Who Then Is This?

He settled himself once again into that comfortable cushion. The soft creaking of the timber seemed suddenly out of place. All else was eerily silent.

Inwardly the storm still raged.

Muscles ached and twitched with a memory of strained oars and taut ropes. The silence of the sea roared over the beating of the blood that still raged with adrenaline in their ears.

No words came, but a thousand questions streamed as a silent torrent between the men on the boat. The evening light caught the whites of their eyes as they stared in terror at one another. Most of their company had seen wild nights and had uttered countless prayers to see the dawn, but none had ever seen this—none had ever dreamt that this was even possible.

One turned to another and the question each had thought escaped his cracked and spittle moistened lips, with voice hoarse from fear he uttered, “Who then is this?”

The day had begun like most others. The Teacher had eaten breakfast with them, a meal filled with laughter and spirited stories of the weeks that had gone by. They were riding the wave of wonder. Simultaneously, they each felt as they were the most honoured of men to walk with the Rabbi, yet the most lowly of men as they were humbled by his gracious wisdom and insightful teaching. 

Unsurprisingly, Jesus cleaned up following their early meal and indicated his desire to spend the day by the shores of the Great Lake. They walked with him. They watched the crowds gather. They watched him stop and share a smile with children, dip his head in honour to lowly women gathering firewood for the day, and rest a firm but gentle hand on a hardened fisherman's shoulder. 

Watching and listening.

No-one had heard teaching like this. Crowds became throngs. Teaching accompanied by acts of mystery only recalled by those familiar with the stories of the prophets of old. Yet the power felt in those days did not come through miracles, instead, it was heard in the authority of his voice. Power flowed as the words escaped his lips.

He did not stop. An unseen urgency seemed to perpetually grip him. It wasn’t until the afternoon shadows began to stretch out over the water that he turned to his follows and, motioning with a flick of his head, said, “Let us go across to the other side.”

Boats were pushed out into the deep. Light grew soft on the water as they pulled hard on the oars, looking for a favourable breeze to carry them to the far shore. They were too many to safely travel in one boat, so the Teacher settled in the stern of one as his companions prepared the boats to sail into the night. As the evening star reflected off the lake, thoughts were turned to silent musings over the Rabbi’s teaching. Questions about God’s kingdom and mustard seeds rattled around their wonderings. It was some time before they saw the flickering light on the horizon and felt the shifting wind in their hair.

Fear does strange things to a man. Fear uncovers ancient memories of simple pleasures—walking in the early morning light, the smell of the evening fire, the sound of your mother’s laughter. Fear of death reveals the building blocks of life worth fighting for.

It would not have mattered if they had wept or wailed in that fierce storm, no one could have heard. Each man lived in private torment at the thought of not seeing another sunrise. The fury of the elements broke on them in unrelenting rage.

All had given up hope.

All but one.

When all despaired, one reclined as securely as he had beside the fire the night prior.

Jesus slept.

Later, there was confusion over who it was that finally woke him, but one amongst them despaired enough to violently shake him awake, then with their faces almost touching, screamed through the wind, “We’re dying! Don’t you even care?”

Jesus didn’t respond—didn’t waver—didn’t rebuke the rude awakening.

Instead, looking around him in quiet repose, his voice suddenly erupted with a single word.

“Peace!” Then with quiet command he looked about him and said, “Be still.”

He settled himself once again into that comfortable cushion. The soft creaking of the timber seemed suddenly out of place. All else was eerily silent.

Inwardly the storm still raged.

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”