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ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

IN THE STORM AT SEA

It was just another day. No one expected anything unusual to happen;  the disciples had sailed on this lake many times. For years it had been a source of income for four of them. They had enjoyed its calm, battled its storms. None of them had any idea that this trip would be forever etched in their memory.

As Jesus slept in the boat a severe windstorm came up, so severe that the boat was nearly swamped. Even the seasoned fishermen felt the fear of death.

What did they expect when they woke Jesus? He had healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, forgiven sin - but what did they expect him to do here confronted by the powerful forces of wind and wave?

Was their 'Lord save us!' a hopeless cry in the dark? a groundless wish? Or did they really believe that he could actually do something?

Whatever their expectations, they were not prepared for his response. As Luke reports: 'He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.'

He also rebuked the disciples: 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'

Do you still not understand and believe who I really am? Have not the miracles shown you that I am your God? Have you not yet worked out that all of this - the waves, the wind, the earth, the sky, exist by my word and are sustained by my word?

At his word the wind must instantly stop. At his word, the waves must instantly subside.

As the disciples observed the power and authority of Jesus a greater amazement and a deeper fear overwhelmed them. Terrified of the obvious implication of what they have witnessed, they spontaneously asked 'Who is this?' Who is this whose word the elements obey?

There can only be one answer: Here they stand in the presence of their Creator - vulnerable, exposed, afraid. There is nowhere to run to. There is nowhere to hide.

This moment encapsulates our every moment: God and man in inescapable proximity. Whether we are aware or unaware, whether we ignore or acknowledge him, God, the Almighty Creator, is here,  as close to us, as present with us, as Jesus with the disciples in the boat.

Scriptures: Luke 8:22-25; Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4: 35-41; Hebrews 1:3.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2008