Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Matthew
“The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!’” Matthew 8:27
We now come to the New Testament and I already know that I am going to be hard pressed to find just one verse or one thought in each New Testament Book to promote as a ‘favorite’, so I guess I’m going to have to pray for some inspiration in my verse choice! And that’s exactly what I did as I turned one page over after another….and I came to this beautiful story. The disciples and Jesus are traveling across the Sea of Galilee and a rough storm or squall develops. The waves were crashing over the sides of the boat, and the disciples began to panic as Jesus lay there sleeping. They woke Him and cried to be saved from drowning, and this is when Jesus calmly said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
Verse twenty-six continues by saying, “Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm”, at which the stunned disciples said our verse for today: “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him?”
This is a story that we have all heard a million times, but even so, I’d like to point out a number of obvious, and maybe not so obvious features that should encourage the redeemed child of God.
First, being that Jesus was 100% man, he was tired from a day’s work of ministry, so He needed to sleep like anyone else. Obviously, Jesus is a good deep sleeper because the storm was crashing over the sides of the boat and He remained asleep. Realizing that Jesus is 100% man is essential in understanding the meat of this pericope.
Secondly, Jesus questioned the disciples as to why they were so afraid. Although it appears to have been still early in the ministry of Jesus, the disciples have already heard incredible authoritative teaching (Sermon on the Mount), and have seen Jesus miraculously heal lepers, demon-possessed people, a centurion’s slave from a distance, Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, and many other people. However, the disciples might still be wondering about the mission of Jesus, meaning that they may or may not at this point be convinced that He’s the Messiah, and maybe they haven’t grasped as of yet that Jesus is divine.
Thirdly, when this twenty-sixth verse says that Jesus “got up and rebuked the winds and the waves”, I don’t think it was a dramatic as when Charlton Heston as Moses screamed at the Red Sea to cause it to split apart for the escaping Israelites. Oh, it was dramatic all right, but I mean that Jesus didn’t have to scream at the storm as if the devil was controlling it and the storm was going to resist unless yelled at loudly! Since the whole point of this pericope is to show the disciples and all of us that Jesus Christ is indeed divine – that He is God Almighty – then I actually picture Jesus yawning a bit (Remember, He was just awaken from a very deep sleep) and then He waved His hand like He was brushing away a mosquito and calmly said, “Storm, you can stop now”. He simply told the waves and wind to calm down.
Fourthly, although there were times that Jesus called on His Father when He was about to do something miraculous, and that Jesus often spoke about being ‘dependent’ on the Father, we can’t help but notice that in this particular situation, Jesus did not ask the Father or “God” to help, as we saw when Old Testament saints and the apostles called on the Lord to help them perform a miracle. This is strong evidence that Jesus is divine because He Himself told the wind and waves to stop.
Fifthly, from the response of the disciples (“What kind of man is this?”) we see that at this point the disciples may not have known that Jesus, although believing that He was the Messiah, was also God Himself. And again, the purpose of this whole story was to give ample evidence of the deity of Jesus Christ.
The full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ is indeed a mystery, but it is also a foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. Some people don’t think it’s a big issue, so for that reason they have either so humanized Jesus that they minimize His full deity (to make Jesus more acceptable for mankind) or they deify mankind, thus maximizing erroneously man’s place in the universe. But the Scriptures are resplendent with references to Christ’s deity, starting with His own claim to being divine (John 10:30; John 8:58); and then where the Bible writers claim Jesus to be God (John 1:1, 14; Acts 20:28); the disciples called Him God (John 20:28); and the other apostles did the same (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 19:10).
Several times in scripture Jesus received worship, which only the Lord God could legitimately receive (Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38); and Jesus never rebuked these people for worshiping Him.
Why is it important for us to believe the mystery – that Jesus Christ is 100% human and 100% divine? If we don’t, then we are still dead in our sins. For the sacrifice to be sufficient and efficient, it (He) had to be human so He could perfectly represent the elect. We read in Hebrews 10:4 that “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins”. For our redemption to be complete, the sacrifice had to be a human, hence Jesus was born of Mary and was human.
Secondly, the sacrifice had to be perfect, without blemish, without sin. If Jesus was ‘just a human’ then He would’ve been a sinner because God’s Word tells us in Romans 3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one”, so that would have included Jesus. Someone would have had to die for His sins, even if He just had one! So, Jesus had to be perfect, and the only way He could be perfect is for Him to be divine – to be God, for only God is perfect.
He was born of Mary, but conceived by the Holy Spirit. Sin is transferred through the seed of man, so the perfect Holy Spirit impregnated Mary so no sin was transferred. Thus, Jesus was truly our representative – human – and the perfect sacrifice – Jesus was God.
Much more could be said about the full humanity and the full deity of Jesus Christ, and the Nicene Creed covers this topic very well. It is a fundamental and essential belief and doctrine of Christianity, so please don’t allow any of the New Age ideas that circulate through false religions, the media, movies, etc. water down this amazing and comforting doctrine.
Jesus told the waves and wind to calm down and the waves and the sea listened to Him, because Jesus was the creator of the wind and the waves, and everything else for that matter. We have a God who understands our temptations (because He, as a man, was tempted just as we are), yet He did not sin (because Jesus was, is, and always will be, our God!).