Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.There were also other boats with him. A furious squall 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 died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
This Advent we are taking a look at the promise of the Messiah given to us in Isaiah 9:6, that Jesus will be a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. In this series, we will consider what each of those names mean and how Jesus was the embodiment of them, both in the time he spent on earth and even today in how he works in our lives. This week, we are looking at how Jesus fulfilled the promise of being a Mighty God, and specifically how Jesus still fulfills that role for us even when we are in the midst of darkness or stormy waters. We’ll learn that Jesus does not cease to be a Mighty God simply because we feel like he may be sleeping through our own personal storms.
In the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41, we see the terrified disciples shaking Jesus awake and asking him if he even cares if they live or die from the storm. Have you ever questioned God’s ability or willingness to rescue you from a storm and, if so, what conclusion about God’s love for you did you come to?
Read Psalm 107: 24-29. These verses depict a story remarkably similar to the one we read of Jesus in Mark 4, and once again we see a Mighty God at work (only this time it is in the character of God the Father). How does this congruity of Scripture make you feel either about your own faith or the Christian faith in general?
In Mark 4:39 we see Jesus calm the storm with three words: “Quiet! Be still!” At the onset of Advent, quietness and stillness can be lost in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Sometimes Christmas itself can become a storm in our lives. Where is Jesus asking you to be quiet and still right now in your life? How can you commit to being quiet and still during the storm of this season or perhaps during a personal storm you find yourself in the midst of?
The storm’s force was no match for Jesus back in the boat with the disciples and it is still no match for him today in our modern day boats. Do you believe that to be true? How do you answer the questions that surface in your mind when you realize Jesus is not calming your storms?
This week we see that God does not allow us to weather our storms because he is angry with us. Sometimes the storm is what will ultimately show his immense love for us. Oftentimes it is through telling these stories of God’s provision and faithfulness and mightiness to ourselves and others that will get us through the next storm. Describe a time in your life when a storm proved to be a demonstration of God’s love for you rather than a demonstration of his disdain or apathy toward you.
The disciples’ problem in this story was not that they weren’t trying hard enough or working hard enough to follow Jesus, it was that they still did not believe. Faith in Jesus means giving up control completely. Where is your control level— does it ebb and flow with the appearance and disappearance of storms? Where is Jesus trying to remind you to give up control and embrace faith in his mightiness?
Ephesians 3:20-21 is a reminder of the mightiness and power of the one we worship this Advent. When you find yourself in a storm, what or who do you look to first when the waves rush over the bow? Ask God to draw near to you in his mightiness and give you the faith to look only to him during a storm.
We are reminded this week of the importance of remembering the faithfulness and mightiness of God’s work in our lives. We learn that the only way to weather a storm that seems to not be quieting is to tell ourselves that story as many times as it takes to be still in our hearts. Take some time this week to remember those stories in your life. Ask God if there is someone that you need to share that story with this Advent season when storms seem to always be on our horizons. Remember, “Your story told truthfully is good news to others.” Ask God who needs to know your story.
Christmas Eve is approaching, which is a great opportunity to share your truthful story and invite others who haven’t discovered their story in Jesus yet to celebrate his miraculous birth with us. Consider prayerfully who God might be asking you to invite to one of our Christmas Eve services in a few weeks.