Calming the storms: Matthew 8.23–27 (27 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Matthew 8

Matthew 8 contains a series of miracles and encounters with Jesus, each of which illustrates something of his power and his character. This little story is multi-layered. In demonstrating his power over the tempest, it refers back to Old Testament images of the sea as a primeval chaos, like the waters of Genesis 1.2. The sea is personified as ‘Rahab’ in Psalm 89.9–10, perhaps a poetic parallel to the Babylonian myth of the sea-demon Tiamat. So Jesus calming the storm asserts his divine power over chaos and darkness.

It’s also a very human picture: the disciples were terrified and thought they were going to die. Storms on Galilee flare up violently and rapidly, and these fishermen must have been used to the experience – this one must have been entirely out of the ordinary. Jesus, though, is fast asleep; his time to die is not yet.

So this is a very rich story. Perhaps one way of reading it is to think of the storms in our own lives. Whether it’s illness – or, at the moment, the fear of illness – unemployment, disappointment or conflict, we all face trials in our lives. Some of them are overwhelming. It feels as though all the forces of darkness are arrayed against us, and Jesus is indifferent or asleep. At times like this, our faith can be terribly challenged. But the story challenges us too, with Jesus’ question: ‘Why are you so frightened?’ We aren’t alone; he rules the winds and waves.

Pray

Pray

God, teach me to trust in the power of Christ over the storms in my life. When I’m tempted to despair and don’t sense his presence, help me to remember that he’s with me still.

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