Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We are in the season of Epiphany, which began with the day of the Three Kings, on January 6. Epiphany means the manifestation or revelation of the power and glory of God. That is why this is the focus of our readings this season.
Our text for today shows us two things. First, Jesus Christ in His earthly life was true man. In this chapter of the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus worked hard. He healed a leper, healed the centurion's servant, healed the mother-in-law of St. Peter, and preached the Word of God to the multitudes. After this work, He needed rest and sought to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. The Sea of Galilee is a large lake, like Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, and people talk about it as a sea.
And when He was in the ship, His disciples followed him. What happened? And behold, a great movement was made at sea, that the ship was covered with waves; But He slept. And His disciples came and awakened him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish.
Notice, that most of Jesus' first disciples were fishermen by profession in the Sea of Galilee. It was not the first time they encountered a storm. However, they were frightened by this storm because it seemed certain that the ship was going to sink.
Here is the evidence of the second thing. We learn in catechism class that Jesus Christ has two natures, human nature and divine nature. Here Jesus showed them that He is true God. And He said to them, "Why do you fear, men of little faith? Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, What man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?
In our Old Testament reading (Exodus 14: 21-31), who has power over the winds and the sea? God. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD made the sea to retreat by a mighty east wind all that night; And the sea became dry, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went in by the sea in the dry, and the waters were as a wall to their right hand and to their left. And the Egyptians pursued after them into the midst of the sea, all the army of Pharaoh, and their chariots, And his people on horseback. And it came to pass in the morning watch, that the LORD looked upon the field of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and cloud, and troubled the camp of the Egyptians. And he took the wheels of their chariots, and upset them severely. And the Egyptians said, Let us flee from before Israel: for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians. And the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may return upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their cavalry. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea turned in his strength as it arose; And the Egyptians went toward it: and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the cavalry, and all the army of Pharaoh that had gone in after them into the sea; Not one of them remained. And the children of Israel went through the dry sea, having the waters for a wall at his right hand and at his left. So the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians; Israel saw the Egyptians dead by the sea. And Israel saw that great thing which the LORD did against the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
The Red Sea is another great lake between Egypt and the land of Israel, and God had power over its waters to save the Israelites. When the disciples of Jesus asked, what man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him? They knew the answer. By calming the storm, Jesus showed his divine nature, He showed them that He is equal to Jehovah, that is, God the Father almighty.
In catechism class we learn of the state of humiliation of Jesus Christ. He was equal to God, but left His throne, left the power and glory to be born of the Virgin Mary in the manger of Bethlehem. There were signs that with the birth of Jesus that the Creator of heaven and earth came into our world. For example, the chorus of angels that appeared to the shepherds in the field and the star that guided the Magi to Bethlehem.
After this, Jesus lived a normal life in Nazareth as the son of Joseph the carpenter. But when he began his public ministry, the proclamation of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies with His baptism in the Jordan River with signs like the voice of the Father in the heavens and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon the Son , Jesus. The disciples saw other signs, like the changing of water to the wine at the wedding of Cana and now, Jesus calmed the storm.
Then, why Jesus say to them, why do you fear, men of little faith? Because the disciples were so frightened by the storm. They believed that the hour of their death had come and did not trust in the promise of eternal life. No one wants to die because they do not want to leave their families and friends. But for many people there is something more about the fear of death. They lack the certainty of salvation, of eternal life.
When Jesus called his first disciples, he made them a promise: Leave your nets by the sea, and I will make you fishers of men. However, at that time, they had no confidence in the promises of Jesus. Therefore, they were in a panic for fear of death. But, with faith in Christ, it is possible to face the storms of this life, even the hour of our death, with calm, not with deep fear.
Because we believe that this life is not the end of history. We have the promise of eternal life. On the ship the disciples were with Jesus in a visible form. In the last words of the Gospel of St. Matthew, before his ascension to heaven, Jesus promised the disciples to be with them until the end of the world. Also Jesus has promised us to be among us anywhere the two or three are gathered in his name. Jesus is with us in the preached Word and we receive his body and blood in the Holy Supper.
At that time, the disciples showed little faith. However, his salvation from torment did not depend on the strength of his faith, but on the power of Jesus. He has the power to calm the storms and save us from our sins as well. Therefore, we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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