The text is a sermon delivered by Captain Rob Westwood-Payne as part of the Battle Ready Sermon podcast. It begins with a discussion about sleep patterns and recounts an experience of sleeping through an earthquake, leading to a reflection on Jesus sleeping through a storm as described in Mark Chapter 4. The text highlights the challenges faced by Jesus, including accusations of being possessed and concerns from his own family. It also emphasises the emotional toll that ministry takes on Jesus and describes instances where he appears overwhelmed. The sermon then focuses on the story of Jesus and his disciples in a storm, emphasising Jesus’ response to their fear and panic. It encourages listeners to trust in Jesus despite doubts and stresses the idea that it’s okay to have doubts while also reinforcing Jesus’s care. The text concludes by urging listeners to reflect on these thoughts and connect with the message through a specific song.
This transcript was created automatically and may contain errors. It should be used for guidance only.
Are you a deep sleeper or a light sleeper?
So, are you a light sleeper or are you a deep sleeper? It depends. It depends, yeah, okay. But generally, are you a light sleeper or a deep sleeper? Maybe you’re like this dad and nothing will wake you up. Have a look at the screen:[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5u7b3rrhdk[/embedyt]
That’s quite impressive deep sleeping, to be able to sleep through that. I did ask Gail to turn the video down this morning so that you weren’t all deafened by it. But imagine being in that room, it was a lot louder than that and you managed to sleep through it all.
Gail will probably disagree with me, but I think that generally we are both deep sleepers. I know this because once, several years ago now, probably about 15 years ago, I remember coming round in the middle of the night and I could hear pictures on the wall rattling. And I kind of sleepily poked Gail and said, is that an earthquake? And Gail very sleepily replied, yeah, I think so. And then we went back to sleep. It was only the next morning and we happened to be going on holiday. When we got to the Departures Lounge at Birmingham Airport, it was all over the news. Yes, it was quite a major earthquake for the UK. And to make it worse, the epicentre was about a mile down the road from where we were living at the time. And we’d slept through most of it. So I think we are definitely deep sleepers.
You may read this story and be tempted to think Jesus is a deep sleeper
When you read the story from Mark Chapter 4 that we read this morning, which I’m sure many of you know very well because we’ve looked at it many, many times over the years, you might be forgiven for thinking that Jesus was a deep sleeper. There he is in the middle of a storm, a storm so bad, so loud and so frightening that even experienced fishermen were afraid for their lives. And he’s at the back of the boat sleeping. He must have been a deep sleeper.
Actually, if you look in the Gospel account, you might begin to realise why Jesus was still asleep at the back of the boat. Mark, I was reading this this morning actually, Mark is the most compact of the four Gospels. If you’ve ever read it, it kind of goes at speed. It’s very, very short. It’s concise. The language is concise. The stories are concise. There are only 16 chapters and we are at Chapter 4 already. There’s no birth account. So we won’t be looking at Mark at Christmas, I don’t think. Certainly not for the birth of Jesus. He goes straight into Jesus’ ministry and goes around at 100 miles an hour until you get to Mark Chapter 16.
So we’re already a quarter of the way through the Gospel. And Jesus has been busy. And as we’ve thought about over the last few weeks, he’s been interrupted. And sometimes his interruptions have been interrupted. He’s that busy. And just in Mark Chapter 4, or just leading up to this story in Mark Chapter 4, he begins the day with a very difficult conversation with the teachers of religious law. It’s a difficult conversation because they accuse him of being Satan, or at least of teaching from the power of Satan. He’s possessed by Satan, say these teachers of religious law, the prince of demons. That’s why he has the power to cast out demons. So he’s been casting out demons, which I imagine takes an awful lot of energy to start with. And then he’s accused of being possessed by Satan because he can do that. And he has a conversation with them and tries to persuade them otherwise. And comes up with the phrase that we remember, how can Satan cast out Satan? But they still won’t believe him. So he walks away from that difficult conversation.
If that’s not bad enough, and if that doesn’t make you tired enough, next his mother and his brothers turn up and suggest he’s gone mad and that he should come home to Nazareth. I don’t know if you’ve ever been accused of being mad by your family, possibly in jest, but if you’ve been seriously suggested that you’re mad by your family, then you can understand the emotional upset that there would be in having that conversation. And he has to make the choice then, as someone who is fully human as well as fully divine, he has to make that choice in that moment of whether he’s going to carry on his ministry and abandon his family or go home to Nazareth. And he chooses the very, very difficult path to say, Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Look, these people, these people who are following me and asking me for my teaching, they are my mother and my brothers. What a difficult conclusion to have to come to.
No wonder he’s tired. Then he goes on from there to teach for the day and he ends up by the lake shore and the crowd is so big and threatens to overwhelm him that he actually has to get into a boat and push off from the shoreline just so that he has enough space to be able to preach. And he preaches through some of his parables whilst he’s there. And the disciples, God bless them, they don’t understand the parables and so when it’s all gone a bit quiet, they ask what he’s been talking about and he has to explain it further to them, perhaps sitting in that boat and explaining the parables that he’s given.
