Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who is this Guy?

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41

Jesus is the one that told the disciples to set out for the other side of the lake. Obedience to Him put them right in the middle of a big problem and a dangerous situation. But God does all things for His own reasons. This was a divinely orchestrated teaching moment designed especially for the disciples (many of whom were experienced fisherman and sailors) so that God could begin to open up their understanding to who Jesus really was. So let's put ourselves in their place. Let’s learn their lesson and use it for our good today. Imagine that you are one of these disciples in the midst of the storm with Jesus and let's ask ourselves the same question that the disciples ended up asking themselves. “Who is this Jesus?”

We see first that Jesus is unmistakably human for He is sleeping (ESV Study Bible). Scripture speaks plainly that God doesn't sleep (Isaiah 40:28Psalm 121:4). Yet here we find Jesus, in the midst of a great storm as water floods in the boat all around Him sound asleep. However, the disciples needed no reminder that Jesus was human; they knew that full well. What they needed to know was what stands out most in this encounter: Jesus does something which only God could do (The New Bible Commentary by IVP). Only the Creator God has the power to command the wind and the waves. Yet, we find Jesus doing exactly this. So who then is this Jesus?

Scripture tells us that He is not only human, but He is also God the Son and the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created… all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16)
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3)
In his commentary on this passage, Matthew Henry rightly notes that had the disciples known the answer to their own question, they would have feared the storm less. They feared the wind and the waves more than they should have because they feared Jesus less than they should have. If they had known who Jesus really was, then they would have feared the storm much less and Jesus much more. It is easy though when the problems of this world are clamoring all around us and the lives which we have carefully constructed are crashing down upon us to focus exclusively on the storm and to think that it is ultimate reality... but it is not. No matter what your storm is, it is not ultimate reality. The most pertinent fact in the whole world to whatever problem you are facing is this: God loved you so much that He sent His Son to take on flesh to suffer and die in your place so that your sin could be atoned for and forgiven. God has accepted you in grace. Respond to Him in belief. If you will (or if you have), then He has promised your ultimate destination is heaven. He is in control of your journey. Each storm is allowed by Him to draw you nearer to Him and to conform you more into the image of His Son. If God is for you, then who can be against you? (Romans 8:31). No one!

So learn a lesson from the disciples today. Don't attack God with accusations and unbelief like they did Jesus (see vs. 38). Implore Him for help, but from a place of faith. If He has given His son for you, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give you all things that you need? (Romans 8:32). As your storm rages all around you, remind yourself who Jesus is. Remind yourself that no matter how big, loud, or painful your storm is, Jesus is bigger, He is more real, your destiny is in His hands, and He has already proven His love for you. So ask for help, but do so in faith.

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