Peace, Be Still (Mark Sermon 21)
June 26, 2022 | Andy Davis
Humility, Supremacy of Christ
Pastor Andy Davis unfolds an episode of Jesus' life that expands our comprehension of him as the Son of God and alerts us to not underestimate him.
- Sermon TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bibles to Mark 4:35-41. We continue this incredible study in the Gospel of Mark. There's something deeply unsettling to most of us when it comes to the sea, a primordial fear of its power, and its unpredictability, and its mystery. We cannot see below the surface or beyond the horizon, and we can never know for sure what's coming at us. There is, of course, the simple fear of drowning that can seizes us all. The fact is, we cannot survive for long underwater, and death by drowning is a terrifying way to go. Beyond that is the fear of the weather, a sudden storm that can turn the once placid sea into a raging inferno of power, mighty white-capped breakers coming at us, and wave upon wave, utterly beyond our ability to withstand or subdue. Then there's the irrational terror of creatures of the deep. The summer of 1975, the summer that Jaws came out, I was in Lake Winnipesaukee. I was on an Astroturf-covered floating raft, unwilling to dive into the lake and swim back to shore for fear of a great white shark. Having no idea that that was a saltwater creature, and I was in fresh water, and there was zero chance of being eaten by a shark. That didn't matter, I was terrified. We read the accounts of the sailors that sailed with Columbus, and they were afraid of the terrifying monsters of the deep, of great whales with their immense size, and their powerful tails and their powerful mouths, or even a giant squid with their long undulating tentacles. All of these things are terrors. The sea represents the darkest side of man's terrors, and it can quickly reduce even the most courageous man to a trembling child.
That's why this account of Jesus' effortless power over the wind and the waves is so compelling. It asks the fundamental question that's before us, when we read all four of the Gospels, “Who is this man?” The fundamental answer, that's so clear, only Almighty God can control the wind and the waves with the simple word of His command. This story adds more vital information to the quest of our faith, to understand the basic thesis of the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. What does that mean? What does that mean that He's the Son of God? What does that mean for each of us individually, personally? Beyond this, this amazing account gives us a sense of the total control of Jesus over the hardest moments of our lives, and His ability to speak peace to our souls when we need it the most. That's what we're looking at today.
"Only Almighty God can control the wind and the waves with the simple word of His command."
I. The Setting for the Storm, and Its Sudden Severety
Now, we need to set this storm, the setting of the storm and its sudden severity, and the personal setting, Jesus' ongoing, amazing ministry, his overwhelming ministry. Jesus had had a very long day of ministry just like every day. So in Mark 4:1-2, it says, “Jesus began to teach by the sea. The crowd that gathered around Him was so large that He got into a boat and sat in it out on the sea while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. He taught them many things by parables.” Though Mark 4 doesn't mention any healings or demon possessed people being set free, that was of course the norm, the huge crowd that was there almost certainly were there to be healed as well as taught. So it was that same busy day, it was the end of a very overwhelming, busy day, in verse 35-36, “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,” so it was absolutely exhausting, long day. The text says that they left the crowd and took Jesus along just as He was. What does that mean? He didn't have the chance to change his clothes or refresh himself in any way, it's just there it is. It's time to go to get into the boat and go across the lake, right on the heels of a very hard day. The boat that they were in seemed to have been powered by wind and sail, not by oar. These boats generally could hold about 15 people. So we would imagine, and the text confirms, a kind of a flotilla of boats, not just one, but a group of boats going across, carrying the twelve apostles and other disciples that were following Jesus.
Now, we need to look at the physical setting, which is the Sea of Galilee. Mark 4:1 mentions the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is one of the most fascinating bodies of water in the world. It's a freshwater lake that is, at the lowest altitude of any such lake in the world, approximately 690 feet below sea level. It measures about 13 miles long, 7 miles wide, about 150 feet deep at its deepest point. It's fed partially by underwater springs, but mostly by the Jordan River, which flows north to south from Mount Hermon, which stands 9,200 feet above sea level. It's a marvelous source of fresh water, supplying, even today, much of the nation of Israel with drinking water. Over the centuries, it provided an amazingly, abundant supply of fish. Although fishing is now banned in the Sea of Galilee because the stocks got to a dangerously low level, but even in our lifetime, it still was a source of sardines that were caught there every year.
