How easy is it for you to trust someone? We may consider ourselves to be “trusting souls”, but the reality is we often find it difficult to place our trust in someone else. A lot of factors go into that – past experiences, our own sense of frailty when it comes to trustworthiness, and a host of other reasons go into our tentative approach to giving away our trust. It’s hard to trust others…and those are people we can SEE and examine and evaluate on a regular basis. What about a God who hides himself (Isaiah 45:15)?
Still, that’s the whole thing when it comes to Scripture. We are continually called on to trust God – and in the New Testament, to trust God through Christ Jesus.
Last week we explored a solomn and sort of heavy section of Matthew which reminded us that following Jesus does not insulate us from the troubles that life can throw our way. But in case we were tempted to become fatalistic and slump in our chairs thinking that there’s just no hope no matter what…we have this weeks section.
We’ll be reading chapter 8:23 through chapter 9:8 this Sunday as we journey through the gospel of Matthew. The chapter break really shouldn’t be there, because this whole section belongs in a single grouping. Three areas where Jesus demonstrates his authority to encourage our trust in him, even as we follow him into potential hardships.
In chapter 8:23-27 we have the famous account of Jesus calming the storm. Whey do you think Jesus was sleeping? Have you ever felt like Jesus was sleeping while you were in dire straights? What does he ask his disciples? In our own storms of life, how can asking ourselves the question “why are you afraid?” help to orient our thinking and perspective?
In v28-34 Jesus heals two men who were demon possessed. How comfortable are you with the idea that there are demons on the loose in this world, taking possession of people sometimes? Our western culture mostly dismisses that notion as primitivism – but I thought this was an interesting article.
Jesus demonstrates his authority over evil. How does that develop our understanding of his words in the Lord’s Prayer “deliver us from evil” – and in what way can that inspire our trust? What should our response to evil be, in light of his authority over it?
Chapter 9:1-8 tells the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man. Before he heals him, he forgives his sin. Then he demonstrates his authority to forgive sins by healing the man’s physical body. What does his authority to forgive sins inspire you to trust Him with? What did the paralyzed man do to deserve that declaration of forgiveness?
Troubles from without, in the natural world and the spiritual one, and troubles from within in the form of our own failures – Jesus has authority over them all. What will you trust Him with?
Hope to see you this Sunday!