Jesus Calms the Storm (Matthew 8:23-27) by Bro. Jama Javier

Good morning everyone. Happy Lord’s Day! You may be surprised to know that 14 years and two days ago there was a storm that hit the Philippines by the name of Ondoy. It was a truly terrifying storm, it was a formidable force of nature, it was fearsome, many people feared for their lives, overnight streets flooded, cars were submerged, houses were swept away and many people had lost their lives, their livelihood and it was a true testament to the power of nature. How no man can control it, how it is unpredictable, overnight without warning or perhaps some warning by the weather department. There was this huge storm that people will remember for perhaps their whole lifetime. I bring this up because this morning we are, we see a similar force of nature, we see something just as fearsome, afflict the disciples and the Lord Jesus Christ and yet we see as well the prevailing power of our Lord Jesus over this storm. So if you would open your Bibles with me to the gospel of Matthew. We are reading chapter 8 verses 23 to 27. Hear now the word of the Living God.

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

The word of the Lord.

Let us now enter a word of prayer before we dive into our text this morning. Let’s pray. Heavenly God, Lord, we have gathered this morning to worship You for this day, Your Lord’s day. And we have gathered Lord to hear Your word preached to see Christ revealed to be conformed to the image of Christ, to be comforted by the truths of the Gospel, to be convicted of our sins and then again, find hope in Christ. Lord, we pray that we would be able to do this to worship You heartily, for our affections to be stirred up, for Christ to be clear seen in the text, for us to be conformed to His Image. Lord and to worship and praise Him throughout this day and to apply the word. Lord. please sanctify us by Your truth. Your word is in fact truth. Lord please bless our message this morning in Jesus’ name, amen.

So the gospel of Matthew testifies to the kingship of Jesus as we have been blessed to go through the past few months. It is, our serious title is The Kingdom Now And Hereafter. It testifies to the kingship of Jesus Christ and He is not only the true king of the Jews, but He is in fact the true King of the world. His rule extends to the whole wide world and we had heard in recent chapters the king’s inauguration of His kingdom in Matthew Chapter 5 in The Sermon on the Mount. And here, He puts on display His undisputed spiritual authority as He preaches with more authority than a prophet. But as the fulfillment of God’s promises and the fulfiller of the law, we then heard of His authority over sickness and disease as He heals the sick and He casts out demons. And that puts on display His authority over the physical realm or physical well-being.

And in our passage today, we hear of His utmost authority over nature as He puts on display His sovereignty over the natural world including weather itself.

We hear of how Jesus Christ crossed the Sea of Galilee with the disciples in the middle of that crossing, they were struck by a violent, horrible storm. And in the panic of the disciples, they cry out to Jesus to save them. And indeed, He does save them by surprisingly rebuking the storm and causing the waters to still to the amazement of the disciples. Our message this morning is quite simply that Jesus is worthy of our faith and obedience in matters of life and salvation. And we will tackle it in two points the first point being Jesus Addresses The Storm Within and the second point being Jesus Addresses The Storm Without.

Let’s explore our first point Jesus Addresses The Storm Within. Now after a long day of preaching, teaching and healing, such a long day of ministry, so tiring. Jesus was undoubtedly tired. He decided to cross the Sea of Galilee. And this is late in the evening or midnight near past midnight in verse 16 of Chapter eight. We see, we hear, we hear them say that evening they brought to Him many. So you can imagine how long that takes and now it’s well past midnight perhaps and He decides to cross this Sea of Galilee. Now, to better understand the context of this passage, we have to understand the Sea of Galilee, this feature. And it’s not really a sea per se. It’s more like a lake, it’s a very large lake. It is the fun fact, the the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. And the second lowest saltwater lake, being the Dead Sea. And it’s it’s a low-lying lake with nearly 500 feet below sea level, more than 500 feet below sea level and it’s surrounded by mountain ranges. This Sea of Galilee is a source of life and livelihood to the people there. Fishermen go there, water is scarce in that region so it is a very prominent feature in the land. If Pasig has the Pasig River, Manila has Manila Bay, Galilee has the Sea of Galilee. So there’s a well-known feature. And the cold wind from the mountain ranges, well, it was known for something else. It was known for sudden, violent, devastating storms to hit it. It is because the cold wind from the mountain ranges would interact with a warmer air of the lake and then it would cause a violent storm and a wind to erupt across the sea, and it was very unpredictable. It was such a storm as this that arose in the Sea of Galilee during the time that the disciples and Jesus were crossing it. Now note the storm was described as a great storm. It was not a normal storm or a small storm but a great one. A storm so powerful and a windstorm that agitated the waves, the waves during a storm such as this have been reported to reach up to seven feet high. So if you can look around and see the the tallest member of this church or the tallest attended today, even higher than that. Seven feet rushing right at you on a boat, a wave of that magnitude. And so they would have been in a small fishing boat carrying about 10 to 15 people and making it all the more terrifying.

