Joy In Suffering

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Sermon Notes

Jesus Stills The Storm

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

February 3, 2019

The Bible Verse

The Lord has written for us this morning from Matthew 8, saying “Then Jesus arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

The Prayer

Let us pray: Almighty God, whose Son has power even over the winds and the sea.  Grant that we may learn how mighty is the power of this Christian faith, especially in the midst of our suffering; in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Comparison of Jonah & Jesus

Jonah sailed away from God. Jesus sailed to the cross.

Jesus on the Sea of Galilee

The disciples are crossing the sea in a boat.  Jesus sleeps below.

They entered the when the sea was calm.  Now water is flowing over the boat. Waves creaking the frame and bending the bow.  It’s only a matter of time. Experienced fisherman had no hope to survive this one.

The disciples came to Jesus and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”   Death is at the boat.  The gate of hell opens its mouth to swallow them all.  The disciples don’t want death. They are afraid.

The First Rebuke

And what did Jesus say to them?  “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”  Really?  Little faith?

Luther says this, “If the disciples had faith, (their faith) would have driven the wind and the waves of the sea out of their minds, and pictured before their eyes … the power … of God, the promise of His Word; and (their faith) would have relied upon that Word, as though anchored to an immovable rock ..., as though the sun shined brightly and all was calm and no storm was raging.  (Lenker paragraph 3, Fourth Sunday after Epiphany).

Non-Christians have no experience of this.  Christians can have this experience. A living confidence that God will take care of the problem for your benefit.  However, Christians have one problem. Their unbelieving nature still clings to them. Unbelief looks to only what is seen and what can be controlled.

Luther concludes saying this, “God bestows faith to the end that is should not deal with ordinary things, but with things that no human being can master such as death, sin, unbelief, and Satan.”

The disciples are not facing an ordinary problem.  Therefore, unbelief kicks into high gear. Faith is washed overboard.

The Second Rebuke

Then Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Boom!  Just like that.  Calm.

What would this account of the Jesus calming the sea look like if the disciples had a living confidence that God was mercifully taking care of them during the storm?

Looking at them, we would see them hard at work to keep the ship afloat, even if they knew it was a lost cause.  

Looking in them, at their hearts, we would not see anxiety or fear.  We would not see them trying to save their own skin. Rather we would see a contentment.  We would see their confidence that whether they lived or died, they would be with the Lord.  Whether they lived or died, God’s will would be done. Whether they lived or died they would experience the best outcome God desired for them.  Why, because God is gracious and merciful.

Contentment is adversity.  Joy in suffering. These are gifts of God for you to experience.

God Teaches Joy & Contentment through Adversity and Suffering

How do you learn contentment and joy?  Through adversity and suffering.

Our Father is the giver of adversity and suffering.

In a case like this, Jesus is your example.  Our Father gave Jesus the suffering and adversity of the cross.  Jesus did not calm that storm. Rather, Jesus humbled Himself and despised the shame of the cross.  He did that to save you. Why? Because the Father sent Jesus to be your Savior.

You are not your Savior nor can you save anyone else.

It is a beautiful thing to trust Jesus in the midst of the adversity and suffering which God brings.  Not for your harm. Rather, so that you trust yourself less and Jesus more. The more confidence you have in Jesus; the more contentment you will have in suffering, even suffering that leads to death for death is not the end of your life.


Your repentance this morning is to acknowledge your weak faith.

Unto Faith

And hear again the promises of God.  Such as,

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

No one can snatch you out of my hand.

Jesus is your Life.

Jesus is your Righteousness.

Jesus is your Confidence.

Jesus is your Savior in life and in death.

From the Lord According to St Paul (Romans)

Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

   “For Your sake we are killed all day long;

   We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


There is such a thing as the experience of joy in suffering.  And you have the faith fit for it; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard you and keep you in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.