The Lord set the limit for the sea and said: ”HITHERTO SHALT THOU COME, BUT NO FURTHER, AND HERE SHALL THY PROUD WAVES BE STAYED.” JOB 38:11.
We hear from these words that God has set for the waves of the sea a limit or boundary, over which they cannot pass and if this boundary were not set for the waves of the sea, they would drown all which is upon the earth. But this word is not only said about the natural sea, but it is especially of that spiritual sea as spoken or of the waves of the bottomless sea, which is found in an ungodly person's heart. This bottomless sea surges in a constant roar in sin and evil, so that it is almost never calm. And it is difficult to say who had raised the wind and waves on the sea when the disciples were rowing and thought they would drown, had God raised it or that spirit which has power in the wind, we do not Know to say. But that we know seriously that those waves of the bottomless sea which roll in an ungodly person's heart, are not raised of God but that spirit which has power in the wind of the world, and without a doubt has raised the wind in the ungodly person's heart, where the waves of the bottomless sea roar like a swirling rapids. And it seems like there is no limit set to those waves. When namely this bottomless sea begins to surge, all proud and evil words come out of the mouth, especially surges the white foam out of the mouths of those, who bear hatred in their hearts toward the Christians, who they wish would drown in the bottomless sea, although those ungodly and unconverted, who are sailing bravely in that sea are themselves drowning therein, but they care not about that, just so they could get the christ-ians to drown. Such great envy have the devil's angels, that they take no heed of their own souls, just so they could cause some misfortune to the Christians. Although now many people at this time, who bear spiritual hatred in their hearts, know for sure that they must drown eternally in such a state as they are now in, but nevertheless they do not consider themselves and realize that this hardening comes from that hatred which they bear in their hearts, and also spew out of their mouths when they think a Christian has now come to misfortune. Then the ungodly can begin to rejoice, when Christians are oppressed in the world, when Jesus' disciples are about to drown sailing in the billowing waves of the sea, then the devil's angels begin to laugh. But who knows how long they will laugh, before they themselves will come to distress. Although it seems before our eyes that He has put no limit to the ungodly, nevertheless, we must believe that God has set the limit to the waves of the billowing sea and said" Hitherto shalt thou come but no further, here shalt thy proud waves be stayed!" So also a man's iniquity will not exceed that limit which God has set, although it sometimes surges terribly and also come! out of the heart like the white foam on the waves of the sea; for David has written that their throats are an open sepulchre, they flatter with their tongue. For the ungodly and enemies of Jesus' cross think that the disciples of Jesus now drown in the waves of the billowing sea, when that spirit which has power in the wind, has raised such a storm in the sea in which Jesus' disciples anxiously row, but as long as Jesus is in the ship, the disciples are in no distress, even if he is asleep. He can soon arise when Jesus´ disciples cry out in their distress,"Lord save us, we perish". But the devil's angels have no distress as long as they are able to drink and fight, whore and steal, they have no distress as long as they are able to slander the Christians, and like the soldiers offered Christ vinegar mixed with gall. For we know already from the experiences in the old testament that the enemies of the cross of Christ rejoiced over the Christian's misfortune. But once there will come that time, that they will see whom they have pierced,although the god of this world has now blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they must believe lies. And those blind wretches become the most shamefully deceived, who rejoiced over the misfortune of the Christians, and think that, that small ship where the disciple of Jesus row with great fear and trembling on the billowing waves of the sea, they think say I, that this small ship will soon drown in the waves of doubt. But yet if that spiri which has power in the wind, had raised this hard wind and storm, we nevertheless do not doubt that the disciples of Jesus would perish in that storm as long as Jesus is in the ship, if He was asleep in that ship, it is anyway our hope and trust in God, that Jesus will awake as soon as the disciples cry out in their distress "Lord save us, we perish." Then He will arise to still the wind and the sea and a calm will come. Cry out now you disciples of Jesus, who are in great tribulation rowing on the billowing sea of the world if Jesus is in the ship, as our hope is that He is in the ship, then cry out in your distress! Just the same He will awake to still this storm and wind, which that spirit,which has power in the wind, has raised up. Hear you stiller of the wind and the sea, the cries of the frightened and distressed. Our Father etc.
The gospel. Matthew 8: 23-27.
By the guidance of our above-read holy gospel we must at this moment through God´s grace consider and look at. 1. Who has raised this storm on the sea? 2. What would the world's throng have done if Jesus1 disciples had drown?
We hope nevertheless that Jesus´ disciples would cry so in their distress that Jesus would awake to still the wind and the sea before the disciples drown.
