Matthew chapter 8 is an incredible passage of scripture. In these 34 verses we read about Jesus healing a man with Leprosy with a simple touch, and calming a storm and setting a demon-possessed man free through the power of His words alone, just to name a few!
Can you imagine walking with Jesus and seeing all of these miracles happen? To see Jesus touch a man with leprosy and watch his skin clear up in front of you. To see Peter’s Mother-in-Law sick in bed and then, not only see her healing take place but to then have her wait on you immediately afterwards.
What an incredible way to see God reveal Himself to His disciples and those there watching. What do you think seeing these miracles first hand would do for you and your faith?
I venture to say most of us would say it would solidify it! Make it rock solid! Unwavering! Firm! I mean, how could you watch those kinds of miracles take place and not be convinced for life?
However, I think the disciples give a clear depiction of what we would most likely truly be like after this miracle upon miracle upon miracle journey.
Let’s take a second to read a piece of Matthew chapter 8 together today. Starting in verse 23:
"Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He 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.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”'
Now remember, the disciples are fresh off witnessing a host of miracles! Things that should not have been possible by any stretch of the imagination. Our logical minds tell us that they should have nearly invincible faith at this point! However, as they are in the boat headed across the lake and that huge storm surprises them they are struck by only one thing…nope, not Faith…they are struck by FEAR.
In an instant these professional fishermen - Men that know how to handle themselves on the open water. Men who have undoubtedly weathered many a storm in their day. - find themselves so terrified of this storm that they wake Jesus who is sleeping in the boat shouting “save us we are going to drown!"
Now, can I just say, I feel for the disciples at this moment. Honestly, I think the disciples get a bad wrap for being afraid of this storm. Why? Because friends, it is almost an understatement when I say... I. HATE. STORMS!
I actually vividly remember being very much an adult - married, living the full on adult life - when I was so gripped by fear because of severe weather in our area that I found myself huddled in my bedroom closet, pillow over my head, crying and yelling uncontrollably at my poor sweet husband as he tried to console me and remind me that everything was going to be okay while I yelled at him through frantic tears that he in fact did not love me and obviously wanted me to die. All because I didn’t feel like he was taking this threat to my life, this FEAR, seriously enough!
You guys! I grew up in Oklahoma. Right in the middle of tornado alley. Much like navigating storms in the fishing boat was nothing new to the disciples, navigating severe weather and tornado watches and warnings was nothing new to me! You’d think I would have been comfortable with storms at that point in my life. I knew what to expect. I knew what to do. I was armed with tons of knowledge and experience and yet, when that weather man started talking about tornadoes I became an absolute, stressed out, worry and fear filled mess!
Why? Because in moments of true fear all logic goes out the window. You are no longer thinking with your brain. All wisdom and knowledge and experience seems to fly away on the first wind that blows and you find yourself, instead, being driven and fueled by one thing only…Fear.
I have a feeling that is exactly what is happening to the disciples in that very moment. Yes they had seen God heal this person of an incurable disease but this is now me and my situation and my fear. Yes he did those things before for THEM but can He really deliver me from MY storm?
Anyone ever been there? I know I have!
But I just LOVE Jesus’ response to their cries of sheer panic when they woke Jesus and cried “Lord Save us! We're going to Drown!” Verse 26 says “He 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.
His response isn’t “why did you wake me? I was getting a much needed and well deserved nap! Didn’t you just see how hard I worked healing all of those people?” No. He first addressed them and their faith. After all, His concern wasn’t for himself but, rather, for them! And not for their physical safety but for the strength and security of their faith. So He gave them that little nudge that says “Hey, remember that faith you just had” or in other words “Remember that faith you had in ME!? The One who you just walked with as I performed miracle after miracle? The One who can do the seemingly impossible with the touch of My hand or a word from My mouth? Yep. I’m still here. I am still faithful. I am still God.
And it was THEN, after He helped them to set their perspective back where it should be and off on their fear of their circumstances and back on Him that He then spoke to the storm and brought total, inexplicable, and, without God, impossible peace.
So, if you find yourself in the middle of a storm, whether that be a storm of loneliness or loss or uncertainty or worry or fear or any number of other things that could be clouding your vision, I encourage you to follow the lead of Jesus. Don’t beat yourself down with your thoughts and feelings of how you are unworthy. Don’t try to muster up the strength and faith to weather the storm on your own. Instead, take time to cry out to the Lord and say “HELP ME! I’M GOING DOWN!”. And, in doing so, remind yourself of how worthy HE is and encourage your faith by remembering the Lord’s faithfulness in the past - both to yourself and others - as you watch Him work a new miracle in the present.
Today, as we close out our time together, I want to encourage you to take some time to encourage one another's faith! Have you seen God work a miracle in your life or in the life of others? If so, share it with us in the Dwell message board. I am talking about small ones like ‘God reminded you, as you walked out the door, to grab something you needed before you left’, all the way to ‘God healed you of a disease, provided for a need, or showed up in a supernatural way’. Let’s encourage each other with stories, just like this chapter is filled with, and remind ourselves that He is still the same miracle working God - yesterday, today, and forever.