This past Sunday night, a couple of the wrestlers from Wartburg came over to my place for "Movie Night." We watched The Batman. If you aren't familiar with the well-known Batman story, Bruce Wayne lives as a billionaire by day and a vigilante at night. Nobody knows his dual identity except his butler, Alfred.
Early in the film, there is a scene where Batman walks into a room where a murder has occurred, and one of the police officers present in the room makes it very clear how much he dislikes and distrusts Batman. Yet in a later scene, that same officer nervously gushes over Bruce Wayne out in public with a big smile. Clearly, this cop assumed certain things about the Batman and very different things about Mr. Wayne, not knowing they were the same man.
I think some people do the same thing to Jesus. They assume He was a good teacher, or a moral and upright man, or a very kind individual, or even an inspiring historical figure. Yet these same people would publicly admit they dislike or distrust God, possibly even denying His existence.
But as we work through Isaiah 9:6 as part of our Christmas in July blog series, we have to acknowledge that Isaiah didn't assume the coming Messiah would just be a great leader or insightful spiritual guru. He claimed the long-awaited Anointed One would be the Mighty God Himself in human flesh. Take a moment to read it for yourself:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, ESV)
Isaiah wanted his readers to know that this son given to humanity wasn't just going to simply be some precious sweet baby, or even destined to be a great earthly king. This child would be God in the flesh.
Because Christians believe Isaiah's prophesy is fulfilled by Jesus, this means Jesus is the Incarnate God. And we see this doctrinal truth vividly displayed in a story that begins with Jesus sleeping.
After spending an entire day teaching, Jesus and the disciples headed off in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was so tired, the waves rocked Him to sleep. But much to the surprise of the fishermen-turned-disciples, a storm popped up, and the experienced boatmen began to fear for their lives. They woke Jesus, hoping He might help in some way, at the very least bail water, when suddenly Jesus did this...
"And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."Mark 4:39
This action of stopping a storm with nothing but a word was a direct fulfillment of one of the psalms...
"[God] stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples,Psalm 65:7 (ESV)
This explains why the reaction of the disciples to this display of power was "great fear" according to Mark in verse 41. At that moment, they realized Jesus wasn't just some great teacher, inspiring leader, or amazing miracle worker. As they saw Him stand in the boat and heard Him speak to the skies, they knew He was fully human, but He now seemed to be so much more. It suddenly seemed they were in the presence of the Mighty God.
With the image of Jesus standing in a boat with a raised hand toward the clouds in your mind's eye, take a moment to ask yourself: "How do I see Jesus? Do I think of him as just a great teacher, or just some historical figure, or even just a really nice guy who is my friend? Or do I see Him and trust Him as the Mighty God?"
To truly know the answer to those questions, consider how you pray. Your deepest beliefs are revealed by your behavior. So if your prayers are feeble, you probably aren't seeing Jesus as the Mighty God. If your prayers lack trust, you aren't acting as though Jesus is the Mighty God. Or if your prayers are non-existent, you are betraying the truth that Jesus is the Mighty God.
But if you humbly approach God's throne of grace in prayer with confidence because of what Jesus has done for you through the cross and empty tomb, you are revealing you know the true identity of the Messiah.
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