Sermon: Even Creation Obeys (Luke 8:21-25)

Luke 8.21.25

Even Creation Obeys


I used to go to Lake Erie in the summertime for weekend fishing trips with the guys I worked with. We always had a lot of fun. The burnt suppers, the patches I had to wear for seasickness, and cleaning the fish in the fish houses. We had great fun. It was mandatory for the boats to be equipped with 2-way radios in case of trouble. You could listen to weather reports and you could radio in for help if anything ever went wrong. Whenever the weather began to look the least bit threatening, it was our experience that you had better start heading toward the shore. Often we would be 8-10 miles out and it would take a while to get back. Sometimes the storm would catch us. The last mile or two could be heading into 6-8 foot waves. In those times I was especially glad to step foot on solid land. I know I looked a little pale or maybe even a little green.

Jesus and His disciples were caught by a storm once. This was not a storm on Lake Erie, but rather a violent storm at sea caused by high winds…almost hurricane force and violent shaking caused by some seismic activity almost tsunami force waves. The storm was so powerful that the boat was literally being torn apart.

Please Hear God’s Word…

Lk 8:22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 

Lk 8:23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 

Lk 8:24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 

Lk 8:25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” 

May God cause us to be doers of His Word and not hearers only…

What Luke wants his readers to understand in this account is that Jesus Christ the Son of God has authority over the created world. Jesus is reversing the curse. He commands and creation obeys. In the Book of Genesis we have the account that God commands Adam to be in control of creation.

Genesis 1:26 (ESV)  

    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

But because of sin this dominion has been lost. According to John, Satan the great usurper is now ruler of this world. Jesus comes to set things right. He is God and man. He is the perfect man the second Adam. Unlike the first Adam who sinned, Jesus stands sinless. He alone can command creation.  We must see in this account that King Jesus is ripping the stolen authority back from Satan and as the Son of Man, Jesus is beginning to restore the created order.  He is in charge and someday He will grant the authority that mankind originally had back to us.

  1. The Man to Follow (Luke 8:22)

Lk 8:22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 

In reading through Luke, one discovers that there were some disciples who wanted Jesus for the things He could give them. They were not true disciples. When things got tuff, they fled away. To them, Jesus was less valuable than the things they thought He could give them. They merely want Christ to acquire other more important and more valuable things. True disciples, on the other hand, follow Jesus into any and every situation because He is their portion and treasure. True disciples follow Jesus regardless of the situation. The more we see this truth, the stronger our faith will become. The more we see Christ as our treasure the less our circumstances matter. Paradise is the place where Jesus is. His presence makes paradise. In our text today, paradise was in the middle of the ship in a terrible storm.  Are you willing to follow Jesus no matter what?

  1. The Humanity of Christ (Luke 8:23)

Lk 8:23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 

We see a very good example of the humanity of Christ.  Jesus was a man while on earth.  He got hungry and tired.  He was like us in every way except Jesus was without sin.  Here, Luke portrays Jesus as sleeping while everyone else was in panic.

Mt 8:24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 

One thing I’d like to point out is this was no ordinary storm at sea.  We have the word seismos to describe this particular storm. There was a violent earthquake (seismic activity) on the see floor of the Sea of Galilee that day, at the very time they were sailing across. The storm was so fierce the waves were breaking over the sides of the boat.

This accounts for the mega waves but what about the mega wind.  An earthquake doesn’t produce the kind of winds spoken of here.  Turning to the original languages we see that this was hurricane force winds.  It wasn’t a breeze but mega wind.

These disciples were fishermen on this sea, they had no doubt seen bad storms before but they had never endured something of this magnitude.  They were in panic mode.

The disciples had followed Jesus right into the eye of the storm. Jesus had a purpose in all of this. He was teaching His disciples, very vividly, that He is in charge. I don’t think the disciples would forget this occasion too quickly. What a living parable this was in their lives.  While the waves were breaking over the boat, Jesus was sound asleep on a cushion in the stern or back of the boat.

Have you ever placed yourself on the boat with Jesus and the disciples? I would have been tying a rope around myself and holding tightly to whatever was secure. It sounds like that’s exactly what the disciples were doing. They were frantically trying everything first. It seems we as humans try everything else first before we turn to Jesus. They forgot that Jesus has authority over creation.

Why was Jesus sleeping? He was obviously very tired but He was sleeping in essence to show that there is no power on earth mightier than Him. Jesus was safely sleeping in the midst of the storm showing His disciples that He is not afraid of anything or anyone. The power of the raging storm was no cause for concern. He is in charge.

Jesus demands that His disciples follow Him. We are required to follow, no matter where He leads us. Sometimes Jesus leads into days of refreshing calm. Sometimes He leads us into storms. He has a loving purpose in each. In the peaceful times we praise Him and in the storms we depend on Him to save.

3.  The Deity of Christ (Luke 8:24)

Lk 8:24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.

It’s amazing that Jesus was sound asleep in the midst of this powerful shaking storm. The wind and sea could not wake Him but the cries of His people cause His eyes to open. What’s wrong with this picture? The disciples had already seen the power Jesus has to heal sickness and disease. They saw His power time and time again. His Words commanded obedience.

The cry from the disciples was “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  Upon that cry Jesus woke up. Does the Lord hear our cries as His people? Jesus is on the throne seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for the saints. Jesus hears us when we cry out “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” The problem isn’t that we cry out to the Lord. That is in fact the right thing to do. The problem for us is that we often do it after we have tried everything else first. As the disciples saw the boat filling up with water and as the waves kept coming one after another and as they saw that their bailing water out wasn’t keeping up with the water God was putting in the boat. They became more and more fearful.