The biggest issues with the Sea of Galilee are the geography and the weather. The lake is in the center of a deep geological rift that cuts a gash in the surface of the Earth, running 4,500 miles long down through Africa, as far south as Mozambique. I myself have been in that rift in the nation of Kenya, I was in the Rift Valley Academy, the same gash. It makes that area vulnerable to earthquakes, seismic activity. The rift causes steep hills and cliffs on each side of the Sea of Galilee, making it effectively sit down in a deep bowl. It is therefore vulnerable to high winds, which can cause staggeringly dramatic storms to rise up. The narrow confines of the lake multiply exponentially the effect of these winds and storms, making the Sea of Galilee, a very dangerous place in a storm. The record shows in March of 1992, one storm in the Sea of Galilee generated a 10-foot wave that overwhelmed and flooded the city of Tiberius.
The storm comes up with sudden severity, look at verse 37, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped.” The suddenness of the storm is more clear from the Gospel of Matthew, as if the storm just came up out of nowhere, without any warning at all. Matthew 8:24 says, "And behold there are arose a great tempest in the sea.” The Greek word for the storm used here is also used for a hurricane, an overpowering wind of gale force, maybe as high as 80 miles an hour. The word is intensified by the additional Greek word “megale”, a mega storm, a great storm. This is a great hurricane. Matthew 8:24 uses the Greek word “seismos”, from which we get seismic, like a seismic event, an earthquake. Luke 8:24 says the waters were raging, dashing and pummeling the boat. The effect of this hurricane wind and these raging, thrashing waves was that the boat was quickly filling with water. These men, we need to understand are professional fishermen who grew up on the Sea of Galilee. In their professional opinion, their boat was about to go down — it was going down. Those conditions meant certain death for them all.
II. Jesus' Perfect Humanity vs. the Disciples'Faithless Terror
We see Jesus in this account, Jesus' perfect humanity contrasted with the disciples' faithless terror. Jesus' humanity is on display in that He was physically exhausted and asleep on a cushion, Jesus was fully man and fully God. This is the great mystery of theology, the mystery of the incarnation. His attributes as both fully human and fully God are on full display in this amazing account. First, we see the humanity of Jesus in His physical exhaustion. Verse 38, “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” Jesus' physical limitations are part of the mystery. He got tired, just like the rest of us. He got very little rest. The needs of the crowd were relentless, and so also was His compassion on the crowd, relentless. It's fascinating that Mark alone gives us the detail of the cushion, Jesus sleeping on a cushion. You may ask, why did Jesus sleep on a cushion, and I would answer because it's more comfortable. There's no great mystery here. What it shows is that Jesus is no ascetic, seeking out intentionally harsh treatment for his body. If there was a cushion around, He's going to use it and support his head, it's just more comfortable. So He's not an ascetic, but at the same time, He was willing to live a very difficult physical life. He said to one man who wanted to follow Him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head,” [Matthew 8:20], so He was used to a difficult life. But in this particular case, He found a place to lay His head on a cushion. He must have been extremely tired because the wind and the waves, and the boat filling with water don't wake Him. That's Jesus in His humanity. We know that Almighty God needs no rest at all, ever. It says in Psalm 121: 3-4, "He who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." Or again, Isaiah 40:28, it says, "God's power is limitless. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, he will not grow tired or weary." But Jesus in His humanity did grow tired and did get weary.
