One time, Jesus was out on a boat with his friends and a huge storm moved in. I’m talking The Perfect Storm kind of storm – remember that movie? It gives me anxiety just thinking about those ginormous waves.
The thing about water is: we can’t live without it. It brings life and healing and salvation. We need it to drink, to bathe, to grow crops and feed our livestock. Many of us have been immersed in it, cleansed of our sins and risen to a new way of being in the world.
But water can also be terrifying and deadly. It can flood, soak, overtake, and drown. And for thousands of years, God’s been using water to teach us.
We saw God part the waters in creation.
Through Moses, God parted the Red Sea.
God sent a big fish to keep Jonah in a timeout until he was ready to follow directions.
Through his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus showed us that the kingdom is open to literally everyone.
And here we have Jesus teaching the disciples something through this storm on the sea…
As the waves are winding up and crashing down, his friends completely. freak. out. They wake him up, desperately hoping he’ll save them. And what does he do? Using only his voice, he stops the storm and then chastises them for their lack of faith.
This is one of those places where I think the disciples get a bad rap. I mean, if I was out in a boat and huge waves were crashing down on us and filling the boat with water, I would be completely freaking out!
You’re asking us can we be so afraid??? Master, the tempest is raging! This heap of lumber is about to capsize and bury us in a watery grave. How are you so *not* afraid right now? We don’t want to die tonight! We were wide awake, freaking out; but you were asleep!
We were afraid you weren’t powerful enough to do something about our situation. We were afraid you didn’t see or know or care enough to do something about it.
And why would you expect us not to be afraid “…after all we’ve seen?” We’ve never seen THIS before!!! Sure we’ve seen you heal a bunch of people and heard lots of teaching, but THIS?! This is the first time since we started following you that OUR LIVES are being threatened.
We didn’t know this was what we were signing up for. THIS—this is new. And scary. And we’re not sure if we can trust you. I mean here we were in the midst of a huge storm and you were sleeping! We’ve been struggling with belief up to this point but now you’re asking about faith??? We don’t even know who you are…
Remember who’s among the disciples: the first four guys that Jesus called, Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John – who were all fishermen. They spent long days out on the water and had weathered countless storms. They didn’t scare easily.
But on this day, they were scared.
And I’m wondering – what were they more afraid of: the storm, or Jesus’ power over it? He had already calmed the storm, so maybe he’s asking them why they’re still afraid. It would be terrifying to be in the presence of such power. There was the tremendous power of the wind and waves, and the even greater power of Jesus. And yet, there was still fear.
Yes, he had calmed this storm but what about the other ones, the bigger ones? They were still occupied by Rome and were not free to govern themselves as a nation. There was political turmoil. Already this Rabbi had proven more radical than others and was drawing negative attention from other Jewish leaders. Would he take care of all of the storms from here on out, big and small?
Is there a storm raging in your life right now that you wish God would just come in and put a stop to?
To be continued next week…
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