Friday 21 June 2019

Luke 8 v 22-25

This week’s gospel passage is one recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels.  It is the story of when Jesus was asleep in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and a storm blew up.

The sea is 8 miles across and 15 miles long and is 600 feet below hills on either side.  At times winds blow between the hills and can whip up the water and create difficult conditions on the water. This is what happened on this occasion.

The Apostles had set out with |Jesus to cross the lake and during the crossing Jesus fell asleep due to being very tired.  He had had a busy day healing people and teaching the crowd, which was the reason He wanted to cross the lake so He could have some peace and quiet, being physically exhausted. This shows the humanity of Jesus who experienced all the motions we feel. 

Suddenly a storm of great proportions blew and caused water to swamp the boat.   The sea of all the natural phenomena causes much fear, but these were experienced fishermen used to the sea, so Jesus would have left them with complete confidence to cope with the uncertainties of the weather. They knew that particular lake and would have had experience of its vagaries.  This must have been therefore a particularly violent storm

When the boat began to take in water the Apostles became afraid and woke Jesus, telling Him they feared drowning, but it appeared to them Jesus just wasn’t interested.

The question they asked Jesus is one which many people will have asked in their own minds when faced with some problem or disaster in their life. ‘Jesus don’t you care?  Maybe there is someone who will read this letter who feels like asking that very question because of some spiritual, domestic or economic worry. 

When He is awakened Jesus causes the wind and waters to subside, which they did, and then rebukes the men by asking them where their faith is. The fact they called urgently on Jesus suggests they had some faith that He could save them. His actions did however cause them to be struck with amazement that such miraculous power was being displayed before their eyes.

Television brings into our homes incredible pictures of nature’s power in action, and we see storms pounding our shores with the consequent damage they cause.  Just recently we have witnessed horrific winds in America’s South where cars and homes have been lifted up and carried away.  Imagine some clergyman standing in the middle of a town and crying ‘be still’.  What do you think your reaction would be? yet this actually happened that day on the Sea of Galilee, but this was no ordinary man.

If Jesus was to ask you the same question He asked the Apostles, (where is your faith) how would you answer?  The Apostles had lived and travelled with Jesus and seen just how miraculous and powerful He could be, yet still panicked when a difficult occasion arose. Do we not do likewise?

Perhaps for many people the fact they have managed to cope with their lives for a long time and have littler contact with the Lord, fail to realise the help that could be available to them.  For others they have no time to spare for God or Jesus, but when disaster strikes the first thing they do, is to question why God let it happen and where was He then. 

This I read was the oft repeated cry when the Twin Towers were struck in America. And a reply was given that He was in the same place in all the years before when people were not interested.

People cannot treat God as if He doesn’t exist and ignore Him until suddenly, they feel a need of His help and expect Him to be at their beck and call.

It is one thing to believe about Jesus, quite another to trust him, and it is only when we see and understand who Jesus is that we will truly place our faith in him.  Such was the Apostles’ problem, their faith was misplaced; they had seen all the miracles he had performed, and all the words he spoke pointed to one fact that he was their Lord and their God. Perhaps they trusted their own boating skills, but wherever their faith was it was not where it should have been.

Our problems today are due to us trusting ourselves and that is when the storms hit. We feel we cannot trust anyone else, often with good reason, for even our closest friends let us down at times. So, all we have left is ourselves when we are hurt, but it is at this point we need to remember the One who promised to guide us through this barren land.

 When tough times come, when illness strikes, when work becomes more tiring, however stormy the seas are, we need to keep trusting and praying to Jesus

Christ has promised to be at our side through all our life, but He expects us to show our loyalty to Him.  When anyone feels the need to cry out, ‘why God haven’t you done anything,’ remember what God has done for us when He gave His Son to die on the Cross, and Jesus us from the gravest peril we could ever face, the judgement of God because of our sins.  The next time you see a Cross, remember Jesus is saying ‘I am here in your place.’

May God bless you, and be at Church onSunday.

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