A Great Tempest Stilled
Matthew 8:24-26 - And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Mark 4:37-41 - And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Luke 8:23-25 – But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
A. There are two parts to this message.
1. The three types of followers.
2. The great tempest stilled.
B. Matthew 8:18 – Jesus passed over the Sea of Galilee when he saw the multitude following Him.
1. It must be understood that Christ knew beforehand the storm would arise.
2. He deliberately put his disciples in harms way so they can see his power and learn to trust in him.
C. There are different degrees of calling and different degrees of faithfulness – different degrees of authority and responsibility.
1. Many want to receive good at the hand of Christ, but are unwilling to go through the necessary trials to learn God’s eternal plan for them.
a. The great multitudes were surrounding Christ when he commanded to depart to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
b. Jesus was not unfeeling toward this group of people, but protected them by not putting them into a position where they would need his grace, but be unable to receive it.
2. Many people believe the ministry and public worship is very glamorous, but do not desire to endure the hardships necessary to have a public ministry.
a. If they are not called of God to private ministry, they cannot have a public ministry.
b. If they are not willing to submit themselves to the private call of God, they will not submit themselves to the public call of God, but will be an embarrassment to the work of God.
3. Every person ought to do exactly what God calls them to do, never looking at others and what they are doing.
a. John 21:21-22 – Peter asked Christ what John would do, which was none of his business.
b. God has different lumens or powers of lights in his kingdom.
1.) Some are night lights, while others are very large spotlights.
2.) If every person would do what God demands of them, they would be happy, and God’s eternal purposes will be worked out in them.
3.) Don’t try to be something you are not called to be – you’ll only get into trouble, and be a bad testimony.
II. Three types of followers:
A. The first group of followers is the multitude who follow to be fed, and to be healed of their physical infirmities.
1. Jesus was not being cruel to the multitude when he sent them away, instead of inviting them into the ship with him.
a. Jesus knew they did not have his grace to continue in hard times.
b. See his warnings of Matthew 8:18-22.
c. Jesus warned the people of the hardships of following him, and sent them away for their own safety, therefore the people went away.
d. Mark 4:36.
1.) Mark 4:33,34 – Christ taught the people with parables, but, when they were alone, expounded all things to his disciples.
2.) Verse 33 – Jesus taught the people only as they were able to bear it.
3.) They were willing to be with Christ as long as they could receive good, but they were unwilling to suffer trials in this life because of their following Christ.
4.) Mark 4:35 – This command was to the chosen disciples, but was effectual to only a few.
2. Matthew 8:18-22 – The multitude will immediately go away when commanded by Christ, even though they have said they would do many things to follow Christ.
a. There is no record any of these people followed Christ, even though they had good intentions.
b. It may be the folks in the little ships are the folks who spoke to Christ in verses 19-22.
3. It must also be understood that the multitude is not wrong when they obey Christ.
a. It is always good to seek Christ and the good he has for us.
b. Sometimes, however, some seek Christ only for physical, earthly blessings.
c. It is not given to them to be constant followers of Christ.
d. God will reward each according to whatever talent, or work he has given them to do.
e. When the storms of life come along, the multitude is safe and sound in their homes.
f. They may have slept through the storm, never knowing what others have been through.
4. These are folks who follow Christ because they know he is a wonderful teacher and helps those in trouble.
a. They have no personal commitment to Christ, the kingdom of God, or eternity.
b. They are only following Christ because it is convenient for them.
5. Mark 4 – Jesus taught these people with parables.
a. Mark 4:1-2 – Jesus taught the multitude with parables.
b. Mark 4:3-9 – Jesus taught the multitude the parable of the sower, but in Mark 4:10, expounded the meaning to the disciples alone.
c. Mark 4:33-34 explains that Christ continually taught the multitude with parables, but expounded the meaning when he was alone with his disciples.
1.) Mark 4:21 – “them” is the multitude.
2.) Mark 4:24 – “them” is the multitude.
3.) Mark 4:26 – Jesus is here speaking to the multitude.
4.) Mark 4:30 – Jesus continues to teach the multitude.
B. The second group of followers is the people described in Matthew 8:18-22.
1. Perhaps these are the ones who get into little boats to follow Jesus.
a. These folks are more committed to Christ than the first group, perhaps desire a more personal relationship with Christ, which they do not have.
b. There is no record that Christ instructed these folks to get into the ship with him, or to get into the ships that were available.
1.) Some people came to Christ, desiring to follow him, but Jesus warned them of the dangers they would face, therefore they, apparently, did not follow him.
2.) There is no record of what they did.
c. The little ships might be compared to any other vessel except the one Christ is in.
d. The little ships could be described as churches not commissioned by Christ, not having his power, his authority, or his presence.
e. There is no record of what happened to the little ships when the storm came.
1.) They either turned back, changed course to avoid the storm or were sunk.
2.) There is no record of what happened to the people on board.
