Thursday, October 26, 2006

Discipleship: The Stunning Revelation of Jesus Christ

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have not faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:39-41)
The disciples had been fearful enough about the storm that raged against them out on the sea; they thought they were about to perish. But they were even more afraid when Jesus calmed the wind and the waves by the power of His words. The Bible says they “feared exceedingly.”

“Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Though they had already been with Jesus for some time, being instructed by Him and observing the many wonderful miracles He performed, this was a new revelation about Jesus for which they were completely unprepared.

The goodness, the greatness, and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is so stunning because our own experiences are so limited, our thoughts so restricted, and our faith so weak. There is also the awareness of the greatness of the distance between us and God, that He is so holy — so completely unlike anything else in the world, and that we are so unholy, so unlike Him.

Isaiah experienced this in his vision of the LORD in His holy temple: “I am a man of unclean lips, and I come from a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5).

Peter experienced this when Jesus instructed him to cast the net on the other side, and Peter hauled in an amazingly and totally unexpectedly prosperous catch of fish. He fell before the Lord Jesus and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).

The revelation of Jesus Christ always generates controversy:
  • No, God isn't really like that.
  • No, He doesn't do that today.
  • No, His grace is not that free.
  • No, Jesus didn't really mean that.
It's too much for us. Even the Lord Jesus recognized that He couldn't unload all this revelation at one time on His disciples. He told them, “I have many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now.” That's why He sent the Holy Spirit, to lead us into all truth. And we are still unpacking what that all means (John 16:12-13).

That is what our discipleship is about: processing the revelations of Jesus Christ. Each step stretches us past our limit, and a lot of times we don't want to go any further. Our job is to keep going further and further with Him, continually being stunned.