Hello and welcome to Fridays podcast. Thank you for joining in this week. It has been great to read the Bible together and look to apply what we are hearing.
Today we are continuing to see the story of Jesus unfold as he performs signs and wonders. It is literally awe inspiring. Each miracle story is given that we might know something about who Jesus is and what he came to do. Like yesterday we have 3 more action packed stories.
We’ll be focussing on Jesus calming the storm. So here it is, reading from Matthew 8:23-27.
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Again, this is a story all about the power of Jesus. It leaves the followers of Jesus asking a very important question. Did you spot it? “The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this?” Who on earth is Jesus?
We’re going to try and look at that question together today and look at the 3 things Jesus does.
1. He sleeps.
2. He replies to the disciples.
3. He rebukes nature.
The first point might be the most important for us to hear today. Jesus slept. I wonder if there are some of us out there that need to be reminded of that today. There is an American church leader called Rick Warren, who wrote a best-selling book a few years back called “the Purpose Driven life”. One of my favourite quotes from Rick Warren is this: “sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.” In other words, how is our work rest balance tight now? Mines a little out of kilter. We’re at the start of the academic year, we are planning a move and Lucy returned to work a few weeks back. In preparing this reflection I can hear Holy Spirit bringing a gentle challenge. Even Jesus slept. It is important because there will always be work that needs to be done. There will always be people that need to be helped. But we are not God, I am not the Messiah and intentional rest reminds us of that. But even God rests! I won’t unpack here the implications of Sabbath in the Bible but there are some fantastic resources out there such as Garden City and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. Have a search online or talk it through in clusters if you feel God is speaking to you about this.
The second thing Jesus does is he replies to the disciples. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” The Sea of Galilee is 700 feet below sea level and just 30 miles to the north is Mount Hermon, 9,200 feet high. Within 30 miles, you have 10,000 feet high down to below sea level.
What that means is you have constant clashing of the cold air from the mountains and the warm air coming up from the Sea of Galilee, and as a result, the Sea of Galilee was a place with lots of storms, lots of squalls, lots of thunder-boomers. Of course, anyone who was a fisherman, like the disciples, who were professional fishermen on the Sea of Galilee … They certainly were used to them, but this must have been an incredible storm because as experienced sailors they were, they thought they were going to die. There must have been legitimate cause for concern.
If we are a Christian, new to all of this or a season professional, and we have the idea that once we give our life to Christ things are going to go well in your life, that once we give your life to Christ things will fall into place … That’s a delusion. The Bible nowhere says anything like that. There’s a place where Jesus actually says in one line what this miracle story illustrates. He says in John 16:33, “In the world you will have trials; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Let me say that again. “In the world we will …” Not maybe. Storms are going to come but we do not have to be afraid.
Fear is a natural human emotion. Typically, in moments like this storm we have 3 responses: kicks in the fight, flight or freeze. But there is another… faith. Faith is applying what you know about Jesus. They were being controlled by the storm. They were being controlled by the situation. They were being controlled by what they saw. They were most likely bailing out water. They were thought this was the end. Jesus replies, “Don’t you know enough about me?”
Finally, and we will end with this, Jesus rebukes nature. This is the most bizarre part of the story when I read it. In Mark 4, another eye witness account where this story is told. The words Jesus uses are captured. He says, “Quiet, be still!” and the waves stop. Instantly. Suddenly.
If there are any teachers listening or parents… you like me are probably in awe at that level of authority over chaos. Imagine if when things are getting crazy in the Brown household, usually before bottle and bed there is a mad half-hour, imagine then that I just declared, “Quiet, be still!” And order was restored.
When Jesus gives his critical feedback to the wind and rain suddenly went dead calm. Here’s Jesus. Hurricane. Wind roaring. Waves pounding. “Be quiet and stay quiet,” and suddenly everything stopped. This is incomparable power. In almost all ancient cultures, time and time again the sea was the ultimate symbol of chaos and only God (or some higher power) could do something about it. The reason this story is included is clear, we’re being shown that Jesus’ is the Son of God.
This has implications for our life. No matter how crazy things get. We can always go to Jesus. I mean the disciples had a pretty low expectation. But the encouraging thing about this story is they still went to Him. They still said, “Lord, Save”. “Kyrios, Sozo” A two worded prayer that wasn’t much but was honest. Perhaps we can start there and let God speak to us by the power of his Holy Spirit. Let’s pray.
Lord, save us. There is so much going on at the moment but we chose to come to you. We affirm our faith in you Jesus. Would we know your peace and presence, this day and always. Amen.
BIBLE READING: Matthew 8:18-34
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.