Summary: Finding faith in the midst of a storm
Matthew 8: 23-27
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, 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!”
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ”‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Life in the Kingdom of God is an exciting adventure.
It presents us with a whole new approach to life. A new attitude of expectation, an invitation to faith and a calling to service.
But there are also challenges: We have to move out of the crowd and into the boat with Jesus, to cross over to the other side. This will require sacrifice; we must be prepared to pay the price – the full fare of the journey. And we must not hesitate to set out with the absolute intention of going for the long haul - a long obedience in the same direction.
When we rise to the challenge to live as God intended us to live we will regret everyday that we hesitated. To live fully as a citizen of the Kingdom of God is to find yourself complete, balanced in your life and intentions, unwavered by the storms of life, content in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
This call to the Kingdom is not an easy adventure because we are often dealing with issues and situations in life which distract us. We don’t see the whole picture, we are limited by our sight in a world in which we need to live by faith.
I vividly remember the day I was ordained – it was December 9th 1973. That night I was to stand before the Presbytery of Transvaal East and they were to pray for me, to lay hands on me and I was to be ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. For 16 years I had believed that God was calling me to this moment. I had spent many nights studying into the small hours after a hard days work, I had focused my life, I had turned my back on my career, I was certain of God’s call. Now, there lay just a few hours before me – a fraction of time out of the 16 years – and suddenly I wasn’t so sure anymore.