What Manner of Man Is This?
September 2, 2020
And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of Man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?" (Matthew 8:27).
Back in the 1960s and 70s, our seminaries left the traditional, conservative, historically accepted view of Scripture for the liberal, scientific, philosophical view that was bent on ‘demythologizing’ Scripture. That means we were taught to take out of the Bible anything miraculous or unexplainable in order to reveal the underlying truths of the stories of Scripture. It was believed the supernatural ‘cluttered’ the Bible with unprovable, and therefore unnecessary material that would be irrelevant to modern thinkers. So, rather than teaching the Bible as the Word of God, our seminaries taught the liberal approach to give the student a broader, more modern understanding of theological interpretation.
Case in point - Matthew 8:23-27. The traditional view of the text allows for the sudden storm on the Sea of Galilee to be attributed to natural phenomenon. “To such sudden squalls the Sea of Galilee is very liable from its position, in a deep basin, skirted on the east by lofty mountain ranges, while on the west the hills are intersected by narrow gorges through which the wind sweeps across the lake, and raises its waters with great rapidity into a storm” (David Brown). However, the liberal view does not attribute the calming of the storm to the divine power and authority of Jesus Christ, but to natural phenomenon. “By ‘an astonishing coincidence’ the storm happened to lull at the moment that Jesus spoke!” (J. Weiss), to which A.T. Robertson replied, “Some minds are easily satisfied by their own stupidities.”
The Bible tells us that Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea by commanding, Peace! Be still! (Mark 4:39). Immediately the winds ceased and the waves stopped. The disciples in the boat marveled; they were amazed at the miracle and wondered who Jesus really was. They had heard His divine authority in the Sermon on the Mount, now they saw His divine power on the Sea of Galilee. It was difficult for them to grasp that He was God incarnate standing right in front of them, ministering to them, saving their lives from the effects of sin’s curse. They would continue to struggle with Jesus’ real identity until the after the resurrection.
The story not only illustrates how faith copes with problems beyond our control, but also how the sovereign authority of Jesus Christ deals with problems beyond our control. Sometimes we are astonished by the power of the Lord when He answers our prayers, like the disciples were when they cried out to Jesus. But faith teaches us to trust Jesus not only for salvation, the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the daily provisions of life, but even for the perilous situations in life.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You have come to mean to me in this life. Many times You have rescued me from danger in miraculous ways. I am not deserving of such grace, but I thank You for it just the same. Teach me always to trust in You for everything in life - for the everyday needs I have, and for the dangerous situations I face. All to Your glory I ask, Amen.”