Matthew 14: 22-33 (Pentecost 10, 2017)
“Jesus is the Son of God our Savior”
The work of ministry and personal life pulls had been a full plate for our Teacher. There had been crowds of people following him everywhere. He had been rejected by his own boyhood town of Nazareth. He learned of the imprisonment of his cousin, John the Baptizer. John was eventually murdered (lost his head) by Herod for standing up for the Truth. The Lord’s earthly family was seeking his time and attention; in one case interrupting Bible Class. Still, Jesus delivered dozens of lessons, sermons, parables and miracles over the hillsides & villages of northern Galilee.
Having fed the crowds in a miraculous way, it was time for Jesus, the Son of God our Savior, to have some sanctuary for himself. He had already tried once … they found him anyway (13). Now that the 12 had already been sent out on their first mission trip it, exclusive training for “The 12” needed to continue. He sent them out in the boat to cross the lake ahead of him. He went to a private place to rest and to pray.
[Aside] Does it enter our minds that He did not need to check the morning news for the weather report? He did not go onto his weather app to check the latest radar for Northern Galilee. This Man, this Son of God our Savior, knew that the weather report was bad when he insisted that his closest friends shove off the shore! What exactly was he up to?! He would catch up with them later. Now was the time and place for words with his Father, prayer, rest … quiet meditation. Now he would rest mind, heart, and body.
Meanwhile, on the lake, strong winds placed the men in danger. Wind and waves “against them” their oars and efforts became useless. The men, blowing off course, became separated from Jesus … or so they thought. Jesus revealed his divine power once again in walking out to them on the surface of the lake.
So begins a series of realities that lead to the one truth: Jesus is the Son of God our Savior.
- Our perception of God is clouded and wrong when tainted with sin and reason. The disciples, in their humanity, thought Jesus to be a ghostly spirit, haunting them on the lake.
- Our sin taints our ability to trust in God. Absence of faith turns to self and other sources of trust, and ends in disaster. When Peter’s focus was on the waves and not on his Savior, he began to sink.
- Jesus does rebuke us when we lose our trust in him: “You of little faith, why did you doubt!?”
- Jesus does love us unconditionally, and is willing and able to drop everything for us.
- Jesus delivers us. He reaches out for us … not the other way around. He is Son of God our Savior!
- Christian trust relies completely on Christ. Peter trusted Jesus to lift him up from the sea. Saving faith saves because of what God does, not because of what we do.
- Jesus delivers us from sin and death on a cross. That deliverance includes helping us face the cross-bearing that he allows in our day to day activities.
What is your biggest “wave” right now? Scary doctor’s reports? Severe financial deficits (in home and ministry?); Pain and depression from long lasting grief? Guilt from repeating sinful patterns? The sheer weight of a world that operates in fear and danger rather than in peace and confidence? Family stress from quickly changing stages of life: raising children, grown children’s new challenges, aging parents? Do many of you face several of these windy waves all at the same time? On top of that we live among the same climate that took the head of John for standing up for the truths and ministry of Jesus the Son of God our Savior.
Where is deliverance!? Where is courage!? Know this truth (and the truisms that point to it):
“Jesus is the Son of God our Savior.”
- We are sinners. We will blow it. There are times when we will approach our problems our own way. Let’s face it, most of our problems we bring on ourselves, like Peter.
- Problems don’t go away. They are a part of our life under the cross with Jesus. Truthfully, he knows about their arrival and purposes in our lives before we do!
- God’s divine power is shown in his Son! That power saves us and is the power that brings his people through the most daunting of circumstances.
- The God who came out on the lake to his brothers - the Savior who reached down to deliver Peter - is the God who came from heaven to earth, to cross, to hell, to resurrection; in order save us.
- There is no depth too deep, there is no place too far, there is no circumstance too difficult for the divine Son of God, our Savior.
This same Son of God has rescued us from the most severe storm of all – the drowning waves blown by the winds of our sinful nature and Satan’s hellish blasts. His blood calms the waves of guilt and fear. He has taken our place in the storm of God’s righteous wrath on the cross. He has risen above that death and hell by escaping the tomb alive. God does not promise to take away the storms. He does not promise to remove you from them. He promises “My Grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness” (1 Corinthians 10).
Cast away our littleness of our faith! Together with 12 thankful men on a boat worship Jesus, the Son of God our Savior! Trust in Him as he promises that you cannot be put to shame! Know that just as true as the gentle whisper to Elijah, just as sure as the arm of Jesus reaching down to save Peter, God has given us his promises. He has left us with his Book of Truth. He has marked us with water and the word, a Baptism we remember each time we hear the words Father, Son and Spirit.
I suppose “shallow end” reading of this Bible story could quickly draw some cute, even Biblical, generalities, like:
- Jesus is a really good teacher.
- Even Jesus gets tired and takes time for rest and prayer.
- Even grown men get into dangerous situations and get scared.
- Jesus helps us in times of danger.
- Even Peter and the fellas had a weak faith at times.
- Jesus knows everything and uses everything for his purposes.
- His followers can learn to trust in Jesus … better.
True enough all of them! But as we were reminded last week: the point of today is … ? We will take Matthew’s cue and say what the point of the story truly means. In new found courage with the men in the boat worship him and say: “Jesus, is truly the Son of God our only Savior!” Amen!