Sunday, 7 February 2021
Title : Christ in the storm
By Elder Bryan Lee 李惠隆
23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.
24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.
25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”
26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
In 1633 at the age of 27, the great Dutch painter Rembrandt created one of his masterpieces titled “Christ in the Storm”. (Google to see the painting). The painting shows a close-up view of Christ’s disciples struggling frantically against the heavy storm to regain control of their fishing boat. A huge wave beats the bow and rips the sail. In the midst of the raging storm, Christ was soundly asleep on the cushion (Mk 4:38). In the painting we see two disciples waking him and saying to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”(Mk 4:38).
The Sea of Galilee is comparatively a small fresh water lake situated in the northeast of Israel. Because so many biblical events happened here, it is the dream of every Christian to be able to sail on its waters. That we did in 2017 and what an experience for our group! On the day we arrived at the hotel by the shore we were told that a storm was brewing and it was too dangerous for boats to go out. Storms are common on the Sea of Galilee because of its topographical location. The storm did come slapping and howling on our hotel windows. I could imagine the waves churned up on the Sea of Galilee just as Rembrandt depicted in his famous masterpiece. It was only the next day that the Sea was calm and the boats could take us out safely.
Storms will surely come. The Bible tells us so and specifically Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Sometimes they come quickly and pounce on us ferociously and we are caught off guard. Some storms that we experience, like this one on the Sea of Galilee, are dangerous.
Some of us now may be facing the storm of financial stress. For others you may be facing the storm of emotional stress. Right now illness may be the storm of your life. Some of us are facing storms in our relationships.
How are you dealing with your personal storm?
There is an element of mystery in that there are fourteen people in the painting. The twelve disciples with Jesus would make up thirteen people in the boat. Many experts believe the artist included a self-portrait in the composition and it is the young man in blue and the only one looking directly out at the viewer, after all he was 27 when he did the painting.
Rembrandt is probably telling us that in the mighty storms of life, no place is safer than to be with Jesus.
Just as Rembrandt’s masterpiece is based on today’s story, this Sunday school song “With Christ in the Vessel” is probably inspired by the same story :
With Christ in the vessel I can smile at the storm,
Smile at the storm, smile at the storm;
With Christ in the vessel I can smile at the storm
As we go sailing home.
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Lord, thank You that no place is safer than to be with You.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for You are with me. Amen.
马太福音8:23 – 27