21. Matthew 8:23-34
In the history of the NFL there have been many quarterbacks who have been known to come through in the clutch. Dan Marino, John Elway, Tom Brady, Rodger Stabauch, Joe Theisman have all led their teams to victory with a game winning drive in the final minutes of games. But no one is more famous for being calm under pressure than Joe Montana.
For example here is an excerpt from a column on ESPN.com by Larry Schwartz describing the demeanor of Montana:
He possessed an almost mystical calmness in the midst of chaos, especially with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. While others saw turmoil and danger after the snap, Montana saw order and opportunity. He was Joe Cool, the unflappable king of the comeback.
Take the 1989 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. The San Francisco 49ers were down by three points with 3:20 left when Montana spotted -- no, not an open receiver -- but a personality. "There, in the stands, standing near the exit ramp," Montana said to tackle Harris Barton. "Isn't that John Candy?" And then he led the 49ers 92 yards, throwing for the winning touchdown with 34 seconds left. This was one of Montana's 31 fourth-quarters comeback in the NFL.
I like to think that I am cool under pressure, but not like Montana. I do posses the ability to make decisions with 35 students asking questions and parents on the phone in the middle of a youth ministry event, with everyone waiting while my computer goes haywire, but there are no 300 lb linemen trying to break my legs.
While Montana was arguably the best NFL quarterback under pressure ever, even he might have cracked under the circumstances Jesus endures in Matthew chapter 8. After a full day of dealing with crowds, healing sick people, and even turning people away Jesus and His disciples finally get into a boat for a relaxing sail. Exhausted, Jesus falls asleep. He is awakened by His frantic friends. "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" Have you ever been awaken by something or someone frantic? I have and it makes me frantic. If my children wake up in the middle of the night sick, Bonnie jumps into action and my heart is racing and I'm confused and rattled. Not Jesus, awaken from sleep He rebukes His disciples, then rebukes the wind and waves. And then peace. Calm. I can almost see Jesus immediately laying back down with a 'Don't wake me again for something silly!' look on his face, then falling back to sleep.
In the midst of trouble, calm. When the storms arise, peace. When all looks bad, serenity. I am not so cool under pressure, but it sure is reassuring to look across the huddle and see my quarterback, Jesus, in complete control.