Still Able to Help

Matthew 8:26-27 “Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and waves obey him!’”

One of the hang-ups people have about Jesus is his obvious humanity. It bothered so many of his contemporaries. They knew his parents and watched him grow up. He grew tired from his work. They ate and drank with him. The day came when their whips and thorns and spikes tore at his skin and he bled.

Jesus called himself humble and gentle. But then he claimed the authority to forgive sins. He seemed to put his teaching ahead of Moses. He claimed to know Abraham personally. He called himself the “I Am.” Modern day Rabbi Jacob Neusner looks at Jesus’ claims and asks the question that also bothered his contemporaries, “Just who does Jesus think he is, anyway–God?”

The rabbi is on to something. It is for our comfort, to gain our confidence, that Jesus shows himself to us as a man. He belongs to our family and calls us “brother” and “sister.” He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, because he experienced them. Colds and flu and fever–his body had to fight them just like ours. If the fish hadn’t quite been cooked through, or the milk had been warm a little too long, he might be up all night with vomiting and dry heaves just like us. If playmates made fun of him, when Pharisees mocked or accused him, the rejection stung. He did not shield himself from our pain with his power. He embraced it, because he wants us to know that he gets it. He is one of us.

So here he is in the storm with the others, soaked to the skin, chilled to the bone. He is probably clinging to the rails or the seats or the mast so that he doesn’t fall out. He orders the wind to stop and it obeys. He speaks to the sea and it answers with a great calm. This is the work of a god, your God. Just because he is also a man doesn’t mean he can’t work wonders. He still can. You can trust him. He will save you. He is more than us.

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