Sermon Help for the helpless

Pentecost 9 (Proper 12), July 25, 2021

Text: Mark 6:45–56

Theme: Help for the helpless

Other Lessons: Genesis 9:8–17; Psalm 136:1–9; Ephesians 3:14–21

1. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

1. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.

1. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
– Lord, save us when we are overcome by the storms of life and our
hearts are overwhelmed by unbelief. Calm the tempest that
reigns in our
hearts and minds, open our eyes to see Your blessings, and
create within us
the faith to recognize You as Savior and Lord. Amen.

1. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


1. As we read through the stories of Scripture in these days after
Pentecost, there are certain moments when we’d like to give the
disciples a
hard time.
1. Today’s Gospel is just such an occasion.
2. We were not there with the disciples as they journeyed with
Jesus, so it’s hard for us to know what they were truly going
through as
they heard the things Jesus said and saw the things Jesus did.
3. What is recorded for us in Holy Scripture, however, seems to be
many of the teachable moments, and most of them are not all
that flattering.

1. Our critique of the disciples in today’s account centers on how they
didn’t know it was Jesus who was walking to them on the water.
1. They seem to have a short-term memory problem, for it was just
a few weeks ago when, in Mark 4, we heard that Jesus was
sleeping soundly
on a cushion in a boat as a great storm arose.
2. How could they have forgotten so quickly about that event?
3. And today, as Jesus climbs into the boat with them, it says
that the disciples were utterly astounded because they had
forgotten what
happened in the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand.
4. Why in the world were the disciples fearful, thinking Jesus was
a ghost?
5. What was so hard about all of this?

1. We often fail to see clearly that Jesus is always with us, especially
in our strains and pains of life.

1. Well, like most situations in life, hindsight is 20/20.
1. We think things should be obvious to the disciples because we
already know how everything ends.
2. The disciples were in the middle of things and could only go by
what they thought they knew and what they were seeing . . .
and they didn’t
get it.
3. They will eventually.
4. So put yourself in their shoes for just a minute.
5. Or better yet, take a look at yourself, for our response to
similar life situations is often no different from these disciples:
1. we sometimes fail to see clearly or understand fully.

1. The Gospel today shows us the strains and pains God’s people were
experiencing, both the disciples and the crowds on Gennesaret’s shore.
1. As the disciples were on the sea, the text says, they were
making headway painfully, straining against the heavy winds.
2. Make no mistake about it:
1. this was not just a tough sail for them;
2. this was hard work.
3. It was late,
4. they were tired,
5. and there was a real fear on their part that they might not
make it across safely.
6. These disciples are getting nowhere fast, and it’s a strain
to make any headway at all.

1. With Jesus’ help, the disciples land on the other side of the sea,
where Jesus encounters the second group of people today.
1. Our Lord’s fame had spread throughout the region, so when
people recognized him, they brought to him their sick and lame.
2. All of them who felt the pains of life were healed by Jesus,
even if all they were able to do was grab hold of the fringe of his
3. For the disciples and for the people, there was only one thing
that could help as they experienced the strains and pains of
this mortal
1. the presence of Jesus.

1. It’s the presence of Jesus that helps us still as we go through the
strains and pains brought about as the effects of sin.
1. If we look at our lives as a whole, most of us would probably
agree that they’re filled with many blessings from God.
2. We have family and friends to share our lives:
1. we are blessed with jobs and opportunities to use our gifts
in service to our neighbor;
2. we have a place to live and food to eat and many other
things that are called First Article gifts from our Creator.
3. We can even get to a point in life where it feels as if
we’re riding the wave comfortably and can simply enjoy all that God

1. However, there are moments where the wind picks up:
1. we get in a fight with someone we love,
2. our job becomes a dreadful burden or is taken from us,
3. the joys of homeownership overwhelm us,
4. or our very lives seem to be in jeopardy.
5. Like the disciples, we find that the days become long and we’re
tired; we’re lonely.
6. We’re making headway in life painfully.

