The searching question (Matthew 8:23-27)

We may find it surprising that the first response of Jesus to the prayer of the disciples was to get them to think about their spiritual state rather than to deal immediately with their request for rescue. Of course, he did not take long to deal with the problem, but we do get a hint here of the priorities of Jesus.

It is important to realise that Jesus asked the question lovingly rather than in an accusing manner. We could say that he is speaking as a pastor rather than as a prosecutor. Or even as a doctor rather than a policeman. The Saviour mentions the cause of their problem. The problem was that they did not have a big enough faith in Jesus and this lack of grasping who he is led to fear.

Yet they had just expressed faith in Jesus when they brought their concerns to him. He wanted them to think about why they had the concerns in the first place. One reason was that they had not paid sufficient attention to his instruction in verse 18, which was that they would get to the other side of the lake. They had allowed the crisis of the moment to blur the certainty of his Word. We do that often, daily, hourly! In our troubles, we forget his promises and instead of expressing confidence in our faith we express panic. It is still faith, but it is little faith.

Do you think this statement is true: ‘A believer has no doubt that Jesus can bring into existence the new heavens and new earth, but he often has doubts that Jesus can bring him to dwell there?’ Why is that the case? The believer will mention his sins and his failures usually. Yet often he mentions them through his own assessment rather than by what the Bible says about them. The Bible tells us that we will be sinners until our last breath, that we will need to be forgiven, that we will be forgiven, and that one day those who trust in Jesus will be sinless. We either base our faith on our own assessment or on what the Bible says. And the base will determine whether we have confidence in Jesus or whether we will be like the disciples and panic.

This is not to suggest that we take our sin lightly. Obviously, we must treat it seriously. But what does it mean to treat it seriously? We take it seriously when we consider the greatness of the Saviour as well as the gravity of our sin.

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