Have you ever been driving in the rain and the bottom dropped out? It was so bad that you had to pull over.
In May of 1988, Becky and I and our three year old Timothy were on our way to the mountains. We were driving through Lexington, N. C. when the sky in front of us got black. A man in a truck coming our way was flashing his lights and waving his hand out the window for us to turn back. We then realized we were driving into a tornado. We turned around and pulled into the driveway of a farmhouse. The wind was so strong we could hardly open the doors of our vehicle. We knocked on the door and the couple gave us shelter. The tornado tore down the farmer’s fence and toppled his trees.
Sometimes the storms of life are like that. The bottom drops out. You feel like you just can’t go on.
It could be finances that have you down. Too much month at the end of the money. It could be the empty nest syndrome. Our younger son ships for boot camp November 8th. We are beginning to feel the loneliness. Empty nest, however, works both ways. One of our teens at Bob Jones University, Lauren Ocman wrote me on Facebook yesterday, “Listening to Pastor Tim’s sermon and missing N.C.”
Sometimes the storms are tornadoes. I saw an old friend yesterday. His grandson, in his twenties, whom he loved dearly and had spent much time with committed suicide. The bottom dropped for him, his wife, son and daughter-in-law.
1. Mark is writing to believers who are being severely persecuted for their faith in Rome under the tyrant Nero. The bottom had dropped out for them.
2. Mark presents Christ as the Servant. Each Gospel writer paints a different picture of Christ. This episode of the Jesus and His disciples in the storm is in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Matthew presents Christ as King. Matthew includes this miracle of Jesus stilling the storm in His gospel because Christ is King in every storm.
Luke presents Christ as Son of Man and emphasizes His humanity. Even Jesus had to endure storm.
Mark presents Christ as the Servant. In Mark 4:35, Jesus who has been teaching and serving all day tells His disciples that He needs to get away to the other side. Mark, uncharacteristically, provides two time designation in 4:35. It was late at night. His day started in 3:7. The crowd has so pressed on the shore Jesus has to escape to the other side for rest. He is so exhausted from service He is not even awakened by the fierce storm. This is the only time it is recorded in Scripture that Jesus slept. Obliviously, Jesus slept at night. But the one time Scripture records Him sleeping, He is sleeping out of sheer fatigue from ministry.
3. Mark records four miracles of Jesus back to back (4:35-5:43) to show how Jesus serves and helps His people with their troubles of life. The miracle of Jesus stilling the storm, casting out demons, healing the sick and raising the dead.
Just as Jesus served through storms, so can His followers. The following observations will help us serve as our Savior through the storms of life.
I. Storms Sometimes Arise When We Obey (4:35)
A. Some believers experience storms because they obey God.
The disciples obeyed immediately. Mark notes that the disciples “took him as even as he was.” That is, without even going ashore to pack, they set sail in obedience. Still they experienced a storm. In Acts 27, Paul in obedience to his God given burden to go to Rome fought a terrible storm.
Our former church members, Kevin, Tamara, and Shyanne Kurtzs were led by God to a new ministry in PA with ABWE. Now they can’t sell their house in Jamestown and are having to make two mortgage payments. Their obedience has prompted their present storm.
B. Other believers experience storms because of disobedience such as Jonah.
Both Jesus and Jonah slept in their storm. But Jonah’s sleeping is in stark contrast to Jesus. Jonah slept because he was running from serving the Lord. Jesus slept from exhaustion from serving. I wonder who slept better?
II. Storms Can Suddenly Arise (4:36-37)
A. Jesus’ disciples were professional fishermen and did not expect this storm.
Mark also mentions that there were also with him other little ships who were following Jesus and also were not expecting the storm. These professional fishermen were totally caught off guard.
One company recently told its employees that they were fired. The management waited until the last day the business was open. Without even a day’s notice they were out of a job.
B. These professional fishermen were caught off guard by a furious storm.
Mark sounds like a meteorologist for the National Hurricane Center reporting the severity of this storm (4:37).
1. “A great storm of wind” so great that veteran fisherman were scared for their lives.
2. “The waves beat into the ship.” Each powerful wave almost capsizes the ship.
3. “So that the boat was now filling.” The disciples are bailing water as fast as they can but to no avail.
Cody Welch was going to ride his bicycle across the road to his cousin’s who lived in front of his house. When he crossed the road, he didn’t see a car coming which struck him. His aunt across the road called 911 and then me, his pastor. When I got there his mother was holding his limp body in her arms crying frantically out to God. I watched him medevaced to Chapel Hill. Storms can suddenly devastate our lives.
In Part 2, we will look at the third observation to help us serve Christ in the midst of the storm.