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Waking A Sleeping Jesus!

June 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost             Trinity Lutheran Church   

24 June 2012                                                                      Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +

Mark 4:35-41


Stunned!  Astounded!  Terrified, the disciples asked each other:  “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!”  It’s one thing to face gale force winds and white cap waves that threaten to take your boat under!  It’s quite another story to stand before the very Creator of those winds, waves, including everything else in all of creation! 


And that’s exactly who the disciples woke from His sleep!  Yes, that’s right!  Little did they know that when they poked and prodded the sleepy head Jesus and cried out in desperation, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” that they were dealing with their Creator!


“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Be muzzled!  Shush!  That’s enough!  Be silent!’”  And His words do exactly and precisely what they say!  “Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” 


The fully awake Jesus speaks.  His speaking is dynamic!  Powerful!  He speaks and what He says happens! 


Scared stiff!  Petrified!  No longer by the winds and waves!  But by the Teacher Jesus!  “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!” 


Well, Teacher Jesus is the very Creator in their midst!  Right there on the boat!  Right there on the sea!  Teacher Jesus speaks just like the Creator of Genesis 1.  You remember?  How did the Creator create everything?  How?  Yes, that’s right, He opened up His mouth!  He had a Word to speak!  A Word in His mouth!  He preached!  “Let there be light …  Let there be an expanse … Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear … Let the land produce vegetation … Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky … Let the water teem with living creatures and let the birds fly above the earth … Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds … Let us make man in our image.” 




Again, the Creator God in the flesh Jesus stands up in the boat!  He speaks again like at the beginning!  “Be muzzled!  Quiet!  Be still!  That’s enough!”  The wind dies down.  The waves are no more!  He silences the storm!  He is their Master!   


No wonder that Creator God in the flesh Jesus sleeps on the captain’s cushion in the very back of the boat while the storm raged.  He’s completely at peace.  Not a care in the world!  The whipping winds and whitecaps pose no threat to Him! 


So of all the boats on the sea that night which one is the safest of them all?  This one!  Why? Because four of the twelve are weathered and seasoned fishermen?  Or is it because of Jesus even while He’s snoozing?  I believe you know the answer to that question! 


Now the big question that this story puts before us is this:  How far do you trust Jesus?  Jesus asks His disciples then and to you His baptized disciples today:  “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”  Seriously:  “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?” 


How far do you trust Jesus?  Do you trust Him when He appears to be completely unmindful to your chronic pain or illness?  Do you trust Him when he seems to be totally unmindful of your desperate economic situation or oblivious to your breaking or broken marriage and/or family?  Do you trust Him when your life is a wreck and it’s ripping apart at the seams?  How many times have you prayed when chaos threatens to sink you:  “Don’t you care about me Lord?  Where are you?  Are you sleeping?”


Do you trust a sleeping Jesus? 


How about the Jesus who goes into the deep sleep of death on the cross?    


The disciples trusted Him only a little bit!  A snoring Jesus was essentially no good to them!  They only trusted Him enough to grab Him and shake by the shoulders in order to wake Him up.  All they could do was complain:  “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  


However, the disciples couldn’t trust Jesus enough to let Him sleep through the storm! “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”     


Big faith trusts Jesus even while He sleeps!  Big faith rests comfortably with Jesus!  There wasn’t any place safer than to be with Jesus – even while He slumbers, siestas, dozes and naps!  Big faith trusts Jesus even if the unthinkable happened – namely, the boat capsizes and the disciples go under – BECAUSE JESUS WOULD GO DOWN WITH THEM!


Imagine if we watched the unthinkable that I just described!  It was a real possibility for the disciples!  The four of them that were fishermen knew that too!  Let’s pretend that it really happens and we see it all from the shore!  All hands on deck!  They can’t bail the water fast enough.  They can’t steer the boat to shore.  And they can’t wake Him up!  THEY CAN’T WAKE HIM UP! 


