesus in the stern of the boat, shouting to be heard above the wind.
As to what they said, their words differ slightly from one gospel account to another. Matthew (8:25) records that the disciples cry out, “ Lord, save us we are perishing” which seems to be a cry for help. In our text from Luke (v. 24) they are recorded as having said, “Master, Master, we are perishing” seems to be a statement of eminent doom. In Mark (4:38) the record is that they say, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing.” which seems to be a rebuke of Jesus lack of action.
Faith was paralyzed by fear. Fear is like an anchor it stops us dead in the water. They were afraid that all of them… including Jesus, would die. They were of course, wrong, but so are we when we panic during difficult times. In reality, their problem was not the storm around them, but the unbelief within them. Their made too much of the problem and too little of God’s power, and provision. Fear does that, it maximizes the problem and minimizes God’s provision and His presence. Keep in mind… Jesus was there! Jesus is here…He lives… in you and me!
When we are in a storm we need to remember to cry out to the Father. He hears our cry, and He will stop the storm, when the time is right. He’s perfect time! We just have to have faith that He will! Just hold on tight, ride through that storm, because you are not alone!
After all, we do belong…we are His children, and He will always be the One, who is in control of all things. Even, the biggest of storms…
They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm, So, that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So, He guides them to their desired haven.
As the great old hymn says so well, “When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace, In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil.”
When In A Storm Faith Will Keep Your From Being Afraid….
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!”
Jesus who is unconcerned about the storm, the wind, the waves and the raging sea, is concerned about his frightened disciples, the ones who have ventured forth in the boat by His commands. The storm was necessary for the spiritual development of the disciples, and so was the ensuring calm that was about to come. At their cry, He rouses himself, rebukes the waves and the wind, and there is immediate calm. Jesus cares, not only cares, but acts and saves…and brings comfort.
I want you to notice with me, some significant characteristics of how easily Jesus overcame the storm. First, notice that Jesus by a word of command brings the forces of nature into subjection to Himself. He speaks and it is done. Secondly, notice how effectively it was done - “there was a great calm.” All three gospels speak of a sudden and miraculous calm. In reality, this is the second miracle. Normally, considerable time is required for the waves to subside, even though the winds may have long since diminished. This storm did not merely…slowly cease and the winds gradually return to normal. He spoke and it was if there had never been a storm!
We disappoint the Lord, when we fail to trust…lose faith in Him. Notice verse 25, when He says… “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!”
Jesus addresses His disciples and asks, “Where Is Your Faith”, “why are you so fearful and living as if you have no faith?” There is perhaps a little irony in the fact that the storm did not disturb Jesus but the unbelief of his disciples did. Although their fear was natural, they had no excuse for their lack of faith. Fear comes and all reasons for trust depart.
Church…God has been with you and I, through storms in the past. Why would He not be with us now, through this storm? Now, listen… you have your Bibles, you know the stories, you’ve lived it from one time or another. We don’t have to be like the disciples when they asked, “who can this be?” It was Jesus that saved them, it was Jesus that saved you and I. and will always be Jesus that will calm the storm here, now, and forever!!! He never leaves church, NEVER!
In the lives of the disciples, faith’s absence or presence was revealed in the trauma’s of life. So, it is with us as well. Where is our faith during the storms of life? It is the storms of life which reveals our true faith.
It is at such times that we face a three-fold challenge, to worry, to work or to trust. When difficulties come we can choose to worry, but we all know deep down that changes nothing. We are faced with adversity, we can try harder, and harder until we see that there is nothing more we can do and we are forced to conclude that it is absolute out of our control. Or we can trust… in faith, fall before the Lord and cry out for his help.
Peter reminds us to…
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.
HE CARES FOR YOU!!!
Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking of you and watching everything that concerns you. Jesus longs for us… He desires for us, to put or trust in Him. To put our faith in Him. The only One who can take us through the storm. Not around, not over, but through it! And then there is calm!!! Thank you, Jesus.
Let us pray…
Pastor Richard Santos
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