And then we come to verse 35. Jesus said to his disciples, let’s cross to the other side of the lake. Actually that English doesn’t really give us the real feeling and meaning behind those words in Greek. There’s a kind of imperative, it’s almost a, I need to get off and out into the sea immediately. There’s that kind of immediacy to, I’ve had enough, I’m tired and I need to get off the shore and into the sea.
But the disciples mistake his tiredness for simply not caring about them
So again, in Jesus’ full humanness, it’s no wonder he’s tired. It’s no wonder he’s asleep at the back of the boat. But that’s not how the disciples interpret it. They don’t interpret it as tiredness at all. As the storm starts to well up, as the water starts to go into the boat, as they begin to panic that they’re about to drown and the boat is about to sink, they interpret Jesus being asleep at the back of the boat, not because he’s tired from all this ministry and work that he’s been doing over the past 24 hours, but that he doesn’t care that they’re going to drown. That’s their selfish interpretation of Jesus being asleep at the back of the boat in the middle of this storm. Jesus, don’t you care that we’re going to drown? Don’t you care that we are going to drown? And so they rudely wake him up and shout at him, Jesus, don’t you care we’re going to drown?
They had forgotten already, even though we’re a quarter of the way through the Gospel of Mark, how Jesus had already protected them. How Jesus had already cast out demons. How Jesus had already dealt with evil in the world and around them. How Jesus had performed miraculous healings. They’d forgotten all of that in the middle of their storm. All they could say was, Jesus, don’t you care that we’re going to drown? Now, I don’t know about you, but I suspect that some of us kind of have a wry smile and say, those disciples, they were a bit, they weren’t quite all there, were they? Why didn’t they get it, of course Jesus cares. Of course Jesus cares, we know that, don’t we? And so we say, those disciples, I don’t know how they missed that, the fact that Jesus cares for them.
Doesn’t our fear of being drowned by our circumstances mean we are like that sometimes?
But actually, if we delve a little bit deeper into the way that we deal with some of our storms, are there not times when we have said or thought to ourselves, Jesus, don’t you care what I’m going through? Jesus, don’t you care that I’m overwhelmed with grief and I really don’t know how I’m going to get through it? Jesus, don’t you care about some of the ill health that I’m having to deal with? Jesus, don’t you care that I’m having to care for someone who has problems with their health and the physical and emotional and mental strain that puts on me? Jesus, don’t you care that I’ve lost my job? Jesus, don’t you care that I’m in financial trouble? Jesus, don’t you care that this relationship has broken down?
I’m prepared to admit that there are occasions when I have said or thought, Jesus, don’t you care about the storm that I’m going through at this time? And sometimes in our fear of being overwhelmed, in our fear of being drowned by the storms in our lives, we forget how Jesus has been there for us in the past, how Jesus has brought us through difficult circumstances before and how we’ve been able to look back and say, yeah, I’ve seen how Jesus has walked us through with that and in the middle of a storm we forget that. So actually in some ways we are probably just as bad as the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee on that day. We sometimes get it wrong and we sometimes say, Jesus, don’t you care about what I’m going through?
What is Jesus’ response to the disciples?
But here’s the positive thing for us today, here’s the positive thing for the disciples. What was Jesus’ response to that question? Jesus, don’t you care we’re going to drown? What was Jesus’ response? Verse 39 tells us, when Jesus woke up, actually when Jesus was woken up by the rude awakening and the disciples screaming at him, Jesus, don’t you care we’re going to drown? That’s what it really means. He rebuked the wind and said to the wave, silence, be still. Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm.
What was Jesus’ response to, Jesus, don’t you care that we’re about to drown? He said nothing. He said nothing. He didn’t criticise them. He didn’t say, why don’t you have any faith? We’ll come back to verse 40 in a minute. He didn’t say, why don’t you have any faith? Look what I’ve done for you already. Of course I care and I’m going to stop this storm for you. He didn’t criticise them. He just got up in his fully human tiredness and dealt with what their problem was. He stilled the storm and he calmed the waves. He did exactly what they needed him to do.
Jesus did care. Jesus does care. He knew their heart rates that were going at 200 miles an hour as they were battling this storm. He knew the sweat and the toil that they were going through trying to hold this boat together and trying to keep it upright on the Sea of Galilee in the middle of this storm. He knew their heavy breathing, their innermost thoughts, their panic, their fear about being drowned. And he did care. And without saying a word to them, he simply dealt with their problem, dealt with their storm and brought peace and calm to them.
It was only afterwards, it was only after the storm had calmed down, after the winds had died down, that Jesus then said to them in verse 40, Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? Now I don’t know about you, but if you’re in the middle of a storm and if you’re in the middle of difficulties and you hear those words of Jesus, why were you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? You can hear that as criticism. And you can hear that as Jesus saying to you, Come on people, I’ve been around you for long enough, you know what I’ve done for you. Why do you have so little faith in the middle of the storm? You know that I care for you. But I don’t think that’s what Jesus is saying here. And notice he doesn’t do it in the middle of the storm. It’s only afterwards that he says, Now look back. Look back at what you’ve been through. Look back at the ways that I’ve walked with you. The ways that I’ve dealt with your storms. The ways that I’ve been with you in your storms. And now, why do you have no faith? You’ve seen what I can do. And maybe as you walk through those storms, your faith can grow, so that the next time you come up to a storm, you have more faith to be able to deal with it, and to know that I am with you and I care for you. And I know what you’re going through.
