“Even the Wind and the Waves Obey Him!” 

by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on January 27, 2023 in

Epiphany 4 (Miracle over Forces of Nature)                   January 29, 2023
Text: Matthew 8:23-27            Historic Series                 23:2363
Theme: Even The Wind and the Waves Obey Him.

Much of the architecture and the appointments in our church are there to remind us of great truths about our life of faith in Christ. For example, stained glass windows portray Bible stories and truths to us that comfort and encourage us. (At Zion – Means of Grace; at Peace – Jesus the Good Shepherd, Friend of Children, Praying for Himself and us.) How about the structure of the building itself?
Throughout history church architecture has portrayed the building in which people worshiped as a boat. Even the name of the place where you sit suggests that. Where you sit is called the “nave.” The word comes from the Latin word for ‘boat.” So, how does the structure of a church come by that term? (At Zion: It also has to do with the reason we chose the story of Noah’s ark for one of our windows.) The reason is found in this lesson. (the text).

I. A Great Storm Arose.
It had been an especially long and tiresome day for Jesus, teaching and healing so many people. He asked His disciples to get a boat ready so that they could cross to the eastern shore of the sea. As the boat left land, the evening sky was clear and bright, the wind and the waves calm. Soon a fierce storm arose. Waves lifted the boat to towering heights, then cast it down again into deep troughs. The wind blew fiercely and covered the boat with water. It seemed sure to sink. The fishermen on board who knew this sea well, despaired of the likelihood of escape. And the most astounding fact was this: as the tempest raged and brought the boat into great jeopardy, Jesus appeared wholly unconcerned. He seemed not to know of the danger as He quietly slept in the back of the boat.
Here you find a portrait of the great danger that confronts the Christian Church in all times. Similar to the boat, the Church travels on the sea of the world towards heaven. But it has not yet arrived at its destination and many storms arise. Throughout history, hell, the world, and even the heavens at times seemed to unite to disrupt and destroy its progress.
The earliest Christians endured a tempest of bloody persecutions and were martyred for the faith. Still today in many parts of the world, Christians are imprisoned and killed for their faith in Christ. Soon after the persecutions, preachers arose within the Church teaching a whirlwind of false doctrines that led people astray from the truth of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. As instruments of the devil, these enemies of Christ and His Church were numerous and powerful. Had God not prevented them, they would have taken faith from us. Yes, from Jesus’ time onward, the Church has appeared in danger of being smashed to pieces and sinking into the deep.
The ship of the Church has always been tossed about by great storms. Sin and temptation have endangered each baptized Christian within it as it appeared that Christ was asleep, oblivious to the destruction that awaited. On its own the Church would surely have flooded and perished were it not for the Savior’s promise that “the gates of hell would not prevail against it.” (CW867:1-3; TLH 656)

II. “Lord, Save Us!”
The story of the boat on the Sea of Galilee portrays a picture not only of the dangers facing the Church at large, but also of each of us its members as we sit here in the nave. The text tells us two things about the disciples who were on board the vessel with Jesus:
– they were believers, yet their faith was weak;
– they left the world and everything behind in order to follow Him.
Now, facing such great danger, they rowed and rowed, bailed and bailed water, but to no avail. No human ability seemed to help. Turning to Christ Jesus, they awakened Him and pleaded, “Lord, Save Us!” They were not pleading for human aid. If they had not truly believed that Jesus could do something as the almighty Son of God, would they have turned to Him? They were tested sailors; He had been a lowly carpenter. Surely, an experienced seaman would have been of greater help. But no, they cried to Him for divine help.
Had their faith been more robust, assured, and smiling they would have recalled all the miracles they had just witnessed and the preaching of the words that were other-worldly. They would have been so sure that their prayer for help would be heard and that the boat with Jesus in it could not sink. But their prayer of faith, “Lord, Save Us!” was full of fear and anxiety for they immediately followed it with, “we are going to die. We are perishing!” (Present tense)
Had they forgotten the psalmist’s assurance (36:5f): “Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens; Your righteousness is as high as the mountains; Your justice is as deep as the ocean. You save both man and animal. So all people find refuge in the shadow of Your wing.” Ah, their faith was so weak that it bordered on unbelief. Yet, in a merciful God’s eyes, even a little faith is better than no faith at all.
Here is portrayed a picture of those on board the ship of the Church. And God be praised! First it pictures those who sit in the pews as people who left the world’s enticements to cling to Christ, confessing Him as God’s Son, the Savior. Amid our distresses, we call on Him for help: “Lord, Save Us!” We run to Him in faith. Yet, is our faith as strong as the Christians of earlier ages who gave up life and limb for their Lord? Are you ready to die for Him? To see everything that happens in your life as proceeding from His good will? If bloody persecutions and death would again break out against us in our age, would you respond with a great faith that will not be shaken? For in these latter days, Christ promises us that we will be faced with great distress, afflictions, and temptations. Will we stand firm, or will we weaken?
We must expect difficulties. But they do not foretell the death of the Church. And Christ does not condemn the weak in faith – “a smoldering wick He will not blow out, and a bending reed He will not break.” So it is that in times of greatness or weakness of faith we run to Him and cry: “Lord, Save Us!” (CW607; TLH373:1,6-7)

