Had a good message this morning from a brother who spoke about Jesus calming the storm.
He had spotted a couple of things in the story in Mark 4:35-41 that got me thinking. One was that Jesus doesn’t respond in the way that mere humans respond. When the disciples saw him sleeping, they said: “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” He didn’t say: “Of course I care, pass me a bucket” and start baling the water out of the boat.
Sometimes we might think that would be a positive role model for Jesus to set. ‘He gets his hands dirty; it shows he’s one of us’. It’s the adage of ‘leading by example’. Don’t ask someone else to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself. And yes, Jesus did come to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.
But Jesus’ service was a little more radical than baling water out of a boat. Sometimes situations call for supernatural service. “Peace, be quiet!” He said. Not only to the storm, but to the disciples’ troubled hearts.
I also liked the comment my brother made on the end of the passage. There was a great calm, and Jesus said: “Why are you so fearful? How is it you have no faith?” And in verse 41 they are STILL fearful, but this time, not of the storm, but of Jesus Himself. “they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” There was a ‘fear exchange’ here. They stopped fearing the storm and feared God. Personally, I find the unanswered question here more compelling than any answer: “Who can this be?” Who indeed can this man be? The heavens open at his baptism, water deepens into wine, a young boy rises up from his coffin, a girl off her deathbed, a corpse walks out of a tomb, and a crucified man ascends in radiant glory to heaven in the clouds.
Later today I read an entry from my brother-in-law, who is on mission in Mozambique with Heidi Baker. He said this:
Then it was all up to the hut for an extra night meeting with Amy from Mississippi. Man she can preach to your bones. Just so shaken up on my delusion of the Gospel. We have to see people born- again, come to saving faith in Jesus, transformed by the power of a new life. Justice won’t cut it. Care, kindness and being a friend without the gospel achieves nothing. People really are going to hell without Jesus. I love her simplicity and it so took me on from what had happened this morning. Ethan was especially touched tonight for which we are so thankful. The worst thing that could ever happen to my children is to grow up, live and die without knowing there is a saviour who loves them enough to take the punishment they deserve.
It strikes me that we could do worse than experience that ‘rather nasty storm’ in our lives, if it is going to bring us closer to God. Anything that makes us drift along in soggy and vaguely pleasant complacency is taking us further away from Jesus and from his unerring and unique role as our rescuer and champion. We are too often satisfied with human solutions. We think that the world can hack it. In fact, we believe, if we’re honest with ourselves, that the world can do it better than Jesus.
Actually, nothing else matters than the old, simple, full-blooded gospel. It’s never been superseded. It still applies today. None of us must fail our children. None of us must fail our neighbours and our friends. Their blood will be on our hands if we do not help them to ask Jesus to calm their storms.