Read Mark 4:35-41
35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!” (NLT)
One of the defining features of Christianity is its belief that Jesus, when he walked the earth, was both fully God and fully human. Other faiths might respect Jesus or admire him or even follow some of his teachings, but none wrestles with this dual nature of Jesus as Christians do. We believe he is not just another human being. We believe he is not just God pretending to be human.
This episode illustrates the tension. Jesus, being human, got tired and so went to sleep in the boat. He wasn’t immune from weariness that afflicts all human beings. Then again, when awoken by his panicked followers he immediately commanded the storm to stop. And it did.
There are other examples. At the tomb of Lazarus he wept like any human being. Then he raised him like only God could do. He got thirsty whilst on the cross as a person would be expected to do. And yet at the same time was bearing the sins of the whole world on himself, which was a prerogative of God himself.
We must not seek any neat resolution of this tension. Much false teaching in the early church arose from trying to find such a resolution. The result was that Jesus ended up either being a pretend God or a pretend human. We can do no better than echo the words of those storm-tossed disciples who asked, “Who is this man?” Our answer being simply that this man is Jesus: God spelling himself out in a language that human beings can understand.