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Jesus sleeping in the boat
- Jacob Ninan
Many use the story of how Jesus was sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm as a mark of His ability to be unperturbed in the face of challenges. But the fact is that even you and I would also have been unperturbed if we had been asleep at that time! We would have been unaware of what was going on, and we wouldn't have been disturbed! But what is impressive is that even when Jesus was woken up and suddenly He found Himself in the midst of the storm He was not shaken. He had authority to chide His disciples for their unbelief (Mt.8:26).
Some people object to this explanation saying that even while Jesus was asleep He knew everything that was going on since He was God. Of course, Jesus was the Son of God. But did He really know at all times all that was going on? What about the time when He had to go to a fig tree to see if it had fruit (Mt.21:19), and the other time when He said He didn't know the time of the end of the world (Mt.24:36)? How could He not know such things if He was the omniscient God?
He was indeed one of the three Persons in the Trinity. But at this point when He had come to the earth He had taken the role of a man and was behaving like one. For this period of time He had 'emptied' Himself from the position of equality with God the Father (Php.2:6,7). He did not cease being God, but He chose to live here to face the same challenges that we face here on earth. In such a way He could be a forerunner for us (Lk.1:17) and an example to us (1Pe.2:21).
If Jesus was living here as God, He couldn't have been tempted in all the ways in which we are tempted (He.4:15,16). He became like us in order to identify with us and give us an example to follow.
Whenever we read about how Jesus behaved in relation to people and things in His life on earth, let us remember they are examples for us to follow. If we relegate them to an unreachable realm thinking that Jesus was God and we are only people, we will miss many things that Jesus was trying to teach us. Of course, there were things that Jesus did as the Lamb of God who was given as a sacrifice for our sins that we cannot follow because that is not our role.
Let us also understand that what we need to learn from Jesus (or for that matter from any people we admire), is not so much to imitate their action as to their spirit, attitude and character (He.13:7). What Jesus did in different situations may not be what we need to do because our situations may not be exactly the same. But what we need to learn is from why He did certain things, His attitude in different situations, the priorities in His heart and the general condition of His heart and mind. Jesus came to this earth not only to provide us with a remedy for our sins but also to give us a benchmark with which we can measure ourselves. We will miss a whole lot of His instructions for us if we only think of Jesus as God on earth and not also as the Son of Man who walked this way before us.