Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Most Important Question

Matthew 16:13-20 There are many important questions that we are asked over the course of our life.  Will have this man to be your husband, this woman to be your wife?  Do you solemnly swear to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic?  Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the trust?  The answers that we give to these questions are important--but only for this life. 
There is another question—the most important question—that each of are asked and that we must give answer to—a question that will shape and direct, not only our lives on earth, but also eternity.  That question is asked by Jesus of every person in the world:  Who do you say that I am?  The Bible says that:
When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
            Whether one is a Christian or not, there can be no serious disagreement that Jesus is the most important person who has ever lived.  Billions and billions of people have followed him as Lord and Savior.  Billions and billions of others have regarded him as a great moral teacher and leader.  Billions and billions of others have regarded him as their greatest enemy and nemesis.
The entire course of world civilization- with the rise and fall of great nations and the plans of great men- have taken place in the name of Jesus.  He stands at the very center of history and everyone has an opinion about him.  So it was in Caesarea Philippi.
They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Everyone had an opinion about Jesus.  A prophet.  A miracle worker.  A great teacher.  Such was the beauty of his life- and such was the power of his words- that he impacted everyone he met and all of them had a high opinion of him.  But it is not enough then or now to know the opinions of others.  We must answer for ourselves.  What about you, who do you say that I am? 
The way we answer this question determines how we will live every other moment of our life and it determines where we will spend eternity.  And it is not good enough- to get close enough- to the truth.
To live the life that God intends for us to live on earth—to live with God forever in heaven—we must know and confess the truth about Jesus—about who he is and what he came to do.  The Bible says that at the question of Jesus:  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
            This is the answer to the most important question that we will ever be asked.  This is the answer that will shape and guide our lives here on earth.  This is the answer that opens our graves and heaven’s gates.  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God!
Jesus is the Messiah—the Promised One of God.  He is the Savior who the prophets promised would suffer for our sins and rise again.  He is the One who stands victorious over death and our grave and has conquered Satan and forgiven our sins.  He is worthy of our trust.
Jesus is the Son of God.  He is Immanuel-the God who is with us.  To know him is to know the Father.  To hear him is to hear the Father.  To have him as brother is to have God as Father.  He is worthy of our worship.
  And Jesus is our Lord.  He is our one true King.  His will must be our will, his ways our ways.  To walk in his footsteps as his disciples is to walk in the narrow way that leads to life. 
To have Peter’s answer- as our answer- is to know and believe the only thing that really matters and endures.  So important is this answer to our life right now and our life to come that God himself gives the answer to us.  The Bible says that:
Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
            The Bible says that God desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.  But the knowledge of saving truth does not come from our own reason or intellect—it does not come from some scientific experiment—it does not come from mystical, emotional experience that we have had. 
A saving knowledge of the truth—the correct answer to the question of Jesus:  Who do you say that I am—comes from the work of God in our hearts, from his revelation.  The Bible says that:  of his own will the Father has brought us forth by the word of truth.  And the Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.
Peter confessed the truth about Jesus Christ because he saw the truth in Jesus’ life and heard the truth from Jesus’ lips and his heavenly Father caused Peter to be born again—to have a new heart and new mind that believed in and trusted in Jesus.  So it is for us!
That we can confess the truth about Jesus Christ and be saved is because God has given us the gift of faith.  He has known us and loved us from eternity.  He has sent his Son to die and rise again for us.  And he has called us to faith through the Gospel. 
When it comes to our salvation, God has left nothing to chance.  He has accomplished it all.  And he has revealed it to us so that we can know and believe the truth.  This is the way he builds his church one person at a time.  Jesus said:
I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
            The Bible says that the household of God is being built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.  But what does this mean?  Obviously a foundation built upon mere men (as the prophets and apostles surely were) cannot endure eternally.  Much less can the church be built upon one man—even a man as great as Peter. 
And so what is the church built upon?  It is built upon Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone and the faithful confession of who he is and what he has done that came forth from the mouths of the prophets and apostles of old.
The prophetic and apostolic scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the foundation upon which our faith and the faith of the whole Christian church on earths rests and Jesus says that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
What a comfort that promise is in these days when it seems that powers of evil hold sway and Christians across the world are persecuted and martyred for their faith. 
When we see what is going on in the world around, when we experience the decline of Christianity in our own nation, it is so easy to become discouraged and worried about what the future holds when it comes to the church.  But we have Jesus’ promise that all the powers of the devil cannot rob us of our faith or destroy the people of God. 
There may be hard times.  There may be sorrows.  There may be persecution.  But rather than retreat, we are called to go forward with the Word of God, confident that Jesus will continue to build his church.  Jesus said:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
            The promise of the keys is nothing else than the Great Commission:  to open the gates to heaven by preaching the Word of God—both the law that condemns and the Gospel that saves.  That is the mission of the Church—to bring people to heaven.
We are to speak the truth in love about the wages of sin and call the world to turn from sin and be done with it.  We are to unashamedly bear witness to the will of God expressed in the Law and warn the world that the broad and easy way leads to death.
But we are also to tell the world that Jesus has forgiven sins and conquered death and opened the way to eternal life.  We can do this with confidence that we are speaking the very words of Christ and his authority stands behind them.  This is our mission.
Often times churches and congregations get confused about their purpose.  A concern for the material needs of others becomes a social gospel whose goal it is to make a better society rather than bring people to heaven.  A willingness to be all things to all people makes the church a mirror of the culture rather than the salt and light we are supposed to be.  A godly desire to abstain from the sins of the world makes us draw back into a holy huddle rather than engage the world we live in.
But these words of Jesus are the cure to all these perversions of the church.  Because the gates of hell will not prevail against us and because the authority of Jesus is with us, we go forth into the world with the Good News, knowing that Christ and his people will ultimately have the victory—which is why it the words that conclude our text are so odd.  The Bible says that Jesus:   strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
            It certainly seems odd that Jesus would commission his apostles to build the church and open the gates of heaven and then forbid them from speaking the truth about who he was!  But this charge to remain silent was only for a time.  He wanted to make sure that people had the whole story—that his identity as the Messiah was tied to the cross—that he was not an earthly king but a heavenly Savior.  Even the disciples struggled to get this right.
            But after his death and resurrection this command to remain silent is no longer in effect.  We know the truth about Jesus—his identity and mission—and that truth must be told so that those around us might also know the answer to the most important question:  who do you say Jesus is?  Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grace Enough For All

