A Man of Faith, a Son of God

by Lester Young

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd, He gave orders to go over to the other side [of the sea]. … And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but [Jesus] was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?'” (Matthew 8:18, 23-27, English Standard Version)

You know, if they’d have actually been listening, those disciples would have heard the answer to their question even before they knew they were about to ask it. (But then, I’m certainly not judging them: Who of us hasn’t missed something important the Lord was trying to tell us due to our preoccupation with some problem or issue at hand? Been there, done that.) They wondered aloud – in total awe – at what they’d just witnessed: “What sort of man is this?!!” Now if you look closely, Jesus had already told them the major characteristic needed to handle that very real, very dangerous situation; and in doing so He’d also revealed to them just what sort of man He was. He responded, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” and then He immediately got up and did His thing. By glaringly pointing out that their faith – at least in the current predicament – was small, He made it known that “faith” was indeed what was needed.

But faith in what? It’s safe to say that at this point the disciples had faith in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. I mean, by this time in the story they’d already been following Him around for awhile and seen some stuff. So they believed in Him. But at that moment abstractly believing in Him was not enough: their faith was small with regard to actually believing Him. Not just believing in Him (as Lord, Savior, Son of God, etc.), but believing Him – that is, believing what He’d already said about the particular situation they were facing. And what had Jesus previously said? “…He gave orders [for He and His disciples] to go over to the other side of the sea” (verse 18). They already had His Word on the matter – and that’s what they should’ve wholeheartedly staked their faith on, not the wind and the waves.

Furthermore, by immediately shutting down the wind and waves, Jesus showed by example just what “sort” of a man He was: He was a “man of faith”. Now please note here that I’m not trying to disrespect Jesus by using the lowercase spelling of ‘man’ (as opposed to ‘Man’; i.e., the “Son of Man”). What I’m stressing is actually the same point Jesus was making to His disciples when He punched them right in their tiny faith: He was telling them, “You know, you could’ve taken care of this problem without coming back here and waking me up outta some good sleep!” Where’s your faith?! Didn’t I already tell you we were going to the other side? You could’ve told the wind and the sea to shut up. See? Just like this!” […to which He proceeded to get up and tell the wind and sea where to go.]

Jesus was (and still is, by the way) clearly a man of faith, because without faith it’s impossible to please God: and both God and Jesus testified that He greatly pleased God (Hebrews 11:6; Matthew 3:17; John 8:29). So if those disciples had put some faith in Jesus’ Word (as Jesus used in His Father’s Word, because He said and did only what the Father told Him to), they could’ve done the very same deed that Jesus ended up doing – and therefore instead of wondering what sort of man He was, they’d have found themselves being the exact same kind: “men of faith” (John 8:28). After all, Jesus plainly declared, “He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also…” (John 14:12).

Now as soon as they got to the other side of the sea, something else of particular interest happened: a couple of demon-possessed guys ran up to Jesus and in front of everybody loudly proclaimed Him as the “Son of God” (Matthew 8:29). By Scripture we know fathers and their children are spiritually identified and revealed in that they “do the same thing” (John 5:17-26, 8:38-47). Certainly we know Jesus is the Son of God and He did the works of God, because God worked through Him (Matthew 3:17; John 5:18-19; 14:2, 9-13). And because Jesus the Son is a Man of faith, we necessarily conclude that God the Father must be the God – the Ultimate Source – of Faith, whom the Son takes after (Romans 12:3; Galatians 5:22). In other words, Jesus the Son lives and operates by faith because God the Father lives and operates by faith!

But that doesn’t just apply to our Lord Jesus the ‘Son’; it applies just as much to you and me as ‘sons’ (1 John 3:1). We’ve been given the same “Spirit of Faith” Jesus and God have: “…According to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke’; we also believe and so we speak, knowing…” (2 Corinthians 4:13-14; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). As men and women of faith, we identify and reveal ourselves as sons and daughters of God because we “do the same things” our Father does (1 John 4:17). And because we’re sons and daughters of God our Father, we live by faith. I mean, that is how the righteous are supposed to be doing it anyway, is it not? (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38)

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