The way the weather has been in the last days, we might wish that we could get Jesus to stand in our driveway and command the winds to cease, just like he did for the first disciples when they were caught in a sudden and life-threatening storm on the sea of Galilee.
This account recorded in the eighth chapter of Matthew concludes with the disciples in wonder, “What kind of human being is able to command the wind and the waves?” Over the course of the rest of the Gospel, answers to this critical question – “What kind of human being is Jesus?” – will present themselves.
He’s the kind who teaches about the nature of the rule and reign of God.
He’s the kind who commissions and sends his disciples to proclaim the coming of this rule and reign.
He’s the one who will call them to lives of mutual forgiveness.
And he’s the one who will offer his own life as an act of divine forgiveness.
After his resurrection he’s the one who will assume the place of highest honor in all of creation – by virtue of his obedience. He’s the one who will call these same disciples into a lifetime of sharing all that they’d witnessed with him for the hope of the whole world. God, in the person and work of Jesus, had come to and for humanity and all of creation in order to bring it to life.
The storm that Jesus stilled wasn’t just an immediate threat to the lives of those who were in the boat that day; it was a powerful and undeniable reminder for them that creation was not only indifferent to them and their lives, it was actually hostile. In the imagination of first century Palestine, the sea and everything under its surface was the stuff of chaos. It was evil.
Even among those who believe in God and recognize divine intention in the ordering and the power of creation, even these find themselves in situations and circumstances that unambiguously remind that they are not the center of the universe. We might be able to deduce a great deal about the nature of reality, maybe even the nature of God, by carefully examining the world around us, but such an examination won’t confirm the absolutely unequivocal love that God has for you.
When Jesus stills the storm, he not only demonstrates his authority over this creation, but he also expresses his solidarity and care for those who are with him. Not only is the God of creation not indifferent, he is in the same boat both with us – literally and figuratively!
A hope that Jesus might miraculously appear among us and stop the snow and cold is unrealistic. But the promise that God has come to be with us, to love us and bring life in any and all circumstances, is at the center of Christian hope.
Not only is God with us, God is for us.
Peace be with you.
Jan. 30, 2019
Pastor Jim and Deaconess Kristin take turns writing weekly devotions for the Chapel of the Resurrection. Contact them here: