Todays readings.. 1 Samuel 19, Isaiah 63, Matthew 8
“WHY ARE YOU AFRAID?”
Jesus asked his disciples this question! As his ‘modern’ disciples, he will ask us too! We read this today in Matthew ch. 8. After they “came down from the mountain” and “great crowds followed” – no doubt they had been watching and waiting for him, and one of them was “a leper” whom he “cleansed.” [v.1-3].
Then after “he had entered Capernaum … a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him” [v.5] about his servant who was “lying paralysed at home, suffering terribly.”[v.6] His profession of faith made Jesus ‘marvel’ and contrasted it with the lack of perception and faith in Israel, he declared, “with no one in Israel have I found such faith” [v.10] and that “many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom” [v.11] It is no different today, indeed, it is wonderful to see the ‘pockets’ of true faith that, we understand, exist in many and distant parts of the world.!
The disciples themselves were going through a learning curve – as far as ‘active‘ personal faith was concerned – a learning curve they needed! From v.23 we read how Jesus and his disciples got into a boat “and behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.” Imagine the scene! This literal event tested the disciples, and they failed the test.
Imagine, if you had been one of them? They are afraid and “went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ ” Let us ‘absorb’ his response – and ponder the lesson for us – “”Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” [v.26]
As we meditate on this event we can see this as an ‘acted parable’ for us – for when God brings storms of judgement on our godless world! How will we cope? Do you know?
We recently read in Revelation, ” The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time … for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” [11 v.18] We can compare this with seldom quoted verses in Micah ch. 7 v.15-17 “As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvellous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed … they shall come trembling out of their strongholds; they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall be in fear of you.” Is not the “you” – spiritual Israel!?
With what awe Israel of old witnessed the destruction of the Egyptians. With what awe will spiritual Israel witness the acts of God be seen in “destroying the destroyers of the earth.”! An utterly overwhelming experience! Will we hear the voice of our Lord saying,. “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”