Monday, April 22, 2013

The Morning After: Jesus' Authority over Nature (Matthew 8:23-27)

There are many things that we use everyday that used to amaze us. Take for instance the computer. I write this blog post on a computer that once amazed me. Do you remember the first time you ever used one? Or the first time you ever used the Internet? Were you amazed? My guess is that they are both something you take for commonplace these days. The more familiar something becomes to you, the less amazed you are by it.

Unfortunately, this same thing can be true of our relationship with Jesus. I have seen it and lived it. A person comes to Jesus amazed at His greatness. They are forgiven of their sins. They experience and appreciate all that He is for all that they are. The result is that they are passionate for Him. They can't help but tell people about Him. They read His Word, pray, and are excited about Him in all things. And eventually they tend to drift. 

When this happens, our lack of amazement says more about us than it does about Jesus. Or let me phrase that a different way. The more we get to know Jesus, the more we should be amazed by Him because He is infinitely amazing! That's what happens in Matthew 8:23-27. Jesus performs another miracle that makes the disciples stop in amazement.

If you grew up in the church, I'm sure you have heard this story. A great storm comes up while the disciples and Jesus are trying to cross the Sea of Galilee. The disciples freak out; Jesus sleeps. The disciples are scared; Jesus is getting some peaceful rest. Let's investigate each side of this equation.

Disciples Scared
Why were the disciples scared? There is no doubt they were scared to die. But I think there was something even more foundational than that. I think they freaked out because they are not in control. Many of them were fishermen who grew up fishing that lake. They had been in storms. But this one must have been larger and more severe than any other one. As the waves crashed over the sides of the boat, they realized they were no longer in control of their life. And so they cried out for help to the One who could help.

Jesus Sleeping
While the disciples were freaking out, Jesus is sleeping. He slept because He had no worries. He knew who was in control. He was not scared of what the people on the other side of the island was going to think of Him. He wasn't worried about the religious leaders. He had no fear of death, He came to the earth to die. He slept with great peace and security.

I picture this scene playing out in this way. The disciples are scared, so they wake Jesus up with this thought: "How can you be sleeping? Why are you not afraid?" To which, Jesus replies, "Why are you?" Jesus has a way of putting things. He looks at the disciples and says, "Why are you afraid?" And then Jesus calms their fears in a way that amazes them and makes them think deeply about His personhood. When Jesus calms the storm (great storm to great calm), the man say, "What sort of man is this that even the winds and sea obey Him?"

Let's be very clear. The purpose of this miracle was to move the disciples to further levels of faith based upon understanding WHO Jesus was. His authority over nature was (is) not simply so He can flex His muscles of authority. It is meant to be a lesson on faith for His followers. And in the end of it all, it is not enough for us to respond to the power of Jesus like we would in watching the latest Superman movie. The point is that the marveling should move us to follow Him in deeper ways.

If you want to read my notes or listen to the sermon, you can find it HERE.

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