What sort of man is this? – Br. Lucas Hall

Br. Lucas Hall

Matthew 8:23-27
Amos 3:1-8, 4:11-12

“What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” That question, I believe, strikes at the heart of Matthew’s gospel. Matthew’s intent in all his gospel is to focus on Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophets. He deliberately emphasizes the ways Jesus inverts expectations of the looked-for messianic figure, and seems to quite delight in tying these inversions together. When we compare this with our first reading from the prophet Amos, we see the lines of comparison Matthew draws; he does not view Jesus as simply another prophet. In Amos, God acts, and speaks, and the prophets listen, and prophesy to these acts. Here, Matthew depicts Jesus as the one who speaks and acts. And this message, this action, this intent is not simply to Israel, nor is it simply to humanity; the winds and sea obey, or more literally from the Greek, they hearken, they listen and follow.

It should be no surprise that Matthew views Jesus in this way; the idea that he has command over all Creation puts us in the mind of even the Genesis creation stories, where all is brought into being by the proclamation of God. It should be noted that these creation stories have a highly theological purpose; they closely line up with other similar stories among various contemporary religions, but they affirm the creation comes from a singular God. The various aspects of creation are not treated as individual beings to pay homage to, but equally created, and so equally under the sway, of the one God. And so Matthew depicts Christ in this way. Read More