Words from the Pastor
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He (Jesus) saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. ~ Matthew 4:18-22 (emphasis mine)
Who is this man? The one to whom these fishermen so readily responded? Who is this man that a tax collector, a zealot, and many others would drop everything and follow Jesus so readily? Why then, after hearing Him preach to the crowds in all Galilee “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people (Matthew 4:23),” seeing lepers healed, and even Peter’s mother-in-law healed, were these disciples unsure as to the “who” of Jesus’ identity?
We too have recently considered the question: “Who is this man?” Reading the story of the demon possessed man who lived among the tombs in the Gerasenes (opposite Galilee), some light is shed. If you pick up the text several verses before the boats arrive at the beach, you find that they are being tossed about on the Sea of Galilee in the tempest of a storm. Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat; however, with water washing over the sides of the boat, the disciples are convinced they’re all going to die so they awaken Jesus to their cries of impending disaster and the roar of the storm. Chaos is everywhere Jesus looks. The wind is howling, and the waves are raging as water crashes over the sides of the boat. The eyes of the disciples are filled with fear and angst understanding as they do that they are about to “perish.”
Into the bedlam which surrounds Him, Jesus “rebukes the wind and the raging waves.” In verse 25, Jesus asks, “Where is your faith?” The disciples’ response?
And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who is this (emphasis mine), that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8:25b)
When Jesus and the disciples step onto the shore of the Gerasenes, the demon possessed man immediately greets them, and unlike the disciples the demon knows precisely who Jesus is. Falling down before the feet of Jesus, the demoniac cries out, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me. (Luke 8:28)”
As to Jesus’ identity, the disciples were unsure. The demoniac immediately knew the identity of Jesus. How about you? Like the prodigal son might you have wandered away from what you knew at one time?
The Bible is full of character studies of people who when faced with the personhood of Jesus were forever changed. The demoniac who lived in the tombs when healed by Jesus is “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” has been forever changed. Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night to speak with Jesus is forever changed by his interaction with Jesus. The Samaritan woman at the well is forever changed. How about you?
The reality as seen in these people is that you cannot be in the presence of Christ and not be changed. In time the disciples were “all in.” They became “sold out” even at the expense of their physical lives with the exception of John who lived out a life of exile. However, the “rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-31),” although full of discontent when faced with the call of Jesus “went away sorrowful.”
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the Son of God, and believing in Him will bring you eternal life. Have you answered the question: “Who is this man?”