Growing up near a lake, I have become very familiar with ships. Specifically fishing tugs. Also coming from the generation that grew up with Star Wars and Star Trek I know about space stories and the space ships that are a major part of the story line. The common thread between water ships and space ships is they have a captain. Now why is a captain important? It helps to know what a Captain is. A ship Captain holds the ultimate responsibility for the vessel he or she is commanding. In addition to the operation of the ship, captains oversee the passengers and crew. A ship captain is the final authority for everyone on board of his or her ship.
This got me to thinking in regards to our faith life as Christians. Have you ever stopped and thought about Jesus as your captain? Do you see Jesus as the Captain of your Life?
There is a story that appears in three of the New Testament gospels where it explains to us an example of how Jesus is our Captain. The story appears in Matthew 8:18, 23-27, Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25
The summary of the story in all three passages is that of Jesus had spent a very busy day teaching people about God and having compassion on them by healing them. There was still a large crowd and people who were asking questions, when Jesus looked at his tired disciples and told them to get the boat ready so they could get away to the other side of the lake.
Finally Jesus and the disciples were able to get into the boat and they set sail. It didn’t take long before Jesus found a quiet comfy spot in the back of the boat and drifted off to sleep. He was exhausted and Peter, James, John and Andrew were all very experienced fishermen who knew how to handle the boat especially on this body of water. Knowing fisherman in Port Stanley they talk about how you come to know the body of water you are on and how it behaves. So really Jesus had no worries. Everything was normal and fine for a while, but suddenly an extremely fierce storm hit the lake. Which was common in this area that a Storm could blow in very quickly. Tall waves were crashing all around the boat and splashing water into the boat it’s self. It was also not uncommon for storms to hit the lake suddenly. In fact Peter, Andrew, James and John were quite used to handling the boat through severe storms while out on this body of water. They were rugged men and very good at fishing and also controlling their boat regardless if it was calm or rough waters. But this storm was different. This was like no storm they had ever been in before. They were definitely having trouble keeping the boat right side up and under some kind of control. The Bible says they were in “real danger”. These men were doing everything in their power to keep the boat a float, some were steering and rowing, while some were trying to bail water out of the boat from the crashing waves. They couldn’t keep up and it was looking very bad. They probably hated to admit it, but they were scared for their lives! They looked around and realized Jesus wasn’t even helping them. He was still sleeping! Didn’t He care about them? Didn’t He realize what danger they were in? He was the one who told them to get the boat ready and wanted to cross over to the other side of the lake and now He wasn’t even helping them bail water out of the sinking boat! In desperation and frustration, they went over to Jesus and woke Him up. “Master!” They yelled, “Help! We’re going to drown! You need to do something!” I’m sure they thought He should pick up a bucket and do His fair share of bailing water out.
Jesus stood up and looked around and told the winds and the waves to “ Stop!” and “Be still”. At his command the storm immediately stopped. The sea was totally calm, like no storm had ever been there.
But an interesting thing happens after Jesus stopped the storm. It is the heart of the story. He turned and looked at his disciples and asked them why they were so afraid. He asked them why they didn’t have more faith or trust in Him. Can you imagine Jesus standing in front of you and asking you why you don’t have more fair or why you are afraid of something?
This is a moment we can all try to grasp a little deeper. We have the benefit of the Bible. For the disciples they were coming to know this man called Jesus. They had witnessed His power but they were just coming to realize who he really was. They realized they weren’t in the presence of a mere man. The Bible also tells us that they were terrified by that thought, probably more scared than they were during the storm. They were realizing in a much deeper way that Jesus was God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
Let’s take a closer look at the conversation and responses between Jesus and His disciples a little deeper. And let’s apply this to our own lives. Why did Jesus ask Peter, James, John and Andrew why they didn’t have more faith and trust in Him? Was that a fair question to ask?
If we back up and read around the Bible a bit, we realize that they had seen Jesus cast out evil spirits with “a simple command” (Matt.8:16) and heal all the sick people that were brought to Him. They had watched Jesus turn water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-11) and even forgive sins (Mark 2:1-12). Are any of these things something you, I or even the disciples could do? No!! Jesus was showing the world and His disciples who He was. He is God! Only God is powerful enough to do all of that. Yet in the middle of the storm, the disciples didn’t remember who Jesus was and that He was right there in the boat with them the whole time. Many times we are like this too. We believe in Jesus to be our Savior and Master, but when times get tough we feel like Jesus doesn’t care about us or know what’s going on in our lives. We think we are all alone in our troubles. We believe the stories of the Bible, but we don’t have faith to trust that He will help us in our lives today. Did that make Jesus happy? No! And I don’t think it makes Him happy today either. He loves us so much, He went to the cross and took our punishment. He wants us to remember that and live in it. He wants us to trust Him with every detail of our lives, knowing that He is our Captain that will never ever leave us or stop caring about us. He is with us in the good times and the bad times. The disciples didn’t feel like they needed Jesus when the sea was calm or even in the beginning of the storm. They were experienced fishermen, doing what they did best.
Makes us take a hard look at ourselves. Often we can feel the same way when life is good.
But we need Jesus all the time, every single day of our lives, every minute of every day. Just as Jesus was with His disciples the whole time, Jesus is with us always too. Let’s remember that!
We need to let Jesus be the captain of our lives. There are many great paintings and images of Jesus being at the helm of a boat or being the captain of a ship? It creates great images in the mind of how we can let Jesus guide us. Even singer Carrie Underwood had a very popular song about “Jesus Take the Wheel”. We need to allow Jesus fully into our lives and let him guide and pilot us in all that we do. In the good times as well as calling on his name in the hard times.
When the trials of Life seem like they are going to sink us….. Fear Not. Trust in the Lord and call on his name.