Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Follow Me Right into Danger

Follow Me Right into Danger

Danger is something most of us try to avoid. We naturally avoid danger. If yellow caution tape is up we know that beyond that tape is danger. Some dangers we accept. We have “normalized” the dangers of traveling in a car or an airplane. Some dangers we have not normalized. For instance you are more likely to get into a serious car accident than hurt in a terrorist attack. It is natural for us to fear and avoid danger.

Unfortunately this natural instinct to avoid danger is not the path Jesus leads us to on when we decide follow him. An excellent example of following Jesus into danger can be found in the second half of the 8th chapter of Matthew. (Matthew 8.14 - .34) Jesus leaves Peter’s house after healing his mother in-law and the many people who were brought to him. (Matthew 8.14 - .17) Then he crosses the lake to get away from the crowd around him. When he lands on the other side of the lake several people ask to follow him. The first person is a disciple described as a teacher of the law. The teacher of the law tells Jesus he will go where ever Jesus goes. Jesus’ tells him that unlike foxes and birds the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Following Jesus will take you away from your comforts of home. (Matthew 8.18 - .20) Another disciple comes forward and wants to follow but first wants to bury his father. Jesus calls this man to let the dead take care of themselves but you are to “follow me.” (Matthew 8.21 & .22) We are not told if they follow or not that is up to us to decide. By following they leave their comfortable lives because Jesus is about to lead his followers into danger.

The first danger Jesus and his followers face is a storm on the lake. While the disciples struggle to keep their boat a float Jesus sleeps. In fear they wake Jesus to save them from the danger. He rebukes them for their lack of faith and calms the storm completely. The followers are amazed and astonished at the power of the one they follow. (Matthew 8.23 - .27)

The second danger is a pair of demon possessed men. Immediately after they get out of the boat these two men come at the followers from the tombs. The text describes these two men as being so violent and dangerous that no one could travel in that area. The demons beg Jesus not to torture them but to let them go into some near by pigs. Jesus commands them to “GO”! They go and the pigs run off a cliff and drown in the sea. The locals come out and beg Jesus to leave their region and he does. (Matthew 8.28 - .34)

Following Jesus is not a safe path to walk. His disciples follow him into a boat that takes them into danger. The storm could have killed them. The demon possessed men posed both physical and spiritual dangers. Demons could have left the men and possessed the disciples or the men could have severally hurt or killed the disciples. Jesus lead his followers into these dangers and lead them out! Ironically the dangers were themselves in danger. Jesus stops the storm. Jesus commands the demons. Jesus is a danger to dangers because he is the LORD of all.

He is still leading us into dangers today. He is still leading us thru dangers today. We must have faith and follow. The disciples were warned up front. They will have none of the comforts of this world if they follow the Son of Man. We are given the same warning but we know that even if the Son of Man leads us into danger he is with us. He did not leave us alone but walks into the dangers with us.
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