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  • Monica DuBois

31. Why Are You Afraid?

Matthew 8:26 And He saith unto them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”

There were multitudes swarming around Jesus. One came up to Him and swore He would follow Him “whithersoever thou goest.” (Verse 19) And then another came with a deed that he felt he needed to accomplish first, that is, to bury his father, then he would promise to follow Him. I have heard it preached that he wanted to finish his duties as a son to his dad first, or it could be that his father did just die and needed to be buried. But Jesus does not take excuses.

He said, “follow me…”

Verse 23 And when He was entered into a ship, his disciples followed Him. We are never told what these two men (above) decided to do. But whoever was Jesus’ disciple got into the boat with Him. Several of the 12 were seafaring men, so if it had looked like bad weather ahead, they would have warned Jesus. It must have been a good day for sailing.

I have seen a white squall come up on the Indian River in Florida. It arose out of nowhere and sheets of rain came down, visibility zero, and wind whipped up out of the blue. This tempest described in verse 24 created waves that rose over the boat and threatened the lives of those on board.

I have tried to picture this scene with as much clarity and imagination as possible, but I can’t…

How does Jesus fall asleep, in a wet boat? It might have had a cabin area that was closed off, but water has a way of splashing and seeping into even the most secure cabins of today. He must have had some water dripping on Him! But since it is here in scripture, I have to believe that Jesus was asleep (at least a little bit dry and cozy). He was in a place where the disciples had to go to Him. They woke Him up, and exclaimed, “Lord save us: we perish!” (Mat 8:25)

“Jesus, help us or we are gonna die!”

This must have been quite a storm. Maybe it was just the disciples who weren’t seasoned on the high seas that ran to get the Master for help. Maybe Matthew, the tax collector, was the initiator of this plan? We don’t know for sure.

Yes, Jesus was human. He had to sleep. He had to eat. But He was still Jesus.

The first words out of Jesus’ mouth are: “Why are you afraid? Where’s your faith?” Then it says, He arose. He responded to their fears before He even got up. It must be the most important point of this story for this to be His focus from directly waking sleep.

Did they forget Who is with them? Did they fear that Jesus might drown and then what will happen to them? They were so terrified they completely forgot about the miracles they witnessed that very day! Jesus had healed many that were sick and cast out demons just that afternoon in front of them all!

They panicked and thought, Jesus needs to be awake to see the danger we are in!

Isn’t that just like you and me? To forget that Jesus is IN the boat!

If Jesus is IN the boat, then the boat is the safest place to be!

That is not the way we think. Our fight or flight reflexes send us in search of Jesus. We have to go find Him and tell Him what is going on. We don’t remember that He is with us all the time.

My thoughts on this passage have been this: I want to be the disciple that is so close to Jesus that I’m sleeping by Him in the boat, not bothered by the wind, the waves, the water dripping down. I can rest in Him because He is the Son of God. I can be so calm as to fall asleep, if that’s what He is doing! I don’t have to be where the others are, I’m not going to miss anything with Jesus. My FOMO can rest. I don’t have the need to be with others that are in fear mode!

To have been asleep with Jesus at this moment would have been divine. To be woken up to the boat rocking and water falling around us and the wind whistling through the hull, and to know that Jesus didn’t stir much but rebuked the disciples for being fearful and not having enough faith, would have been quite extraordinary. But alas that’s not where I was in this or any other event in my life. But it’s nice to daydream about how great a faith I think I have!

Verse 26b Then He arose, and rebuked the wind and the sea; and there was a great calm.

He didn’t fix the situation immediately. He got up. He went topside of the boat. He was where everyone could see Him. He was so calm. He was so eloquent. And He was so effective! So much so that the men marvelled, saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (verse 27).

In the “Gospel According to Matthew” the movie, the director had the men burst into laughter in this scene after the sea calmed. It was perfectly natural for this to happen. Their lives were in danger! Then a miracle in front of them, calm! It would be weird for them to do anything else. There had to be that relief emotion: laughter. There had to be an expression of release of the intensity of the storm. I love this.

And Jesus was setting them up for the next scene, because they met the two men that were demon possessed. Jesus casts the demons out into a whole herd of swine. They witness all of this after Jesus had admonished them for not having enough faith.

You would think that these men would have grasped just Who this was they were following. Each one of them had the opportunity to leave at any time, but they are addicted to seeing the next fantastic miracle He will do. Each have a right to be there. They were invited. Each could vouch for Jesus’ character, yet their faith remained small.

This is significant. They could not have so great a faith as they needed without the gift of the Holy Spirit. The power was not within them to grasp onto the faith to see things through to the end. There were a few people in the Old Testament that had the Spirit to help them through tough things. But until the Holy Spirit descended upon each of these disciples, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, they had no way to contain the faith they needed in each interaction they had with Jesus and His miracles.

What excuses do you have for not having faith when you are in a storm? Jesus causally asks: “Why are you fearful? Where’s your faith?” Did you forget that Jesus is in the boat with you?

If Jesus got up and started to freak out like we do, then where would we be? We can always know He will not do that. He never did when He was a human being on earth, and He will never do it any other time. He knows things we do not know. He sees things we do not see. He knew He was appointed once to die, and that this was not His time. So, there was no use in freaking out. He didn’t freak out when it was His time to die, either.

He is the same yesterday, today and for ever!

When fear does come upon you, and it will, remember Who is in your boat. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of POWER, and of LOVE and of A SOUND MIND. (emphasis mine)

Share your story of fear that was overcome by faith.

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1 Comment

Zack DuBois
Zack DuBois
Mar 21, 2021

There was a time when Monica and I where in Honduras, we were at a missionary training school and really doing a lot a spiritual battling in our lives and in others. I woke up one morning with this dark heaviness over me, holding me down, physically pressing on me. It was so frightening and dreadful, like nothing I have ever felt before. I could not move, not a muscle. The only thing I could do is say the name, "Jesus". That's it, one word, Jesus, and the darkness lifted, no more fear, nothing. I guess that's all the faith I had at the time. Just enough to say the only name I knew would help....Jesus.

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