April 3, 2020 by Aaron Brown
”And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:24-27
What sort of man is this? Matthew, in his gospel, is quick to link Jesus with the expected messiah, the Davidic king. It’s in the first sentence of his gospel – “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David…” Chapters 8 and 9 are a whirlwind of stories of healings, teachings, and faith. As I reread this familiar story of Jesus, the Davidic king, calming the storm, my thoughts turn to David and his psalms. In Psalm 3, David fled from Absalom and cried, “Save me.” In the midst of his foes, David said, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” (Ps 3:5). This implies that David trusts the Lord to protect him and is at peace. Jesus, too, sleeping in the midst of a storm, implies that he was at peace and was perfectly trusting in his God.
Matthew goes even further. Jesus “rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.” In Psalm 107:23-30, God “made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” Not only is Jesus a perfectly trusting king, but he is God himself. What sort of man is this? In Peter’s words, Jesus “is the Christ, Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:16)
Thinking about this story, I think of us in our current situation, physically cut off from one another during this Covid-19 pandemic. “Save us, Lord!” Perhaps, Jesus’ reply is the same today – “Why are you afraid?” Is fear one of the emotions swirling around inside of you? It is one of mine. Why are we afraid? Uncertainty of our situation or timeline of social distancing? Loss of job or work? Fear of illness? Loneliness? Fear of the unknown?
Psalm 56:3-4 – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” C.S. Lewis wrote, “God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from himself because there is no such thing.” I know I am certainly in need of peace at this time. When fear starts to swirl, I think of God’s words, I call or text a friend from church, I sing with Adam and Marietta online, I praise God’s words as Pastors Bob, John, and Dan remind us of them, and I thank my God every time I remember you. I am thankful for this church and the technology that unites us even when we cannot sit next to each other. Finally, my brothers and sisters, the Apostle Paul reminds us to “let the PEACE of CHRIST rule in your hearts, to which you were indeed called to be ONE body. And be thankful.”