Marvelous things happened each day of Jesus ministry, but there were days that were marked days. Very special words were said or things were made bright and memorable by some unusual manifestations of grace and love.
One of those great days of our Lord’s ministry took place on a warm, unsettled day. One of those days where you could feel something just was not right with the weather.
Jesus began teaching by parables early that day. He used most every illustration and topic in his parables. All things in nature or in common daily life .. nothing was left unused. The light, the darkness, the plays of children, leather bottles, foxes and birds, patched and new garments, and even the homely barnyard hen furnished illustrations for His teachings.
Jesus brought his heavenly lessons down into the everyday lives of the plain, common people. This particular day was very busy, very long, very tiring. At the close of this day Jesus suggested that they (he and his disciples) take the boat over to the other side of the Galilee. Probably his objective was to get quickly and quietly away from the crowd. He needed rest desperately.
The people gave Him no opportunity for rest while He was within their reach. Day and Night .. they were always there. They pressed upon Him always .. many times in rude and unmannerly ways.
There were days where there was not even time to eat or just stop for a breather. And when he did, the people were pushing and grasping at him. He scarcely was permitted time to sleep. And when he was able to catch a catnap for 5 or 10 minutes .. people would approach, quietly .. and just look at him sleeping. People followed and came at all hours to see him .. after all .. there had never been a man like Jesus before. Never in the history of the world. Can you imagine .. just to see him. Just a word or a touch … and healing could take place.
And if he was the foretold prophet the Old Testament spoke about .. Just to see him, lay one eyes upon the Messiah.
He was very weary that evening. It is said that the disciples took Him with them into the boat. Jesus continued to tech from the boat as the disciples prepared to set sail. Jesus knew he was exhausted and needed to get rest before he clasped. But his compassion for the people forced him to continue teaching and reaching out to the people as the disciples pushed the boat away from the shore.
The object, probably, was to get away peacefully and quietly .. but quickly. Reassuring the people he was not going far, but it was late and time to return home for the night. Hoping that the people still approaching there location on the rural paths and roads might not see Him departing and follow Him. But also knowing, they would.
They had not been under sail long when a storm came up very unexpectedly. It was one of those sudden storms that so often sweep down from the surrounding hills upon the Sea of Galilee. This storm was very violent. Kind of like some of the afternoon thunderstorms we get around here. They blow in over the hills. Terrible lightening, torrential rain, and tornado force winds. You run for cover when it hits.
They do not last very long, but they are extremely dangerous. Ours are very much like the storms that hit the Galilee, even today. This is what the disciples and Jesus encountered that day The difference being from our storms. They were in the middle of a large lake .. in a small boat.
Notice that the presence of Christ in the boat with His disciples did not prevent the coming of the storm. Sometimes people think when they are in trouble that Jesus has forsaken them, or they would not have such hard experiences. If He wee with them, they say, He would not permit them to suffer so. But Christ never has promised to keep us out of trouble.
When Jesus was preparing for the cross, he prayed to the Father to keep His disciples from the evil of the world. He did not say evils, but “the evil”. You see there is only one evil. It is not suffering, or loss, or persecution .. the only evil in the world is sin. If Christ is with us, we shall be kept from sin. But perhaps not from the storms, the storms of life, from sufferings, from trials, disappointment, sadness.
The most remarkable thing in the story of this night was the sleeping Master. The winds howled and the waves swept over the boat; but during all the storm, on the cushion, at the back of the boat .. Jesus lay asleep.
This tells us, for one thing, how weary He was after the long day’s work, so weary that even the terror and danger of the storm did not awake Him. He slept through it all. But it also tells us of the peace of His heart.
This peace the Master would give to us. The quietness and the confidence in the most trying time and experiences of our life. He will give such a peace in our hearts that we shall not be disturbed or alarmed by the greatest of dangers or calamities.
If Christ is with us, nothing can harm us. That little boat never could have gone down in the waves with the Master on board. The boat was the emblem of the Church.
Christ is always with His Church, not only in its days of sunshine and prosperity, but also in its days of trial and in the midst of the fiercest storms.
The disciples in their terror awoke their Master. They even seemed to chide Him for sleeping when they were in such danger. “Carest Thou not that we perish?” He did care. We need never fear in any time of darkness, suffering, or perplexity that Christ has forgotten us or that He will allow us to be harmed.
In another storm on the same sea, when the disciples were also in great peril, Jesus was absent. He was up on the mountain in the darkness .. praying. But while he was away from them. He kept his eye upon them all the night .. out on the sea.
He saw them distressed, rowing their boat against the wind. He came to them, walking on the water, and he delivered them. Always remember, we can never drift beyond Christ’s love and care.
On this night, He heard their call of distress. There may come times in our lives when Christ appears to us to be asleep. During the fiercest storms in our life, is he there?
He hears our prayers. He gives us peace and reassurance.
He answered the cry of His disciples that night. He arose from the cushion where He had been sleeping, and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be Still.” Instantly the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Jesus asked the disciples. Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? It was time they learned to have faith. Is it like that with us also?
When our spirits are swept by the storms of live, and our fears are great. Do we loose faith in our fears? We need never to be afraid of the perils of life’s storms. It is time we learned to have faith also.
Even in Life’s most extreme storms .. trust in Jesus. Trust in Jesus.