III. And There Was a Great Calm.
As the disciples’ boat floundered in high danger, Christ slept. It seemed that He was unaware of their great plight. But appearances can be deceiving. Yes, He slept according to His human nature. But He who is the divine Protector of His people “neither slumbers nor sleeps. As the Lord He watches over you” (Ps.121).
The men came to Him, and He saw to it that the boat would not be wrecked. “He got up and rebuked the wind and the sea. There was a great calm.” And there in the mystic calm that followed the storm, our Lord stood in His majestic glory as if to say, “Your comfort, strength, and life lie not with you, but in me, Your Savior.”
As you sit in your pews in this nave, tuck this picture deeply into the recesses of your heart. It is a strong picture of the One who sees His people in their great need, embraces, and helps, them with His eternal care. If Even the Winds and the Waves Obey Him, how great the manner of a man He is. More than man, God our Savior.
So, let us not lose heart in these last, troubled times. May we not forsake the ship of His Church, thinking it will soon sink. Outside of Him and the ship of His Holy Christian Church there is no salvation, just as there was no rescue for those who were not on-board with Noah on the ark. As that ark smoothly navigated the flood and finally came to rest, safe and sound on Mount Ararat, so will the ship of Christ’s Church pass through the world’s stormy sea and finally rest on the eternal Mount of divine Grace above. Then, all who have remained in faith will have their turn to cry in full amazement: “What kind of a man is this? Even the Wind and the Waves Obey Him?” Safe in His Heavenly Harbor we will have all eternity to rejoice in the answer to that question. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake.
(CW865:1,2,5; insert: “It Is Well with My Soul”)

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany                    January 29, 2023

   Welcome in the Savior’s name. We are happy to have you worshipping with us today as the Lord continues to reveal in His Word the divine glory of His Son.

As Jesus came down from preaching the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5-7), He performed many miracles. On one of those days, He manifested His divine power over the forces of nature in The Stilling of the Tempest.

Here is the Lord of storm and of sea. Here is omnipotent power over all things of which He is the Creator. The effect of this mighty manifestation on those who witnessed it was astonishment. They asked, “What manner of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” In many, many ways Jesus manifested His deity, so that we and no man can fail to see in Him the Son of God come to be our Savior.

May we, who have seen His glory in word and deed, kneel in faith before Him. May we worship Him for every blessing of salvation and for the calming of every storm in our lives by His word.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jesus Manifests His Power over the Forces of Nature

 The Preparation

 Opening Thoughts on the Service

The Entrance Hymn: “How Great Thou Art”                                                            #612

The Confession of Sins: “Just as I Am, without One Plea”                            st.1-4     #814

The Absolution: “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It”                                        st.1-3     #679

The Song of Praise: “Go Tell It on the Mountain”                                                        #361                                     

Prayer of the Day

The Ministry of the Word

(The Lessons for the Day are taken from the Historic Pericope Series of the Christian Church.)

Exodus 14:21-31 The Lord delivers Israel from the hand of Pharaoh and his army by opening up the sea for them to pass through it.

Hymn Response: “How Firm a Foundation:                                                  st.1-3     #800

Romans 13:8-10 As the Savior showed His love for people, the Apostle Paul tells us to do the same. He summarizes the “second table” of the Ten Commandments, encouraging us: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Hymn Response: “Christ Be My Leader”                                                                   #518

 The Sermon: “Even the Wind and the Waves Obey Him!”               Matthew 8:23-27

Part 1: A Great Storm Arose

The Hymn: “Afflicted Saint, to Christ Draw Near”                                           st.1-3     #867

Part 2: “Lord, Save Us!”

The Hymn: “Ten Thousand Reasons”                                                                       #607

Part 3: There Was A Great Calm.

