September 19, 2016 • Life for Leaders
[The disciples] were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.”
We don’t know exactly what the disciples of Jesus thought about him in the early stages of his ministry. They had followed him because he was a man of authority and power. It’s likely that they considered him to be the Messiah, the one anointed by God to reestablish God’s kingdom in Israel. But, as Mark 4:35-41 reveals, the disciples really didn’t know whom they were dealing with when it came to Jesus.
The story for today begins with Jesus and the disciples taking a boat from the west side of the Sea of Galilee to the east side. While they were on the water, a fierce storm began, with powerful winds and threatening waves. Yet Jesus, no doubt exhausted from his recent ministry efforts, was sleeping in the back of the boat. His sleep was interrupted, however, by the yelling of the disciples, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown??” (4:38). Jesus awoke and ordered the wind and waves, “Quiet! Be still!” (4:39). As the storm abated, he turned to his disciples and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (4:40). In response, [The disciples] were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.”
The disciples knew that Jesus could do certain kinds of miracles. They had seen him heal the sick and cast out demons. But they had no idea that he might also have power over natural elements. They were truly amazed by this new realization, even terrified. What had they gotten themselves into? Could Jesus be even more than the Messiah? And, if so, just who was he?
I have been a Christian now for fifty years. There have been times along the way in my journey of discipleship when I have become comfortable with Jesus. It seems like I have him all figured out. But then he breaks out of the mold, sometimes stunning me, sometimes confusing me, sometimes frustrating me, and sometimes overwhelming me with his grace. I come to see Jesus with new eyes, realizing that he is far more than I had previously thought. All of us, I think, sometimes need to ask, along with the disciples, “Who is this?”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you had experiences of Jesus that remind you of this story from Mark? When?
How has your understanding of Jesus grown since you first put your faith in him?
Lord Jesus, what a joy and privilege to have walked with you for such a long time! How blessed I am to know you and call you my Lord!
Yet, even though I do know you, I have so much to learn about who you really are. Help me, Lord, to know you more truly so that I might trust you more completely and follow you more faithfully. Where I have misunderstood you, point out my errors. Where I have failed to comprehend your grandeur, open my eyes to see your glory. May I be continually surprised by you as I come to know who you really are. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Discipleship in Process (Mark 4:35-41; 6:45-52; 8:14-21)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.