Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV)
This past week we have all been cooped up.
I don’t know about you but that had me reminiscing about being able to go out.
I was thinking about the time I went to this party in what was a seedy part of Bed-Stuy.
I didn’t know the area.
I didn’t know who was giving the party.
I had no business being there.
But my friend Derrick invited me.
I told him I didn’t know how I was going to get in but he said, You are with me.
There are some things you are going to see, some things you are going to experience if you are with the right person who says, you are with me.
It was just the type of place I had seen on the tv where people get arrested for just being there.
People get shot for looking at someone the wrong way.
People get killed for being in the wrong way at the wrong time.
I wasn’t connected enough to even know about this party let alone get into this party.
He went straight in.
I was stopped.
He didn’t even look at the guy at the door, my friend looked at me and said, “Come on.”
When I motioned to the guy at the door, my friend “You are with me.”
That’s all it took, You are with me.
So here we are, in this smokey basement, where people are smoking everything, somethings I couldn’t identify.
A few people are snorting openly.
My friend and I go over to the bar.
We order drinks and then he excuses himself to go in the back.
And now I’m all alone.
It didn’t take long for all my fears to be realized.
One guy comes to the bar and starts yelling at another guy.
I’m deep in the midst of this club and in the midst of this fight.
I’m looking around for my friend because remember he said, you are with me.
But he’s in the back doing God knows what.
I’m thinking to myself; I know this negro didn’t bring me here to abandon me.
Doesn’t he care about what is going to happen to me.
Have you ever been there?
Some of you have been right there.
In the club, in danger, and your friend is nowhere.
Maybe it was another situation, a situation, where you trusted that the person you came with was going to watch out for you?
It could have been in school friend and the bully threatened them and you and they ran.
It could have been an authority figure that should have protected you, but they didn’t do their job.
Maybe it was a virus spreading around the world and the people you trust in leadership are not doing what they should and you feel left alone.
In fact, you are now locked up in your house, apartment, or room, wondering if the world is going to end.
You have to deal with a shortage of food, sanitizer, soap, even God-forbid, toilet tissue.
You are left alone in the middle of this storm
Many of us, if not all of us have been there.
You are in danger and don’t know who is going to come to your rescue.
I imagine that is how the disciples felt about Jesus as they are in the midst of the storm.
Let’s look at this scripture.
[Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV)]
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Have you ever felt like Jesus was sleeping through your storm?
There you are sick in bed and you don’t hear from Jesus.
He must be sleeping on you.
Your relationship with your husband or wife is falling apart but not a word from Jesus.
He must be sleeping on you.
You lose your job, now your apartment, but not a word from Jesus.
He must be sleeping on you.
The government announces that upwards of 25 million people can get sick from the coronavirus and untold numbers will die, but not a word from Jesus.
He must be sleeping on all of us.
We are in the midst of our storms and we wonder, where is Jesus and what is He doing?
When we get into these situations, this story can provide some guidance.
The first verse of this scripture sets up the whole rest of the story.
The disciples miss out on a critical aspect.
It reads, “Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him.
Did you get it?
They got in the boat together.
Jesus is with the disciples.
They are in RELATIONSHIP with Jesus
In verse 18 we read that Jesus gave orders to the disciples to get into the boat.
Then Jesus gets into to the boat.
Apparently, Jesus was very tired.
Because we read that the storm came, and it was furious.
That boat had to be rocking pretty heavily but the when the disciples went to see Jesus He was still sleeping.
Jesus was sleeping through the storm.
I pray that when the storms of life come your way, you are in a relationship with Jesus.
I think as we read this we are being to hard on the disciples.
We at times react like they had no faith.
We are a harsh judgmental people when it comes to faith.
I like the fact that the disciples come to Jesus.
They are seeking out Jesus to save them.
They have a strong enough Relationship with Jesus that they are asking Him for REDEMPTION.
The disciples say, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
I pray that in these times we know who to call on.
I pray that we are in relationship with the One who can help us in our need.
That we call on the one who can save us from our storms.
The one that can redeem us, even from ourselves.
Do you have enough faith to call on Jesus?
And yes, Jesus calls them on their faith.
But He does it while still recognizing that they had some faith.
Jesus said “little faith,” but it was at least some faith, enough faith that they went to go find Him in their time of need.
How about you, who do you call on in your time of need?
Upon whom or what are you dependent for your redemption?
Do you at least have a little faith?
Jesus calls them on their faith because He is saying, I am right here with you.
And am in this boat with you.
If I let this boat sink, I go down with you.
I can hear Jesus saying to them, “How is that going to look, me, Jesus, the messiah, dying on a fishing boat?”
I am asking people to put their faith in me, and I get killed by a storm.
Jesus is challenging their faith?
Weren’t you there and witnesses to what I have done?
Weren’t you there when we were just on the other side and I healed the man with leprosy?
Weren’t you there to witness the faith of the Roman Captain, who asked me to heal his servant and said I didn’t even need to go to his house; that I had to just say the word and the child would be healed.
Weren’t you thee when I did and they were?
Weren’t you there when I healed Peter’s mother-in-law?
And then drove out demons and healed many sick.
Weren’t you there?
Weren’t you there when I got you that job at the place you didn’t think would hire you?
Weren’t you there when I gave you that spouse and that child?
Weren’t you there when your child was healed?
Weren’t you there when I healed that pain that you thought would never go away?
Weren’t you there when I gave you that apartment, that house, that car, those clothes, that food?
Weren’t you there when I proved myself over and over?
Weren’t you there when I gave you the assurance that I would always be there?
You are with me now and you are worried that I am sleeping, that I am not watching out for you.
But I’m in the boat.
I am with you.
And you are with me.
If you get in with Jesus, He is not going to let you sink.
Jesus is saying to each one of us individually and collectively, “You are with me.
When you are with me, I am not going to let you sink.
You are with me, you will go through some storms, but I am not going to let you sink.
There will be some waves, but I am not going to let you sink.
Watch Jesus calm the storms in your life.
Watch Him put out the fires.
Watch Jesus heal every hurt.
The disciples were in relationship with Jesus.
They sought redemption by Jesus.
And eventually after seeing Jesus move in their lives and oversee even nature, they began to Recognize that Jesus was beyond their biggest thoughts.
The scripture says that when Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves, “the men were amazed.”
Are you yet amazed and what Jesus can do?
Have you yet recognized who says to you, “You are with me”?
That night I was in the club and the men began to fight.
I was right in the middle.
I was afraid for my life.
One of pulled out a knife and the other pulled out a gun.
Another guy broke a bottle off on the bar counter.
It was about to be on.
Then my friend came back out.
When he came into the middle of things, everything calmed down.
Apparently, they all knew him to be a guy not to be messed with.
When we got outside, told him I was terrified that I was about to be killed.
He turned to me with a smile, and said, there was nothing about which to be afraid, I told you, you are with me.
God said to Joshua and is saying to us today, “Have I not told you to be courageous and strong?”
He also said, “I have not given you a spirit of fear.”
That’s what Jesus tells each of us today.
You have a relationship with me, I am your redeemer, and you need to recognize that you are in the boat with me.
There is nothing about which you need to be afraid.
You are with me.
Whether it be illness, you are with me.
Whether it be money, you are with me.
Whether it be housing, you are with me.
I don’t know what has you afraid, but here Jesus is telling you, you are with me. P
Rev. Julius Walls Jr. is the Pastor of Greater Hood Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in New York, NY.