We also see Jesus' perfect humanity in His complete trust in His heavenly Father. Here, by his sleep in the storm, He is commending a life of faith to each one of us. He was perfectly at rest in His Father's hands. He knew there was literally no chance whatsoever He was going to die by drowning in the Sea of Galilee. Imagine the heavenly newspaper with the headline, "Son of God dies tragically in a boating accident. All of heaven, shocked prophecy's not fulfilled.” You know about piercing hands and feet and things like that, Psalm 22. Impossible. So Jesus thought it was a good chance for a nap. Jesus lived out every moment of His life in complete trust in His Father. Psalm 22, that same Psalm says, "You brought me out of the womb. You made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth, I was cast upon you, from my mother's womb you have been my God." So He knew He could sleep, and God would watch over Him. I love Psalm 4:8 on this very matter, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety." Wouldn't you love to live your life like that? In the midst of the deepest troubles of your life, just be able to go to sleep and know that God is going to take care of you, He's going to protect you. This is what the disciples had to learn to do, to so trust in their heavenly Father, that there's never any cause for mindless, unreasoning terror. So that's Jesus' humanity.
"Jesus lived out every moment of His life in complete trust in His Father."
We also see Jesus' infinite majesty as the incarnate Son of God. We have a combination, therefore, of normal weakness and infinite power. In one passage, we have Jesus' weakness and His weariness and His fatigue, but we also have Him give the display of, I would say arguably, the most physically powerful thing that any human being has ever done on Planet Earth. We have, by contrast, the disciples' faithless terror. Jesus gives us the plain example of a man completely trusting in His heavenly Father. But by contrast, the disciples are wild with terror, they're out of their minds. They wake him, verse 38, and say to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we perish?" Big picture is that Jesus came into the world because He cared that we were perishing, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16] So He cares. No one has cared more than Jesus. The disciples' faith needs to be strengthened so that they would not ever doubt Jesus' love or power, and they must also trust God's plan. They must lose their fear of dying, and Christ's resurrection will do that for them. Now, the question comes, why did they wake Jesus at all? What were they thinking when they woke Him? They certainly weren't expecting Him to do what He got up and did. They were stunned by it. Maybe they just thought it was good manners, "If we're going down, it'd be good that Jesus were awake when it happens." Or maybe they felt that He had, which He clearly did, a specific “in” with God, and that God would affect some kind of protection for them though they didn't know how.
The Old Testament actually speaks much of God's protection in the midst of storms, perhaps the clearest is Psalm 107:23-29 which says, "Others went out on the sea in ships, they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, His wonderful deeds in the deep. For He spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens, they went down to the depths. In their peril, their courage melted away, they reeled and staggered like drunken men. They were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed.” So God spoke and the storm came, and then God spoke and the storm went away. He brings it, then He ends it. So perhaps they thought, in waking Jesus up, that He would call on His Father and that God would deliver them in the same pattern. I don't know what they were thinking, they certainly didn't expect what was about to happen. Now, as I'm walking through the account, I also want to ask, what did the disciples do wrong? They're professional fishermen who are bred and raised on this very sea. They knew it like the back of their hands. They saw the magnitude of the wind, the size of the waves, the swamping of the boat, they were bailing, they were trying to save their lives. In their expert opinion, they're going down, they're all going to drown. They didn't wake Jesus immediately, but sought to use all of their skills to survive. At the last moment, they went to Jesus and woke Him up, and He rebuked them. So why did He rebuke them? What did they do wrong? We'll get to that at the end of the sermon. Hold on to that thought.
