As we look at who Jesus is in the New Testament, we’re going through the gospel of Matthew. Our text tonight is to be found in the eighth chapter.
23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26He 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.
27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
At this point in the gospels, Jesus has been doing various miracles. The first was the healing of a leper. The one we looked at yesterday was the healing of the Centurion’s servant. Before that was the healing of Simon’s Mother-in-Law. (You ever wonder today if he regretted that decision?….)
Tonight though, Jesus is on a boat with the disciples. This is most likely the Sea of Galilee and from talking to friends who have been to Israel, I have been informed that if one is on the Sea of Galilee, that the storms can come over the waters very quickly!
The disciples do consist of some fishermen, but even they are nervous. What is going on here the whole time? Jesus is asleep!
Now let’s get rid of an objection right off.
Some people will say Jesus was asleep, but God never sleeps.
The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity says we are not to confuse the substance. Jesus in his humanity slept. As his deity, he did not sleep. To think otherwise would lead to monophysitism where the human nature eventually gets swallowed up as it were by the divine nature. A lot of people see Jesus doing an activity in his humanity and then ask if the deity did that. No. (Especially since in Trinitarianism, Jesus is not the Trinity.)
Eventually, the disciples do come and wake Jesus up and ask him to save them lest they perish.
The one thing I’d like to know is what were the disciples expecting? We honestly don’t know. I doubt the full ramifications of who Jesus is had sunk in on them yet. They were seeing him as a greater figure than others though and they might be thinking something like “Well, we don’t know what he’ll do, but he’ll do something.” Note also that they called him “Lord.”
So Jesus does get up and he is astounded that they are afraid, as if to say that they should know better. Could it be Jesus is saying that enough of his identity has been shown that they should know by now? We see this throughout the gospels. The disciples have enough evidence, but they just keep wavering between belief and unbelief.
And if we were honest, we can relate to that. We have enough evidence of God, and yet so many times we’re also saying “Lord. Save us!”
Not that it’s not justified to do that at times, but did they really think God would let his only Son drown in a boat without completing his mission?
So Jesus gets up and what does he do? He rebukes the winds and the sea. Notice that. He rebukes them. He gives an order. Perchance the disciples were thinking of Psalm 107 then.
23 Others went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the LORD,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.
We have to keep in mind that these people had a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament and one idea we will see repeatedly is that images applied to YHWH in the Old Testament apply to Jesus in the new.
Where will we go tomorrow? Come back and see.