Matthew 15:21-28 Surely this scene has to be the most unflattering pictures of Jesus in the Bible!  This poor woman had a daughter being tormented by demons.  She came to Jesus for help and at first he ignored her and then he cast into the role of a dog.  All of it so completely unlike the Lord that there had to be something else going on.  And there was.
In the days before Jesus met this woman, a delegation of Jewish leaders had been sent from Jerusalem with complaints about Jesus and his disciples.  Apparently the disciples had not been following all of the rules and regulations of the Pharisees and Jesus, as their rabbi, should have corrected them. 
But Jesus told the disciples that the Pharisees had it wrong—that they were hypocrites because their religion was all for show when what God really wanted were hearts that trusted in him and relied on his grace.
It was right there that Jesus and the disciples met the Canaanite woman-- and that was no accident.  Jesus had not only explained to his disciples what faith really is—but he also had an opportunity to show them a wonderful example of a great faith that dared to believe that in Jesus there is grace enough for all.  The Bible says that:  Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 
Tyre and Sidon were cities where the Canaanites lived—people who were so evil that God had commanded Joshua and the Israelites to wipe them off of the face of the earth—which they failed to do.  They were enemies of the Jews and the disciples must have been thinking: nothing good can come of this.  But what they did not realize is that in Jesus, there is grace enough for all—even for God’s enemies.  The Bible says that
A Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." 
            The Jewish leaders who should have been Israel’s teachers—pointing the Jews to Jesus as their Messiah—were so caught up in their own rules that they couldn’t see the truth of their own Scriptures which revealed the Messiah: that the grace and mercy of God extends to all people without exception—even to those who are God’s enemies. 
But this Canaanite woman who had never seen Jesus before—who didn’t have the benefit of the incredible learning of the Jewish leaders—understood this.  She had a truly great faith and came to Jesus in her need, sought his mercy, and confessed her faith in his identity and his mission.  She said: 
"Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon."
Everything that Jesus wanted and hoped for from his own people—that they would know believe in him as the Messiah that God had promised to his people—he received instead, from this woman who was not even an Israelite-- but one of their ancient enemies. 
She didn’t have the benefit of seeing Jesus’ miracles.  She didn’t have the blessing of hearing his teaching—but somehow, some way she had heard enough about him to come to faith in Jesus and confessed him to be:  the Lord—the promised heir of David and the source of God’s grace to all men. 
And because that is who he was—she also knew what he had come to do—to defeat Satan.  The Bible says that:  “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil”.  This Canaanite woman believed in the mission of the Messiah and she came to Jesus in that faith—trusting that there is grace enough for all and that he would do what he came to do for her poor daughter.
We don’t know much about demon possession in that day but looking around at the devil’s work in our world today we can get a pretty good picture of what that evil would look like focused on a single child—something too terrible to behold—every parent’s worst nightmare-- which is why we instinctively recoil at what happens next.
Jesus did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." 
            Even if we can’t immediately understand why Jesus remained silent we have no problem understanding the concerns of the disciples, do we? 
A Jewish rabbi and his twelve disciples—thirteen respectable Jewish men—with a screaming Canaanite woman calling out to them about demon possession.  What will people think!?  And what’s their response:  send her away!  Get rid of her!
How tempting it is in the face of human need to turn our backs on the broken-ness of others because the need is so great and what we can supply seems so small.  But the Lord always reached out to those in need—he showed that the grace of God is for all people--which is why it is so surprising what happens next.  Jesus answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 
We don’t know if Jesus was responding to the woman or the disciples or all of them together but the response is just as shocking no matter who the audience is:  Jesus affirmed that his mission as the Messiah was to the Israelites-- and while that was a hard thing for the Canaanite woman to hear—it was an incredible word of mercy for the Jews, that God’s grace was for them too. 
Paul said of his own kinsmen, the Jews that “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” and here we see the proof that the grace of God was for them too—even though they rejected their Messiah.
