Coming Through Chaos Out Into New Creation
Matthew 8.23-27. Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
John 6.16-21. That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
In the Bible, the seas are a symbol (most of the time) of the turmoil and chaos the world has become since the defacing impact of sin and death brought about by the rebellion of people. We see this primarily in Daniel 7 where, out of the seas, monsters come and attack the people of God.
But not only are the seas a symbol of creation, but of people. Inside people is a great turmoil; a great chaos. We know that things like justice, spirituality, relationships, and beauty are things that we should have figured out by now. But for some reason, they slip through our fingers like mercury.
For example, we know that we should be better at doing justice in our world, that is, in our little circle we travel day in and day out, but we seem to fail a lot when it comes to actually doing it. This is why news reports of someone acting kindly toward another person brings so much attention. It's like a wake-up call that, once in a while, someone actually does justice. They actually help one of their fellow humans by giving-up of themselves. And the rest of us step back in wonder. We know that we should be doing that but we often don't. We see a person in need and we just turn a 'blind eye' because we are too busy or late for something or, sadly, we just don't want to.
Another example would be what we consider beautiful today. The simple truth really is that 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. What people thought was beautiful during the height of the Roman Empire would hardly even get noticed by people today. Well, they might get noticed but we probably wouldn't call them beautiful.
And this is precisely my point. The chaos of the world is like the seas. At one moment, everything looks peaceful and then the next, tsunami. The sky grows black, the wind picks up, the lightning flashes, the thunder peals, the waves begin to toss us to and fro and the sea becomes more and more a powerful, deadly thing. The whole creation beings to groan like a woman in travail.
But look at the passages quoted above once more. Jesus 'calms the sea'. He walks on the water. It is when creation's true king appears that the world begins to calm. Creation recognizes her King. At the mere touch of her King, the groaning begins to subside. The pain begins to fade. Peace comes. That is the very thing that happens when we truly look to Jesus. We must first acknowledge him for who he is. Then we must trust him. Then we must follow him. We must keep our eyes on him. If, just for an instant, we look at something else, we begin to sink in the turmoil around us. But, if we call out to him, he is faithful to rescue us.
The stories of Jesus walking on the water, of calming the sea, is a picture of the New Creation coming into being. Not only within the cosmos but witin people themselves.
May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.