III. Jesus’ Stunning Power Over Creation
Now, I want to talk about Jesus' stunning power over creation. Now we know the wind is beyond all human control. No one can control the wind. As a matter of fact, scripture says it openly. Ecclesiastes 8:8, "No man has power over the wind to contain it." Or again, John 3:8, "The wind blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it's going." That's the wind. But Jesus, Jesus is the master of all creation. John 1:3, "Through Him, all things were made, and without Him, nothing was made that has been made." And again, Hebrews 1:3, "He is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word." He made it and He sustains it, that's Jesus. Again, He has effortless power over the wind and the waves, verse 39, "He got up, rebuked the wind, and said of the waves, 'Peace be still.'" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm, by the Word of the Lord alone. No striving, no effort, just sheer power, absolute authority. The power of the Word of Jesus. Now that's the miracle. It's a simple matter of cause and effect. There's nothing miraculous about a storm ending, all storms end, eventually, thank God. But the circumstances here directly link the end of the storm, the sudden end of the storm with Jesus' Word — cause and effect. It was because He said 'Peace be still' that everything was completely calm. That's the miracle. Note both aspects, the wind and the waves died down instantly. This is a miracle beyond all description. The wind instantly stopped this gale force, hurricane wind stops, a staggering amount of power ,just stopped in its tracks. In the text, there's not even a breeze or a gentle zephyr at the end, nothing, it's done. But for me, being more kind of mechanically engineering minded, the stilling of the waves is even more remarkable. How long would that take? The undulating white-capped waves crashing back and forth instantly leveled. Ordinarily, they would've undulated for hours, but it became as flat as a millpond on a still day, all of that at the Word of Jesus' power.
Why the word “rebuke” in Matthew and Luke? Why does He rebuke the wind and the waves? Matthew 8:26, "He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm." Luke 8:24, "He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters, the storms subsided and always gone." Why this word “rebuke”? As if the wind and the waves were living beings who were doing something wrong rather than inanimate objects, air molecules or water molecules just doing what physics was telling them to do. There is a sense in which that storm, that devastating hurricane storm is part of this sin-cursed world. It's part of the cursing of nature, that's part of man's sin. And Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, and He came, we're told in Ephesians 1, as the plan of God for the consummation of the ages to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. So they represent evil and curse, and He came to put it to an end. I think that's why it says “rebuke”. Unruly, wild nature will be subdued, brought into peaceful order in the New Heavens, in the New Earth — more on that at the very end of the sermon. I believe this is the most visually stunning miracle of Jesus' life. No other miracle is as spectacular as this. It's similar to the Red Sea crossing, it's just simply spectacular. Most of Jesus' miracles are quiet, subtle healings, they're not really much to look at. I do not say that the distilling of the storm is His most significant miracle, that's His own resurrection, far more significant than the distilling of the storm. But I'm just saying it was the most spectacular. The healings are just subtle. You think about the paralyzed man. There's nothing spectacular about a paralyzed man getting up off of His pallet and walking home. There's nothing spectacular about a blind man, a man born blind, washing mud off His eyes. Now, it's very significant for those who knew Him, or for those men themselves, it’s very significant, it's just not spectacular. This would've been spectacular, this is entirely different. If you had been there, the sheer spectacle would've taken your breath away.
Then Jesus rebuked His disciples. He turns to them and rebukes them. He rebukes their lack of faith. He said to His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" I mean, this is the whole point of the miracle, and indeed of all miracles. It's the point of having the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit having Mark write this down. The lesson is that we, the readers, we who hear about this would have faith in Christ, that we would believe in Jesus as the Son of God. That's the reason for the miracle and the account. The rebuke of His disciples' lack of faith is sharp. He never coddled unbelief, He never said, "It's okay to not believe in me." Notice also the clear contrast in this account. We'll see it again with Jairus, and at other times, the clear contrast between faith and fear. Faith and fear often seem to be opposites in the Bible. Faith drives out fear. If there is this kind of fear, it's because there's a lack of faith.
"Faith and fear often seem to be opposites in the Bible. Faith drives out fear. If there is this kind of fear, it's because there's a lack of faith."
Now, after the rebuke, the disciples have another reaction, and what is it? Fear. But it's even greater now. They seem to be more afraid of Jesus in the boat than they were of the storm outside of the boat, and with good reason. This is the presence of Almighty God, the incarnate God in the boat with you. Look at verse 41, “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind in the waves obey Him.’” Fear is the constant right reaction to the display of the omnipotent Holy God, to us as sinners, as creatures. For example, Elijah and his contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah prayed a simple prayer and fire fell from heaven, and burned up the sacrifice and the alter and everything there. And when the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The Lord, he is God. The Lord, he is God." There's a fear that was filling them at that moment, and so it was with these disciples, fear of the Lord.