2. I have heard it said the little boats are false churches.
a. I do not know if they are or not, but I do know the little ships do the work they were designed to do and would have carried Christ just as the ship Christ was in carried him.
b. Paul rejoiced when the gospel was preached, even if it was preached in an effort to discredit him or hurt him.
c. False churches will not stand up under the test of tribulation because Christ is not in them.
3. The little ships are the devices of men to follow Christ.
a. It is reasonable to believe the little ships could represent all the spiritual organizations of men: SBC, ABC, ABA, MBSF, MBA, BFM, so forth.
b. The people in the little boats probably saw the storm approaching and left for a safer place.
c. If they didn’t, they would have perished in their little boats.
4. Overcomers are only in the Lord’s local churches.
a. Revelation 2 and 3 speak of overcomers in each of the seven churches of Asia.
b. You don’t have to be in a perfect church to be an overcomer; as there are overcomers in each of the Lord’s imperfect churches.
C. The third group are those disciples of Christ who are in the ship with Christ.
1. There is a special call given to special people.
a. Compare Matthew 8:18 to Mark 4:35,36 – There are special commands given to a special people.
b. Mark 4:30-34 – Christ spoke in parables to the multitude but gave the interpretation only to the disciples.
1.) Matthew 13:10-13 – The reason Christ spoke in parables is so the multitude would think they understand, but not understand.
2.) It was not given unto them to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
3.) The multitude will hear and think they understand, but will not.
2. The ones with Christ are the ones that had the most trouble.
a. It is a very special thing to receive the command from God to go with him in salvation.
b. It is a very special thing to receive the command from God to become a member of his local church and worship and serve him in that place.
c. The multitude went home, and probably slept through the storm, unaware of the danger of the followers of Christ.
d. Those in the little ships probably went home as well, or they perished in the storm of wind.
e. God sends his faithful followers trouble because that is the only way we can learn to trust God in the “little” things, then trust God in the “big” things.
3. Mark 4:40 - Christ wanted the disciples to understand the total picture.
a. They were not going to die now because they had a work to do.
b. They would only die when their work on earth was finished.
c. They did not understand God’s plan for them or Christ.
d. They were not going to die, because God had other plans for them.
e. They could not die because they were in the ship with Jesus and he was to die on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world.
f. Close followers of Christ will gladly put themselves into the place of danger, even if it means dying for Christ.
4. Christ wants the disciples to understand he would take care of them, regardless of the situation.
a. When they awoke Christ, the tone of their voice betrayed their fear.
b. It would not be wrong to awaken Christ, but it is wrong to awaken him out of fear.
5. Mark 4:41 - The disciples didn’t really understand the power of Christ, neither do we.
D. Mark 4:36 – Of these three groups of followers, in which group are you?
1. The multitude who went away at the command of Christ.
2. The people in the little ships, who had no command from Christ, but accompanying him anyway.
3. The disciples who are commanded to enter the ship with Christ.
III. The great tempest stilled.
A. It is only the faithful called that see this great miracle.
1. Many miracles are seen by the multitude, but this special miracle is reserved for the eyes of the faithful called.
2. In order to see this miracle, the faithful called must endure hardships unknown to others.
3. The people in the ship with Christ continued on their way even though they saw the storm approaching.
a. They continued to obey the commands of Christ through hard times.
b. Christ is asleep and no disciple woke him to ask him whether they should change course, or anything, until the ship was full of water.
B. Commentary on the stilling of the great tempest.
1. Matthew 8:23 – the disciples follow the commands of Christ.
a. It is good to know we are not alone when we face the troubles and trials of this life.
b. Our place is to obey the commands of Christ, never try to make decisions on our own.
2. The storm that arose.
a. The disciples were very aware of their danger, but Christ was asleep.
b. Sometimes in our deepest trials, it might seem that Christ is asleep – unaware of our present danger and trouble.
c. Some of the disciples are seasoned fishermen, having been on rough waters before, but this storm is different, as the had covered the ship.
d. Mark 4:37 records that the ship was now full of water.
3. The disciples were afraid of dying.
a. The troubles were very real and present, out of their control.
b. These disciples were not going to die, because there was still work for them to do, but they did not know about their upcoming work, nor did they understand the power of Christ to keep them alive during troubles.
4. The disciples awake Jesus, telling him of their present difficulty.
a. There is nothing wrong with waking Christ, just as there is nothing wrong with explaining to Christ our present troubles.
b. That is exactly what Christ wants us to do.
5. Jesus speaks and the storm stops.
a. I don’t think Christ had to yell above the noise of the storm for the storm to hear him.
b. The Bible records that Jesus spoke and the storm stopped.
c. The words of Jesus revealed power, not the volume of the words.
6. The calm must have been “deafening”.
7. Matthew 8:26, Jesus asks why they were afraid.
a. Fear shows we have no faith.
b. 1 John 4:18 states, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
c. Acts 12:6 – Peter’s sleeping when he was scheduled to die the next day reflects his increase of love and faith.