“Remove everything from your desks, take out a piece of paper and pencil.” When I was a student these bone chilling words announced that “test time” had come.
In Mark 4, we read about on of Jesus’s days by the Sea of Galilee which started with teaching by the seaside (v. 1), ended with a time of testing on the sea (v. 35). The boat that had been used as a teaching platform was used to transport Jesus and a handful of His followers to the other side of the sea. During the journey (while an exhausted Jesus slept in the back of the boat), they encountered a swirling storm (v. 37). I remember my trip by boat on that same body of water…I just wanted to keep my lunch down…but I digress!
Drenched disciples woke Jesus with the words, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v. 38). Then it happened. The One who had exhorted the crowds to “Listen!” earlier in the day (v. 3), uttered a simple, powerful command to the winds of nature—“Quiet! Be still!” (v. 39).
The wind obeyed and the wonder of fear-filled disciples was displayed with the words, “Who is this?” (v. 41). The question was a good one but it would take them a while to honestly and correctly conclude that Jesus was God’s Son.
Mark’s gospel record is filled with mystery and subtlety, yet moves to a clear destination—declaring the identity of Jesus. Throughout his account, Mark provides indicators of Jesus’s identity, beginning with the opening statement of his record, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). He continues to present his case through events like Jesus’s baptism, where the heavenly voice declares, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (v. 11); and Jesus’s transfiguration when the heavenly voice confirms, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (9:7). Finally, what Mark has asserted and the Father has declared is affirmed. But, shockingly, this affirmation comes from a Roman centurion. Following the miraculous events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, this military officer agrees, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (15:39).
Who is Jesus? The Son of God who is worthy of all praise.
Take heart, this story provides for us hope…hope that God has answered all our questions! Sincere, honest, open-hearted questions and experience lead people to the same conclusion today. He is more than a teacher to listen to; He is the God to be worshiped. We no longer are filled with trepidation when faced with our questions of the day…He has given us His answer and His name is Jesus.
contributing author Bob Hartenstein