The Sea ... We don't respect the sea the way the ancients did. With our boats, canoes, party barges, sea doo's, and water skis we treat the seas, the lakes, and the rivers as God's gifts for recreation. Every so often an accident on the water reminds us to be cautious. Occasionally, when a hurricane like Dennis comes rolling our way, we are confronted by the terrible power of the sea. But few of us make our living on the sea and our lifestyle is tied into proximity to the ocean. If it was, we might regard it a little more "spiritually."

There is a good reason why sailors are a superstitious lot. They know that crossing the sea is dangerous. This is why the ancients made sure not to offend the spirits of the deep as they went cruising over their heads. If the spirits got mad they could swallow you up into the briny deep in a quick blast.

While Jesus was teaching by the sea there might have been some indication that bad weather was boiling up. The seasoned fishermen of Jesus' group didn't know anything about low pressure fronts, but they were tuned into the signs. They also believed that the forces of the deep might be reeling and squirming because Jesus is crossing over their territory. They have seen the Teacher command evil spirits, but this was when he had the home court advantage. Dare he trespass on their turf? Why does he insist on crossing over to the other side?

Reading Mark 4:35-41
        That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took Jesus along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
        A furious storm came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!"
        Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
        They were terrified and asked each other, "Just who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

"Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"

"Quiet! Be still!"

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 10 July 2005

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