Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Is Jesus in your Boat?
Last time we heard the parable of the farmer who planted seeds. The seed, Jesus explained, is the gospel—the good news of the King in God’s Kingdom: The Messiah Jesus. In the story Jesus showed us four kinds of soil representing four types of minds with four different levels of openness to the gospel message. One mind is so hardened that the gospel doesn’t even register. Another shows feigned interest but soon abandons it. Still another seems to accept it eagerly but really has their allegiance in other places. Finally, there is the mind that is “suitable” and “open to being changed.” Jesus describes this type of mind as “honest and good.” In this mind the gospel takes root and grows slowly over time to show a changed heart and an altered destiny.
So you might say—whatever. You can discuss your “Jesus” all you want but I don’t really care. I’m in charge of my destiny and what you do really doesn’t interest or affect me very much. In response I think Jesus would say: “Think again.”
16 – 18
You don’t turn on a lamp only to hide it away so the light won’t shine. The gospel, once shown on a person’s life, cannot then be ignored. Reality is reality whether we choose to accept it or not. The reality is that you are accountable for what you hear and know.
Paul the Apostle would later write in Romans 14:12 “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” What does that account look like? In the end we will all stand before the tribunal of God (also Romans 14). There will be one question asked: what did you do about Jesus?
1John 5:12 “The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the “life” John talks about is eternal life that the Messiah offers through His death, burial and resurrection. When you get that life your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Without being written in that book, Revelation 20:15 says the individual will be separated from God in a place where there will be sadness and anger—a place in the absence of everything that is good.
You may think that it doesn’t really matter what your mind does with the gospel. But everyone’s decision when it comes to Jesus will be made public in the end:
Luke 12:3 “Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
So Jesus says for us to “take care” how you listen. The word means to have insight. The gospel isn’t just another philosophy or club motto or good advice. It’s the difference between life after death or death after life. You will be held accountable for what you did with the good news. You ignore it to your own peril.
Jesus’ final words of warning are that even if you think you have your deal all sewn up with God or the universe; if you think you have all the security you need—it won’t do you any good on that last day when you stand before God.
I’m not trying to be a downer here, but a bit of a realist. I thought I had my act together. I was the captain of my own ship, the arbiter of my own destiny. But the gospel got ahold of me and I let it in and it changed me forever. It showed me that Jesus must be considered and dealt with.
So what does it mean? It means letting go of everything you thought provided security and holding on to Him. That can be really hard to imagine, but Luke shows us that Jesus in return holds onto us with a fierce loyalty to us as His people that outstrips even physical family relationships.
19 – 21
So at some point Jesus’ mother Mary and his brothers came to see Him. We presume at this point that Joseph has died and is off the scene. Also His sisters are not present. Though we can’t be totally certain, this seems like the same scene as in Mark 3. What Mark reveals is that Jesus’ family thought He was “out of His mind” and sought to “restrain” Him. Here, Luke simply states that the family couldn’t reach Him (the word “meet” in Greek). It sounds more like an intervention than a meeting to me.
Jesus’ family did not really understand what He was about and it wasn’t until after the resurrection that His half-brother James came to believe in Him. Jesus’ point here is that when it comes to the Kingdom of God, loyalty shifts from family of origin to family of destiny. As Paul would later write, we have been adopted into a new family, God’s family (Ephesians 1:5). You get into that family by hearing and obeying the Word of God, which says to put your whole trust in Jesus the Messiah.
If we doubt how powerful that loyalty is, and to what lengths Jesus will go for His family, we see it demonstrated in three powerful miracles: Jesus’ power over physical creation, spiritual creation, and suffering—and in these situations Jesus teaches us that our part is to trust Him.
Let’s look at the first miracle.
22 – 25
The first thing to note here is that when Jesus says we are going somewhere, have no doubt that you will arrive at your destination.
2 Timothy 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.”
Secondly, notice that Jesus was so exhausted that He slept through a windstorm. This shows us that He was all human and all in when it came to His rescue mission.
Windstorms can spring up quickly on the Sea of Galilee. Waves of 10 feet high are not uncommon (such a storm occurred in 1992). You know it was bad when seasoned seamen were afraid they were going to die.
Finally, they wake Jesus up. Notice what they say: “we’re going to die!” They panicked, which is understandable except for one thing: they had Jesus in the boat with them. Up until this point they’d seen some miracles—driving out of demons, healing, even raising from the dead. But they likely thought that a storm was a force of nature that was beyond anyone’s power. Not so with Jesus. Do you ever face a situation that feels so terrible that nothing can help?
The Lord wakes up, tells His creation to calm down, which it does instantly, and then tells His disciples to calm down. He says simply: “where is your faith?” It’s like He’s saying: “I’ve put my loyalty towards you who believe in Me, now it’s your turn to trust in Me.”
Their response? Fear and amazement. And what they say is “Who can this be?” The conclusion is that He is much more than a man, even a powerful man whom God likes. He is a man who speaks to wind and waves and they obey. Only the Creator, the Master, can wield such power.
So how about you? In a real sense, if you have given your trust to Jesus, you are in a boat called your walk with Christ in this life and He has said that you are setting out on a journey. That journey will include perilous times when you fear for your life and sanity. Jesus seems so calm—too calm. Why isn’t He as upset as we are? It’s good advice to say calm and trust the Master. Even if they’d gone down there is no doubt that Jesus would have still reached the other side by the world’s first submarine!
You will reach His kingdom safely—even if that means your boat goes down and you die—even if that means you endure suffering. There’ll be some scares along the way, and some scars, but if Jesus is in your boat you having nothing to fear. Instead of focusing on the wind and waves, focus on the sleeping master.
So what we see here is Jesus’ loyalty to His new family, those that hear him, hear the gospel, and obey it—which is to say put their trust in Him. And then He shows that He can sustain you in that new life, no matter the storm that comes your way.
Something interesting to point out: it was only the disciples who saw Jesus exert this power. The story was meant to be told to many but only a few experienced it. What’s the lesson there for us? That this experience of riding into storms and seeing God’s peace in the midst is something you will experience between you and God. No one else can live your life, go through your storms, or rely on the Lord for you. It may be just you and God—and that’s okay. Jesus may or may not command the storm in your life to subside. The key isn’t whether the storm goes away, the key is whether we’re going to trust Him no matter what.
Isiah 26:3 “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in You.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
because in Yah, the LORD, is an everlasting rock!”
The word “perfect peace” is: Shalom shalom. A word repeated is meant for emphasis. It’s not just peace but “super peace”. Jesus takes this up in John’s gospel:
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
One of the operative words I love here is “guard” – the action of God’s Spirit. It can mean two things in Greek. 1) “to protect with a military guard either in order to prevent hostile invasion or to prevent the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight” (Thayer). 2) In it’s passive mode it means “to be under the control of a guard”. We could talk all day about this, but generally I like these ideas because, as a Christian, when presented with a storm we want to flee; we want to escape it. But the peace of Christ allows us to remain in the storm and watch Him work on our behalf—to keep us safe and to beat back the enemy whose sole purpose is to get us to stop trusting Jesus and not grow into trusting Him more.
Then we come back to the lamp—the gospel. I mentioned at the beginning that we sometimes feel we are captain of our own ship. But in reality we aren’t the captain, we are the slaves in the cargo bay below—destined for the slave auction. We are not rich, we are bankrupt spiritually and unable to save or sustain ourselves. But realizing that is the best news possible. Because at that slave auction is Jesus, who pays for us with His own money, His own blood, though it is to Him that we have been unfaithful.
We must answer the same question as the disciples: who can this be?