Is Jesus In Your Boat? - 7/22/18

IS JESUS IN YOUR BOAT? 07 22 2018

Matthew 8: 23-27

The scripture just read is one of the Bible’s prescriptions for worry. …
How often we are told not to worry … but worry we do, … about our health, …
job, … family, … some personal problem, … world in crisis, … whatever.
It’s one thing to read: … “Your heart must not be troubled” (John 14: 1) … or
“Don’t worry about your life” (Matthew 6: 25); … but it only takes a phone call
with bad news, … an unexpected dismissal from work, … or the wrong results on a
lab test … to make us mock or think ridiculous, Paul’s words to the Christians in
Philippi: … “Don’t worry about anything” (Philippians 4:6).
To remind us just how severe a problem worry can be, … on April 5, 2002, we
read or heard in the news of a priest at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in
Parma, … Rev. Donald Rooney, … took his own life worried about the
repercussions of past sins. … Closer to home, … October 3, 2002, Ralph Glenn,
President and General Minister of the Christian Churches of the Southwest, …
committed suicide, worried and concerned about financial discrepancies in the
Regional office.
If the clergy have trouble not worrying, … it should be a reminder to me this
morning that even talking about a solution to worry can be more like; … “Spitting
in the wind”.
What is it about this story on the sea that should help us with our worrying?.
It’s a rather simple episode told in only four verses. … Jesus was asleep on a boat
with His disciples. … A storm came up and the boat was being swamped; …
a situation that would cause most of us a lot of anxiety and worry as it did for the
disciples who woke up Jesus saying: … “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!”
(and they weren’t kidding).
Jesus said to the disciples: … “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?”
That’s like me saying: … “What are you worried about? Then He got up and
rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm”
If we were to look at this incident as an analogy for you and me today, … we could
compare our life to a boat; … you and I are a boat on the sea of life … and as we
well know, many storms come up that cause us to worry and feel anxious.
Some of those storms, … some of our problems, … can really start to swamp us,
… we get discouraged or depressed, … sometimes to the point of wanting to take
our own life.

In this story, … Jesus is on the boat and to follow the analogy, … Jesus is on your
boat and my boat, … in your heart and my heart … and if I can call upon Him and
tell Him what’s happening, … He can rebuke the violent wind and sea … then you
and I will be safe.
We should not forget that even though Jesus was on the boat … the disciples were
not excluded from having problems; … the storm still came.
What made all the difference were two factors: … Jesus … and having faith.
It was not only that Jesus was on the boat … but that the disciples thought He
could do something about the terrible storm.
The question often asked by traveling evangelist: …
“do you have Jesus in your heart … or … have you accepted Jesus Christ as your
personal savior?”, … may not be as important as: … is He asleep … or active in
your life?
That was the key here. … Jesus became active on this boat; … He calmed the
troubled waters.
Maybe the reason we worry too much … is because Jesus is asleep in me …
instead of active.
We don’t like to think it or say: … “I prayed to Jesus; … I asked Him to heal me
… or … to help me but nothing happened”. … “It was like He didn’t answer my
need.”
We could make that argument after reading about another storm that came up.
This time the disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus and out of the
night came men carrying clubs and swords. … The disciple Peter was ready to
fight; … he drew his sword, but Jesus said “No” … and before they knew it; …
the bad guys had taken Jesus away … and the disciples were scattered like sheep
without a shepherd. … Now the disciples really had something to worry about; …
this time Jesus did not calm the storm … but got swept away by its mighty force,
…imprisoned, … beaten and mocked.
That’s why I mentioned there were two significant factors in this story on the sea:
… the one, of course, is Jesus, … who was on the boat … and the second is faith,
… why are we afraid, O men and women of little faith.
Jesus wanted these men to have faith. … He used almost the very same words
another time on the sea when He came to His disciples at night; … they saw Jesus
coming out of the darkness and thought it was some kind of ghost or apparition
walking on the water until He spoke to them; … talk about being worried again.
Peter said: “Lord, if it’s You,command me to come to You on the water.”; so Jesus
said: “Come” … and the next thing you read is Peter is walking on the water
toward Jesus … until Peter felt the wind and saw the rough sea and began to sink.

