Jesus’ authority over natural laws
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: John 2:1-11
Devotional text: Mark 5:21-43
Last week, I wrote about how God moved both the heavens and the earth in the Old Testament, giving a couple of examples from 1 and 2 Kings. Today, I’m moving on to the New Testament gospels that show the authority of Jesus over natural laws.
Why is it so important to look at these biblical instances of the power and authority of our God? They help us to actually see and understand who God truly is. As we choose to believe in God, we also find that God is with us, helps us, protects and guides us and is interested in our welfare.
This week, we are looking at the gospels and the life of Jesus, the second person of our trinitarian God. Beginning early on, even before his ministry began at age 30, Jesus was invited to a wedding feast in Cana. His mother Mary was there, as well as his disciples.
In the gospel of Matthew 8:5-13 and John 2:1-11, we find they had run out of wine for the guests. Mary asks Jesus to help with this problem. And he does.
There were six stone water jugs on the premises, used for ceremonial washing. Jesus asked that each one be filled to the top with water then he ordered some to be poured for the headwaiter to taste.
When the headwaiter had tasted from the jug, not knowing it had been filled with water, he called for the bridegroom, asking him why he had saved the best wine for last.
Known as his first miracle, Jesus took common water and changed its natural law of H2O and made it into the best of wines.
What can we learn from this scenario? Mary called to her son, showing true faith in him, knowing he could help. She may not have known just how he would do it, but she believed he would do something.
Today, we have belief in the same Jesus who doesn’t wait for catastrophe to happen but helps us even before the time of need. Running out of wine certainly can’t be considered a catastrophe, but Jesus used the opportunity to show his disciples that he was more than a simple rabbi.
We, too, can count on the help of Jesus. Do you have a problem that you think is too minor to speak to God about? There really is no problem too small, too inconsequential to speak about to our God. God wants us to speak to him about everything. Making our requests without fear or reservation is something we learn as Christians. God loves to hear from us.
Now, I’m moving on to two episodes centered around the Sea of Galilee. The first is found in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25 and has to do with Jesus calming a storm.
Using the gospel of Mark, we find Jesus and his disciples traversing the Sea of Galilee, going from one side to the other. During the trip, a storm comes up with high winds and waves and water swamping the boat. The disciples were terror-stricken as Jesus was sleeping in the boat’s stern. Waking him, the disciples started crying for their lives and questioning how Jesus could sleep through it all.
Jesus sat up and scripture says these words to us in verse 39: “Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the water, ‘Quiet! Be Still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
Jesus had quieted the wind and stilled the rolling waves, showing his authority over nature to his disciples. They must have been overcome by the stillness following his words, thinking he must be the Messiah. Who else can calm the wind and the sea?
This event was still early in the ministry of Jesus, yet his actions were a lesson for his disciples, as well as for us. Who else but Jesus can calm the storms we face in our own lives? When we are full of fear and do not know what will happen next, do we run and hide? Do we allow ourselves to shudder in fear? Or, do we turn to God and ask for help, like the disciples who woke Jesus on that trip across the lake?
Our next water adventure is one which shows us Peter’s faith, and then lack of faith, as he hoped to join Jesus walking on top of the water at the Sea of Galilee. This scripture is found in Matthew 14:22-36, Mark 6:45-56 and John 6:16.
Looking at the gospel of Matthew, we find Jesus had just finished speaking to thousands of people and now wanted to spend quiet time in prayer. He told his disciples to continue on to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and he would join them shortly.
As they are out in the lake, another storm comes up. Where is Jesus, they wonder? Through the mist they see a figure coming toward them. It appears it is walking on top of the churning water. Is it a ghost?
Jesus calls out, telling them not to fear, it is only he. Yes, he is walking on top of the water. Defying gravity, Jesus walks toward the disciples.
Then Peter speaks up. “If it’s you Lord, call me to you that I may walk with you.” Jesus answers to him, “Come.”
Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk on top of the water toward Jesus. But then, he looks down; he sees the churning water. He feels the wind against his skin. He begins to doubt, and he begins to sink.
Reaching out to Jesus for help, Jesus extends his arm and lifts Peter back up and both men get into the boat.
Looking at this scripture, we learn a few very important things about believing in Jesus. When we believe, we can see amazing results. When we begin to doubt, our fears will take over. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus (even when we can’t see things clearly, Jesus knows), and Jesus will reach out to us and quiet our fears.
Next week, I will go to continue with the gospel stories of Jesus’ authority over natural laws. Until then, let’s remember our faith and to keep our eyes on Jesus, the one who saves.