We can be confident in Christ’s power
Jerry A Collins
v Does Jesus have authority over illness?
v Does Jesus have authority over storms?
v Does Jesus have authority over demons?
Life is so full of surprises. We
cannot control events or circumstances and so many of these can threaten us and
cause us to fear. This is true of disease, older age, finances, careers,
accidents, and relationships. You have your set of fears relating to unexpected
and unanticipated situations. Now, we can become a victim of these
fears—debilitated, overwhelmed, paralyzed. Like the lady who housed me in
CONNECTING THESE TOGETHER
1. Healing Peter’s mother in law and demon possessed 14-17. Arriving at Peter’s home, his mother-in-law is sick. Peter was married as were most of the apostles 1 Cor. 9:5. Two things happened; (1) Jesus touch healed her sickness. (2) She was given strength to immediately get up and serve Jesus. Then, that evening was a larger healing gathering and people were brot to Him and with His word Matthew informs us he healed all of them. The purpose of all the healing episodes is to fulfill words that the prophet Isaiah had spoken in 53:4. The OT context is one who is God’s chosen, who will bring justice, blessing, even for Gentiles, despite appearing not to triumph at first because he does not speak out and because he is mocked, despised, rejected. It is this same one Matthew identifies as Jesus who in his healing ministry anticipates bearing sin on the cross making provision to remove results of sin—sickness, death, demon possession, rejection—sometimes now (Jesus, Paul, Timothy), but completely in the Kingdom and eternity. Here, then we see Jesus authority to command illness to depart.
2. A crowd gathers and some want to follow Jesus 18-22. Here we see Jesus authority over man by denying requests to follow Him. He receives 2 visitors. (1) A scribe announces he will follow wherever Jesus goes. Jesus has no permanent home like animals do—following Jesus will never bring prominence. (2) A disciple requested to bury his father and then he would follow Jesus. The idea is to return home until his father died, fulfill family obligations, and then follow. Jesus says let the people of the world take care of the affairs of the world. It means that Jesus is more important than fulfilling family obligations like burying your father. This is what was keeping him from following Christ—like the rich young rulers riches. So discipleship is not something you can pick up or lay down at will. Following Jesus is the highest priority.
3. Jesus delivers disciples from the storm 23-27. Here we see Jesus authority to command the storms to calm. This story comes in a series of reports about Jesus’ authority in various area.
1. Disciples ask Jesus to save them 23-24. When this storm suddenly erupted, Jesus was asleep, but they were in a panic. You can hear it in the words, ‘we are perishing’. Which is what we often conclude when there is trouble in our lives. Things are out of control and we are perishing. They had known storms before but here they are afraid. Luke says ‘Master, Master, we are going to drown’ and Mark says, ‘Teacher don’t you care if we drown?’ The disciples said all of these things and more. This storm threw them in to a panic yelling all kinds of things. So taking these together we feel the terror and reflect upon the chaos it produced. Matthew remembers one thing that was said, Mark may have relied on Peter’s report of this, recorded another and Luke who did research, traced the memories of another to record what he wrote. But these are not discrepancies. Each writer recorded some of the things that happened in the boat. Jesus sleeping indicates he was very human, exhausted from the crowds and the evening healing ministry. The words ‘lord save us’ is a basic cry for help by needy people—here they did not want to drown.
2. Jesus calms the storm to strengthen their weak faith 26. First, Jesus rebukes their weak faith—all the while the storm is still
raging the waves splashing. They were right to ask Him and they had faith in Him. But their fear betrays the weakness of that faith. They came in a panic not in confidence. They had been with Jesus for a year or more and should have had greater confidence in His ability. Jesus asks why are you afraid? Ironic that in the very presence of the Son of God they panic. He was there. They had nothing to fear. Jesus uses the power of His Word to rebuke the wind and waves. Now Jesus is revealed in His power as the Son of God. His powerful command not only calmed the storm it calmed their fears. Taking care of the troubling circumstances took away their fears and strengthened their faith in Him. For us, their will be so many things in life that threaten and cause fear. The more intimately we know the Lord and His power, the less fearful and more confident we become.
3. The disciples marvel at His power 27. What kind of man is this? No one else can do this. So the point is Jesus is completely unique—sovereign over nature with authority and power.
OT: In Ot the theme of controlling the seas in Job 38:8-11. In Gen 1 the Lord brot everything into existence, even the formation and harnessing of the seas. God sat over the great flood Gen 6-8.
NT: Here is a man having dominion over the earth and sea. Hebrews 1 stresses that Jesus’ power is over all nature reminding us that He is sustaining all things by His powerful word.
A. The storms of life are always given by God as opportunities to strengthen little faith. It is not ‘no faith’ but ‘little faith’ that is betrayed by fear in threatening circumstances.
B. Our faith is expressed in our praying to Him ‘Lord save us’ from any dangers and troubles of life we face.
C. The more we see the power of the Lord both in the Bible and in experiences of believers around us, the more our confidence grows. We struggle with fear because this world is not a safe place to live in. Building of faith takes time to develop.