Sunday, August 10, 2014

Matthew 11:25-30 9th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 14

And immediately (Jesus) compelled the disciples to go into the boat and to go ahead of Him unto the other side, until which He may set free the crowds. And having set free the crowds He went up unto the mountain according to privacy to pray. And evening occurring, He was alone there. And the boat was far off, many stadia from the land, being tormented by the waves, for the wind was against. And in the 4th watch of the night He came to them, walking upon the sea. But the disciples having seen Him upon the sea walking, were troubled saying that it is a phantasm, and from the fear they cried out. And immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, "Be taking courage, I AM; you, stop fearing." And having answered, Peter said to Him, "Lord, if you are, command me to come to You upon the waters; and He said, "Come." And having stepped down from the boat Peter walked upon the waters and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became fearful, and having started to sink, he cried out saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus, having stretched out the hand took hold of him and says to him, "One-of-little-faith, unto what have you doubted? And they, having gone up into the boat, He stopped the wind. And those in the boat worshiped Him saying, "Truly, God's Son You are!"
Immediately! Not once, not twice, but three times this word describes Jesus' actions in this story. When there's a problem, Jesus acts immediately. The same is true for you. When you have a true need, not a want, but something absolutely necessary, Jesus will act for you immediately. God's timing is that way for you in the storms you encounter as a Christian. Jesus' rescue for you is immediate.

The first "immediately" is Jesus sending away the disciples so He can dismiss the crowds. This immediate "Get Lost!" is just what the disciples and crowds needed. Jesus just fed 5000 miraculously, and the response wasn't good. They wanted to make Him a bread-king, to eat fish-wiches ever day. This was not the reason He came. If you don't want Jesus as He is, He will send you away too.

Now, just because Jesus sends you away from Him doesn't mean He won't come to you. He has, after all, promised to be with you always, to the end of the age. When your faithless desire for a false Jesus Who tolerates your shenanigans is rebuffed, that's when the real Jesus comes to you in the storms of your life to remind you that He has come to you in your baptism, and in His name Jesus continues to dwell in you as your Savior from sin, from death, and from the powers of the devil.

The second *immediately* occurs as Jesus walks on water to the disciples. They cry out in fear, foolishly thinking He's a ghost. Right away Jesus tells them just Who He is, to quell their fear. How foolish of these disciples, believing in ghosts. Disembodied spirits of dead people don't float around the earth haunting people. They are in heaven or hell. Period. It's wrong not to see Jesus for Who He is. 

When you fail to recognize Jesus, He comes to your aid anyway, just as He did to the disciples in their boat. He came to them not as a disembodied spirit, but as a flesh and blood Savior. Jesus comes to you the very same way, giving you His very body to eat, and His blood to drink in His Supper. He comes to feed you with Himself today, the very Forgiver truly present to deliver the forgiveness of your sins which you need. And where there is forgiveness, there is also life and salvation.

The third *immediately* occurs while unbelieving Peter starts sinking in the sea. In desperation, Peter cries out, "Lord, save me!" and without delay Jesus reaches out His hand to rescue foolish Peter. Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, and looked at the waves instead, and he was sunk. You too are tempted to take your faith off of Jesus, and look to other truths, other ways and other ways of life.

When you follow the ways of the world, or get engrossed in what you think is right, you end up following the will of the devil, and then you are sunk. But Jesus comes to your rescue at once, proclaiming you forgiven of your faithless wandering eyes. You confess your sins and promptly Jesus provides His holy absolution for you, that whenever your heart is heavy with your sins of faith-straying, He will remove those sins to Himself at the cross, where He bears them and their punishment.

Yes, Jesus is with you, right now, as you worship Him, just as the disciples worshiped Him in their boat. He truly is the Son of God, whose immediate salvation is apparent for you, just as it was for Peter and the rest. For Jesus has proved Himself to you, being your Savior from sin, from death, and from Satan's torments. He does this through His Word and sacraments, Christ's love proclaimed to you and delivered through His means of grace, as immediate deliverance and rescue for you. 

Hymns for today from LSB:

#522  Lord God, to You We Give All Praise  stanzas  tune

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