1. As people of God, our faith knows where we can turn for help in these
times, but as sinful people, we often don’t do it.
1. We tell ourselves that painful headway is still headway,
2. that we can do it ourselves,
3. and even if Jesus factors into things, we often see him as the
disciples did: like a ghost and not really there.
4. In fact, we do this so often that we begin to think this is
just how things are in life.

1. When life becomes work and work becomes life, when hardship befalls
us, when suffering enters our world, we have a tendency to be
like a turtle:
1. We close up, to isolate ourselves, and to desire simply to be
alone in the strains and pains of our misery.
2. As people of faith, we ought to know this isn’t the way things
are intended to be for us, that we are never alone, that we
know where we
can turn to find divine help, and yet so many times our life
looks quite
3. An outsider looking at our life might sometimes think:
1. “How can you not get it?
2. How can you not see where your help is?
3. Why have you not learned by now that Jesus is always with

1. But from the moment of our Baptism, the Lord’s prom­ise is that he
will never leave us or forsake us—even for eternity.

1. But it was the presence of Jesus that brought calm amid wind and
1. It was the presence of Jesus that brought healing to the sick
and diseased.
2. It is the presence of Jesus that comforts us and joins us to
his help and healing and life through His forgiveness and grace.

1. From the moment of your Baptism, the Lord’s promise is that he will
never leave you or forsake you.
1. He continues to make his presence known to you as you receive
his forgiving word of absolution, as you are reminded of his promises
revealed in his Holy Word, and as you have his very life
placed into your
mouth in the Lord’s Supper.
2. His presence is manifest to you as a recipient of his daily
provision and is shared as you bring works of mercy to others.
3. At all times, in every circumstance, in every place, Jesus is
there with us:
1. “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew

1. In fact, Jesus is not just present with you but has borne the burden
of the strain and pain of sin for you.
1. He knows the heartache and hurt that you experience.
2. He has died for you on the cross and has risen from the grave
to give you the eternal gains of forgiveness, life, and salvation.


1. There are some today who would characterize Christianity as nothing
more than a collection of pious platitudes.
1. When times are tough, people will encourage turning to God,
having faith, trusting in the Lord, and the like.
2. And these things are not wrong in of themselves.
3. But it stops there.
4. You often hear such platitudes at funerals, likely because
folks don’t know what to say.
1. “He’s in a better place.”
2. “Now she’s at peace.”

1. When things were rough for the disciples today on the sea, and when
they thought they saw a ghost, they quickly had their fears come
to an end
by Jesus.
1. Our Lord came to them in their time of need and did not simply
give them a catchphrase to help them.
2. He was no ghost either.
3. The flesh-and-blood Jesus came directly to them, he got into
the boat with them, and their struggles subsided immediately.
4. In all our times of struggle or pain, we as well receive very
tangible help from our Lord, who meets us in our Baptism and
in the Lord’s
Supper to touch us with water and bread and wine and who
speaks to us sure
and certain words:
1. “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50).

1. “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50).
1. These words some of the most powerful, comforting words from
our Savior today and in all of Scripture.
2. The strains and pains of life are sure to come, but as a child
of God, you know where you can turn for help in your time of need.

1. Look to Jesus, for he is there.
1. He steps into the boat with you to bring an end to your
2. he brings his healing touch to you for all your pains of body,
mind, and soul;
3. he has gained for you the kingdom and promises you life with
him eternally.

1. Just as He Promised, Jesus Is Always with Us, Especially in Our
Strains and Pains, to Secure for Us Eternal Gains.

1. Your health and life are forever preserved by the presence of Jesus,
so whatever may come for you, you can confidently pray to the
Lord that He
is with you always and will never, ever leave or forsake you. Amen.

1. Let us pray:
– Our hands and feet, Lord, strengthen;

With joy our spirits bless

Until we see the ending

Of all our life’s distress.

And so throughout our lifetime

Keep us within Your care

And at our end then bring us

To heav’n to praise You there. (LSB 754:6)


1. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love
of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

1. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

1. In the Name of the Father…Amen.