† Jesus, Son, Savior †
May you know the grace and peace of God our Father, without which it trust enough to cry out to God to save you!
A Story of Deep Faithfulness.
Many people see the song we just sang, A Mighty Fortress, as an anthem, a glorious, powerful anthem, a militant march that prepares us to go off to war against evil, prepared to win all the battles in our spiritual war against Satan’s evil, against the storms of life.
A great cry of confidence and faith as we prepare to engage in a warfare that people’s soul’s depend upon.
I don’t see it that way, which is why we sang it the way we did. I see it as the song of Luther, a man brutalized and battered by the world and by his own battles with sin. Luther who stands on the castle’s walls, relieved that God has taken up the battle. Luther who can now find rest, and perhaps some peace, for once… some peace.
A mighty Fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing…..
There are days we know we need such protection, such a strong God, and we are immensely grateful for His presence. When we are grateful beyond description for His presence, for His faithfulness, for His coming to us.
Then there are the other days, when we forget His presence…….
That is the story of faithfulness, that we see in St. Peter’s encounter with God this day:
The Storms of Life
The storm hits, its fury increases, the spray of the waves and wind soak him to the bone. Peter’s is struggling, the storm is capturing all his attention, as he realizes he is in the struggle for his life.
Catching a glimpse of Jesus, of the one they will later realize again is God, who has come and lived in their midst, Peter calls out to the Lord.
The Lord responds, “Yes,,…. Come!”
Twice in the story this scenario is seen.
A Cry of Help
The Lord, his Master, answers.
And the storms quiet down, as the disciples once again find themselves in awe of the Lord who comes to them.
The two times the story is seen.
First this happens in the boat, as the disciples have been struggling all night against the storm. They are tired, and weakened. They bones ache from the work, or is that they ache because of the cold? Lutheran answer – both of course!
They took off in daylight – it is 8 hours later now, that they’ve been rowing this boat across the lake. They aren’t just fighting the winds and the waves, now they are literally fighting against death, against the anxiety. They might even be thinking, is it worth it anymore.
Jesus comes to them, reaches out to them. Tells them not to be afraid, for it is not some spook, but it is their Lord. He has come for them.
I AM here….
The I AM being the sacred name of God not just – hey, it’s me.
God, the Creator, the I AM that I AM of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David….
I AM here…
And therefore everything changes.
A few moments later, the waves crash again, against a rough handed brash man who trusts in God. These waves cause instant fear, and instant sense of the closeness of death. The fear rises in Peter, not just over time – but instantaneously he knows he has no hope…..
He cries out, perhaps with what he thinks will be his last breath….Lord, save me!
And on top the waves, Jesus reaches down, grabs Peter’s hands, as if answering again…. Yes! Come!
I am your Lord, I am your savior, I am your strength, your fortress, your sanctuary, the place where you are safe.
He Has Come, He is waiting,
That is the thing about Jesus, He comes to us, He hears us call.
He sees us in our struggles, He knows our pains, what afflicts and depresses us. He knows what causes us anxiety, He knows the fear when we are sinking.
He is here…..
He is reaching our His hand to us,
He is answering our cry, “Lord Save us” as we realize that we can call out to Him, that He is our hope, whether we are in the boat, or whether we are trying what others call impossible.
Do not fear, I am Here.
Yes, come, let us travel this road together.
That’s What King’s do
Peter’s cry, in both circumstances, starts with the word “Lord”. And this is the key, perhaps more than anything. He realizes the nature of the relationship, that as His master, as His King, Jesus has the responsibility in the relationship. That Jesus will provide and protect, who is in control, and who saves, who loves and comes to us. That is what Lord’s and King’s and Master’s are supposed to do, to care for their people, to provide for them.
This is the nature of the relationship that God has created us to be in with Him. Not one of servants, but that of His children, His friend
We need to realize something else about this story.
When Jesus noted that Peter had “little faith”, it is the same Greek compound word that Jesus uses when he says,
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
Peter had enough faith to cry out to Jesus, to plead with Jesus to save Him.
But that is not all faith is for, it is the trust to walk with Him, on water, or to deliver a cup of water, or to share with how the water of baptism brings you the hope, that the Lord is with you and will be with you until the end of the age. To know that He is Lord, no matter what the situation, no matter what the storm. It doesn’t even matter if there is no storm, for He is with you – He has come to you, even on the beautifully calm mornings on the lake. He tells you – Yes Come with me, and so we walk, and pray, talking to our Lord along the ways of life!
He is your Lord, and doesn’t even have to walk across a lake to come to you… He is here… He has reached out to you, and taken your hand Therefore you dwell guarded, protected, in the Fortress that is Jesus Christ, our King.