Who Is This Man?
I haven’t written here in a long time… Life has been crazy busy, and I plan on putting up some new testimonies and ministry / life updates soon, but in the meantime, I’ve begun writing for my friend Camil’s blog ARPS, which stands for “Art Religion Philosophy Science.” I’m supplying the religion part in the midst of a bunch of philosophers and scientists, though I’ve never been a fan of “religion,” per se. I love Jesus, but all the trappings of “religion” kinda’ just freak me out.
Anyway, since I’m writing about Jesus for the ARPS blog, until I get my act together and write other stuff here again, I figured I’ll at least post here what I’m posting there. Hope you enjoy some of my thoughts on Jesus…
I meet a lot of people every week, and usually concepts of religion and spirituality come up in one form or another. Most people in Romania (and America) know the name of Jesus, they’ve been to a church service, they can tell you the story of how Jesus was born in Bethlehem and died on a cross and rose again. They’ll tell you stories of how he healed the sick, how he walked on water, how he understood the Father better than most.
Our heads are filled with lots of information about Jesus, but we don’t really know Him and we’re not really letting His life change ours.
I forgot where the quote originates from, but someone once said, “We’re way too familiar with a God we barely know.”
At the end of chapter four in the book of Mark, there’s a story of Jesus calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Of course, you already knew that, because we all know all sorts of facts about Jesus, right?
Anyway, Jesus is in the boat with his disciples when a big rainstorm appears. The rainstorm turns into a thunderstorm that’s so fierce that Jesus’ disciples, fishermen who make their living on the sea and aren’t scared by little rainstorms, start to freak out.
They look for Jesus, only to find him sleeping, completely unaware of the storm. You can’t blame him. Jesus just got done with a full day of ministry, it was late, and he was tired. So he took a nap while he trusted his disciples to get him where he needed to go.
So the disciples, scared and a little offended that Jesus doesn’t seem to be concerned, wake him up and yell, “Don’t you care that we’re going to die!?” So he wakes up, takes a look at the fierce storm, and simply commands it to stop. And here’s the crazy thing – it actually stops.
After this, no doubt Jesus went back to sleep, but the disciples, the account records, are terrified even more than before. The story tells us they’re “filled with great fear” and begin to ask each other, “Who is this man?”
“What just happened? Did you see that? Who is this guy? What kind of power does this guy have? What kind of person is this? Who does this sort of thing? I thought we were just hanging out with a really godly carpenter who loved God and knew the Scriptures really well… but this is, this is something different…”
Earlier, when the wind and waves start rising up, the Bible records that the disciples are afraid. The word Mark uses is a word that’s only ever used negatively in the Bible. It’s a word that means the disciples were weak, wimpy, cowardly, frightened like little girls seeing a big spider (I have 3 little girls, so I can say this). It’s like Mark is telling us, “The storm was so bad that everyone was acting like wusses, scared out of their minds and whining like babies.”
But at the end of the story, after they see Jesus calm the storm, the word Mark uses for fear is an entirely different Greek word. It’s usually used in the positive sense, like having a fear of God. It’s a word that means the disciples were so filled with terror that they’d rather run away if they could. It means intense and fearful awe, terrifying reverence like we’d feel if God himself stepped into the room and we saw him in all his glory.
Suddenly, it’s like the disciples’ eyes were opened and they realized that something more powerful and more terrifying than a storm at sea was in the boat with them.
“Who is this man? I thought he was just a carpenter, a really good rabbi, probably a prophet… but this? Who is this man?”
I think we all need our eyes opened like the disciples. Instead of being terrified by the wind and waves around us, instead of treating Jesus like a character in a child’s bedtime story, instead of getting annoyed that he doesn’t seem to be helping you, I think we need to let him open our eyes, bringing us to the place where we look around and ask each other, “Who is this man? I thought he was just a religious figure, I thought he was just someone grandma talked about, but this… what is this? Who is this man?”