Devotions, Ministry, Pastoral Life, Preaching, Sermons & Sermon Notes

Devotion: Jesus Calms the Storm (His Encouragement)

This post is part of the weekly series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.” 

Scripture:

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid (Matthew 14:25-24, NIV).”

https://youtu.be/zDgINgmghlE

This message is so near and dear to my hear that it is the first YouTube video I made for my Online Lent Devotional Series. 

Jesus Calms the Storm

In Matthew 14:22-33, we are told the story of how Jesus calmed the storm. This story appears immediately after Jesus fed more than five-thousand people. After Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was alone and there was a huge storm. The disciples were frightened and their boat was being battered by huge waves.

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid (Matthew 14:25-24, NIV).”

Jesus told the disciples not to be afraid. He also invited Peter to walk out with him on the water. At first, Peter was brave, but then he felt the strong wind and became frightened. He cried out, Lord, save me (Matthew 14:30)!”

Jesus answered Peter’s frightened cry. He reached out and caught Peter by the arm.  “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt (Matthew 14:31)?”

Jesus then led Peter safely back into the boat and the wind subsided. The story ends with a scene of worship. Everyone who was in the boat cries out with joy, “Truly you are the Son of God (Matthew 14:33)!” Jesus had performed a miracle and calmed the storm.

Preparing for a Storm

A few days ago, Jeff and I found ourselves at Martin’s grocery store here in Altoona. The scene reminded me of the frenzy our town faces before a major snowstorm, but something was different. Fear was in the air. Despite the multitude of people, the store was eerily quiet. In the pasta aisle, I stepped aside as two shoppers sized one another up over the last box of whole-wheat spaghetti.

Suddenly, another woman slammed into me with her cart. “Watch where you’re going,” she snarled. “What’s wrong with you? Are you blind? Get out of my way!” (Related: I wrote about this experience in another article, in which I shared some ways you can support people with disabilities during this pandemic.)

She hurried away before I could answer her, but the situation left me deeply concerned. I couldn’t help but ask myself, is this how we are treating one another?

 

“Don’t Be Afraid”

Although the COVID-19 virus is dangerous, fear is the larger threat. When we allow ourselves to become ruled by fear, we stop seeing others as children of God. Instead, we begin to see them as our adversaries. People who are afraid are less likely to help one another. This is dangerous, because we must always remember that all humans are made in the image of God.

I admit that I also experience moments of fear. I’m mostly afraid for my loved ones and for my family. I love so many people who are elderly or who have weak immune systems. However, the Bible tells us that we do not need to live in fear.

Jesus told the disciples not to be afraid. Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth. Even the wind and the waves obey him (Matthew 8:27, NIV). I know that he will calm this storm as well.

Church is not a building—it is a people. We are God’s people, and we do not have to be afraid. As one of my favorite theologians, Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, has recently observed, The opposite of fear isn’t bravery: it is love.  The Bible tells us, “let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God… There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:7 & 18a, NIV). Our faith frees us from fear and enable to treat one another with love. This is not the end. This, too, shall pass.

 

Logo is a small green owl that says Rev. Rebecca Writes

This post is part of the series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.”

Now, it’s your turn! What Scripture verse is inspiring you this week? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursdays are always a really long day of the week for me. As a pastor, Sunday feels like the natural beginning of my week. By the time I get to Thursday, I am tired and drained. That’s why I’m excited to join with a group of blogging friends in order to offer you a weekly devotional which will be posted every Thursday.

Please be sure to check out the other great bloggers involved in the His Encouragement weekly series! 

Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home

Leslie @ Words of Hope

3 thoughts on “Devotion: Jesus Calms the Storm (His Encouragement)”

  1. Beckie, I want you to know the night before I went to the dentist, for a hurting tooth, I was so scared. I watched your lesson on how perfect love casts out fear. That was the last thing I heard before I went to sleep. I had comfort in that.
    The next morning, my friend and I talked about this story of how Peter had to face his fear and step out of the boat onto the water to get to Jesus. I, like peter, had to face my fear and go to the dentist. My tooth isn’t cracked. I have to see my Orthodontic specialist to see what we can do to fix it.
    Today’s lesson on your blog reminds me no matter what happens at my specialist appointment I need not to be afraid. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Amanda! I’m so glad that you received good news from the dentist. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post. It is very special to me and I preached it last Sunday. I’m so glad you found it comforting.

      Like

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