"What one word would come to characterise Jesus' posture in life?" asked author and lecturer Dallas Willard. "I want to suggest to you that Jesus was relaxed."
It took me a bit to process this because I never thought about Jesus as relaxed. He was certainly full of love and compassion. He certainly taught with great wisdom and authority. Whatever he did was certain and with purpose. But, I never thought about Jesus' posture in life. Relaxed? Really?
Living next to the ocean and venturing out into it a few times has certainly given me an appreciation of its size and power. The sea can easily overpower the most experienced seaman. Knowing this helps me empathise with experienced fishermen who were suddenly being bobbed about in the middle of a 22km x 12km lake.
The sea was greatly churned up. Waves pounded the now helpless vessel. Water was starting to come over and into the boat. The experienced seamen were scurrying about doing whatever they could just to survive the storm. Where was their leader and teacher? Asleep...on a cushion...near the back of the boat.
If I were them, I would wonder if Jesus was in a coma. How could he sleep through the motion, the sound of a rough sea, high winds and men shouting frantic orders? Is he that tired? Surely he knows what is going on. "Teacher don't you care if we drown?"
I'm not sure what they expected Jesus to do. At the least lend a hand trying to tie everything down. Maybe they expected him to say a prayer that God would somehow spare them through the storm. Whatever they wanted or expected Jesus to do was exceeded by what Jesus did. Then, they were really afraid.
First, we may expect that he would pray to his Father to forgive sins. But, we read that he just forgives the sins himself. Certainly not the place of an ordinary prophet. Now, we may expect that he would pray to his Father for his friends to be delivered from the storm. But, we read that he just calms the storm. "Who is this then that even the winds and the sea obey him?"
While they are staring all around them and processing all this, Jesus gives this mild rebuke. "Why are you afraid? Why do you still have no faith?" Isn't this harsh? These weren't children jumping on a chair at the sight of a mouse. These were experienced seamen in legitimate danger.
What were they to have faith in? Their Father in Heaven and the one He had sent. Maybe they must be disciplined to realise that even when things don't turn out okay, even if they end up crucified upside-down, stoned to death or ran through with a sword, things are still okay because God is still God and Jesus is still Jesus. Having faith in Jesus doesn't mean we will now avoid the storms but that the storms aren't stronger than the one who has been sent to save.
Jesus certainly knew that he would not be taken from this world until the mission His Father sent him on was complete. This was the same teacher who taught us to not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow would take care of itself. I guess Mr Willard is right, Jesus is relaxed. May I have the same attitude in me that is in Christ Jesus.