Then the boat sinks!  The disciples are smashed and tackled by the waves.  They are going under!  Then they go under!  What do we expect?  We anticipate Jesus to awake, fly out of the sea and pull a Superman or an Avengers!  Pull the disciples out of the water, bring them to shore, give them mouth-to-mouth, and save them!  All to our incredible whoops and hollers of joy! 


But it doesn’t happen!  Let’s say the most shocking and horrific thing of all happens!  They all go under – Jesus included!   They don’t come up!  We are sick to our stomachs!  Totally let down!  Baffled!  Bummed!  We simply can’t believe it!  How can Jesus just keep on snoring and sleeping and let twelve people die like that?  This is just awful!   


While we’re still lamenting what has happened, a messenger runs up to us.  He has a note!  Handwritten!  By Jesus Himself!  “Jesus wanted you to have this everyone!  He wanted me to deliver this important message to you.  It’s this:  ‘It’s all Okay.  Trust Me.  The disciples are safe in My death.’ 


And you thought trusting a sleeping Jesus in the midst of the everyday life chaos was tough?  How about the dead Jesus?  Can you trust that Jesus with your death?  Well, can you? 


“Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”


No need to fear brothers and sisters.  Creator, Savior, God Jesus is awake!  He has risen from the dead!  Never to die again!  He is physically and bodily present with us and we with Him in the little boat of the His Church!


I know, I know!  The Church looks like she’s going under!  Dying!  Buffeted and rocked by all kinds of heretical winds and satanic waves.  But I tell you there no safer place to be!  Things couldn’t be any better in the Church!  Why?  Because Jesus is in the back of the little boat, His Church, guiding her and protecting her with His promises:  “Lo I am with you always to the end of the age;” “I died for you and rose for you!”  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;”


Don’t be fooled brothers and sisters!  Things are always what they look like.  Jesus is always in charge of everything.  He’s in control.  All revealed in His own quiet, humble and hidden ways.  His strength appears in weakness.  His divine power is hidden in His exhausted sleeping body in the boat and most especially in the beaten, broken man who hangs dead on the cross! 


Creator, God, Savior Jesus’ powerful Word that quieted the storm is still spoken today among you!  To save you as you have been submerged in the water of Holy Baptism!  To give you the promise of forgiveness in Absolution and in the bread that is His Body and the wind that is His Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar! 


When you hear Jesus stand up and speak His promises of forgiveness and salvation in His Word and Sacrament there is a holy fear among you!  For He is God!  God in the flesh!  And He’s here!  Speaking.  Teaching.  Preaching.


Psalm 111:10 teaches:  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  In other words, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of faith – faith only in Jesus!  Jesus preached this sermon in Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One [God] who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  In other words, FEAR GOD and then you have nothing else to fear.  The fear of the Lord means the end of all other fear!  The fear of the Lord swallows up all other fear! 


The Lord Jesus wants all your fears, your deepest dreads, whatever troubles you!  Whatever terrifies you!  Whatever keeps you up sleepless at night!  Whatever causes you to panic!  Why?  Because He absorbs it all into His death!  He nails it all to His cross!  He buries it all in His tomb!  And He speaks an ordering Word – a creative Word – into the chaos, death, and darkness of your lives:  “Be still!  Be quiet!” 


Who is this Jesus that even the winds and the sea obey Him?  He is the Creator – God’s very own Son – the Lord of Creation!  He is your Creator.  He made you in order to redeem you with His Blood! 


With His Body and Blood today in the Sacrament and His promise of mercy, “given and shed for you and for your forgiveness” little faith turns into big faith.  Big faith because it trusts in Bigger, Stronger Jesus!


Today, you are given to trust only in Him!  Even when everything looks bleak and hopeless!  Even as your boat or the boat called the Church looks like it’s all going under!  You are given to trust in Him even while He seems to be asleep!  You can trust Him with your life!  And even with your death! 


“It’s all Okay!  You’re safe in my death!”  What a wonderful promise!


In the name of Jesus.

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