Jump Start # 2559
Mark 4:38 “And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Our passage today is taken from the fascinating story of the storm upon the sea. It was a violent storm. The disciples, many of them who had made a living on that very sea were scared. Somehow, Jesus remained asleep through all of this. Mark tells us that there was a fierce gale of wind. The waves were above the boat. The boat was filling up with water. That alone tells me that just about everyone inside the boat is wet. They are in a desperate and near panic mode to keep the boat afloat. They are losing this battle. They begin to lose hope. And, when that happens, enters the worse thoughts. We are going to die!
They awaken Jesus. They do not ask Him to save them. They do not ask Him to stop the storm. They do not ask if He has seen anything like this before. They ask a question, not about power, authority or ability, but heart. Do you not care? Caring, that’s a heart issue. We are about to die, Jesus. We are going to die and You are sleeping. We’ve done all that we can do and we can’t turn this around. We are unable to stop this storm. All hope seems to be gone.
We sing a hymn that is titled, “Does Jesus Care?” That’s what people want to know. Does God care? Some would conclude that if God cared then there ought to never be a storm. Yet, here we are, in a storm. Does Jesus care? Now, some thoughts:
First, It seems that the disciples did everything except include Jesus. Maybe they should have awaken Jesus much sooner. It’s easy to be a backseat driver and look at passages like this and declare, ‘This is what they should have done,’ and, when our boats are filling up with water, we scream like there is no tomorrow. Like the disciples, we think we got this. It’s tough, but we can handle this. Don’t need to call Jesus in on this one, because we know what to do. Really? Are you sure?
We wait until our marriage boat is sinking, and there are so many holes in the boat that it is nearly impossible to save. Why did we wait so long? Pride? Fear? Not wanting to admit that we need to change things? Not wanting to apologize or forgive? So, along we sail, deeper and deeper into the storm, until finally we realize that we are sinking. We are not going to make it.
We wait until our finances are such a mess that we may lose the house, the cars, and then we realize that we are sinking. We are not going to make it. Why not ask for help? Is it shameful to admit that we have a money problem? Is it embarrassing to reveal that we’ve overspent for years? So, along we sail, deeper and deeper into the storm, until finally we realize that we are sinking. We are not going to make it.
We wait until our child is arrested before realize that we need help. There’s been signs all along. Trouble in school. Trouble with neighborhood kids. Rebellion at home. But we’ve ignored it. We thought it was just a stage. We believed he’d grow out of it. So, along we sail, deeper and deeper into the storm, until we finally realize that we are sinking. We are not going to make it.
Second, Jesus was the one person who could make a difference. I expect all twelve of the apostles were doing all the could. Matthew, being a tax collector, was likely not much help with boats and water. He may have been the first one scared. They went to Jesus. They awoke Jesus. What a powerful lesson for us. When we are sinking in a storm, we need to turn to the Lord. It’s not the time to get advice from family and friends who do not know the Lord. It’s not time to find answers on web searches. Think about the situation with the disciples. What advice might someone give them? Jump overboard and swim the best you can? Do what the sailors did in the book of Jonah. Draw straws and start pitching people overboard. Say your prayers and go down with the ship? Without Jesus, there was no good answers. Only Jesus could stop the storm and save everyone. No lives were lost. No boats were lost. Jesus saved them all. How does Jesus help us? Turn to the Scriptures and search. See what God says about marriage. See what God says about finances. See what God says about parenting. Seek help from God’s leaders. It’s not enough that we find help, it’s imperative that we find the right help and the best help. Counselors are not better than God. Self help books are not better than the Bible. Advice never tops the principles of God.
Third, Jesus showed that He cared. He didn’t just say, “I’ll be thinking about you.” He did something. He stopped the storm. They were more afraid of the One who could control the weather than the storm itself. How do I know that you care? You show it. Words do not put food on the table. Words do not pay the bills. Words, after a while do not do much good, unless there are some actions attached to them.
Now, in this period of a worldwide flu epidemic, it’s important that we show that we care. How? See after the needs of each other, especially the older ones among us. Call them. Get supplies for them. Watch the close contact, but with safety, things can be left on porches. Emails and texts, checking up on each other is very important.
But stretch this even more. Our neighbors are going through this crisis, most of them without hope, faith and the Lord. Share with them things you find helpful. Pass along blogs, podcasts, video sermons and other things from your congregation. Like with our older members, find out if there are things you can do for them.
This crisis will soon pass. Will people remember that you were one who cared?