Despite the fact that so many Jews wanted a different kind of Messiah—despite the fact that their religious leaders were focused on the wrong things—despite the fact that Jesus’ own disciples so often got things wrong—the God of Israel loved his ancient people and in mercy wanted to save them and sent his Son. 
We must never forget that.  Oftentimes when we read the New Testament we see the Jews as Jesus’ enemies.  And at times they made themselves that very thing.  But Jesus wasn’t their enemy.  He was their Savior and he would not leave one thing undone to provide for their salvation.  The grace of God was for them too.
In fact, every piece of the Messianic mission was accomplished in their midst—so that they could hear it and see it-- which is why it is such a tragedy that so many of the Jews rejected the salvation that God provided for them.
But what about that poor woman who was not an Israelite-- but a Canaanite?  She came and knelt before Jesus, saying, "Lord, help me."  A truly great faith not only recognizes who Jesus is and what he came to do-- but also trusts wholeheartedly that the grace of God extends even to them and trusts in his mercy.  
            The really great hero in this scene is whoever told this woman about Jesus-- for even though she knew he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel--she also knew that that his gracious mercy and love extends to all people. 
Isaiah had promised that very thing—that besides the Jews, God’s Messiah “would gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”  And that promise was about to be fulfilled in the life of a woman of great faith who had a great need.  Jesus answered her, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 
            As shocking as it is to hear Jesus use this figure of speech, it’s not quite as bad as it seems because the word Jesus used does not refer to the mongrel scavengers that would have roamed the towns of that day, but to a little pet dog that a child would own. 
But the point is still the same:  children are children and pets are pets and as much as we pamper our pets it would be scandalous to treat them better than our kids. 
Jesus’ point was that the Israelites were different than all of the other people of the world.  The Messiah was sent to the Israelites and his whole ministry of salvation was conducted in their midst—among no one else in the world and nowhere else in the world.  That was the Lord’s promise and plan from the beginning and Jesus would not deviate from it.  And yet, so great was her faith that she said:  
“Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
            The really amazing thing about her faith is not just that she knew who Jesus was and what he had come to do- but that she accepted the Lord’s judgment about herself. 
The Pharisees and scribes would never accept Jesus’ judgment that they were white-washed graves—holy on the outside and rotten on the inside.  They never accepted that they were an evil generation for demanding sign after sign from the Lord despite all the miracles he performed. 
We too struggle constantly to accept the Lord’s judgment that we are sinners who deserve only wrath rather than mercy. 
The greatness of the faith of the Canaanite woman was that she accepted the fact that she had no claims upon the Lord whatsoever and hoped only that the abundance of his grace would overflow into her life and the life of her daughter.  And it did!
Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire."
Only two times in the Bible does Jesus comment on the greatness of someone’s faith—the Roman centurion with the servant who was sick-- and this Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed of a demon.  Both of them were the most unlikely of people because of their background and status—and yet their faith was great.
They recognized who Jesus was—they confessed him as Lord—they knew that he was powerful enough to save—they counted on the fact that in him there was grace enough for all.  And both received what they needed. 
The Bible says that “her daughter was healed instantly”.  After all that had come before, we are tempted to regard that little sentence as an afterthought—but of course it really is the whole thing—that the woman’s faith in the Lord was not misplaced or disappointed.  She received the grace she asked for and her daughter was delivered. 
The mission of the Messiah in destroying the works of Satan was accomplished in the woman’s daughter-- who was not even present—nor did she need to be-- because the power of Jesus is not limited by time or space.  So it still is today.
About a year after these events, Jesus would complete his messianic work by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.  The powers of sin, death, and the devil were defeated so that God’s grace extends to all people. 
Those acts of salvation occurred two thousand years ago, in a place very far removed from this one—but Jesus still answers the prayers of all of those who come to him in humble faith, accepting his judgment that we are sinners—making no claims upon the Lord for who we are or what we have done—but simply believing that in him there is grace enough for us all!  May God grant us all this kind of great faith for Jesus’ sake!  Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pentecost 10a Proper 15 General Prayer

