Day 3: January 3

Matthew 8:23-27 (NLT)

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. 27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

The Sea of Galilee is noted for sudden, violent storms that whip it into a churning froth. Winds sweep down the valley of the Jordan from the north, picking up speed in the narrow gorge. When they hit the Sea, it becomes extremely unsafe for navigation.

v26, “Little faith” (Gk. oligopistos) is not “no faith” (Gk. apistos), but “ineffective,” “defective,” or “deficient” faith. Jesus calls the disciples to a clearer understanding of who he is and deeper understanding of what faith is. “Rebuked the wind and waves”. Jesus is able to command even the forces of nature, just as God in the OT “rebukes” the sea, showing his sovereign control over the natural world.

Life application

Every Christian encounters storms at various points in their lives. At times it seems we are going to be swamped by the waves, but what a comfort to know that Jesus is in the boat of life with us. I once heard, “No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean, earth and skies.” Always remember, no one can quell life’s storms like the Lord Jesus.

Matthew 12:15-21 (NLT)

Jesus, God’s Chosen Servant

15 But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, 16 but he warned them not to reveal who he was. 17 This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: 18 “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. 20 He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. 21 And his name will be the hope of all the world.”

Wherever Jesus went, the crowds gathered; and wherever the sick gathered, He healed them all. But He charged them not to publicize His miraculous cures, not to shield Himself from danger, but to avoid any fickle movement to make Him a popular revolutionary hero. The divine schedule must be kept. His revolution would come, not by the shedding of Roman blood, but by the shedding of His own blood.

Isaiah further predicted that the Messiah would not wrangle or cry out and His voice would not be heard in the streets. In other words, He would not be a political rabble-rouser, stirring up the populace. This King who is God’s ‘servant’ will not reach His rightful place of eminence by any of the usual means of carnal force or political demagoguery; nor yet by means of the supernatural forces at His command.

“He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” v20. He would not trample on the dispossessed or underprivileged in order to reach His goals. He would encourage and strengthen the broken-hearted, oppressed person. He would fan even a spark of faith into a flame. His ministry would continue till He would bring justice to victory. His humble, loving care for others would not be extinguished by the hate and ingratitude of men.

“And his name will be the hope of all the world” v21. The Name of Jesus, which is above any name is the name our friends and family member can ultimately trust. In Him and by Him men are saved. If there is any hope for them and for this generation it is in this great and awesome name.

Life Application

Ask God to give you the necessary courage to boldly speak of Jesus to your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Ask Him to help you understand what that truly would look like and how you can effectively activate it without coming across as a spiritual no-it-all or a bible-thumper.