Summary: The first reaction that many of us had to the terrorist attacks in America was, "unbelievable!"
Time line for Terror, Tuesday, September 11
8:45 a.m.: Jet airliner crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.
9:03 a.m.: A second airliner crashes into its twin south tower, causing a devastating explosion.
9:10 a.m.: In Florida, President Bush is reading to children in a classroom when his chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispers news of the attacks into his ear.
9:20 a.m.: The FBI investigates reports of planes being hijacked before the World Trade Center crashes.
9:29 a.m.: First reports of casualties indicate that at least six people were killed, with at least 1,000 injured.
9:30 a.m.: Bush declares: "We have had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country."
9:43 a.m.: Another plane crashes into the Pentagon in Washington. The nerve center of the U.S. military bursts into flames and a portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapses.
9:48 a.m.: The White House and the Capitol are evacuated amid further threats.
9:49 a.m.: All airports across the U.S. shut down.
10:00 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93, en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashes near Pittsburgh. The crash site is 85 miles northwest of Camp David.
10:05 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:29 a.m.: The north tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
I. Unbelievable Storms
After all they were following Christ, Matt. 8:23
A. Jesus first addresses would be followers
1. Some only follow for conveniences,
(“Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” Matt. 8:19b, 20.)
2. Some only when it is convenient (“And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father” Matt. 8:21.)
That seems to be a reasonable request on the surface. But the issue is more complex than it first appears. Obviously, the father had not recently died, nor was he awaiting burial; otherwise the young man would not he along the beach at such a crucial time for the family! Alfred Plummer cites an instance of an oriental custom and expression that sheds light on this mysterious passage. “At the present day, an oriental, with his father sitting by his side, has been known to say respecting his future projects: ‘But I must first bury my father.’” The young man did not give the kingdom the highest priority in his thinking. He embraced a delayed-discipleship concept that allowed him to follow Christ when it was convenient.
“Follow me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:22).
Which is the same as saying, “Let those who are spiritually dead be wrapped up in the things of this world. You, as a disciple, have a higher calling of preaching the kingdom (cf. Luke 9:60). And so another “disciple” deserts the ranks.
A. Jesus addressed His would be followers
B. Jesus addresses His willing followers
They were following because they were committed, 8:23
They were committed to following Christ wherever no matter what and yet a “great tempest” still came. That is unbelievable!
As Christians and Americans it seems unbelievable for us to face “a great tempest.”
Matt. 8:23 ¶ And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves. . . .
All of this is suddenly interrupted. In an instant the Sea of Galilee is transformed from a lamb to a lion. The once placid lake had become a turbulent sea of churning waters. Critics of Scripture have been leery of the possibility of such a quick shift in weather.
The weather changes on the Sea of Galilee are understandable when you examine the topography of the region and consider the meteorology.
∙ The Sea of Galilee is part of the great Jordan rift and measures approximately fourteen miles north to south and seven miles from east to west.
∙ Surrounding this fresh water lake are the Galilean hills and Golan Heights. Since the sea is nearly seven hundred feet below sea level, it has a subtropical climate with warm, pleasant weather year-round. Today, a journey around its shores will reward the traveler with several opportunities to see groves of banana trees.
∙ To the north is majestic Mount Hermon, that enjoys its share of snow. The cold winds from this higher elevation sometimes drift down through the natural land trough heading for the Sea of Galilee. As the cool air dumps itself over the hills and meets the warm rising air of the Sea, severe conditions can occur.