I recently taught on this topic not too long ago and thought it would make a good post too. I was teaching on Matthew 8: 18-27 and while I struggled to put the entire lesson together in one cohesive message, I found discipleship to be a beaming option. Here is somewhat how it went:
Beginning in verse 18, Jesus has a couple of conversations with people who he was passing on the road. The first person he talked to made the promise that he would follow Jesus wherever he went. Thats a bold statement to make, because Jesus says, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the son of Man has no place to lay his head.” His point here is that there will be much pain and suffering for many, if not all, of those who chose to follow him.
The next person he talks to has a dead or dying father. He wants to go bury him as would be a common thing to do in any day and age. However, it was common in their customs to take up to a year to mourn the loss of a family member. Jesus’ response to this is that of immediacy. While he may have possibly come across as arrogant or rude, he was simply making the point that it was important to put other things aside and make following Him a priority.
After this, Jesus and his disciples climb in a boat and set off to cross the sea. A huge storm rose up (probably not much unlike the one that was just in our area the other day) and was about to roll the boat over. However, Jesus was sleeping down under the deck. The people came running to him seeking help and safety. They were going crazy and losing site of who they had sleeping below deck, the son of God. The lesson that I drew from this story is that many times we are going through life and run into issues. While those issues range from teeny tiny to HUGE, we sometimes fail to see who we have “below deck”. They were not noticing that they had someone right there that could make everything stop. They lost track of their training and what had been engraved in their heads from their infancy and the past time that they had spent with Christ.
I have begun to work on this in my own life. Instead of taking everything myself, I am trying to immediately run below deck and seek the help of my Lord and savior. It becomes much easier that way and life, while its not always peachy, becomes much more rewarding. It is then through these storms that I grow and see who Christ is. It is so awesome to see him magnified and glorified when I see prayer answered, I keep my cool and even my kids notice the difference in how we approach certain issues.
When I was teaching I went on to finish chapter 8, but I think I will leave that for another possible post. It is interesting to see what you can learn from that section if you take a look. But what I want to stress in this post the most is that there are going to be storms in life. Jesus calls us to be immediately his disciple and respond to his call NOW. Again, its awesome to see how God blesses you through storms, to see God glorified in our difficulties and near-sightedness, and then again to allow our kids to see our response and dependence on God.
Let me know if you have any questions/comments about what I posted. I would be excited to see what you have to say!