This month’s guest devotion is written by Rev. Craig Donofrio, Director of Communications for the Eurasia Region. It is based on the Gospel reading found in the one-year lectionary for this past Sunday. Rev. Donofrio and his wife, Paula, are raising the funds needed to deploy to Prague, Czech Republic. This will be home base for them as Rev. Donofrio travels throughout the region reporting on the work of our missionaries and sister churches, helping sister churches to set up podcasts and other media, and leading a Divine Service in Zurich, Switzerland.
–By Rev. Craig Donofrio.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him,saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “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. 27 And the men marveled, saying,“What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:23-27, ESV.
“What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
We are given yet another epiphany in this Season of Epiphany as we find what sort of a Savior, Jesus is for us.
That the wind and the sea obey Him seems to be the surface “aha” in Matthew 8:23-27. It is amazing that He should command the waves and the wind, but that shows Jesus to be almighty; where is the grace in this for us?
Consider this; Mark tells us that Jesus was asleep on the “cushion” which was most likely the heavy bag that they would shift around in the hold for ballast. The boat is being tossed to, and fro, and God is sleeping, doesn’t He care? We’re perishing! Now we are starting to see it.
The first commandment tells us to have no other Gods before the one true God. Here He is, and He seems to be asleep while we’re being thrown about by things that are beyond our control. We’re afraid, we’re hopeless, we’re angry and yet, even snoozing below decks (or so it seems to us), Jesus is still God, He is still in control, He is still merciful. We think that we should be able to go over and shake Him and make Him do something, but that’s just our way of trying to be God. We are the gods that we have before the one true God. Who are we to instruct God on how to be God?
We bluster, we bellow, we run back and forth, worrying and fretting, whatever shall we do? We are perishing! There is Jesus saying to us, “why are you afraid? Don’t you believe in Me and who I am, for you?” Then He rises, and with one little word, the tempest of the unholy trinity of the world, the devil and our sinfulness is silenced.
Jesus spoke the word of peace for the world when on the cross, He said, “tetelestai,” “it is finished.” With that one word, He indicates that the enmity between God and man is over, death and sin are conquered, and there are no storms in life that can destroy those who are in the ship of His church. Loaded into His cargo hold through baptism, we are safe in any storm.
Even so, Jesus speaks to us, “Peace, be still, I am your Savior, you are redeemed by My doing and for My sake.”
Let us pray: O Lord, Jesus Christ. You used Noah to bring eight souls through the flood that destroyed sinful mankind. Even so, through the waters of Holy Baptism, You deliver us from our sin. We ask for faith to trust Your promise of Salvation. We ask that we might take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on You, for You are the Author and Perfecter of our faith. May Your Word and Sacraments have free course to forgive and strengthen us that the evil foe may have no power over us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.