Lessons from the Storm

Series: Stormy Weather

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR AUGUST 19 – 25, 2020

AIM:  When Jesus sent his disciples across the lake into the storm he was aware, prayed for them, went to them, and took care of them. What a picture for us in the COVID-19 Crisis!  After studying this lesson, students should know and be aware that Jesus can, and will, give peace in the midst of any storms in their lives!

INTRODUCTION

One of my favorite stories is about the country preacher who used to visit a widow in his church, named Mrs. Jones. He liked to visit her around lunchtime because she had a vegetable garden and she loved to cook fresh vegetables for her pastor. One day the preacher arrived at lunch, and knocked on Mrs. Jones’ door, but she didn’t answer. So he walked through her garden calling, “Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones.” He was perplexed because the back door was open and he could see food cooking on the stove, but he didn’t see Mrs. Jones. Knowing her sense of humor, he left his card on her door with this note: “Dear Mrs. Jones, Read Revelation 3:20.” That verse says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock and if anyone will hear my voice I will come in and eat with them.”

What he didn’t realize was that about the time he showed up, Mrs. Jones was getting out of the bathtub, and she was too embarrassed to answer the door, so she hid behind the door until he left. After reading the pastor’s card, she wrote him a note and left it on his desk the next Sunday. It said, “Dear Pastor, I got your card. Read Genesis 3:10.” “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”

That’s a great story, but it also gives us the first reference to fear in the Bible. Before they sinned, Adam and Eve never experienced fear. But after they disobeyed God, we find the first expression of fear. Since that time until today, fear has been a part of our human existence.

Fear is coming from all sides today. If you watch the news or read the newspaper, you know there are a lot of scary things happening in our world… Covid-19, protests, riots in the streets, companies having to shut down, Trump in the White House, government shut down, confined to homes, black citizens killed by the police and then toss in no sports! WOW!  We are living in fearful times!

Now. . . we see a resurge of COVID-19 with the death total climbing; unemployment high, government assistant low, a president who wants to send children back to school, but not hold the presidential election!  Is this because he is behind in the polls? Things that make you go, hmmmm!

The National Institute for Mental Health has cataloged over 300 different phobias or fears. The top 10 on their list are:

  1. Fear of public speaking
  2. Fear of death
  3. Fear of terrorist attacks
  4. Fear of snakes
  5. Fear of spiders and insects
  6. Fear of heights
  7. Fear of flying
  8. Fear of confined spaces
  9. Fear of open spaces
  10. Fear of thunder and lightning.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld jokes that when you consider more people fear speaking in public than death, at a funeral a person would rather be in the casket than giving a eulogy!

What is fear?  Fear is a feeling of. . .

  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • alarm
  • apprehension

caused by a threat of danger

Storms and trials can lead to terrible discouragement and fear. . .

  1. Fear that one has gone too far for recovery
  2. Fear that no one really care
  3. Fear that one is a stumbling block and a burden to others
  4. Fear that there is no real reason for living.

Mark 4:35-41 (KJV)

35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Mark 6:45-52 KJV

45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Background:

Mark records two instances of the disciples been caught in a storm that came up suddenly.  In the first incident Jesus was on board, but in the second one Jesus was on a mountain praying. 

In the second incident, Mark said Jesus had to constrain His disciples to leave and go to the other shore. Why?  Right after Jesus had fed the crowd, they wanted to take Him by force and make Him King.  The Gospel of John tells us this (John 6:15).

John 6:15 KJV – When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Jesus knew the popular view of Messiahship.  The Messiah was to lead Israel in revolt against the Roman conquerors and free the people, establishing the government of theocracy, that is, the rule and reign of God over all the earth.

In these two incidents, we see. . .

  • Same Command    
  • Same Crisis 
  • Same Crew   
  • Same Cry       
  • Same Creator   

But different lessons.  Christ wanted the disciples to learn lessons for service – lessons that would prove invaluable in their ministry to the world and to us as well. 

Lesson 1:    Crowd   

  • The crowd wanted to make Jesus king.  
  • When a crowd of people are excited, a person will often follow along with the crowd’s emotional excitement. 
  • He goes ahead and does what the crowd does without thinking!  His flesh is stimulated, excited, tingling and often craving.  He gives way to his urges.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)17 Wherefore: ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you’. 18 ‘I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty’.

Thought 1: Motive, objective, and personal control are what makes the difference.  Excitement due to wrong motives and desires can lead to several problems.

  1. Carnal and unwise action and behavior without thought or understanding
  2. Stimulation or exaltation of the flesh
  3. Ignoring thoughtful prayer and God’s will

Thought 2: We must be surrendered to walk in God’s will and way, not in the will and way of a worldly crowd. We are to lead men to Christ, not follow them and go against the will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)1 With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. 2 Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let  God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

Lesson 2:    Constrained    

  • The disciples were caught up in the excitement of the crowd.
  • Christ had to send them across the lake so that they would not become contaminated by giving in to the crowd. 
  • Having to strain against a storm and fight for survival would calm the disciples’ excitement. 
  • Jesus could not allow the disciples to be caught up in the excitement and worldly desires of the crowd. 
  • God’s will had to be done; and His will was the cross .  . .
  • an eternal kingdom
  • not a worldly kingdom 

Lesson 3:    Christ

  • Prayer after service is wise

Jesus had been teaching the crowd and ministering to them.  In the eyes of the world, He could not have been more successful.  The results of His service and ministry were phenomenal.

