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notre dame montreal

Sermon preached by The Reverend Dr Sam Cappleman

Who is in control?

It seems that the last few days in the (sports) news have been dominated by question about who would be the England Football captain.  Would it be John Terry or would there be a change.  We know the answer and Rio Ferdinand has taken over the captains duties. 

It was clear that when Fabio Capello came back he consulted with others and then made his decision.  It was quite clear who was in control…

At this church you are between vicars, in an interregnum.  Who is in control?  Is it the Bishop, is it the organist?  Is it the PCC?  It’s the wardens.  They have the responsibility with the PCC when there is no vicar at a church

Today’s gospel reading too is about who is in control – not just of the England football team or this church but of the world.

The three key messages of Luke’s gospel are that:

  • Jesus is the Messiah as prophesised in the Old Testament
  • Jesus is the Son of God, as He claims
  • Jesus has complete authority over everything, He is in chage, even when He appears absent

The whole section just before this passage in Luke deals with the authority of Jesus.  Jesus has the authority to:

  • Forgive sins                  5 v 20
  • Know our thoughts        5 v 22
  • Heal people                  6 v 8
  • Bring peace                  7 v 50
  • Over nature                   8 v 24

Luke is telling the readers that God’s sovereign authority is breaking into our world in a new way

The Jewish leaders and teachers have been found wanting and a new world order is about to come – Jesus has already appointed the 12 disciples (cf the 12 tribes of Israel) the 12 new leaders of ‘the church’. 

Up to now the miracles have been done in front of the crowds, now they will be done in front of the disciples and believers.

We are at a turning point in the gospel – Jesus is the agent of change sent by God

In the Old Testament the waters represent the chaos of the world.  In Daniel 7 four great monsters come out from the sea to make war on the people of God

The psalms in lots of places (e.g. 46, 65, 89, 93, 104) celebrate God’s victory over the ‘mighty waters’

In the book of Revelation we are told (Rev 21 v 1) that in the New Jerusalem there will be no more sea

The waters shall not have the last word!

In the Exodus, we saw the sea controlled so the Israelites could pass through to the Promised Land

In Jesus calming the sea, Luke is bringing to mind for the readers the imagery of the sea and what it means and shows that Jesus is in control of nature itself.  He is the Messiah; He is the Son of God who has authority and control over all things, just like the Father, including the sea.

The miracle is about the calming of the storm, but it’s also about the miracle of who Jesus is.

Jesus is able to calm the storm because of who He is.

He is the agent of the new exodus, the agent of the new world order we are invited to join

No wonder the disciples say to themselves, ‘Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.’

In front of their very eyes, they have seen Jesus take control of nature itself, and they and we are invited to be part of this new world order

And the challenge that Luke poses for the disciples is the same as we have today

Faith is binary.  We are challenged to put our faith in Jesus, to let Him be in control or be at the mercy of the storm, the storms of life and be under the control of others

Out of the chaos, our God brings peace and order – but in order for us to know that peace and order we have to put our faith unreservedly in Jesus

When we do, the peace and stillness may not come as quickly as it did for the disciples in the boat but we are assured it will come, because Jesus is in authority over and in control of all creation

When we get into tough times our reaction is sometimes like the disciples too, panic first then ask God to do something.  God understands

Whatever it may feel like, God is in control of all creation and ultimately His will ‘will be done’.