Incarnational assurance | Daily Office Devotional 2021/10/2

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

And 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 swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Matthew 8:18-27

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. This saying is true of the glimpse of our Lord which Matthew gives us in today’s Gospel reading. Here in this brief vignette, we see Christ in all His grandeur.

Having interpreted the Law with authority on the mountain, our Lord goes about doing good. He then puts out to sea with His disciples. But a powerful storm gathers and stirs up the waters, which threaten to overwhelm both boat and crew. As with the passengers on Noah’s ark, so do the disciples sail on a sea of chaos and tumult, kept afloat only by the grace of God.

Not that the disciples believed they would stay afloat for long. Perceiving that they were about to sink, they sought the Lord but found Him asleep, seemingly impervious to their plight. In a world full of suffering, always in the clutches of some sort of crisis, our Lord may seem distant, or worse, nowhere to be found. Does Jesus really care for us? Can we truly entrust our anxieties to Him, our mediator before God?

Roused by His disciples’ cries, Jesus gives His answer to their little faith. He commands the winds and the sea to be calm and they obey His word. He shows himself to be God who “made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107:29). In the face of the living God, the disciples’ doubt gave way to doxology. Their feelings of abandonment gave way to wonderment. Confronted with the mystery of the Word made flesh, the incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity, they could only marvel.

Our Lord is not impervious to our plight, sequestered in heaven above as some might suppose. Rather, by His incarnation He has come to share our humanity, suffering with us and bearing our sorrows to the point of death. But as He made His earthly pilgrimage with us, toughing it out on the seas of life, our Lord rested secure in His Father’s love. His communion with the Father was so strong that He could sleep peacefully in the midst of that harrowing storm.

Our Lord lives to grant us a share in this communion today. In our daily struggles and with our little faith, let us never cease to turn to the mystery of the Word made flesh, trusting in Christ, the God-man who unites us with the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this communion, we can rest secure in the assurance that “nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

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