After the political year we’ve had, with politicians of all stripes (an intentional animal allusion) promising what no human could possibly deliver, I hesitate to make this claim. But out of over 200 posts on Unconventional, this week may be the most central to following Jesus. Seeing Jesus as he truly is will radically change how we follow him, so I ask you read it carefully, apply it to your life, and share the post if it blesses you. Here’s why.
Jesus, drained by a long day of teaching, sailed across the Sea of Galilee to get away with his disciples, most of whom had been professional fisherman there. As he napped, a life-threatening storm broke on them, threatening to swamp their boat and drown them. Panicked, they woke Jesus, wanting help from their miracle working leader. They got much more than they anticipated. Jesus rose and commanded the waves, “Be still!” Not a prayer request to his Father, just a demand on his own authority.
When the sea instantly calmed, we’d expect their fears to calm. But the fear of death that stalked their hearts before gave way to something much more profound—they encountered the Creator of the sea, “They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:35-41).
Who is this guy? They thought of him as a teacher, a prophet, a miracle worker, even possibly the Messiah. But now they saw through the cloak of his genuine humanity and saw his underlying deity. The fullness of God. Yes, those terms described him accurately. But insufficiently. Who is this guy? “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).
Do we operate on that level? Consistently, do we see Jesus as far more than a friend, a Savior, Lord, teacher? Or do we get at least a bit of fear and awe mixed together, one that causes us to tremble in humility? Do we see him as one whom angels tremble before?
Two qualities of Jesus puzzle me. Fully human, sharing in our troubles and temptations. Fully God, sharing in all the attributes and power of the Father. Recently, we’ve tended to focus on the humanity of Jesus, which provides an often needed balance to the hell fire and brimstone so common not long ago. But maybe the pendulum needs to swing back, to include his transcendence. His otherness. Yes, his alienness.
Kick Starting the Application
Think carefully, in your conception of Jesus, do you see him as primarily human or primarily divine? Or do you have a good balance? Here’s a quick tip--do you focus more on the grace of God or the hard edge of obedience for his followers? Both are true, remember as a recent post examined, Jesus was full of both grace and truth. But if we don’t include both aspects, we don’t fully follow him.
What can you do to increase your sense of Jesus’ divinity and authority and transcendence?
Note: some of this material was adapted from an earlier book I did, A Passionate Pursuit of God.