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Foundations For Our Future #180 - #181

Foundations for Our Future (180) 

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

Why Are You Afraid?

The questions the Lord asks his disciples are always very revealing. Today we hear him ask them: “Why are you afraid?” (Matthew 8:26) From a human point of view it is obvious. The storm is about to sink the boat. But for the Lord Jesus it is a moment to clarify what it means to be his disciple. It as though he said: ’If you are truly putting your lives in the hands of Almighty God, why are you afraid?’ They have followed him because he is opening to them the kingdom of heaven, and pointing them to its certainty and joy. He has spoken to them in the name of God, and dared to explain what God’s Word really means. His question is really: “Are you not trusting me?”

The disciples thought the problem was the storm, but the Lord sees that the problem is their faith. “O you of little faith.” They have begun the disciple’s journey with him, but they have yet much to learn, and much to commit. He does not rebuke them, but instead rises and rebukes the storm. And when he does so, to the astonishment of the disciples, “there was a great calm.”

Whatever problems we might be facing today, whatever storms, coming through to the calm depends on our faith in the Lord Jesus. He alone can bring the “great calm,” because he alone can save.


Foundations for Our Future (181) 

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

What Sort Of Man?

There comes a transition in the life of every follower of Jesus, if they are truly called of God, when they realize that regarding him as a good man will not do. He is a great teacher, but that will not do to define him. He is a great healer, but that will not do to define him either. Even calling him a miracle worker, though he works miracles, is not sufficient to fully come to terms with who he really is. Today we conclude the story of the calming of the storm by seeing the first disciples grappling with this transition. When the storm suddenly stopped, and a great calm came on the sea, “the men marveled.” (Matthew 8:27)

They were aware that others, called of God, had performed miracles of healing. Moses and Elijah, the two great exemplars of the Law and the Prophets, had done so. But something about Jesus’ command of the powerful forces of nature, stunned these disciples. They were brought to a new level of uncertainty, as they pondered what sort of man this teacher they were following really was. “Even winds and sea obey him.”

Matthew the Evangelist has told us from the first verse he wrote, that Jesus Christ is “the son of David” and “the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1) Now he is pointing us, in the experience of these disciples, toward the  even more awesome truth. He is walking with the full authority of Almighty God. It will be Peter who comes finally to see that his Lord is in fact “the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)