This was not a big super ferry. This was a fishing boat, a humble fishing boat. And it was so powerful and violent, the disciples who by the way we remember our seasoned seamen. They are fishermen by trade and they are frightened. We can see how they woke Jesus. If we harmonise the accounts in the other gospels, we hear the varied cries of the disciples. They say: “save us Lord, we are perishing! Master, master! We are perishing! And the cheeky disciples saying: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?

John MacArthur rightly noted that you know it’s a bad storm when the experienced fishermen are asking an ex-carpenter for help. And it is true! It’s like in an airplane, you know, you go to an airplane and there’s much turbulence in the airplane and you look around and you’re maybe fearing for your life but the flight attendants are still serving food… chicken, fish, chicken and fish and you’re like: “okay it’s okay. We’re okay!” And yet at the moment that the flight attendants begin to cry out and maybe pray, then you maybe it’s not gonna be okay. This is, this is not gonna be so good. And it was such a scene as that, that even the experienced fishermen, they were not comforted by ignorance. Their experience is what told them to fear for their lives. They knew that if this had continued, the boat would surely sink and that people would die in a storm such as this these.

So in light of this facts, there’s a sense of validity to the fears. They weren’t overreacting. And we can understand being human beings ourselves, that this is a terrifying situation. In desperation and helplessness, they cry out to Jesus to save them. And it is surprising to see tulog pa Siya. He is sleeping through the storm! And He responds to them when they finally wake Him up, He responds and say to them by saying these incredible words, He said to them: “why are you afraid oh you of little faith?!” And we may often hear in the Bible “be not afraid!” But here, Jesus asked them why are you afraid? Almost as if to say calm down, it’s okay, there’s nothing to be, what are you afraid of? Can you imagine the look on the disciples’ faces.! Seriously? Look around! And as soon as He asks them the reason for their fear, He also answers it by calling them oh, you of little faith. That is why they are afraid. Jesus admonishes the disciples for the lack of faith. Now, remember the disciples had been with Jesus for a long time at this point or at the beginning of His ministry. They had heard the sermons when He speaks authoritatively. They have seen literally paralysed people being brought to Jesus and then healed and walk away from his healing. They have seen Him cast out demons and they have also heard Jesus’s proclamation that He is the Son of God. He is God and yet they did not believe to the point that He could save them. The fact that they had come to Him shows a degree of faith. So they had a degree of faith. They knew, okay. If anybody’s going to be able to do anything, it’s that Man over there over there, asleep on the cushion. It’s Him. But they didn’t know what He would do. They were they were freaking out! And they did not come to Jesus knowing that He would save them but uncertain in the hope that He would save them. They had faith mixed with unbelief. They may have believed that Jesus was a wise teacher, powerful healer, perhaps nothing more. Jesus uses the phrase you of little faith earlier in Matthew on The Sermon on the Mount He describes anxious unbelief.

He says In Matthew 6 30 31 but if God so closed the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious. And so there is that interplay of faith and anxiety. What shall we eat or what shall we drink what shall we wear? These people of little faith were worried about their life. Will God sustain them with clothing and food? And here, the disciples were worried about their life. Will God protect them from this storm? The disciples did not trust Jesus with their lives. Now here’s an important question before we proceed, what is faith? Do you know what it is in your mind? Do you understand it? Is it simply a Christian word that we often hear? Is it what we like to tell people have faith? And then you’re like, what does that even mean? Do I have faith? What does that look like?

Well Hebrews tells us now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; it is the conviction of things not seen. Faith is an assurance, it’s a certainty in something hoped for. Faith is like when you sit on a chair; you do not put their weight on the chair without certainty or assurance that it will be able to hold up your weight, right. So you sit totally on the chair, you know that it’s going to hold you up.