The Hymn: “The Church’s One Foundation”                                                 st..1-2&5 #855

Our Response to the Word

The Offering

The Hymn: “I’m But a Stranger Here”                                                                         #853

The Lord Blesses Us

Prayers and The Lord’s Prayer

The Benediction; Hymnal pg.214

Closing Hymn: “Abide with Me”                                                         st.1-2, 7-8           #783

Silent Prayer

*                   *                  *

The Organist: Jane Rips                                       The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Points to Ponder by Early Church Fathers: “The ship carried Christ’s humanity, but the power of His godhead carried the ship and all that was in it.” — Ephrem the Syrian (A.D. ca.306-373 a writer of commentaries and devotional hymns of highly regarded poetry)

“Jesus took the disciples with Him…in order to permit them to witness the miracle that was to take place on the sea. For like a superb trainer, He was gradually coaching and fitting them for endurance. He had two objectives in mind: He wanted to teach them to remain undismayed amid dangers and modest in honors. So, to prevent them from thinking too much of themselves, He kept them near Him but permitted them to be tossed with a tempest. By doing so He disciplined them to bear trials patiently…. When trials and terrors were rising, He took with Him none but those He was training to be champions of the Gospel.” — Chrysostom (A.D. 344-407 His name means “Golden Mouth.” He was an exceptional early preacher of the Gospel in the Christian Church, noted for his orthodoxy, eloquence, and preaching on Christian laxity)

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Historic Series

Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 14:21-31 God Parts the Red Sea

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all night long the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned the sea into dry land. The waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the middle of the sea on dry ground. The waters were like a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all of Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his charioteers went after them into the middle of the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud. Then he confused the Egyptian forces. 25 He jammed[c] their chariot wheels, and they had difficulty driving them. The Egyptians said, “We must flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!”

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their charioteers.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea returned to its normal place. While the Egyptians were fleeing from it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the middle of the sea. 28 The waters came back and covered the chariots and the charioteers, the entire army of Pharaoh that went into the sea after the Israelites. Not even one of them survived.

29 But the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry land, and the waters were like a wall for them on their right and on their left. 30 On that day the Lord saved Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the mighty hand which the Lord put into action against the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.

Epistle Lesson: Romans 13:8-10 Love Is the Fulfillment of the Law

Do not owe anyone anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments—do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet (and if there is any other commandment)—are summed up in this statement: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor, so love is the fulfillment of the law.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus Stills the Storm

23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the sea, so that their boat was covered by the waves. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 They went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!”

26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a complete calm. 27 The men were amazed, saying, “What kind of a man is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019

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A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue), Springfield, MO 65810

Church phone: 417.887.0886                         www.zionluthchurch.com

Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244                  email: revelehmann@gmail.com

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Septuagesima (70)


A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today

The world is a confusing place. We often feel it doesn’t deal fairly with us. We go through the emotions of anger, or at other times terror, when we don’t understand the turmoil around us. But Jesus reminds us of his presence and changes our eyesight to see the great and enduring salvation he has won for us. This gives life a new perspective and purpose.

The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 8:23-27 (answers are found on the back side)

  1. What miraculous action did the disciples observe?
  2. Why did Jesus rebuke them?

Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter; Lucille Huston; Barbara Long; Lois Wiese; Barbara Breidel; Lou Schulz, under hospice care.

 Song Service Today Since the month of January has 5 Sundays, it is our custom to sponsor a song service on a 5th Sunday and let the members pick out some of their favorite hymns. Some of today’s hymns are old standards; a few are of more recent origin, although they may go back quite a few years. We will get to sing at least 1 hymn, in most instances 2 or 3 that were on the favorite hymns sheet people filled out. God bless our worship as you enjoy singing some of your favorite hymns.

 Upcoming Events

Monday-Tuesday, February 6-7 – Pastors’ Winter Study Conference in W. Des Moines, IA

Lent begins February 22. Our Midweek Suppers and Services will be held Thursday evenings.

The Week in Review

Last Sunday Worship: 33; Bible Class 25; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offerings: $4,033; special missions: $20.

   Next Sunday’s Lessons:               

Septuagesima: Jeremiah 9:23-24; 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5; Matthew 20:1-16 (Historic Pericope Series)

 Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:

  1. Jesus calmed the rough seas just by talking to the wind and the waves. Here was another example of Jesus’ divinity as He showed the disciples that He could do what was impossible for humans to do.
  2. The disciples should have realized that there was nothing to be terrified about with Jesus nearby. Faith does not gain its perspective from what it sees around us, but by the person with us. Does your faith rest on Jesus despite the turmoil around you?

This week I am praying for……    


Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann