Who Then Is This Jesus? | Mark 4:35–41
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 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. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
One of the historical debates concerning Jesus Christ concerned His nature or, more accurately, His natures. The early church struggled to see that He indeed came in human flesh. Of course, many also wondered at His divine nature. The Christ revealed in Scripture is both completely human and completely divine, as we see in this passage.
Jesus Christ is human. This event occurs on the same day following a full day teaching from the boat (v. 1). He instructs His disciples to leave the current area to the other eastern side of the lake, and then He falls asleep. In fact, He sleeps so deeply that the rage of the storm does not rouse Him—an exhaustion indicative of His humanity. He was “made like his brothers in every respect” (Hb 2:17), including the need for rest.
Jesus Christ is God. Because the Sea of Galilee is so far below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, and since the conditions near the water are more tropical than the surrounding area, strong winds and storms frequent the area. This one was particularly powerful, possibly a whirlwind threatening to swamp the boat, and the disciples seem to know that Jesus is their only hope. Indeed, He silences the wind and waves with the same word He used to cast out the demon (1:25), demonstrating authority that only belongs to God (Ps 65:7; 89:9).
So, who then is this? His two natures are essential to what we believe about Jesus Christ. Because He’s both human and divine, He’s able to destroy the devil and deliver all of us (Hb 2:14–15). He became a “merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (v. 17). It is only because He has two natures that He can be our Lord and Savior.