Who Is This Man?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

Luke 8:25

When I read this story in Luke, I am reminded of one of the most touching moments of television I have ever seen (care of YouTube). It happened on the British show, Britain’s Got Talent, a show in which ordinary people have the chance to showcase their abilities before a national audience and a panel of judges (including the infamous Simon Cowell). On April 11, 2009, Susan Boyle appeared on stage. A plain looking, 47-year-old woman, Boyle was treated almost as a joke by the judges and the crowd in the television studio. With their expectations shaped by Boyle’s appearance and naïveté, everyone anticipated that her performance would be an embarrassment.

But then she began to sing. Her mezzo-soprano voice was stunning. She sang like an angel, soaring to hit the high notes, showing both amazing skill and profound dramatic passion. The judges were stunned, as was the audience. All who expected Susan Boyle to provide comic relief were suddenly asking, “Who is this woman?”

In Luke 8, the disciples of Jesus no doubt believed that they had begun to figure out who Jesus was. He was a herald of the kingdom of God who wielded divine power to heal bodies and cast out demons. But, when they found themselves out on the Sea of Galilee in the midst of an intimidating storm, the disciples did not feel reassured just because Jesus was with them. In fact, he was sleeping through the tempest. Desperate with fear, the disciples cried out to Jesus. Upon awaking, “he rebuked the wind and the raging waves” (8:24). Suddenly, the storm subsided and all was still. Filled with fear and amazement, the disciples asked each other, “Who is this man?” (8:25). Their expectations of Jesus turned out to be woefully inadequate. He was far more than they had ever imagined.

No doubt, the disciples had an idea of who is able to quiet the wind and soothe the waves. They would have remembered a portion of Psalm 107 in which a terrifying storm engulfed sailors on the sea. They cried out to God for help, and he saved them. “He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves” (Ps. 107:29). But, if Jesus had the power to still a storm, this suggested to the disciples that he was far more than just an inspired human being. Thus their question: “Who is this man?”

We become Christians when we answer this question for ourselves, acknowledging Jesus as Savior and Lord. Yet, the Christian life is an ongoing process of discovering more about who Jesus is both in truth and in our own lives. Like the judges who were shocked by Susan Boyle, and like the disciples who were stunned by Jesus, we too find ourselves asking time and again, “Who is this?” Though we might at first be perplexed by having to ask this question of one we seem to know well, in fact, this question opens up our minds and hearts to a deeper, truer, and more transformational experience of the real Jesus.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When have you found yourself asking of Jesus, “Who is this man?” Are there things about Jesus that puzzle you? What helps you to know him more truly and intimately? Are there “storms” in your life for which you need Jesus’ help today?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, from my perspective, I can easily take for granted your authority over the wind and waves. Yet, when I put myself back into the place of your disciples, I can begin to feel their confusion and fear. Indeed, I can imagine their puzzlement as they asked, “Who is this man?”

Thank you, Lord, for making yourself known to me. Thank you for revealing yourself in Scripture. Thank you for the Spirit who helps me to understand who you are. Thank you for allowing me to see you in the gathering of your people or as we serve the needy in your name.

Preserve me, Jesus, from assuming that I have you all figured out. Though I know you in truth because of your grace, there is still much about you that I have yet to comprehend. I expect there are some things I believe about you that aren’t even right. So, even as I delight in knowing you, may I do so humbly, not arrogantly. And may my heart be open to know you more deeply and truly.

All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, for who you are and for making yourself known to us. Amen.