Sunday 22nd March

Service Transcript

It feels like weeks NOW since we’ve been listening to News stories telling us that this apocalyptic coronavirus storm is spreading across our world.

And we’ve been hearing from our own national and local leaders of how it’s affecting us here in NI.

BUT… It hasn’t really hit us yet.

Leo Varadkar said earlier in the week..

“it’s the calm before the storm”

And when the storm does hit…

 We will know it and we will be shaken by it..

 

So I thought it would be good if we took up that simple story of Jesus and the disciples together in the boat when the storm hits them and their reaction…

Read it. If you have a Bible read it with Me.

Mark 4v 35-41

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.

 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

WOW!!  What a relevant story??

 

Here’s what struck me when I read it:

As the disciples set off to cross the lake there is a sense in which they couldn’t have felt MORE safe.. MORE secure.. MORE confident…

  1. They were obeying JESUS v35.

They’re doing as He tells them to do.. Obeying His instructions..

Let’s go over to the other side.

Surely if you are trying to obey JESUS… that’s bound to be one of the safest, best places you can be in.. You’re in the centre of God’s will.

 

  1. Jesus is with them v36

Right there in the boat beside them.. so relaxed and chilled and weary that Jesus goes to sleep in the back of the boat.

 

BUT suddenly.. unexpectedly… their safe, calm world is thrown into chaos and disarray.

One of the storms for which Galilee is known begins to blow up out of the blue..

BUT it’s OK.. Simon Peter, James and John are the experts, the experienced fishermen. They know this lake, they’ve been through these storms many times before.

BUT this storm is different..

This storm is unprecedented…

And in blind panic and sheer terror / fear..

Feeling totally overwhelmed and unable to cope..

They rush to JESUS and begin to

Shake JESUS.. awake JESUS.. rebuke JESUS with a panic prayer…

V38..

JESUS don’t You care if we’re all going to drown…We’re going to perish…

You can hear the fear in their voices

You can see the panic in their eyes

 

FEAR makes you shout at GOD in prayer..

 Fear makes you Question GOD’s goodness

Question God’s love… God’s care for you… God’s power.. God’s compassion.. God’s control…

 

If there is a GOD in Heaven…

What is He doing?

Where is He when we need Him?

Why isn’t HE doing something to stop this virus?..

to help us in this unfolding catastrophe??

 

 Our  What..  Where.. Why…  questions

are always fueled by fear.. and

NOT by faith and trust

And JESUS responds to their cries for help…

He gets up (v39) and HE speaks..

NOT to the disciples…

BUT amazingly He speaks (rebukes.. strong word)…. the WIND

And says to the waves

Quiet.. BE still.    He muzzles them..

(Any boys and girls listening to this…  Go and have a bit of fun and try that down on the beach..See if YOU can do it)

 

And immediately v39..

The Wind dies down …and 

The Sea is completely calm…

WOW!! 

And NOW the crisis is over…

JESUS asks His own questions of His disciples ( and us)

 

  1. WHY are YOU sooo afraid??

Why so full of fears?

 

  1. WHY aren’t you trusting ME??

V40  Do you STILL… have NO faith?

 

They haven’t found a vaccine for Covid 19 BUT there is a vaccine for fear…

Faith is the greatest vaccine for fear…

Faith is the MOST effective vaccine for fear..

1John 4v18

“There is NO fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..”

Perfect love is… trusting love…trusting in the loving promises of GOD our Heavenly Father and HIS WORD…

 

Look at v 41

The poor disciples are “terrified” and have even MORE questions NOW… they have witnessed the power of GOD first hand..

“WHO is this..Even the WIND and the WAVES OBEY HIM.”??

 

Answer..

This is JESUS..

This is GOD

This is God’s One, God’s Only.. God’s beautiful Son and our only HOPE and Saviour in life and in death…

for this life and for all eternity..

There is NO One like JESUS

He is just like His Father in Heaven… just like GOD in the Old Testament..

With absolute power and authority in this world…. Over winds and waves.. viruses and nations in turmoil…

Psalm 65 v5-7

You answer us with awesome deeds ..O God our Saviour…  the HOPE of all the ends of the earth and the farthest seas…

Who stilled the roaring of the waves and the turmoil of the nations…

Q.HOW amazing is that??

HOW amazing is our GOD?? Our  Saviour

Our world is in turmoil with this virus… total lockdown… because we feel that we are NOT in control…

We’ve NEVER ever been in control..

BUT our GOD is in Heaven and He rules over every square inch of earth…

YOU can sleep in peace tonight because GOD is going to be awake all night.

(Read Psalm 121)

Things are very difficult and the challenges ahead of all of us are very serious…

BUT…

We will NOT fear or if we do…

we will feel the fear and choose to trust our sovereign GOD who has promised ..

that He will NOT self-isolate from us..

NOT do social distancing from us..

 

BUT has promised us in times of crisis that

“I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. He LORD is MY Helper, of whom shall I be afraid.”

                                               Hebrews 13v6

 

This is our time… when people are looking at us as lovers and followers of JESUS..

This is our time to SHINE… to TRUST….

To follow JESUS… full of faith..

To love GOD with all our hearts…

to reach out with care and compassion to those around us.

This is our TIME…. Let’s SHINE!

 

 

 

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