“The disciples were amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey Him!’” (Matthew 8:27 NLT)
Authority isn’t license. Just because I CAN do something, isn’t my license to do it. I can burn my house down, but how would that benefit the Lord. Besides, my wife would be imprisoned for my murder. Seriously, we can push this issue of authority in directions that wouldn’t benefit anyone, but I’d like for us to look at a few things today that raise some questions I believe deserve an answer.
First, the verse above shows us the disciples’ response to Christ’s authority in a very vivid way – a life-threatening way. But what was the lesson? Jesus knew before the foundation of the earth that He would be in that boat on that lake when that storm would arise. He does nothing without purpose, so “why” Is a legitimate question.
“O My Soul” “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com”
After calming the wind and waves Jesus responded to the disciples’ fear with a question: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” It was obviously a faith issue, but how? Put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. Wasn’t their fear real? Is Jesus mocking them? No! Not at all. In my mind I believe His question focuses on the purpose of the storm in the first place.
Yes, of course, their faith was centered and focused on Jesus, but what if Jesus was giving them an object lesson. It you read the context of this event; you see that the disciples have listened to Jesus’ inaugural Sermon on the Mount! Powerful and moving. Jesus healed a man with leprosy; healed the Roman officer’s servant without ever going to see him; healed Peter’s mother-in-law and cast out demons in many who came to Him.
It was almost as if Jesus wanted to escape the crowds by climbing into the boat. Then, finally asleep, the storm hit. Was Satan trying to take Jesus out? Maybe, but I prefer to believe Jesus is simply giving the disciples an opportunity to step up and experience first hand what they’ve been watching Jesus do.
Jesus’ question is spot on: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” In the context it makes perfect sense. He could just as easily have asked them: “Why didn’t YOU command the storm to cease? I’ve shown you that there’s nothing that isn’t subject to My command. I’ve demonstrated my authority over and over.” Was it just too soon?
But let’s look at one more illustration where Jesus gets more specific. In Matthew 21, following Jesus’ “Triumphant Entry” into Jerusalem, He clears the Temple, heals blind and lame people, thus infuriating the Jewish leaders. Then the very next morning Jesus sees a fig tree with leaves, but no figs, so He curses it and immediately it withers up. Of course, the disciples were amazed, but listen carefully to what He says to them: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
Could it be that in our prayers we’re not seeing answers because we’re not praying with authority? Are we trying to awaken Jesus to answer prayers He wants us to answer ourselves in His authority and to His honor? What if rather than praying for doors of opportunity to open to speak with someone about Jesus we get on the phone and set up an appointment? Then share Christ in the power of His Holy Spirit, expecting heaven to open and that soul to be delivered from death to life.
That’s enough for today, but let’s look at this from one more point of view in tomorrow’s post.
Blessings, Ed 😊