An important point for us to see here is that Jesus didn’t run to their rescue immediately. Jesus knew when He boarded the ship what was going to happen. He knew the storm was coming. He is allowing the storm to have its full effect on the disciples so that He can teach them faith. This has often been the experience of God’s people. God doesn’t fix things immediately. He doesn’t answer our prayers the second we pray them. Sometimes He lovingly lets us suffer.

Psalm 10:1 (ESV)  

    Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off?

        Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 

It seems at times that when trouble sets in God is nowhere to be found. Have you ever experienced that in your life? Have you ever come to the end of yourself only to cry out to God and…nothing. You pray and pray and silence.

Mark’s version of this account is really good. Mark reports that the disciples cried out,

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

Jesus does care. He cared enough to leave Lazarus in the grave till four days had passed. He cares enough to let us run out of resources so that we truly turn to Him in trust and obedience. Jesus has to sometimes break us in order to build us up.

Jesus stands up and first rebukes His disciples for not believing in His power and authority. He tells them that their faith needs some work. They had forgotten all they knew. Storms cause us to forget. When we find ourselves in the midst of a trial we often have spiritual amnesia.

The disciples knew the Old Testament very well. They knew verses like,

Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)  

    God is our refuge and strength,

        a very present help in trouble. 

    [2] Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

        though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 

    [3] though its waters roar and foam,

        though the mountains tremble at its swelling.  Selah 

Psalm 89:8-9 (ESV)  

    O Lord God of hosts,

        who is mighty as you are, O Lord,

        with your faithfulness all around you? 

    [9] You rule the raging of the sea;

        when its waves rise, you still them. 

Psalm 107:23-30 (ESV)  

    Some went down to the sea in ships,

        doing business on the great waters; 

    [24] they saw the deeds of the Lord,

        his wondrous works in the deep. 

    [25] For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,

        which lifted up the waves of the sea. 

    [26] They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;

        their courage melted away in their evil plight; 

    [27] they reeled and staggered like drunken men

        and were at their wits’ end. 

    [28] Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

        and he delivered them from their distress. 

    [29] He made the storm be still,

        and the waves of the sea were hushed. 

    [30] Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,

        and he brought them to their desired haven. 

They knew all these verse and many others. Many times, when disaster strikes people who know God have a lapse of faith. We often forget who is in charge. We forget that the Creator of heaven and earth is with us in the back of the boat. When disaster strikes turn to Christ in faith immediately and seek counsel and strength. Be prepared to endure trials and suffering as a child of God.

Jesus rebukes His disciples for their lack of faith. Panic in any situation shows that your faith is not functioning like it should. You cannot be in panic and have faith at the same time. So Jesus lovingly rebukes His disciples for their lack of trust in Him.

Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  

The Creator of the wind and waves commanded them to be quiet. The sea instantly became like glass. In that moment the verse in the Psalms that declares only God can control the sea came true. Jesus with a word commanded creation and creation obeyed.

Mark’s version tells us the Jesus rebuked the storm by saying, “Peace, be still!” In Matthew and Luke’s account they simply say He rebuked the storm.  We have seen this word numerous times so far in Luke’s Gospel.

Every time Jesus uses this phrase, it has to do with demonic activity…

Lk 4:35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 

Lk 4:41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. 

What we need to see is that this storm was a satanic event.  What are the odds of having an earthquake under the sea and a hurricane on top of the sea at the same time.  Why did Jesus use the same phrase translated for us as Peace be still but which is literally in the Greek, Be Ye Muzzled, which is exactly what Jesus said to all the demons?

The waves disappeared, the wind was gone, the flag on the mast went limp and everyone stood there soak and wet with their mouths opened and their eyes as big as silver dollars. When men are confronted with the power and majesty of God they are astonished to the point of fear and even dread. Isaiah knew this when he encountered the Lord high and lifted up. Paul knew this when Jesus power threw him to the ground as he was on his way to persecute the church. The disciples experienced the same thing when Jesus said a word and the hurricane ceased and the tsunami waves went flat.  Just as this was a mega storm we read there was now a great calm.  The forces of evil and creation are subject to the commands of Christ and when He commands there to be silence the sea went as smooth as glass.

  1. The Man with Authority (Luke 8:25)

“Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” 

Again in Mark’s account he writes that the disciples were very much afraid. They had just witnessed the power of God. They were now as afraid of Jesus asa they were of the storm. Isaiah said, Woe is me for I am ruined. Peter saw the power of Jesus and said, “depart from me for I am a sinful man.”

When the disciples realized that God Himself was standing in the boat with them they were completely amazed and freighted all at the same time .

The very same Jesus who stilled the waves on the Sea of Galilee that day by simply speaking a word of rebuke, is the same Jesus who cried out to the Father…It is finished. He died on the cross absorbing the wrath that God had stored up for us. Jesus took our place. He had no sin of His own to pay for and He willingly went to the cross to take our place.

Just as Jesus saved the disciples that day from drowning at sea, He has the ability to save sinners for eternity. Jesus Christ speaks into our dead hearts the good news and we are made to come to life. His words are life giving. His words change everything.

Is Jesus speaking to you today? Maybe like the disciples you’ve been enduring a storm in your life. Maybe the storm is sin and you’ve tried every way to become a good person and to have God like you. However, just as you are trying to do good the flood of sin is overtaking you. You cannot do enough good things to make up for the bad. Perhaps you are enduring a major trial right now and you not sure where to go to seek help. Come to the One who has all authority. Come to the One who commands creation and it obeys. Come to the One who can speak the words of life into your dying heart. Don’t put it off any longer the waves of sin and turmoil are crashing in…turn in faith to the One who command the wind and waves. Run to Jesus, He alone can save.

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