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“Confessing Christ in Fear”

Matt. 14:22-32
Pentecost 13—August 10, 2008
“Seeing the wind, Peter became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried
out, saying, ‘Lord, Save Me.”
Peter, the rock, is afraid. He’s afraid of the wind and the waves.
Along with the other disciples He’s afraid of ghosts. He’s afraid of
darkness and drowning and death. Jesus comes to Peter and the
disciples in the midst of their fears and saves them. And that is why we
see them confessing Christ in their fear, and worshipping Him. And
Jesus does the same for us. He comforts us in fear, and saves us from
that which we fear the most—death. And that is why we, like the
disciples, worship Him and confess Christ as the Son of God—the One
who has power over all things, be they great or small.
So what ARE you afraid of?
Children would confess to being afraid of goblins and ghosts,
afraid of falling and failing, afraid of bees, bugs and bullies.
Adults tend to be afraid of losing—whether it be in games, or in
the game of life. We are afraid to lose our job, our home, our children,
our finances, our marriage.
All of us are afraid of the darkness. If not the darkness of night,
then certainly the darkness of sin—or at least the consequences found
therein. Furthermore, as Christians we are afraid of confessing our sins.
And because we are afraid to confess the truth that we are sinners, in
the process we fail to confess Christ.
But though we may fail to confess our sins, we can’t help but
recognize their consequences—the most serious of which is death.

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Again, if we are honest, we would have to confess that we are
afraid of death. We don’t like the thought of dying. Granted, the
eternal life that we partake of after death is comforting for Christians,
but the process of getting there is painful. Sometimes we speak of a
good death, or a blessed death--but death is not good, and for the
unredeemed it is anything BUT blessed. For death is the alien work of
God. No matter if it is a “natural death” like dying of old age, or
unnatural, like getting eaten by alligators or sharks, or getting stomped
on by an elephant, death is horrible, and hard to face. And therefore we
are afraid to die.
Though we will never be able to avoid sin or death or the fear that
accompanies us throughout life, we can escape their consequences, both
temporal and eternal by confessing Christ, and worshipping Him. The
fear of death causes us to look to the One who gives life. The Fear of sin
results in confessing Christ as our Savior. The Fear of God causes us to
repent of our sin, and receive the perfect love and forgiveness that
drives out fear, as St. John tells us in his epistle, and as Jesus reminds us
in Matthew 10:28--
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear
Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”
Yes, it’s true, dear friends, of all our fears we should fear God the
most, For He has the power over heaven and hell, over wind and wave,
over earth and all creation. Only occasionally do we, like Captain Dan
on Forrest Gump, recognize this divine power. But it is on those fearful
occasions, like the one that Peter is experiencing today, that we
remember how small we are, and how great He is. And it is then that we
recognize the only hope we have for deliverance from our fears,

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whatever they might be, is through the one who courageously, and
fearlessly faced sin, and death, and the devil on our behalf.
That is what Jesus did. Not by walking on water, but by walking
to the cross, where He delivers us not only from our FEAR of sin and
death—but from the consequences of them. He has been drowned in
his own life-blood, descended into the depths of hell, willingly given His
life so that we can be certain that neither death nor life, neither angels
nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height of
mountain nor depths of the seas will be able to separate us from the love
of God in Christ Jesus.

This Friday the church marks a seldom celebrated holiday—it is


the day dedicated to Mary, the mother of our Lord. If you remember,
say a special prayer on Friday, not TO Mary, but FOR Mary. For
though she was a mere maiden, a young child, facing some very
frightening circumstances, nonetheless in faith she overcame her fear
and gave birth to Jesus Christ, The Son of God. Do you remember the
message that the angel brought to Mary when He told her that she was
with child? “FEAR NOT”
And do you remember the message that the angels brought the
shepherds at the birth of Jesus? “FEAR NOT”
And do you remember the message that the angels brought the
women on the day of Christ’s resurrection from the dead? FEAR NOT.
And do you know the message that the Holy Spirit brings to us in
God’s Word whenever we are afraid? FEAR NOT.
And it is the message that Jesus brings to us Himself as we are in
the boat. Did you know that’s where you are? You are in the church, in

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this place called the nave, the ancient word for boat. Here in this boat,
this nave, the Lord Jesus comes to you in His Word and Sacraments,
inviting you, as He did Peter, to come to Him. Assuring you that He has
lifted you out of the depths by means of the water of baptism.
Reassuring you that your most fearful sins—the ones that you don’t
want to think about, let alone confess—have been forgiven. And
promising you that one day He will raise you up from the depths of the
deep, from the darkness of death, so that you can sit with Him in eternal
light and glory in heaven.
Therefore the next time you find yourself afraid, no matter what it
might be, simply confess Christ. And cry out to Him—“O Lord Save
Me”. And then be assured that He already has.
Amen.