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"Jesus Calms the Storm" - Mark 4:35-41



[Mark 4:35-41] On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

 

Jesus Calms the Storm

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?!”

The disciples got into the boat with Jesus. They set out on the water. And a great windstorm arose, so that the waves were crashing over the boat and filling it.

The disciples are about to sink into the abyss. Jesus is asleep on a cushion. They wake Him and cry out, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Jesus rose. Rebuked the wind. And spoke to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” (“Be quiet”) He quieted the sea. Hushed the threatening waves. “The wind stopped, and there was a great calm.”

“Why are you afraid? Do you not yet have faith?”, Jesus said. But He didn’t wait for that stronger faith before He saved them. He cared that they were perishing.

The disciples were filled with a great and wondrous fear, “Who then is this that even wind and sea obey Him?”  

Who is He? Amazingly, the One who calms wind and wave is also the very One who sends wind and wave. He is the Lord:

“For He commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away… they were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” [Psalm 107:25-29]

The Lord of wind and wave can calm wind and wave – just as He can also calm the greater storm against us.

The greater storm that threatens you and me is God’s anger against our sins. We don’t believe God is angry with our sins because we “think of sin but lightly” [LSB 451].

But, in truth, our sins stir up a right and just storm against us, by which we would perish eternally. “On account of these – our many sins – the wrath of God is coming” [Colossians 3:6].

The Lord is Judge. Nevertheless, as with the storm, the same Lord who rightly lifts His wrath against us is also the One who has quieted it forever – “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” [1 Thessalonians 1:10].

Jesus, the Lord, has already suffered that storm-of-God’s-wrath to fall upon Himself. Jesus, who alone is righteous and holy, willingly let Himself be counted the Sinner – counted guilty of all man’s sin, in man’s place, and nailed to a cross.

This is what we read in today’s Epistle reading: “For our sake He made Him who knew no sin to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” [2 Corinthians 5:21].

Also, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” [Galatians 3:13].

Jesus took your place so that your sin is His and His righteousness is yours. He, though righteous, is counted the sinner. You, though a sinner, are counted righteous.

In Jesus, therefore, there is now, for you, a great calm – peace. Forgiveness. The storm is quieted. You no longer live under God’s wrath. The wind and waves are done.  

So, now what? How is this a sermon for a tenth anniversary of a pastor’s ordination? Do today’s appointed readings have any connection?

It was a word spoken that calmed the wind and sea in our Gospel. And it is a Word spoken that calms the storm for you.

Our flesh still sees wind and waves against us. But through the ministry of the Word, the Gospel ministry, a spoken Word from God – “Your sins are forgiven” – delivers the calm quiet of redemption to a troubled conscience.

Our reading today says that those in the preaching ministry are God’s ambassadors for your sake – that, week after week, God is making His appeal through your pastor, urging you: “Be reconciled to God”, because He has reconciled you to Himself in Jesus.

 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” [2 Corinthians 5:18-20]

This is the pastoral ministry. (And pastors have had and have pastors for themselves too.) The pastoral ministry is worth giving thanks for, for all of us.

And this ambassadorship of the pastor, speaking the Gospel on behalf of Christ, does not make your pastor special or higher or greater than any of you. There is no throne on earth for pastors.

Why? Because this is your calling as well. In a different capacity; in different ways. But speaking and spreading the message that God has reconciled sinners unto Himself – that sins are forgiven in Jesus – that there is new life in Jesus --

-- you also, because you are disciples of Jesus by your baptism, have this ambassadorship-calling of the Gospel.

Through word and example — Individually, to those in your arm’s reach — And as a whole, as His church in this world — God is making His appeal through you to your neighbor: “Now is the favorable time; now is the day of salvation” [2 Corinthians 6:2] – “be reconciled to God.”

This message is the only thing that matters forever, and, therefore, is the thing that matters most. It’s worth everything; and it’s worth everything we give up.

For ten years, for forty – for all the years of your life – remember your calling, that you are ambassadors in this world for the Gospel of Christ who has calmed the storm for sinners tossed by the waves. Amen.

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