We get a glimpse into the mindset of the disciples as we read Luke 8. Despite the miraculous activity, the disciples did not know who they were following. If they had understood the object of their relationship perhaps they would have taken Him a bit more seriously.
Maybe that’s the wrong way to say it. They did take Him seriously or they wouldn’t have stuck around. They took their version of Him very seriously.
Yet in this moment, on the lake, during the storm, their version of Him could not (pardon the pun) hold water. Jesus left a trail of breadcrumbs that pointed to His nature but the disciples had trouble arriving at the destination.
Supernatural Knowledge. Check.
Raised someone from the dead. Check.
Healed a servant. Check.
Healed Simon’s mother-in-law. Check.
Healed a man with Leprosy. Check.
Healed a paralytic man. Check.
The Disciples conclusion? This is one special MAN.
We read the entirety of the scriptures and have access to the revelation from start to finish, but to the Disciples, in their moment, Jesus was simply a prophet doing the work of God. In fact, it wasn’t until Jesus performed another resurrection from the dead, walked on water, and fed the thousands with a Kit Kat bar and Nilla Wafers (not literally) that Jesus had a very poignant conversation with them. Perhaps He HAD to. Maybe, despite all they’d seen they just weren’t getting it and time was running out.
The conversation consisted of two very direct questions.
“Who do the crowds say that I am?” John the Baptist. Elijah. A prophet from long ago. To the crowds, this was their version of Jesus. Jesus 1.0.
“Who do YOU say that I am?” Ah! The intensity of that question! We’ve all been asked questions where there is “one in the chamber”. It’s a loaded question and the inquisitor is ready and waiting to fire the revelation bullet. What if I’m wrong? What then? Am I going to get raked over the coals? Will I be rejected, shunned, and demeaned?
Peter answered wisely but not because he was wise. History has shown that he majored in speaking before thinking. In this moment, however, what he answered was not based on his knowledge. It was based on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that was granted to him. Even then, I can’t help but wonder if there was a kernel of uncertainty floating through his mind.
Peter had made the transition. He had stopped thinking through his own wisdom and had become acquainted with the Holy Spirit. He had begun to hear differently and this spiritual auditory skill had brought him closer to Jesus and shifted everything he’d ever seen, both past and present. They began to look at Jesus differently. Jesus 2.0. The first version was Jesus the Prophet, sent by God. The second version was Jesus in His true nature – the Messiah.
It’s interesting to me that Jesus kept this revelation under wraps. In Matthew 16:20 he ordered His disciples to tell no one. Certainly not the best social media marketing campaign.
The conversations shifted. Instead of trying to decipher the meaning of the parables they began jockeying for position (Matthew 18). It’s like becoming best friends with a billionaire and counting how you’ll spend your money when they hadn’t offered you any.
They began to grieve when Jesus predicted His death. Why? Didn’t they know Jesus 2.0? Maybe not. Maybe 11 of the 12 still struggled with Jesus’ identity. After all, scriptures only record Peter’s revelation. Maybe their understanding of who Jesus was in that moment got stuck in the present tense circumstances.
Don’t we find ourselves in this place more often than we’d like? Jesus reveals who He is and yet when the storms come we find a way to doubt Him? Why do we do that? You’d think Jesus wouldn’t have to prove Himself time and time again. We scoff at the disciples and their ignorance only to operate the same. Is the version of Jesus you serve only as reliable as His last miracle or fulfilled promise?
We proclaim that Jesus can save and deliver ANYONE who would call upon His name, yet as believers, when it comes to our own struggles, doubts, fears, and strongholds we doubt His delivering power.
Perhaps Jesus is desiring the same for us that He desired for His disciples long ago. Perhaps He desires that we have such an intimate relationship with the Father that the Spirit reveals what flesh, logic, and reason never could. Jesus is not just the Lord over the circumstance. He is Lord over all.
Then, and only then, will we no longer be surprised when the wind and waves obey his commands.