Moreover, faith is conviction to be fully persuaded, to be firm in your belief or to be absolutely sure within yourself in something that is not seen. Now I did not see anyone check to see if the chair would hold their weight this morning. We did all have faith in the ability of the chair to support us. And so we are all faithful beings as human beings. It is just a matter of where do you put your faith, what do you put your faith in. And so the disciples, you could say had more faith in the storm’s ability to slay them than Christ’s ability to save them. And so what does faith look like in this situation? Perhaps a strong and robust faith will still lead the disciples to Jesus of course. But without fear for safety, it would be a hopeful trust.

So while their senses were telling them that they were going to drown and the waves would overcome their boat, faith would assure them that Christ is more capable of saving them than any storm is capable of sinking them. Come what may, they trust in Christ to secure them, if not in the immediate sense, in the ultimate sense. Now followers of Christ, and this is what we must understand from this text… followers of Christ are to have faith in his ability to save them and trust in His providence until He does so. There is no guarantee that you will have no more problems when you become a Christian. In fact Christianity ensures problems. Through many trials we must enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In this world, you shall have trouble and yet Jesus says fear not for I have overcome the world. And so we must ask ourselves do you have faith in Jesus? Do I have faith in Jesus? When we face hardship or are in trouble, where do you go? When you fear for your job or your life or your well-being, where do you go? Are you fearful and frantic just as the disciples? Do you come hoping that He can save wondering if He can. Or do you come with faith? Do you know Him and the salvation that He offers? The providence that He has over your life. We may not often face sea storms. Maybe just the occasional rainstorm the very real threat of floods in Manila. But we do face similar troubles in our everyday lives. Or perhaps do you not come to Jesus at all? Are you still trying to face the storms of life so to speak on your own? Do you have faith in your own ability? Do you have faith in your problem-solving skills, in your strength, resilience, resourcefulness, status, wealth, good looks? If you are the latter, I must tell you that there is an even greater storm that you will surely face There is an even greater more terrifying hardship. And there is one certain thing that you cannot be delivered from no matter your strength, wealth, ability or status and that is death. And after death, you are to face the just judgment of God.

Now this is an absolute certainty. Hebrews 9 27 says and just as it is appointed for man to die once, all people even Christians shall face this death unless Christ comes before then, and after that comes judgment. As certain as it is that you will die, there will come a judgment. And those without Christ must face the storm of God’s wrath against their sins. Every wrongdoing, every evil act and thought that your conscience is unaware of, and aware of, will be brought before God and He will judge according to His high, holy and perfect standard and no one will be able to be able to stand before Him on the merit of their own works. There will be no escape for those without Christ. Facing the full weight of your sins is more terrifying than facing any or storm. And if you are a Christian, I do not want you to tune out to this. You must understand this. This must be a truth that you firmly grasp in your mind for you to appreciate certainly the good news of Jesus Christ. If you do not, if you do not have a hell and the wrath of God aware in your mind, you will not appreciate the salvation offered in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the Gospel of Jesus is such good news. Because Jesus has come to save sinners and that’s all of us from the wrath of God. The wrath that we all deserve, Christ bore on our behalf. He provided refuge and salvation from that terrifying and unbearable storm. Without Him, we are as helpless as the disciples in that storm on the Sea of Galilee. If we do not come to Him, we will surely perish. The Bible says there’s no other name under heaven by which men are saved. There is no one else who can offer you salvation. None other that has lived a perfect life that is asked of you. And none other has died the death you deserve to die and has borne the full wrath of God. And now reconciles you to God through faith in Jesus Christ. You now, if you are in Christ you have peace with God and are declared righteous before Him. And furthermore, you are adopted as sons of God, as children of God in Christ. Isn’t that good? What glorious news!

As Hebrews 9 27 continues at 28, is the news.. I’ll read the whole thing. And just as it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. Is Christ in your life brother, sister, friend? Do you have this faith in Christ? For if you do, then this is your underlying hope in all things, through all things, this is the great hope of the Christian. This is the reason for our faith in Christ.