  • He had a large successful ministry.  The crowds were huge, ranging in the thousands.  They were literally running and clamoring to get to Him.
  • He had the recognition, esteem, praise, and honor of the crowd.
  • He had the excitement and motivation of the crowd.  They were motivated enough to even make Him King.

But note what Jesus did.  He dismissed the people, sent them away.  Why?  So He could get alone “to pray.”

Matthew 26:41 (NIV) – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the  flesh is weak.”

Thought 3:  Jesus demonstrates that we should pray, especially before trouble.  Observe the steps He took:

A)        Solitude

(1)    Setting sun

(2)    Seven hours or more

(3)    Storm arose

B)        Secret Commune

Luke 5:16 (NIV) – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Mark 1:35 (NIV) – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

C)       Seasons

(1)    Needed

·        There will be times when we need a season of prayer

·        Allows us to be spiritually ready.

“in seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief. . .” (Sweet Hour of Prayer)

 

(2)    Necessary

·        to combat the enemy

·        to strengthen us for upcoming trial

·        to allow the Lord to speak to us

Lesson 4:    Crying for help in time of need   

Three things are stressed about the disciples in the storm:

  • Their toil was long. The Lake of Galilee was only four to six miles across.  They had been rowing against a contrary wind for some six to nine hours and had progressed only about three miles.
  • Their fear was great. The disciples were physically exhausted and mentally drained from using all the seaman’s skills at their disposal.  Their lives were at stake; they were struggling for survival. 
  • Their cry was desperate. They were all toiling and rowing to save their lives; and “they all saw Christ, and were troubles (agitated, terrorized)”

Thought 4: Note two significant points:

  • The disciples desperately needed help.  They did exactly what they needed to do to get help; they cried out to Jesus!

Psalm 81:7 (NIV) – In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud;

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) – ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

  • The disciples were doing God’s will when the storm came.  They were doing exactly what Christ had told them to do, that is, cross the lake and get ready to minister there.  The storm was part of God’s will.  They had to learn. . .
  • to confess their need for Him before He could help.
  • to endure against the storms of life
  • to trust through all, no matter how terrifying.
  • He will not pass you by!

Lesson 5:    Calming the storm

  • It was an eerie, stormy night.  The disciples were terrified; they cried out for help.
  • All of a sudden a voice from the body walking out on the water shouted out: Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
  • The authority and assurance of the voice made the disciples realize that it was Jesus!
  • The disciples were encouraged.  They knew they were safe and secure.  Note the results:
  • Their fear was erased
  • The storm was calmed
  • They stood amazed (beyond measure) in the presence of the Lord!

Thought 5: Receiving the presence of Jesus Christ takes care of all problems and trials.  He gives the strength to row through all the storms of life, no matter their turbulence and severity.

Thought 6: Think: What if the disciples had been forced to face the storm alone?  What if we had to face the storms of life alone? Which storm would drown the breath of life out of us?  Which storm would send us reeling into eternity, having to meet God unprepared?

  • God. . .
  • Sometimes ends our storms
  • Always walks with us in our storms
  • Always brings us to our destination

2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV) – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 116:8 (NIV) – For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV) – Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen   thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 46:4 (NLT) – I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

Lesson 6:    Control  

  • The disciples had no reason to be so amazed at Jesus’ calming the storm. 
  • They had just witnessed the miracles of the loaves and the feeding of five thousand men with just a little food. His calming the storm would also prove to them that. . .
  • He could provide provisions on the shore of life
  • He could provide protection on the sea of life

Christ was unquestionably God!  God will take care of you!!

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                     Thank God for the provisions and protection we receive as we go through life.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:       As you notice others in a storm, be prepared to show the Godly love and concern that has been extended to you during your storm; if none was shown, extend the example using Christ as the model.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:            Share with others and remind those that should know, how Christ overcame the ultimate storm for us to be free from the penalty of death.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:            Consistent giving allows others to grow when experiencing a storm by being equipped through maturity in a Sunday School class.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:            Although you may be in a storm, your recovery solely depends on deepening your relationship with Christ; get to know him well!

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Storm Warnings

SERIES:          Stormy Weather

NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT:  Zephaniah 1:2-18; Isaiah 34:1-3; Ezekiel 3:17-21; Matthew 7:24-27; Isaiah 28:16; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Psalm 18:2; Proverbs 3:24; Hebrews 13:6; Psalm 91:5; Job 11:18; 2 Samuel 22:40; Romans 8:28-30; Psalm 46:1; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 43:3; Job 27:18; Jeremiah 22:13-14; Isaiah 54:17; Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 46:1; 1 Kings 8:56; Romans 4:21; 2 Corinthians 1:20

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.