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“They were amazed, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’”

—Matthew [8:27]

Faith in Jesus Means Not Being Afraid

Jesus is sleeping in the cargo hold of a boat that also contains his disciples. From seemingly nowhere, the wind picks up, and the seas begin to roil. The waves become so large that they threaten to swamp the boat. The disciples begin to panic. Trembling, they awake Jesus and with terror in their voices say, “Lord save us! We are perishing.” Jesus arises and rebukes the disciples by saying, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Immediately, Jesus stops the wind and calms the sea. Upon seeing this, the disciples say, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

An amazing part of this story is the lack of faith of the disciples. By now they had witnessed healings and other miracles performed by Jesus. They had seen demons cast out, had heard the wonderful Sermon on the Mount, and seen destitute lives changed. We can well wonder, how could they still doubt that they would be saved from the sea? How had they let their human fears override their knowledge of who Jesus was? We, in turn, can wonder, would we be different?

Jesus replies, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” (Matthew [8:26]) His reply contains a universal message about the difficulty of faith. Despite all they had seen from Jesus, those with him still allowed their worldly fears to swamp their faith. Just as with us, despite all we have seen from Jesus, we sometimes allow our faith to do the same. Each time Jesus visits us we are left with amazement—many times wondering why we doubted.

Also, in this story is a universal question of “What sort of man is this?” Who is Jesus that he calms the wind and seas? Who is Jesus that we can have confidence in him as our savior? While the heavenly answer to these questions exceeds humankind’s understanding, we are shown on a regular basis Jesus’s value to humankind. We are told to have faith because we should. This is easy to say, but a simple platitude is not enough. Faith, in part, is experiencing and knowing “what sort of man this is.”

Jesus is undefinable. Some will see him as a savior, others as a redeemer. Some even view him as a sage beyond any that has walked this earth. He does have the power to heal miraculously. He does make our paths straight. No one person can ever fully capture the entire essence of Jesus, but when we have faith, we only need to follow.

What sort of man is Jesus? He is many and all things. We can debate endlessly with each other and still only touch the surface. For each person, Jesus is different, just as each of us is different.

Over the next few weeks on Wednesday, we will post more about Jesus and what sort of Man he was.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Dr. Bruce L. Hartman is the author of Jesus & Co. and Your Faith Has Made You Well.

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