Lord, Save Me!—A Sermon (Matthew 14:22-33)

Sermon[1] for Sunday August 13, 2017 at St. Edmund’s Church, Oslo

 

Image result for peter sinking in water images
Image Source: Woodland Baptist Church

 

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Text: Matt. 14:22-33 NRSV

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Prayer

“Lord, let your word abide, and guide our footsteps; that we may discern its most holy lessons, in Jesus’ name.” Amen!

 Have you ever come to a point where there is nothing you can do but to cry; Lord, save me? The Lord, save me is a prayer of many. I have so many times prayed and or cried out; Lord, save me. It was such a prayer that turned Martin Luther—a promising lawyer into a Theologian.

“In July 1505, Luther had a life-changing experience that set him on a new course to becoming a monk. Caught in a horrific thunderstorm where he feared for his life, Luther cried out to St. Anne, the patron saint of miners, “Save me, St. Anne, and I’ll become a monk!” The storm subsided and he was saved.”[2]

In our Gospel reading today there are two things that are closely linked to the epistle reading: First, a cry for salvation where despite his little doubting faith, Peter looked to Jesus and made one of the shortest prayers for help. And, a revelation of the deity of Christ—a confession of the divinity of the Lord Jesus by the disciples.

Jesus had just fed the five thousand, as the night approached, he sent his disciples to the other side of the lake as he dispersed the crowds he fed. He then remained by himself at the mountain for prayers much of the night.

At the fourth watch of the night—or at a time between 3:00-6:00am (the Romans divided the night into four instead of the Jewish three watches), the disciples after being battered by the wind all night were frightened at the sight of a man (Jesus) walking towards them on the lake. They had never seen anyone walk on water. Thinking he was a ghost, they were terrified and they cried out in fear. As it is in my community where ghosts are feared, so it was during Jesus’ time. But Jesus assured them that it was him, so they need not be afraid. Peter wanted to be sure that it was the Lord Jesus, so he put the man who walked on the water to test and said; “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

Jesus then asks Peter to walk to him on the water. One step after another, Peter indeed walked on the water and was drawing close to Christ. However, Peter feared. Because of the storm, he feared whether he will safely reach to Christ on the water—Peter was a fisherman and he knew that it isn’t possible for man to walk on water. To make it worst, there was a storm. Or, perhaps he started to wonder whether the man he was moving to was indeed Christ, so he feared and doubted and begun to sink. Nevertheless, in his fear and doubt, he cried out—prayed, Lord, save me! And, the Lord reached his hand and saved Peter.

This confirms what apostle Paul wrote in our epistle (Rom. 10:5-15) reading that;

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13). Like Peter, Martin Luther and many others including me, the Lord, save me prayer is humanity’s prayer. In Peter’s and Luther’s experiences, the Lord, save me prayer was made in midst of a storm—a terrifying moment and the Lord indeed saved them.

“We’ll always face storms of life that will batter us like it did Peter and Luther.”

We are aware of terrible things that happen to us, around us and throughout the world. We have experienced indiscriminate stabbings on our streets, we have experienced lorries and cars being rammed into crowds and markets, we have experienced explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives and many other terrible things have happened in Europe and elsewhere, causing us to live in fear.

Every day, we pray for people who live in fear. We pray for people who are and have been displaced by conflicts. Terrifying natural disasters like earthquakes, wild fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes, famine etc. are never new in many parts of the world. There might even be some in our congregation—in our midst who are facing a terrible storm causing; despair, desperation, fear and anxiety. So, the Lord, save me prayer should be our prayer too. For we have a promise from the Lord that “Whoever shall call the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

Besides, humanity is in a dire need of salvation from sin. This (sin and salvation) is apostle Paul’s focus in the book of Romans—that for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). As such, the Lord, save me prayer is not just a prayer for salvation from those things that terrify us here on earth, it is a prayer of salvation from the sting and or power of sin.

“For Christ came to save us from the bondage of sin, he came to make us sons of righteousness. And, when we cry to him; Lord, save us, he will surely save us from our sins. For “No one who believes in him will be put to shame” (Rom. 10:11).

However, Christ can only save us from the terrible things in this world and from sin because;

He is Lord and the Son of God. In both our Gospel and epistle readings is an overarching theme of the divinity of Christ—that Jesus is Lord and the Son of God. After Jesus saved Peter from sinking into the water and joined the disciples in to the boat and the wind ceased, the disciples worshiped him and confessed; “Truly you are the Son of God.” Similarly, in his letter to the Romans, Paul writes “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

Referring to Jesus as the Son of God is saying he is God (see John 5:18). Jesus had also identified himself with the “I AM” by telling the disciples, “it is I.” This (the deity—divinity of Jesus) is exactly what we affirm at all our communion services in the Nicene Creed:

“We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.”[3]

Knowing well that Jesus is Lord, we should have the confidence to cry to him: Lord, save us, not just from the things that terrify us but to be saved for eternity. Having the assurance that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, we can confidently cry to him: Lord, Save Us. Amen!

Rev. J


[1] This sermon has been prepared and delivered by the Rev. Julius Izza Tabi at St. Edmund’s Church in Oslo, Norway.

[2] This story of Martin Luther’s cry for salvation while in a storm has been accessed from this site https://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283?_escaped_fragment_=

[3] The Nicene Creed accessed from http://www.anglicansonline.org/basics/nicene.html

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture Quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV) 2011.

Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is the founding Director of this online New Dawn Ministries. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues from the Norwegian School of Theology. Julius also is a pastor in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile of the Church of Uganda who believes that God’s timeless truth of salvation must be preached to all Nations. Help Donate here to support the New Dawn Ministries. You can also support this ministry by purchasing Julius’ popular books Triumphing Over Odds and Suffering and Pain? from Amazon. Thank you.

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