Up to this point in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus has been doing some mind-blowing teaching and some eye-popping healing. He has attracted large crowds. So large that He is going to take a little boat ride to the other side of the lake to get some respite. Today's text captures three events. They occur on this side of the lake, on the lake itself, and on the other side of the lake. And whereas Jesus' words and deeds have been magnetic, drawing people to Him, the words and actions of these three events show a more aggressive Jesus. He is influencing people still, but I'm not so sure about winning friends. Thus we come to understand - Jesus didn't come to be everyone's buddy; He came to be God, like Him or not. And some didn't.
"I'll follow you, Jesus, wherever you go."
"Yeah, well prepare to be a vagabond."
"I'll follow you Jesus, but first let me spend my elderly father's last days with him."
"Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
"Lord, this storm is furious. We're going to drown!"
"Nail-biters! Why is your faith so puny?"
And to the storm - "Shut up and sit down!"
After casting demons into a herd of pigs which promptly commit mass suicide, the people of the region go out to Jesus and plead, "Leave us, please! Go away! Go!"
When Jesus comes into your life He says some beautiful things, does some wonderful, compassionate things. But Jesus will also say some hard things to understand, hard to accept. He will challenge you. He will rebuke you. He will stir stuff up. And that's when you have to answer the question again, "Who do I believe that He is?" Because how you respond to Him and what you do with Him will be determined by the answer to that question. Does He have the right to say what He just said to you? Does He have the authority to mandate something from you? Is it audacity that He should take something away from you?
Who does He think He is?
Who do YOU think He is?
Pray: Jesus, help me to remember who you are and what you came for, that I may retain my faith and submit to your will when things get challenging. You are God, and your desire is to bless me by transforming me into the image of your Son, Jesus Christ. That process can be quite the sculpting process. Chisel against marble. Sparks and shards. Bottom line is ... I've got to trust you.