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Jesus is Lord of the Wind, the Waves, and Even You and Me

St. Matthew 14.22-33


Pentecost 8, Proper 14, series A
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Sun, Aug 7, 2011 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Our gospel today opens with Jesus sending the disciples across the Sea of Galilee.  While they go ahead of him, Jesus finds a secluded place to pray.  Finally, during the forth watch of the night (sometime between 3 and 6 in the morning) Jesus heads out to the disciples, walking on the sea.  St. Matthew tells us the sea is "tossed with waves," and "the wind was contrary."  But none of this hinders Jesus as he walks on the water.

2 When the disciples spot Jesus, their first thought is that he must be a ghost; one more thing to fear in the midst of a storm on the open sea.  But then Jesus speaks:

[St. Matthew 14.27]

Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Peter answers him:

[St. Matthew 14.28]

Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

3 Without even thinking, Peter has put his Lord to the test.  "If it really is you, Jesus, tell me to come out to you."  Maybe Peter really thought it was Jesus, and was just making sure.  Maybe—probably, Peter didn't really believe it was Jesus at all.  Imagine his surprise then, when he hears Jesus say, "Come."

4 As Peter descends out of the boat, at first things go just fine.  He begins walking on the water, going out to Jesus.  But then the wind and the waves get the better of him.  His faith starts to falter, and he starts to sink.  As Peter cries out, "Lord, save me," the truth will be revealed one way or the other.  If this is not Jesus, Peter will sink like a rock to the bottom of the sea.  If it is Jesus, Peter will be saved.

5 Without missing a beat, Jesus reaches out and catches Peter, and saves him.  While they're still standing together on the water, Jesus says to Peter,

[St. Matthew 14.31]

O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Peter apparently has no answer; his usually enthusiastic voice silenced by the miracle he's just been part of.  As they reach the boat, and climb aboard, the wind stops, and the waves calm down.  And then they all worship Jesus.  From their mouths comes the confession of Jesus' divinity:

[St. Matthew 14.33]

Of a truth, thou art the Son of God.

6 And there is the meaning of this miracle.  Jesus is truly the Son of God.  When he wants to walk on the water, he does.  When the wind and the waves are too boisterous, he commands them, "Be still."  When his disciples are in trouble, he saves them, even rescuing them from certain drowning on the open sea.  Jesus is the Son of God and the King of all creation.  He is Lord of the wind and the waves, and even you and me.

7 There are times though, that we, like St. Peter have our doubts.  And with our doubts, we too, put our Lord to the test: Are you truly with me Jesus, in the midst of all my troubles?  Are you really here Jesus, while my body falls apart and fails me?  Is that you Jesus, standing with my family through struggle and trial and tribulation?  Do you really command the whole creation, Jesus.  Can you save me when my life is at stake?  Is that really you Jesus?  If so, command me, come to you!

8 When such sentiments find their way into our hearts, and even when we dare give them voice, Jesus answers us just as he did St. Peter: "Come," he says.  "Come, thou of little faith.  Wherefore didst thou doubt?"

9 Just as Jesus saved Peter from the wind and the waves, he saves us from every danger to body and soul.  When our bodies suffer from disease and injury, Jesus says, "Come," and takes us by the hand and holds us close to him.  When our families face struggle and sorrow, Jesus says, "Come," and reaches out and grabs hold of everyone we love.  When the creation revolts against God and pours out its wrath in storms and floods and tornadoes and tsunamis, Jesus is there, walking in the midst of it all, calling out, "Come to me," and reaching out to take hold of us and save us from every danger to body and soul.

9 Christ our Lord is king of all creation and Lord of all.  The dangers and struggles we face every day are no match for his divine power and majesty, for the one who walks on water surely walks securely into the midst of all our trials.  By his perfect life he commands all our earthly enemies: "Peace.  Be still."  And by his crucifixion and resurrection he quiets our spiritual enemy, the devil himself.  And now, glorified and reigning at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, he makes his presence known to us in the midst of every danger through his word contained in the Holy Scriptures and by that word he bids us come to him.  And all the while he comes to us: In the water and word of holy baptism he rescues us from the storm of sin and death.  In the healing words of absolution he puts down our great enemy sin.  In the bread and wine that are his body and blood of the Holy Communion, he makes his home within us and takes hold of us heart and soul.  Through his word and sacraments He says to us: Be of good cheer.  It is I.  Be not afraid.  By his presence Christ forgives our sins, erases all our doubt, and assures us once again that he is with us always, even unto the end of the world, when he shall come in glory and take us by the hand, and lead us into the blessings of eternal paradise.  There we will worship him with the apostles who rode in that boat that night in the sea.  Then we shall all together say what they first said out on the water: Of a truth, thou art the Son of God.  For Christ is indeed the Son of God and the King of all creation.  He is Lord of the wind and the waves, and even you and me.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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