Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Friday, February 19, 2016

DJD219 - Everything (SS Bonus!)


Matthew 8:27  (read Matthew 8:18-27 to get the whole picture)

Starting Question:

We are all afraid of something. What are you afraid of?


Everything

If today’s verse were written in a modern novel, it would be the last sentence in a chapter. “What kind of man is this?—even the winds and the sea obey Him!” 

You can’t hear a statement like this on it’s own without wanting to know what is behind it - Where did this come from? What has just happened? 

And, you can’t help wondering what will happen next. 

Matthew tells this story, speaking into in a greater narrative - a developing story of hardship, excitement and new beliefs - that of the early Christian church. 

We know this because of the language used. When Matthew writes, “The men were amazed and asked” he doesn’t mean just the disciples asked this question, or he would have written “the disciples were amazed and asked.” The Greek work he uses “anthropos” means humankind or people. Matthew is saying, when this story is told, it is meant to amaze people and leave them with one question - Is Jesus really in charge of everything?

Matthew is retelling this story to “the people” wondering what will happen to them now that they are in this small raft calling itself “the Way” which mockers are starting to call “little Christs” and they are feeling tossed about by the sea of humanity from which they come and to which they are called. 

Matthew says, in effect, “this story is for you ‘little church.’ Yes we are being bashed about by the world on all sides, but remember the story!”

Imagine Matthew preaching it, time after time, as he visits the small communities of baby believers. 

“When Jesus first found us,” Matthew says, “He called us to go to the other side of the sea with Him. His call impacted each of us differently. Some, like the scribe, said, ‘I will follow you anywhere!’ Others, asked to be excused to care for dying family members. Jesus answers each of us, “Like me, you’ll have nowhere to lay your head. Like me, you’ll let the dead bury the dead!” 

Then, introduction finished, Matthew tells the story of the storm: The little boat, the giant waves, the desperate disciples, the sleeping Jesus. 

Matthew’s tempo builds. He stands and paces the room - making eye contact with one person after the next. “That’s us, fellow believers! Jesus is with us. He is being tossed by the storms that toss us. But He isn’t desperate! He isn’t terrified. He’s resting in our midst. Because,” Matthews fists clench, his voice raises to almost a shout, “He knows! He knows about the waves. He knows about the storm. And, He knows who’s in charge! He is! When we are at our wits end, when life is bashing us about, when the storms are too overwhelming to deal with - we forget we’ve got Jesus in our boat!”

Matthew returns to his chair and slumps into it. Quietly, he continues, “When we woke Him, Jesus stood up - He stood! - in that tiny wind swept, wave bashed boat. Jesus stood. And he talked to the wind. He talked to the storm! He looked at those waves and that wind and in a voice of eerie calm he said, “Peace. Be still.” 

Matthew pauses. . . silence . . . “And. It. Was. Still.

Matthew leans back in his chair and temples his hands against his chest, “You know, brothers and sisters, Jesus said something to us - the terrified in the boat - before he spoke to the wind and waves. He asked us a question. And He asks you the same question today in the midst of your storm, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?”

Reflection Question:
In what part of your life do you need to wake up Jesus?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
To Be Like Jesus - Page 60