God’s interruptions in our lives – like the storm – keep us humble, because it is then we realise that only his love and his care can see us through
God’s interruptions in our lives, particularly the storms in our lives, can help us remain humble. Because we realise that it’s only his love and his care that can see us through. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had a conversation with a Christian, and said, I don’t know how people who have no Christian faith can walk through storms and difficulties. The only way that I can get through them is through the power of God. Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?
This is not a message this morning about having more courage in our storms. This is not a message this morning about having more faith when we’re going through difficult circumstances. It is about finding ourselves in the storm. Finding ourselves in difficult circumstances, and choosing to turn to the Lord of the wind and the waves. And to say, even though I can’t see it now, I know that you have walked through difficulties with me in the past. And I choose to have faith that you will walk me through this difficulty and this storm too. Knowing that you are the one who is more powerful than anything that life can throw at me. Knowing that he is the one who gives us peace in the middle of our sorrow.
When we’re grieving, as people in this congregation are grieving today. Knowing that he is the one, the Lord of the wind and the waves, who brings peace in a storm of sorrow. We know that he is the one who gives us the peace when we’re tossed about by doubt and tension and uncertainty. When we’re walking through a storm, when we’re walking through a difficulty and we can’t see how it’s going to end. One of the worst things, I think, about suffering with ill health or taking a family member through ill health is the waiting to find out what that ill health is. Waiting for test results. Waiting for things to happen. Waiting for the NHS to catch up with us. And it’s no wonder that when we’re in the middle of that waiting, we go to the worst case scenarios and we doubt and we have uncertainty. And Jesus understands all that. And the Lord of the wind and the waves can bring us peace in those situations. He’s the one who can give us peace in the storms of anxiety and worry. Just the day-to-day stuff that we worry about. Are we going to get to a concert on time? Are we going to be able to do this? Are we going to be able to do that? Where’s our next meal coming from? All sorts of different anxieties and worries that we might have. Jesus understands that and brings us his peace in those storms.
He is our creator. He is our sustainer. He is the giver of life. He is our saviour. And if all we can do in the middle of our storm, in the middle of our difficult circumstances, is to hold on to that truth and nothing else, then the Lord of the wind and waves will see us through.
It’s OK to have doubts
It’s okay to have doubts, you know. I think we have generations of Christians who don’t believe that because they’ve not been taught that. It’s okay to have doubts. Hands up if you believe it’s okay to have doubts. Some of you are still thinking about it. Because I don’t think that’s what we’ve been taught. So listen to me this morning. Trust me, I’m an officer. It’s okay to have doubts. It is okay to have doubts. Because actually it’s in the doubts that our trust comes. Because once you’ve worked through those doubts, what else can you do but choose to trust that the Lord of the wind and waves will see us through the storm. Faith is choosing to trust Jesus even in our doubts.
As we reflect on these thoughts this morning, we’re going to listen to a song. It’s not a song I knew before I found it. It’s not in a style that we would perhaps normally point to. But the words probably just say what we feel, particularly when we find ourselves in storms and difficult circumstances. It just is honest with God about our doubts:
Jesus, I’m sorry about last night.
Jesus, we both know I tried.
Jesus, feels like the world’s in pieces.
I’m sure you’ve got your reasons.
But I have my doubts. Jesus, I have my doubts.
When everything that’s right feels wrong,
and all of my belief feels gone,
and the darkness in my heart is so strong,
can you reach me here in the silence?
Singing these broken songs, looking for the light for so long.
But the pain goes on and on and on.
Can you reach me here in the silence?Jon Foreman
God Is Never Too Busy To Be Interrupted By You
Jesus, don’t you care that I’m going to drown? It’s okay to have those doubts. But believe me when I say Jesus does care. And he’s the Lord of the wind and waves, whatever it is that we face. Let’s listen to this song together:[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3nFah8Xlq0[/embedyt]
Sermon Series: Divine Interruptions
- Sunday 29 October – Interrupting Jesus Disrupts Our Lives With His Love and His Ways
- Sunday 5 November – Jesus Loves the Little Children – This is the Remarkable Key to Childlike Faith
- Sunday 19 November – Jesus is Interrupted by the Hurting – This is What We Must Make Time For Too
- Sunday 26 November – God Is Never Too Busy To Be Interrupted By You
Related Posts on Our Blog
- God’s Beautiful Gift Of Grace: Does God Forgive All Sins?
- You Need to Focus on Jesus not the Storm
- What Does Heaven Look Like?
- How To Apply God’s Word: The Most Wondrous Force Ever Seen
- Prison Life? Temptation and How To Overcome It with The Salvation Army Soldiers Covenant
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