Jesus is not a Saviour. He is the only Saviour and He is the only hope any sinner has before the judgment of God. And if He is able, consider this brethren, if He is able to secure us from this greatest threat, how much more can He secure us in everything else? In lesser things? This is now an argument from the greater to the lesser. If there is a strong man able to lift 500 pounds, would it not be ridiculous to think that he could not lift 20 pounds in the same way or 50 or 100 or 300 so certainly if Christ can save us in such a great way then He shall save us from all of life’s troubles, but not in in keeping troubles from us but helping us to endure it through hope in Him. And this is the promise of the Christian:, this is the great encouragement of the Christian. Jesus has met our greatest need: eternal security with God, peace with God, forgiveness for our sins, salvation from God’s wrath and eternal life, new life In Christ. If you know Christ, then there is nothing to fear for what you face, there is no threat greater than the security that Christ provides.

And moreover, the follower of Jesus must know this.. and I just must encourage you brethren, before we move on to the second point. They must know this that there is nothing that happens to us outside of God’s providence. That you are not touched by anything that God has not ordained. And to know the goodness of God, that God is good and does good is just a comforting thing for those who are afflicted by this hardship. Do we trust the well-worn promise of Romans 8 28 to 29? We know that for those who love God, all things work together for good. Those who… all things work together for good just so you know, for those who are called according to His purpose, for those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. The purpose of trials is to reveal your neediness, to cause you to pray, to cause you to depend on the Saviour of all things, to conform you to the image of God. So if you are going through trials, do not have faith in anything else, do not trust in anything else, but submit to the purpose of the trial in trusting in Christ. If you fear for your job, God is the one who provides, trust in Christ. If you fear for your health, all health and life are directed by God and find hope that if death shall come, heaven shall soon immediately follow after. For all our tribulations, again, I repeat to you, John 16 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. Jesus says in the world you have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. In all things brethren, let us seek to be like Christ who is able to sleep throughout such a violent storm. And allow trials to do their work, refine your faith, conform you to the image of Christ and to continue exercising faith in Him.

And so faith in Jesus certainly does not disappoint, for Jesus is worthy of our faith. And we see a glimpse of that in our second point. Jesus Addresses The Storm Without. Hold on.. I fear. I fear that I have not challenged you yet… but. I have. Just making sure that you are paying attention. And so, put your faith in Christ during times of hardship and suffering brethren. So now Jesus addresses this storm without. After Jesus gently rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith, immediately he performs nothing short of a miracle. Jesus calms the waters with a word. Now I don’t know what the disciples might have been expecting, but they certainly weren’t expecting Jesus to do that. Our passage says: then He arose, rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm. What Jesus had done was nothing short of a supernatural event. He was able to with a word, or with words, immediately still a raging sea. Now consider this: it is not simply that Jesus spoke and the wind stopped blowing. It was not that! For if the winds merely stopped blowing, then the waters would still toss about for a time until they would eventually settle. Jesus with a word spoke, and the wind ceased and the waves ceased! And there was a great calm! A great storm one minute, a great storm… and then a great calm the next moment! I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this brethren, but if you walk with a cup of water filled to the brim, there’s a great chance that it will slosh around for a bit and even after you stop, it might still spill over. But Jesus’s sovereignty is such that at a word, it immediately still the fluidity of water, had ceased and became calm. It is like a petulant child scolded by a loving parent, it immediately stills. And it is the the storm itself had obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so this is the amazing and mind-boggling nature of Jesus. He is truly man that after a long day of ministry, He is exhausted that He must sleep. So tired, He sleeps through a storm. And yet at the same time, as He slept through the storm He simultaneously, as the Son of God, upheld and sustained all things. The writers of the Old Testament would often praise God for His lordship over nature including His authority over the waters of the world. Psalm 89 verses 8 to 9 says O, Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. Psalm 65 verse 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. And here is Jesus, stilling the roaring of the waves as well as the tumult of His disciples. The picture is clear, Jesus is truly the son of God. He is God in the flesh. Jesus is the Son of God and is to be worshiped and submitted to as such, consider this brethren, that even the storm submitted to Him… brothers and sisters and friends, do you? We certainly fail often and yet here is nature, mankind has the privilege of being made in the image of God, and yet also has the audacity to disobey Him! What a paradox man is. If you claim to be a Christian, simply put brethren, you must obey Christ! And He is a good and kind and gentle Master. He is lowly and gentle of heart. You cannot disregard Him in your daily life. You cannot be Sunday worshipers and then Monday to Saturday rebels. To call Jesus God and King of all, and not treat Him or regard Him as King of all, is to mock Him. Just as the Roman soldiers made Him a crown of thorns and beat Him calling Him King mocked Him. Are we such as this? Or are we like this? We just call Jesus, we acknowledge mentally that Jesus is King and that He is Lord and yet by the testimony of our lives do not obey Him, do not submit to Him. We wait upon affection, we wait upon a feeling. We are slaves to feeling, and we do not live by faith. We live by feeling. I did not feel like reading my Bible today; I did not feel like loving my brother or forgiving; I did not feel like praying. And yet Jesus clearly commands us pray, love God, love others. Know the word, live by it.