Gracious heavenly Father, as we lift up our hearts to You in prayer, hear our pleas for mercy and cries for help:

Empower our lives so that we would always keep justice and do righteousness.  Help us to fulfill our vocations in a way that is a blessing and service to others.  Lead our nation and our fellow citizens and leaders to love what is good, hate what is evil, and protect the innocent.

Give us a renewed love for the Lord’s Day so that we do not profane the Sabbath by failing to hear and study Your Word.  Make us joyful and glad to come into this house of prayer. 

Receive the offerings we bring and the sacrifice of our praise and thanksgiving.  Help us to be faithful stewards of all that you have entrusted to us.

Empower the witness of Your Church and this congregation so that those who do not know You may be gathered into Your Church.  Especially do we pray that You would turn the hearts of Your ancient people the Jews so that they would receive Jesus as their Messiah.

Help us to believe that your gracious love and tender care is for all people.  Where there is conflict and discord between the peoples of the world, bring peace.  Especially do we pray that our own congregation would be a living example of the Good News that despite our differences we are one people in Jesus Christ.

Grant us humility to kneel before You in faith and confess that You are more than able to meet our needs of body and soul.  Grant healing to those who are ill, especially Mary and Jennifer.  Give courage and patience to those who are undergoing medical tests.  Graciously meet the needs of those who lack the necessities of life.

We thank You for the gifts You give in marriage and family and children and pray that You make our homes place of peace and plenty.  Especially do we pray that You would bless Tony and Susie as they celebrate their anniversary.  Continue to deepen their love for one another and You.

