spiritwarfare

Submission and Obedience

THE LAST DAYS

Somehow, I believe we are in the Last Days. I also believe Jesus gave us the book of Matthew as a handbook or guide for how to prepare to endure the Last Days faithfully. One example is found in Matthew 8:23-27.

"When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke him, saying, 'Save us, Lord; we are perishing!' He said to them, 'Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?' Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, 'What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'"

The day this scene took place, Jesus had preached and taught for several hours what we lovingly call the Sermon on the Mount. Then He had come to Peter's house where Peter's mother-in-law was ill with a fever. Jesus touched and healed her. She was able to get out of bed good as new and fix Jesus a refreshing meal.

Word got around about her miracle, so later in the afternoon many people brought family members and friends who were either demon-possessed or ill and Jesus delivered or healed all of them!

The crowd was avid! They were Jesus' fans, exhilarated by what they had witnessed as Jesus performed miracles no one had ever done in human history! But Jesus didn't need fair-weather friends, and He was tired. He told His apostles to get a boat, because they were going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

Probably as soon as they pushed off from the shore, Jesus curled up and fell asleep, exhausted. It wasn't long before a huge storm came up. Waves washed across the deck, scaring even His seasoned sailor/fishermen disciples. They probably reasoned that if it had been up to them, they would have read the sky: a storm was approaching and they needed to stay on shore. They would not have allowed themselves to be exposed to such a fierce gale.

Though the storm raged and probably soaked His garments, Jesus still lay asleep. Desperate, the apostles shook Him awake. "We're going to go down, Jesus! The boat is filling with water. We can't bail fast enough. Wake up and save us!"

As Jesus roused, He posed this question to His men: "What are you afraid?"

They had just witnessed how Jesus cast demons from people who had been helplessly enslaved to their torments for a long time. They had seen how crippled, deformed, weak and emaciated people were made completely well with a touch of His hand or a word from His lips. Why were they afraid of waves and wind?

Did they believe He was going to drown with them? Did they really believe He was the Son of God? If they did, why had fear overwhelmed them?

Thus, Jesus also said to them, "You men of little faith!"

Since Jesus had cured the storms of ill health or demon possession in others' lives, the disciples reasoned that Jesus could also abate the storm that threatened to take their lives with the sinking boat. He would restore peace. They arrived at a very natural conclusion.

Jesus was weary, but His need for rest was not uppermost in their minds: They feared only for their safety and knew He could save them! The faith they displayed was based on human reason and their past experience as sailors. They concluded that the water had to be calm in order to survive. Every sailor knew that!

It never crossed their minds that as long as Jesus was in the boat with them, they would survive stormy waters no matter what else happened...that as long as He was there, they were safe. They never imagined that Jesus could ride out the storm and they would be safe in the boat WITH Him, no matter how much water filled the hull.

Friend, what a picture this is of what we can expect in the Last Days! The Last Days will be stormy, like no other days we've seen. Awful things will happen. Christians will be persecuted. We will be thrown into prison. Some will be martyred, while the onlooking world believes they have done humankind a favor by getting rid of us. We will have no recourse. Our Constitution will be null and void. No one will stand up for or defend us.

That is when our faith must cling to Jesus IN SPITE of what is happening to us and around us. He will go through the storm WITH us and see us safely to the other shore. We cannot rely on His calming the storm, but rather grasp that He will calm US in the storm. He says, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful" (John 14:27). Isaiah calls it 'peace-peace' in Isaiah 26:3! Only great faith in Jesus bestows such great peace.

It is God's peace that will carry us through any and every storm in coming days. Prepare for them. Find peace in Jesus even now and pledge your heart to Him, regardless of what your life ahead is going to bring. Let your faith expand to include storms with Jesus IN them! Then you will walk victoriously now and in the future!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®
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