None but God

Today’s Passage: Matthew 8:24-27

As we move forward in the book of Matthew to chapter 8, I want to focus on verses 24 through 27, but first wanted to draw your attention to verse 1: “Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside.”  I imagine I am not the only one with a sense of humor, so thought it might be fun to point out that Jesus went “up” the mountainside at the beginning of chapter 5, and came “down” the mountainside at the beginning of chapter 8, which means that all of chapters 5, 6, and 7 are part of the sermon on the mount.  Remember that the next time your Pastor preaches long!

Back to our four verses, there is so much packed into them!  Read today’s passage again, noting the things that stand out to you.  Here’s what stood out to me:

  • Sudden, fierce storm with waves breaking against the boat
  • Jesus is sleeping (!!)
  • His disciples believe they might drown
  • Jesus marvels at their lack of faith
  • At Jesus’ rebuke, the storm ceased as suddenly as it began
  • There was a great calm afterwards
  • Who is this, that even the wind and waves obey Him?

A sudden, fierce storm.  I’ve heard some really good preachers allude to the idea that Satan may have brought up the storm, but I am not convinced.  Yes, the storm was sudden, and I have no doubt that Satan would have delighted in the thought, but I don’t believe he orchestrated it.  Scriptures such as Psalms 65:6-7 and Job 26:12 allude to the fact that God Himself controls the seas.  Although I am also cognizant of Ephesians 6 telling us who and what we struggle against, we need to be reminded that Satan is not God’s equal.  Satan is not omniscient, he is not omnipresent, and he is not omnipotent! To speculate that Satan caused the storm is to put him on the same level as God.  Could God have caused the storm to come suddenly?  You bet!  What better opportunity than to showcase Jesus authority? Where else have we seen God Himself bring about a storm on the sea? Jonah 1:4.

Jesus is sleeping.  Some commentaries note it was a display of His humanness.  I can’t imagine being able to sleep on a small vessel that was being tossed about by a fierce storm, so perhaps there is an element of truth in that He must have been exhausted.  More than that, however, I believe it was also a display of complete confidence and trust.  He knew who He was, He knew the Father’s purpose and plan for Him, and He knew His time had not yet come.  It was not His day to die!  His disciples believing they all might drown is a lesson for us all to keep our eyes on Jesus, and take our queue from Him instead of the stormy circumstances surrounding us!  That is the kind of confidence one gets from an intimate, personal knowledge and relationship with Father God.  No wonder He marveled at their lack of faith, He wanted them, indeed for us all, to have that same intimate knowledge and relationship.

The disciples were filled with astonishment and fear at Jesus’ ability to calm the wind and the waves.  Why?  They hung out with Him on a day-in, day-out basis.  They watched Him heal the sick, make whole the lame, give sight to the blind, cast out demons, speak in the synagogue with authority.  Why would they marvel at the thought that His authority extended to nature as well?  Could it be that up until that time, they failed to fully recognize who it was in the boat with them?  Perhaps all of the miracles they had seen Him perform previously seemed elementary compared to calming the sea, and it took that kind of miracle for them to realize that none but God could command nature in this manner.  None but God can calm the storms that rage in our hearts and souls as well.  Do you believe this?  He chooses never to override your free will, but He is willing, if you let Him.

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