Jesus saved Peter but you remember His words to Peter as He lifted him into the
boat: … “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
There’s Jesus using that word faith again and how important it is throughout His
ministry of healing and teaching. … Perhaps it’s not so much a case of Jesus being
asleep in our hearts rather than active; … possibly, our faith is too little in
believing what Jesus can and will do for you and me!
Well He didn’t do anything about those bad guys who took Him away … and now
we are left without anything; … how are we supposed to have faith in Him?
Don’t even pretend that some of the disciples weren’t thinking that … because we
know Judas was so depressed and discouraged, … he hung himself.
Imagine being a disciple of Jesus for three years; … walking, talking, living with
Jesus, day after day- going through one storm after another with Him and then
finding yourself still wondering, … doubting, … questioning, … when this last
storm seemed to take Jesus out.
Before we know it, … whatever faith we thought we had is gone; … “I’m going
back home to my fishing business said Peter …”
What can be even more embarrassing to us as Christians with little faith, …
is when we look around to see who does have faith … and the search leads to our
small children.
A three or four year old child, when told that daddy can fix that, … stops crying
and takes the broken toy to daddy. … And; … “where has grandma gone now that
we put her body into the ground” … the small child asks? … “Jesus has taken her
to Heaven to be with Him there”, you answer … and the young child of faith is
satisfied.
No wonder Jesus said: … “unless you are converted and become like children, you
will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3)
He was not talking about acting childish; … Jesus was saying; … look at the faith
the child has, … look how the child believes in God, the Father, without hesitation
or reservation.
To remind us how important is having the faith of a child, … we read in 1 John 4:4
the words: … “little children”; … a phrase the author, John, … used to speak to
adult Christians:
“You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One
who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Here, the writer, John, … is taking us back to our first point about Jesus being in
our boat … or as we said in the analogy; … “in my heart”; … He, … Jesus, … is in
us … and that this Jesus is greater than the evil one in the world about us …

but do we really believe that in faith, … when the results facing us are negative and
there aren’t any more options to try. … What we need to realize here, … is that this
is not a religious thing or a Church thing.
People are always blaming or accusing “the Church” or “some religion” as not
meeting his or her needs … but the real issue for the Christian is not the
Minister … the people of the Church … or the “Christian religion”; …
the real issue is Jesus Christ. … Do we have Him in our boat (in my heart) …
and do I believe in faith … that He really is greater than all these disappointments
and sufferings I face. … Sure, … it’s easy to blame this person, … that Church …
those people … or this unfortunate turn of events … but the more honest answer as
to why we are worried and anxious: … “they have taken my Jesus away and now
my faith is less than little.”
The challenge facing us as Christians, … is how to keep Jesus alive in you and me
… plus to build such a close personal relationship with Him … that my/your faith
in Him is increasing … instead of decreasing, … especially when it all gets crazy!
Most of us are here this morning, … for just that reason; … to know Him and the
power of His resurrection in our lives.
So in worship to Him we pray and sing, … read and hear His spoken Word to us,
… give our offering … and at least for this hour … have a sense that yes, …
Jesus Christ is alive … and I/you … do have faith in Him.
But we have only to leave this Holy House … and be tossed into the sea of life,
ravaged by storms and calamity, … to find out that Whom we thought we had, …
seems to have vanished.
To meet this challenge the Catholic tradition offers mass every day …
and protestants are told to have our daily devotions with the Lord.
They are both worthwhile answers … but there is one answer out of the many
others we have heard so often that I would like to repeat it now … and that answer
is the parting words of Jesus to His disciples in Matthew 28:18: … “All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
If we can believe in those words by faith, … knowing at the same time, … Jesus is
alive in our hearts, … surely some lessening of our fears and anxieties will come.
It’s like knowing the boss who has all the power … and knowing that the boss is
on our side.
Of course problems come up at work … but we never have to worry because we
know the boss … and he’s in our corner.

Remember in grade school the kid in the class who was the teacher’s pet; … he or
she could get away with practically anything; … never had to worry about grades
or homework, … why … because that kid was “in” with the teacher who had all
the power.
The next time a storm starts blowing your ship around and you are getting
swamped, … maybe it wouldn’t hurt or scare you and me so much if, … in our
heart , … we knew and really believed that Jesus is on our boat … and all
authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him.
I just know that however great the mess is … or however long it may take to get it
straightened out, … that He will rebuke the winds and sea and there will be a great
calm.
One Christian woman tried to put this kind of believing faith in Jesus Christ into a
prayer that went like this:
God give us your perspective on sickness, on loss, on death, on healing.
I don’t want to change Your mind, Lord. … Your thoughts are perfect; … I want to
think Your thoughts. … I don’t want to change Your timing, Lord. … Your timing is
perfect; … I pray for the grace to accept Your timing, … Your plan … and to see
You glorified through my life.
Some men on a boat in a stormy sea remind us this morning, that against all odds,
… we have a Savior who is able and willing to save us.
All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him … and to any of us
who will live by faith more and more in Jesus Christ, … to him, … to her, … will
come the calm sea.
AMEN