Gibbs, Jeffrey A. “Matthew 8:18-27: Jesus' Authority: Questions of Discipleship and Jesus Stills the Storm." Matthew 1:1-11:1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006, pp. 429-446.
In Matthew 8:19, a scribe offers to follow Jesus. Gibbs notes the scribe calls him "teacher." In Matthew, disciples of Jesus never address him in this way (Gibbs 2006, 430). Gibbs takes this man to want to be a disciple but only on his own terms, which could explain Jesus' unwelcoming manner toward the scribe.
Matthew 8:18-27 serves as a triad of miracles, the second triad in Matthew 8-9 (Gibbs 2006, 432). In the earlier triad the people recognized Jesus' authority. Gibbs notes that in this passage there are three people who fail to recognize Jesus' authority (Gibbs 2006, 433).
Gibbs notes that the scribe in Matthew 8:18-20 neither recognizes the authority of Jesus nor does he know how one becomes a disciple (Gibbs 2006, 433). The scribe had no concept of following Jesus to the point of death, laying down his life.
The title "Son of Man" is important. Gibbs observes that much scholarship has concentrated on the authenticity of the statements of Jesus at this point. Gibbs considers this to be an unimportant question, but that we need to seek to understand how Jesus and his hearers thought the phrase was being used (Gibbs 2006, 435). The hearers never seem to recgonize "Son of Man" asa Messianic title. Nobody reacts to it or applies it to Jesus. This is in contrast to other titles Jesus or others use, such as "the Christ." Gibbs suggests that Jesus may have used the term of himself so as to allow his hearers to ask about the rather ambiguous title (Gibbs 2006, 436). Gibbs' opinion ins that the passage of Daniel 7:13-14 was not sufficiently tied to messianic hopes to arouse a response.
In Matthew 8:21-22 another man approaches Jesus, this mann called a "disciple." His request would seem reasonable, but Jesus turns it down quickly (Gibbs 2006, 437). Gibbs concludes that it would be unusual for someone to leave a dying father so as to follow Jesus. Therefore, the father's death was probably not imminent. Jesus was telling the man that his priority should be to follow Jesus that day, not at some indistinct time in the future(Gibbs 2006, 438).
In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus and his disciples cross the Sea of Galilee. Gibbs notes this is a challenging passage (Gibbs 2006, 440). For this reason, he first discusses what the passage does not mean, then what it does mean.
The passage is often treated as an allegory, with the storm becoming the trials in people's lives (Gibbs 2006, 440). The interpretation is also present in an article by Bornkamm from 1948, in which he makes a case for redaction criticism. Both means of interpretation miss the point of the passage, which is to show Jesus' authority over all things (Gibbs 2006, 441).
Gibbs goes into some detail of the weakness of Bornkamm's specific hermeneutic arguments. The allegorical arguments making the boat into the church and the storm as a social or emotive trial also have no solid basis in the New Testament texts (Gibbs 2006, 443). Specifically, in application, Jesus does not guarantee protection through storms. In Matthew, Jesus "makes the danger go away" but we cannot find a promise that suffering will go away.
Gibbs' conclusion is that Jesus is using the situation to show his authority. The first two encounters in verses 18-27 show "the purpose and the priority of Jesus' authority" and this narrative shows "the extent of Jesus' authority" (Gibbs 2006, 444). Jesus' significant act here is to rebuke the wind. The creation obeys Jesus, who is shown as God over all (Gibbs 2006, 445). This show of Jesus' authority promises a time when all creation will be brought into obedience to God. Gibbs sees this as an eschatological hope.