The first consideration: Who has raised this storm? We hear from our holy gospel, that Jesus stilled the wind and in the old testament or in the original tongues it says so, that He rebuked the wind. If this storm was raised by God, the Son of God would have not dared to still the wind by rebuking, but by praying. If God had raised this storm, then the Son of God would have prayed to the Father, that this wind would be stilled. But when He rebuked that great wind and sea, then it can be surmised, that this great wind and storm was not of God. But that spirit which has power in the wind, which also in Job's time raised such a storm, that houses collapsed in which Job's children were, that same spirit had without a doubt, raised this storm, although many confessors of dead faith think, that too much power is given to the devil, if he yet could raise up a storm on the sea. Thieves of grace think that the devil has no power on the earth, but Paul writes nevertheless clearly of that spirit which has power in the air, which also works in the children of disobedience. And if that spirit had not such great power in the natural wind, but the wind of the world has surely such great power through that spirit which works through the children of disobedience, that he can certainly raise a great storm on the billowing Sea of the world, to drown the disciples of Jesus if they did not have Jesus asleep in the ship, who was able to still this great wind and sea, as soon as the disciples with their cry of distress awaken Him. Certainly nevertheless all the devil´s angels would wish that the disciples would drown in this great storm and tempest. The devil's angels cannot bear to hear that that spirit, which has power in the wind, had raised this storm, because from that follows the conclusion that the devil wants to drown the disciples of Jesus but not God. But the enemies of Jesus´ cross have that faith that God has raised this storm and therefore they conclude that God is angry with them but not the devil. If namely,the devil, was angry with the disciples of Jesus, as he surely is angry with them, then the enemies of Jesus´ cross would have reason to doubt that then God would not be angry with the disciples of Jesus; although those persecutors who imagine they are doing a service to God, when they kill the disciples of Jesus,have always been of that faith, that God is angry with them because the world is angry, and from that have made such a conclusion that God hates them since the world hates them. But the Word of God again stands so strongly against that place, so that the devil's angels cannot so twist and turn the words of the Bible that God would also hate those who the world hates. Because the world has never been able to love the Christians, but in "every place, where true Christianity has revealed itself, there also has hatred and persecution come from the world. And for that reason the god of this world is angry with the disciples of Jesus, and that spirit which has power in the air, he has raised this storm and tempest, and he is also that same spirit which works in the children of disobedience hatred and persecution toward the Christians; and they would surely receive great joy,if now the disciples of Jesus would drown in this great storm. But the enemies of Jesus1 cross do not need to rejoice too soon because Jesus is still in the chip and if He was still asleep, surely he can quickly awake to still the storm and tempest, although these wretches have such unbelief that they are afraid, but I have nevertheless that faith, that Jesus will awake as soon as they cry out in their distress; and I know seriously that they will cry out and believe also that Jesus will hear their cries and awake and arise to still this storm and tempest, which that spirit has raised, which has power in the wind of the world. And I hope that the disciples of Jesus will reach the other shore in good health which is on the other side of the sea, and let the wind of the world roar on the billowing sea of this world as much as it wishes.
The second consideration: What would the world's throng have done if Jesus´ disciples had drown? We well suppose that the world's throng would greatly rejoice, if the disciples of Jesus would drown in the storm which the enemy has raised upon them. What more could the slaves of the enemy wish for than that drowning would come to those, who with great fear and trembling row against the wind of the world. Because the enemys´ slaves never fear that they will drown in the billowing sea of the world, for first they have a big ship with which they sail with the wind of the world and second they have the wind of the world in their favor. But the disciples of Jesus have first a small ship and second the wind of the world is against them. For that reason, the world's throng always has such a joyous hope that Jesus' disciples would soon come into distress and drown. What now would the slaves of the world have done, if Jesus´ disciples would have drown in the storm? What else would they have done but drank well at the funeral feasts as is their custom. If namely someone is born, they are ready to drink at christening feasts and if someone dies, they drink at the funeral feasts. There it can be seen best, that their belly is their God. And I have observed that the children of the world always gather together to drink, when they imagine they will win something good. They drink ahead of time for joy before they have won that good thing, which they hope for. Because the children of the world know of no other joy but that fleshly pleasure, although Paul says "who sows in the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption." So I think that the world's slaves would gather together to drink at the funeral feasts, if Jesus' disciples had drown in that storm, which the enemy had raised. There is their joy, but a very short joy, for God's two-edged sword now flashes over the world. And who has raised this storm in the world? If God has raised it, would not it now be a reminder to the world of God's wrath, would not there be occasion to begin to take heed, how one has lived up until now in the world, in joy, in vanity, in fornication, in pleasure, in drinking, in greed, in hatred and in envy. Who knows but that the world will yet come into greater distress than Jesus' disciples, who were certainly afraid that they would drown and therefore awakened Jesus with their cry of distress. But the slaves of the world do not understand to fear anything, if now God had become angry with the world and for that reason punish with wars, famine and disease.
The Jews had such a strong faith in God, when the enemy had already encompassed their city, that they became more proud the closer the destruction of the city came. The Jews thought that God through some miracle would rescue them from the powerful invasion of the enemy. But Christians do not have such a vain trust in God, but they flee with their life from the city of corruption, for they knew well, that God was angry with that city,whose inhabitants had shed the "blood of the saints and persecuted the Christians.
Now we will conclude this consideration with that hope that all unconverted and unreborn would take heed of the signs of the times, of which the Jews did not want to take heed. When the sea and the wind roar in the world, and nation rises against nation, are there not then such signs of the times, which indicate, that some great change will come into the world. Oh that that change would happen first in the heart and then in the wind! But our hope is, that the great stiller of the wind and of the sea, who with one word has stilled the wind and sea, can even yet still that wind and sea which the enemy has raised to drown the disciples of Jesus. As long as Jesus is in the ship, although He would yet be asleep, Jesus´ disciples should not be in distress, for they will awaken Him with their cries. They cry in their distress "Lord save us, we perish". Did you think you sorrowless pagans that Jesus is sleeping so soundly that He will not hear the cries of the disciples? Did you think so, that Jesus will no more wake from His sleep? Do not think in your hearts, you enemies of the cross of Christ, that Jesus´ disciples will drown in this storm, which the enemy has raised upon them. You will sooner drown in your sins than the disciples. If also sometimes the waves of doubt strike over them, because of which Jesus also reproves them, when they are of such weak faith, how does it effect you? Your condition does not become any better through that, that the disciples fear they will drown in such weather, for the adage says: All are wise on the land, when misfortune happens at sea.
But row, row, you few souls, who are with Jesus in the ship, row and cry out:"Lord save, we perish!" And He will arise and still the wind and the sea, and you must reach the other shore in good health, which is on the other side of the sea, and there you must sing the new song to God and the Lamb. Amen. Hallelujah!