IV. Two Lasting Questions
The text ends with these two lasting questions that just kind of stand over, and they're timeless questions. Jesus, to His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" The questioning of Jesus to us and our faith, and then the disciples, to one another, and to the world, "Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey Him." So we take those questions and we translate this account into our lives. The point of the Gospel of Mark is to answer the question, “Who is this man?” He is the Son of God, He is your savior. That's who He is, He and no other. Along with that is the constant expansion of our comprehension of what that means. So what does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God? It means this, He can speak to the wind and the waves and they obey Him, that's what it means. He can drive out any demon and they're terrified of Him. He's not afraid of them, they're afraid of Him. There's no disease or sickness He cannot cure instantly with a Word or a touch. He can raise the dead, He can raise you from the dead. That's what it means that Jesus is the Son of God. He can look at you and tell you, based on your faith in Him, your sins are forgiven, and they are. That's who this is, that's who Jesus is. But even more is to apply that faith directly to our lives, and to drive out faithless fears, wherever they may be. Many people readily connect with this account, speaking metaphorically of the storms of our lives. I think that's right actually. All of us have challenges, deeply distressing issues that cause us to writhe and roll and churn like we're being tossed about in a storm. But when we have those storms, we can turn to Christ, the one who stilled the storm to quiet this storm around us, and even more importantly, inside of us. Many songs and hymns capture the sense of Christ's power over the storms of life. I like this one by Casting Crowns, Praise You In This Storm. The lyrics go like this, "I was sure by now, God, you would've reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day. And once again, I say, 'Amen,' and it's still raining. But as the thunder rolls, I barely hear your whisper through the rain, 'I'm with you.' And as your mercy falls, I'll raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away. And I'll praise you in this storm. And I will lift my hands, for you are who you are, no matter where I am. And every tear I've cried, you hold in your hand, you never left my side. And though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm." Or this one, It Is Well With My Soul. "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." Or one of my favorites, Be Still, My Soul. "Be still, my soul” [second stanza], "Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past, thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake. All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below." Oh, I could multiply these songs.
What kind of storm are you going through? I don't know. Maybe you've been through some, or you're just getting ready for the one that's coming and you don't even know what's coming. I don't have a problem with this storms of life approach at all. In fact, it's normal biblical speech. The Bible often uses metaphors to speak of painful trials we endure, of the saving work that God has for His people. Isaiah 4:6 says this, "That saving work will be a shelter and a shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and a hiding place from the storm and rain." Of the trials we endure in life, the metaphor of passing through water, river, fire, Isaiah 43:1- 2 begins with the simple command, "Fear not. Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine. And when you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." This seems to be a lasting image, this storms of life approach. Yes, Jesus' miracle was physical, absolutely. I believe that, the account says it. But His ability to bring a peaceful end to our trials is taught again and again, as well as His ability to give us peace in the middle of the storm. So the lasting lesson of this miracle is to trust Jesus and not give way to fear when you're going through a storm.