Lord God heavenly Father, You are our strength and shield.  Throughout the days of lives, help us to trust in You and guide our steps until we reach our heavenly home.  We ask it in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trusting Jesus in the Storms of Life

Matthew 14:22-33 When we left here last Sunday the crowds who had been following Jesus were spread out on the seashore as far as the eye could see—thousands upon thousands of them, healed and whole—fed and satisfied.  And I bet you can guess what happened next:  John tells us in his Gospel that they came to Jesus, wanting to make him there king—by force if necessary.
And why not?  All of their earthly needs were met and if they could just get Jesus to hang around, the future would look exactly the same.  They could go to Jesus when they had any physical need, confident that it would be met, in an unending life of peace and plenty—joy and ease.
We understand the temptation of the crowd don’t we?  In fact, doesn’t that really describe what we want out of our life with God?  We want our needs met.  We want to be happy and satisfied.  We want to look forward to a future where there is only peace and plenty.
And there will be a life like that—one day.  There will be a world like that—one day.  But that day is not this day- and until that day- Jesus wants us to walk by faith—not by sight.  He wants us to have confidence in him even when life doesn’t go as planned.  He wants us to trust him even in the storms of life.  The Bible says that:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.  And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
            Jesus had faced this kind of temptation before.  At the beginning of his public ministry the devil came to him and tempted him, promising him that Jesus would rule all the kingdoms of the world if he would only give the devil his due.  But Jesus resisted that temptation and he resisted this one too.
It must have been difficult to do.  How the people must have begged him to be their king.  How they must have pleaded with him to keep on meeting their earthly needs.  How they must have complimented him and praised him and thanked him for what he had done.
Anyone else would have given in.  But not Jesus!  His mission involved much, much more than merely meeting the earthly needs of men.  He came to save men’s souls. 
Anyone else would have loved to have been the king.  But not Jesus!  He came to be a servant who would suffer and die so that we might live forever in Paradise. 
The world that we hope for and long—the world where there is no suffering or sorrow or separation—the world where we will know God face-to-face and see him as he is, is still to come.  Until that day we must go on in life, facing and bearing up under all of the hard times and difficulties that a broken world can throw at us.  The Bible says that:
When evening came, Jesus was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.
            A long way from home.  Beaten by the waves.  The wind against them.  That’s a pretty good description of life as we know it and experience it here on earth.  And it’s just the opposite of what we want!
We want to be safe and secure in our heavenly home or at the very least safe and secure in a place of earthly comfort and care.  We want to float along in life with nary a ripple to disturb us.  We want the wind at our back no matter what we undertake, directing us to one success after another.
But that’s not how life in the world is!  We are not home yet.  Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven.  He will come again to take us there.  But we are not there yet. 
The Bible says that we are a pilgrim people—that we are aliens and strangers in this world—that we are really citizens of heaven.  We tend to forget that!  We get pretty comfortable here.  Many of us live decades or even lifetimes in one place.  But all of us have a home elsewhere and we are not there yet.
Just like the disciples, while we are sailing along on that journey home, we get beat up by the waves along the way.  There is some sickness.  There is some painful separation among our loved ones.  There is some sorrow of life.  And we are beaten and battered by the waves of life—for all our life.
It sure seems like the wind is always against us to one degree or another.  Much of our life is two steps forward and three steps back.  We get a few dollars saved up only to need a new car.  We are climbing the corporate ladder only to have it kicked out from under by an industry downturn.  We’ve had good rain on our fresh planting only to never see another drop. 
And so then you tell me:  which is more familiar to you:  laying around fat and happy on the seashore with not a care in the world?  Or struggling against the forces of nature just to keep going?  That’s what I figured.  That is why Jesus wants to teach us to walk by faith and not by sight. 
There are those moments in life when everything is going our way and we don’t have a care in the world and there is no question in our mind but that God is with us and blessing us. 
We don’t need any faith in those moments because we can see with our eyes just how much we are blessed and loved.  But those moments don’t last forever- and can’t last forever here on earth- and we must not insist on them like the crowds who wanted to make Jesus king by force.
