October 5, 2021
Scripture: And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. Matthew 8:23-24 ESV
Observation: Matthew records the above event after Jesus dialogued with a teacher of the law and another would-be disciple. The scribe declared that he would follow Jesus wherever he leads (verse 18). Jesus responded with a warning of the exhausting pace of his ministry (verse 20). The other individual requested that he go first and bury his father (a colloquial expression in the Ancient Near East that implied his father was aged and would soon pass away). Jesus responded, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead” (verse 22). While this may sound harsh, Christ is alluding to the spiritually dead, to those who place social customs over spiritual mandates.
Matthew then provides his readers with a dramatic illustration of the demands of following Jesus. Accompanying Jesus into a boat, his disciples set sail to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Soon, a storm rages around them—all the while Jesus sleeps soundly. Terrified, his disciples wake Jesus and plead for him to save them. Commandingly, the Son of God speaks to the winds and waves (echoing his creation pronouncement), and all is calm. Amazed, his disciples rhetorically posit, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (verse 27).
Takeaway: What sort of man is Jesus? He is Lord over all creation and can speak peace into any stormy situation that we may face. So do we believe that he is always with us (Matthew 28:20) and can bring calm to our spirits when we feel threatened by elements beyond our control? Do we trust him with the outcome, even if it leads to the death of our physical bodies? If our answers are “yes,” then we need to follow Christ into the boat because only he can bring rest for our distressed souls.
Prayer: Father God, please enlarge our faith and help us to find rest for our souls in the company of your Son when life circumstances storm around us. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling