(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)
Last week we concluded our study of Jesus’ parable of the seeds, which is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. This parable deals with obedience. We are in still Luke Chapter 8 where Jesus tells us about the importance of faith and how true faith affects us.
Jesus taught His Disciples (and us) that:
|C.||Believers Tell Others||(v.26-39)|
|D.||Believers Trust Jesus||(v.22-25,40-56)|
Faith and Trust are hard for us as humans. We want to know and understand. Our relationship with Jesus is one place that our intelligence gets in the way. There are some things we cannot and perhaps should not know and understand. Our relationship with Jesus required faith. God designed it that way.
John Oxenham, the pen name of William Dunkerley, a British novelist in the early 1900’s wrote:
Lord, give me faith! - to trust, if not to know;In this section we see some of the practical expressions of faith that God expects to find in the life of every believer:
With quiet mind in all things You to find,
And, child-like, to go where You would have me go.
Lord give me faith! - to leave it all to Thee,
The future is Your gift, I would not lift
The veil Your love has hung ‘twixt it and me. (John Oxenham)
Pastor, author and Bible scholar, John Stott wrote,
"Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God." (John Stott)
In the four sections of this passage, we see Jesus teaching His disciples about His own trustworthiness. He shows them (and us) that He is greater than any problem or issue of life that we may face.
Believers trust Jesus. Believers believe Jesus is greater than any circumstances that they may face. As God tells us in 1 John 4:4,
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4This is a basic truth that Jesus taught His disciples, and teaches all of us who follow Him. A currently pertinent lesson that we need to learn is to trust in His power over disasters.
Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?” Luke 8:22-25Mark’s record contains more detail including more dialogue between Jesus and His disciples. So let’s look at Mark’s account of this event:
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:35-41What do we learn about their circumstances? Notes in the Life Application Bible tell us that:
“The Sea of Galilee is an unusual body of water. It is relatively small (13 miles long, 7 miles wide), but it is 150 feet deep, and the shoreline is 680 feet below sea level. Sudden storms can appear over the surrounding mountains with little warning, stirring the water into violent 20-foot waves. The disciples had not foolishly set out in a storm. They had been caught without warning, and their danger was great.” (Life Application Bible)What do you notice about the disciples?
They woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”Interesting question. Why did the disciples assume Jesus didn’t care? Maybe it was because He didn’t appear to be doing anything.
There seems to be an assumption by many that being with Jesus means that we won’t go through “storms” in our lives! Then, when storms come, we question that God cares for us.
These two passages drive home an important truth in this life we all go through “storms”, hard times.
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7:24-27, notice that those who obey God still go through the storms. Following Jesus doesn’t mean that you won’t have hard times.
You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:7 (LB)
Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. Matthew 7:24-25 (LB)
Every child knows that the loving actions of a parent don’t always appear loving to a child! In the same way, we are prone to questions God’s love in the light of circumstances.
But God has already proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that He loves by sending His Son:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (LB)Our confidence in His care is not based on our circumstances or even our feelings but on the works and words of God:
Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? Romans8:32
"We read in Deuteronomy 7:7 and 10:15 that God set His love upon His people He "fastened" it upon them, as The Berkeley Version says. I like that. There's a gentle but unyielding persistence about the love of God, a tenacious tenderness toward each person who has responded to Him. He loves us and holds on and won't let us go." (Ruth Myers)
We need to understand that even in the storms of life, we are anchored safely in His love.
They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”Luke 8:25 reads, And they were filled with awe and amazement.
Why? Because Jesus was more than they realized, greater than they imagined.
Here the disciples get to the heart of the matter: Who is this? That’s the most important question. And that’s the question Jesus is answering for them every day. They think they know Jesus but they really don’t, not yet.
The disciples were engaged in the life-long process of learning who Jesus really is. It's an inexhaustible subject there's always more for us to learn about Jesus.
That's why a daily Quiet Time and being in a fellowship like our class is so important. It helps you to continually expand your understanding and appreciation of who Jesus is. As we spend time in His Word, we learn that He wants to be involved in every area of our life. We may already know this truth but we don't really believe it until it's demonstrated in how we live.
What do we learn about Jesus?
Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. Mark 4:38We get an insight into Jesus’ humanity here. Jesus was so tired that He continued to sleep even during the storm! It’s important for us to remember that Jesus lived with His human limitations throughout His earthly ministry.
And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. Mark 4:39Some scholars believe that the wording here suggests that Jesus is speaking to demonic forces causing the storm. However, there is no specific reference to demons here. What is clear is that Jesus’ authority extends over all of creation, including nature and climate.
And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” v.40First Jesus rebukes the storms and then Jesus rebukes the disciples! Jesus asks two great questions here:
1. Why are you so afraid?
How would you answer that? Why are you so afraid today?
Why do you think the disciples were so afraid in this situation? We become afraid when we focus on the “storms” rather than on the creator. We become afraid when we don’t really understand/believe in His deity.
2. How is it that you have no faith?
Consider all the things recorded in Luke that they had seen Jesus do by this time:
That's a good question. Their faith certainly wasn't in Jesus in that situation. They trusted Jesus as Messiah but not as the One who could control a storm. We're like that. We trust Jesus to save us but not to meet our needs or work through us or help us as parents or employees. Want to know what you aren't trusting Jesus for? Just look at what you worry about! Mark records the disciples as saying:
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:41Like the disciples, God is continually trying to expand our appreciation of His greatness and power.
Like the disciples, God surprises us by His ability to do more than we expect. Paul spoke of this in his prayer in Ephesians:
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. Ephesians 3:20The goal here is not only to appreciate God’s greatness, but to appreciate that His greatness is beyond our ability to comprehend. We see only the tip of the iceberg.
Storms are often God’s way of drawing us closer to Himself, of helping us come to a better understanding of who He is and what He can do. So storms of life are not without a net benefit, a silver lining.
Today we saw that Jesus has power over disasters, over nature.
Next week and the following, we will see that He also has power over demons, disease and death.