Notes - Aug. 14-2011
9th Sunday of Matt. (Matt. 14:22-34)
Miracle of walking Water, confession of faith
(parallels Mk. 6:45-52; Jn. 6:15-21)
1.Divinity of Jesus (22-33) – dominion over nature
2.“…be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid…” – assurance He will be with His people in the midst of the storms of life – critical prerequisite “do not be afraid” – this is the prerequisite to faith – it is a dichotomy.Dichotomy: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities <the dichotomy between faith and fear>;
3.The Lord’s response is simple enough to be reduced down to one word – it does not need further exegesis nor theologians to interpret it – it is unmistakable, simple and clear; “come” – it is the unwavering call of Christ in the midst of turbulence and turmoil.
4.Peter’s faith wavers for just a moment – and cries out “Lord, Save Me” – Jesus does just that – again clearly, promptly the Lord answers his prayer – the shortest of prayers in the Bible.
-Also in our liturgical practice – this is the repeated exhortation: “Lord, Have Mercy”, in Gr. Κύριε ελέησον, in Albanian, Meshiro o Zot
-The expansion; “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner” – the great Russian text “The way of the Pilgrim” – if you haven’t read it, buy it and read it. The transformative power of these words spoken in earnest prayer of the heart can not be overstated.
-Peter’s doubt is not an outright denial of the faith, it is a transitory weakening, wavering, hesitation, or vacillation – this stems from removing his gaze from the Lord, to the storm about him. This is indicative of the way the Lord operates– it requires total focus on Him – if we are praying for a miracle, if our earnest desire is to be “save”, we cannot remove our contemplation from Him, particularly when His call is so simple “come”.
o It is not “come, but if you need to check on a few other things also, no problem…”
o It is simple “come” – our response ought to be as simple as the call.
5.The response - “Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God” – a remarkable statement for a monotheistic Jew, who would have understood the consequences and implications of such a radical confession – imagine what they must have been feeling.
This results in the first confession of their master and teacher as “The Lord”, “the Son of God” – they know, as the wise men did at his birth, that only God should be worshiped – their experience is unmistakable, there is no room for secondary interpretations – this is experience of The Lord, of God.
6.In the parallel (Jn. 6:15-21) – we see the same context,
“…it was already dark and Jesus had not come to them…” – they are surrounded by darkness.
“…then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing…” - again the turbulence of life – must have been frightening, very frightening – there is no coast guard, and no cell phones to call them with – such turbulence at sea surely meant a high probability of perishing.
“…They saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid…” – again, the vacuum of faith, is the induction of fear – for the two can not be combined, they are mutually exclusive, and without one the other fills our hearts.
And we read again the comforting words “…It is I; do not be afraid” – again the prerequisite to faith. Then they “willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.”
Willingly received Him – proactive movement of faith – they also willing received Him as their Lord and God into their hearts through the power of faith.
Immediately – the Lord’s response is without pause
Do you doubt this power of faith?
How do you know until you try?
Incidentally, the success rate is 100%, when the prayer comes from the heart, and when the act of faith is sincere, indeed when one approach faith in the Lord as if the entirety of their being depends on it, their physical being, their spiritual being…
-Can we approach the lord with the simplicity of response that the disciples did when their life was threatened?
-Can we do it even when there is no darkness and turbulence all around?
-Could this be an activity of daily life? Taken out of Love and recognition of His divinity?
The Lord as the fulfillment of the OT prophecy resonates with the miracle of Moses and the red sea. Moses led the old Israel through the sea to liberty. Christ walks over the sea and leads His disciples to the Land where they were going – again Christ’s walking on the sea is a sign of His lordship over creation. He is leading His people to a land that they seek, a new Israel – will we respond to His simple directive “Come”?