Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 35
Matthew:8:23-27 kjv@Matthew:8:23-27 Jesus Calms the Storm
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:8:18-22 The Cost of Following Jesus
What is God doing?
"He was entered into a ship".
Jesus is obeying the directive of the Father separating Him from the current multitude as we discussed previously. He has found Himself a place to rest His head there on the passage across the Sea of Galilee, probably a travel sack/wadded coat or ship float. Not only is the pace of His ministry grueling, accommodations of the road most taxing. Jesus is fully God in every respect, but at the same time fully man; a tough concept to grasp though one that we will have to begin acquainting ourself to.
"There arose a great tempest in the sea"
The consideration today must also include the determination (attempt) of who is behind the horrific tempest. Is this God the Father's work? Is this Satan's work? Is this a natural climatic disturbance that they had sailed into? To sum up the many possibilities that first ran through my mind perhaps my immediate suggestion is that in the ultimate respect the Father is in charge of it all; whether it is a directly intended action performed by the Father, a built in nature to the wind and sea of this locale, an allowance temporarily given to Satan. Satan is not omnipotent capable of doing anything he wishes and he certainly has not been given open license to do whatever he desires even if he had the power to do such. Satan is not a god. The scriptures a quite clear about it. Yahweh alone is God and there is no god beside HIM.
So the question really becomes what are God's purposes for doing or allowing for this. It is obviously meant as a test of the disciples faith; a means of exposing what they currently believe in order to replace that corrupt view believed for something then divinely revealed and better.
"He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm"
I think our best answer as to what is happening and the purpose behind it is in Jesus' response.
Quoted resource: strongs 'G2008'
There is no mention by Him of Satan in His rebuke nor shall there be any confusion that He was rebuking the Father; He is rebuking the natural elements. There is a composite picture I have begun to gather (kjv@Matthew:8:27; kjv@Job:38:8-11; kjv@Psalms:65:7; kjv@Psalms:89:9; kjv@Psalms:93:3-4; kjv@Psalms:104:6-9; kjv@Psalms:107:28-30; kjv@Psalms:114:3-7; etc..) of the elements of sea and climate being more unruly than appears to us because of God' presence over them to calm and contain them down to the nature that we common know. When God's restraining presence is lifted they return to their more tumultuous nature.
Tempests on these locale waters are known to occur frequently. Whether this is an event greater than all these others cannot be known, but it did catch the boat full of seasoned fisherman of these waters off guard. Being that these elements were rebuked on instead of prayed over for God's returning calming presence by Jesus suggests that the elements had over stepped their bounds, suggest perhaps their nature even with the calming presence in place over them.
The tremendous thing is that Jesus' rebuke to the tempest was enforced by the Father's immediate silencing of the storm (it could not be said by the others that the storm itself simply died out). By this Jesus is once again confirmed by the Father to be the "Promised One". I fear myself that if we do not assign a violent nature to the elements themselves that it can more easily be postulated that the event was staged by the two to draw in the men's attention.
What is man doing?
"His disciples followed him"
Remember not everyone can follow Jesus. We've had a well intending scribe offer to follow Him, he was pointed by Jesus to consider the cost; we suspect that the scribe turned away the cost being too much. In another sense many cannot follow simply by the way the the Father is conducting this operation unless they themselves had a boat or were willing to chase across the shoreline a great distance to the other side. More than anything I believe the point to be taken here is that the ministry is in full motion, it is not stationary to any one place, it is a very taxing upon the men and on the human nature of Jesus.
"His disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish"
They had tried on their own to steer aside from the dreadful situation to let it pass. In life we often do that and often we are able to do that. There are those times however when there is no steering aside or going around desperate problems, nothing that we can do or have done seems to have any effect; all that is left us is to go straight through. This particular storm if left to their own resource and ability would certainly tear their ship to pieces these veteran sailors so determined. There was nothing left them but to call upon Jesus to save them.
This is a perfect picture of how severe man's present corrupt and dying condition is. We are doing all that we can to skirt the present storm, to avoid the increasingly inevitable by our own efforts, storm that keeps gaining ground despite our of our experience/skill/determination/muscle. Some of us even place Jesus in our boat, but leave Him at rest so not to bother Him. Much like these disciples we are indeed the faithful and obedient in one sense, but to a greater extent we are the "ye of little faith".
Now surely some will corrupt even that phrase into meaning that we also could calm the tempest ourselves without there having to be a Jesus if we only believed bigger. The men on-board tonight will themselves reduce or minimize or compartmentalize and corrupt the meaning gleaned in the boat as soon likely as they reach over to raise the sail once more in the calm. Like the winds our nature is to over step our bounds yet God's calming presences actively resides over all.
"The men marvelled"
As much of a man as Jesus is, the calming of a tempest is not a thing any man is able to do. Yes it is a marvel. Even so, such marvels should be expected. Marvels typically do not lead us any closer to Christ, properly place expectations however do.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"
Why? Why? Why?
Most importantly it is because we are little acquainted with Jesus, who He is, what He can do. We can vainly imagine Him; make Him to be what we want Him to be. We can place Him in a safe little corner and leave Him to be until the few times we most urgently need Him. If we leave Him for to long however we lose all acquaintance with who He really is and needs in us to be.
Little faith does not mean no faith or lacking faith, it means exactly as it says: small. Small enough not to consistently employ. Small enough that other means seem more substantial. Small enough to exhaust all other means first.
We talk about obedience in this devotion. This manner of living is not obedience, it is everything but. We talk about faith. This manner of living is not given to faith of Jesus, it is the smaller faith in somehow making something more happen that currently is not happening by present available means. We talk about finding it/keeping it/guarding it whole as it has been revealed and confirmed. This manner of living is to briefly seek it out long enough to make some immediate use of it, only to return to what/where we were doing before. There is no cost to it other than the inherent consequences we may or may not suffer, no investment, no process of regeneration nor transformation. It is simply what we are most comfortable and familiar with doing.
Is that what is exhorted as "the patience of the saints".
Next: devotion:Matthew:8:28-34 The Healing of Two Demon-possessed Men