What is much more common and familiar is what the disciples were going through—difficult times—dangerous circumstances-- where we have to learn to trust in Jesus in the storms of life.  The Bible says that:
In the fourth watch of the night Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.  But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 
            Please note the contrast!  Everything that terrified the disciples!  Everything that made their life at that moment painful and difficult!  Everything that overwhelmed them and made them afraid-- was trodden underfoot by Jesus!
He was not tossed back and forth.  He was not afraid.  He was not hard pressed under the opposition of wind and wave.  Rather he walked upon it as its Creator and Master.  What a comfort this is to know that whatever we face in life, whatever terrifies us, whatever opposes us is not greater or more powerful than Jesus Christ!
Not some dread disease.  Not some financial difficulty.  Not some spiritual struggle.  Not even death is greater than Jesus.  He showed his power again and again—healing diseases and meeting needs and conquering evil.  Even his own death was conquered by his resurrection. 
No matter what we face we don’t have to be afraid because our powerful Savior is with us in the midst of it and he can be trusted.  The Bible says that: 
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
            For everything that Peter got wrong—from trying to direct Jesus away from the cross to denying him three times to striking back with the sword—there is so much that he got right!
Please note what Peter didn’t say:  He didn’t say:  get us back to shore.  He didn’t say:  make the storm go away! 
Instead, he wanted to be with Jesus in the midst of the storm.  He trusted and believed that being with Jesus would be enough!  There is a lesson here for us. 
Don’t we usually do just the opposite when we are faced with the storms of life?  Don’t we pray for some kind of magical deliverance?  Don’t we act more like the crowds on shore, wanting to assured with some kind of tangible sign of God’s blessing?  For Peter, it was enough to be with Jesus—even in the midst of the storm.  So it must be for us.
Jesus promised that he would be with us always—even to the ends of the earth.  We may not always—or even usually-- be able to see that—the wind and the waves may make pretty difficult to see clearly his presence in the storms of life—but that doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t there. 
What we need to do is cling to his word just like Peter did and step out in faith.  The Bible says that:  When Peter saw the wind, he was afraid…
            When we face the storm of life, when we are tossed to and fro by forces more powerful than ourselves, when it seems like the wind is always in our face—what is that causes our fears?  Isn’t it when our eyes become fixed on the situation rather than our hearts being fixed on Jesus?
That’s what happened to Peter.  He heard the word of Jesus.  He knew Jesus’ power.  Peter stepped out in faith while the rest of the disciples clung to poor hope of a little boat-- and so long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus he was fine—the power and the promise and the presence of Jesus were more real than even the storm.  But when he looked around at the wind and the waves, he lost sight of Jesus and began to sink.
We know how true that is in our own lives! So long as we are close to Jesus and so long as we are listening to his Word we our faith is fine.  But our faith begins to sink when we take our eyes off Jesus, when the storms of life drown out the powerful promise of his Word.  But even then it is not too late to call out to the Lord in our need.  The Bible says that:
beginning to sink Peter cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Why did you doubt?  What, are you kidding me?!  Look at the wind!  Look at the waves!  And Jesus’ response to us is:  look at me!  Look at me as I heal the sick and feed the multitudes and raise the dead and believe that I can care for your needs!  Look at me as I carry your sin burden to the cross and die for you and believe that guilt and shame do not have to be a part of your life any longer!  Look at me as I stand beside the grave, victorious over death and believe that there is not one enemy you will ever face that is greater or more powerful than I am.  Look at me and trust me in the storms of life -and believe that I will save you!  And he did and has.  The Bible says that:
When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
            Dear friends in Christ, we should not be confused, this is where true faith and trust will always lead:  to confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior and worshiping him for who he is and what he has done. 
How can it not?!  How can anyone who knows who Jesus is—anyone who has experienced his care and concern--not worship him?  It is simply impossible.
We need to re-capture and re-claim this basic Bible teaching, that those who truly trust in Jesus-- worship Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Somehow people have gotten the idea that knowing the story of Jesus is the same thing as having faith in Jesus.  That is absolutely not true. 
For those disciples in the boat, their faith moved them to worship and how could it not?!  They knew in a powerful way that Jesus was the Master of creation.  They experienced his saving work and the peace that comes from it and it moved them to worship.  May the same be true of us!  Amen.