Every once in awhile, I come across a person, seemingly of little distinction, who I may enjoy a few short conversations with but spend the rest of my time thinking of other things.
And then this person says something, mentions something, or does something that catches my attention. It may not be significant at first, but he or she will come up with something else, and yet again another thing.
Then comes the day when something really makes me sit up and take notice. It may be a small thing, but it brings all the other small things together and I think: "Who IS this person?" And I am suddenly filled with the urge to discover him or her. How does he think? What does she do? What are his interests? What does she think of this idea or that event? Where does he come from? Where is she going? What are his dreams? What are her favourite past times?
I imagine it must have been something like this for Jesus's disciples. They liked him well enough, he was a brilliant teacher, a good man, a wise philosopher, kind and gentle but firm, generous and loving. They enjoyed being around him. He taught them a good deal. He changed the way they thought about things.
And then suddenly, one day, he did or said something that made them really stand up and take notice.
And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matt 8:27)And even though they didn't always understand everything he did or said, they wanted to know more. They wanted to know everything, they wanted to follow him to the ends of the world.
We know that following him, even unto death, wasn't an easy thing. They weren't quite ready at first to follow him to his death. But when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost, they did go there; to the ends of the world and even unto death: for him, with him, in him and through him.
Reading the gospels and the epistles, studying the word, learning from other people teaches us a lot about Jesus. But then comes the day when some event in our own life, some answer to prayer, some conversation with another suddenly brings new meaning to what the Bible says. And then we MUST sit up and ask ourselves: who IS this man?
Most of the time, when I do marvel at the awesomeness of a few people in my life, when I am amazed by their strength, and their will, and their character, when I "fall in love" with the way they think, it is precisely because these same people have let themselves be transformed by this man Jesus. In admiring these people, I also sit up, take notice and marvel at Jesus through them.