Remember that question that Jesus asked the crowds in Luke 6 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? The parallel passage in Matthew verse 7 in the chapter seven. In The Sermon on the Mount, continues to say this. And I know we have covered this and yet it is essential for us to hear this moment. Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.. and yet here’s again a picture of nature. There’s very very relatable. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. The Words of Christ. He hears and he does. This is the faithful Christian. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Similarly, the rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and beat against it and that house fell!

Extremely terrifying, especially for those of you who are husbands and fathers. It is not only your fault that you are causing but the fall of your house. Heed these words brethren!

And so notice how both of them hear. You are all today here hearers but are you doers of God’s word? Shall you do God’s word? Shall you obey Christ?

Therefore obedience to Christ is not a matter of mere desire. It is not something that you only do when you feel like it. It’s a matter of necessity. The one who hears the words of Christ Jesus and does them, He calls wise. And the one who hears and does not do, Jesus calls foolish. To obey Christ as Lord is not only necessary, it is also right because He is worthy. It is also wise. And to disregard the words of Christ is foolish. Now, here’s another encouragement before we end this sermon. What God calls you to do, He also enables you to do. It may be that you are beaten down by sin and discouraged by your rebellion; that you are.. you feel as if things are hopeless and you keep on falling to the same sins. Brethren, I have good news for you! That just as Christ promised our salvation in him, He promises for sanctification in Him. The people of God Paul says in Romans 8 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.. So God’s Spirit itself is at work in you! God’s spirit Himself is at work in you I should say. That He is the one who works in you, strengthens you. He goes on to say, if the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give you life.. give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So by the power of the Holy Spirit, brethren, we can live the faithful life. We can obey Christ imperfectly while on this Earth, and yet God allows us to engage our will and through His grace, and only by His grace, He allows us to partake in this sanctification.

Now at the end of our passage, the disciples begin to ask themselves and the man marvelled saying what sort of man is this that even wins and sea obey Him. Similarly we must come to our own conclusions as to who Christ is. Is this just another carpenter who is able to preach authoritatively, heal the sick, cast out demons and have control over nature? Or is He in fact who He says He is? The rightful ruler of the universe, the only Lord worthy of our submission, love and obedience. I must invite you friend, if you do not know Christ, if you don’t have faith in Christ, what shall you have faith in? What shall you turn to? On that day of judgment that is surely coming. Today is a day of salvation. We are ambassadors of Christ reasoning with you, pleading with you, be reconciled to God through Christ. Do not tarry, do not wait tomorrow put your faith in Christ today and have salvation from this judgment, this wrath to come. And be secured by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now our challenge this morning is to obey Christ. Obey Christ As Lord Over Your Lives. We, as followers of Jesus, are to trust in Him in all circumstances and seek to live a life in submission to Him. Brethren, let the word of God stir up your affections for Him. Reveal Christ and conform you to His image and eagerly await His return.

Let us pray. Heavenly God, Lord we thank You for Your word which is so rich and more precious than gold. We thank You Lord for writing this book and speaking to us through it that it is living and sharper than any double-edged sword. We pray that it would convict us and conform us to Your, to the image of Your Son, Jesus. Lord we thank You for sending Him to save us from our sins and to help us to to know You and reconcile us to You. We thank You for Your Holy Spirit who is living and dwelling in us Lord, to help us to live this life you have called us to live. Help us to depend upon Him and face each storm with faith to live in life in obedience to Christ. Lord, we fully depend on You. We cannot do this without You. So Lord, we we ask that you would bless Your word this Lord’s day and help us to live this truth out until Christ returns or we come to Him in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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