So what are the storms of life? It's anything that buffets you and causes you pain, anything. Any trial that rocks your world, knocks you around, maybe even threatens your life itself. We think about the three trials we walk through with Job again and again, remember? Loss of possessions, loss of loved ones, loss of health, those three. To expand, it could be for you a chronic illness. And the treatment, it's just not responding to the treatment. It could be the loss of a child through death, it could be the long goodbye of Alzheimer's with a beloved parent or spouse. It could be a wayward, grown child that just will not submit to Christ. Any news that rocks your world and staggers you and brings you to your knees and brings tears to your eyes and causes you to cry out to God, "Why, Oh Lord?" And then all the more, if that news causes a significant change in the way you have to live your life from that point on, it’s permanent, that's a storm. This text tells us Jesus controls that storm. He wisely brings it, decides how long it's going to last and how severe it will be, and then He is able to bring it to an end. He's telling you, in the middle of that storm, He is with you. He's speaking to you in the midst of the storm, just like Job, “and God appearing in a whirlwind and speaking in the midst of the storm” to Job, saying, "I'm right in the middle of whatever storm is buffeting you." When He says, "Peace, be still," He's not first and foremost, speaking to your circumstances, He's speaking first and foremost to your soul. Philippians 4:6 and 7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." That's Him saying, "Peace, be still," to your soul. God has the power to bring supernatural peace to your heart in the midst of the worst storms of your life.
Now, the question I want to ask you is, how are you displaying faithless fear in your life? Where is the faithless fear? I don't know where that is, you have to answer that yourself. Be honest with yourself, where am I displaying a faithless fear? The whole world just went through this COVID pandemic. I wonder if it's possible that there's some people that have been scarred by the experience, and have developed a faithless fear in the midst of it. I don't know, I'm not judging people, I just am asking for people to judge themselves. Where is there an inappropriate fear of death, or fear of disease, or fear of pain or loss that is gripping your soul? Jesus would say, "Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?" And if that's not it, there are other places. We're susceptible to faithless fears everywhere. He wants us to use our faith to drive away our fear.
Now, let's circle back on this question. How could the disciples have done better? I mean, it’s a little hard on these guys; the boat's filling with water, what did you want them to do? They didn't know what they're talking about. Yes, they did. They knew better than you, that boat's going down. So why does Jesus rebuke them? Should they have waited longer to wake Jesus? Was God pushing them right to the very brink? I mean, they'd done everything they could, the bailing, all of that. I don't know what they did, but no, God wasn't pushing them to the brink. First of all, they should not been afraid that God would let Jesus drown. I mean, that's not going to happen. By extension, he's not going to let His apostles drown either. Beyond that, they should not have been terrified of death at all, but that won't really come until He conquers death with His resurrection. From then on, they would be delivered a fear of death. But this is where I'm going to land on this one. I think they should have woken Jesus earlier. Why do I say that? They tried everything they knew to do, everything in their own strength, and at the last resort, they bring Jesus in. I think that's a bad model for the storm. What do you say? “I’ll do everything I can, and when all else fails, as my last resort, I'm going to bring Jesus in.” Don't do that. Get Him up immediately. "Looking like a storm's brewing, Lord, what do you think?” I think that's what they should have done.
We're going to end with Jesus' final and eternal power over creation. This awesome miracle shows Jesus' power over all creation. By that power, He's going to bring in a new heaven and a new earth, and the turbulent world of evil will finally be subdued. I want you to contrast these two statements in Isaiah. Isaiah 17:12, "Oh the raging of many nations, they rage like the raging sea. Oh the uproar of the peoples, they roar like the roaring of great waters," along with Isaiah 57:20-21, "The wicked are like the tossing sea which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. There is no peace says my God for the wicked." That, with Revelation 4:6, the vision of the throne of God, Almighty God, “Before the throne of God, there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” A placid sea, there's no hurricanes, no storms in heaven. Jesus, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control will transform the universe and get rid of all storms. You can look forward to that. In the meantime, if He wills to bring you through a storm, He does it because He loves you and because He's wise, and He knows how long to make it last.
Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for the time that we've had to look at your Word. And we thank you for the power of your Word, and we thank you for your power over every storm. And now, Lord, as we turn to the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, we pray that you would bless us with your presence through the Holy Spirit. Lord, we pray, Lord, that you would minister in this room through this ordinance. We know that there's nothing special about the bread or the juice, but there's something powerful about the combination of these elements, and the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, and the people of God. So be in our midst now, as we observe this ordinance of the Lord's Supper, in Jesus name. Amen.