Jesus wants us to follow him with no reservations, no greater priorities, no lists of conditions. What follows in Matthew 8 is a lesson about life when we actually do follow Jesus. Often this episode is viewed in isolation from the previous two accounts on discipleship; however, I think it’s an extension of the previous section.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.
The next paragraph, then, is about following Jesus. They had just seen Jesus heal a leper, the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and all the sick people of the region; they knew that He had all power in heaven and earth. In reality, they were following the Creator into that boat; all things were made by Him and for Him.
Creator-Jesus leads them right into a storm:
And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep
When we follow Jesus with no reservations, he will lead us into storms!
He wasn’t trying to kill the disciples; in verse 18, he had already given commandment to depart onto the other side. The point of the boat ride was to teach them a lesson about following.
When we follow Jesus with no reservations, he will lead us into storms — storms that are intended for our good.
And they went and woke him, saying, Save us, Lord; we are perishing. 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. And the men marveled, saying, What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?
In one verse the disciples see the waves crashing over the side of the boat and they cry out like little school girls, “Lord, save us. We are dying!” Two verses later, the same men are standing in awe of Jesus, saying, “What manner of man is this Jesus?” What happened in their lives to bring them to that point?
God showcased his sovereign power that day on the boat; with only words out of his mouth, the storm calmed. Perhaps while you follow Jesus, nothing seems to go as planned. Is it possible that Jesus is leading you right into the eye of the storm, only so he can display his amazing power in your life?
Perhaps the Lord is trying to strengthen your faith…
Perhaps Jesus is trying to make you more like himself…
When we follow Jesus with no reservations, he will lead us into storms that are intended for our good…to showcase his power in our lives, to strengthen our faith, and to make us more like Him.