One of my all-time favorite movies is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Mega-famous actors, cowboys, chase scenes, romance, drama, great music, even an iconic bicycle encounter with an angry bull…what’s not to love about a film in which Butch concludes another caper with the line, “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”
Sadly, these likable heroes are also bank robbers who eventually become targets of a dedicated, relentless posse. Despite their best efforts, Butch and Sundance simply can’t shake them. At what turns out to be a turning point in the story, Butch exclaims, “Who ARE those guys?”
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Jesus’ disciples said something similar during a violent storm. Their boat was about to sink. They looked around and saw Jesus, head on a pillow, sleeping peacefully.
They woke Him and shouted, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
The bible says Jesus rebuked the storm and everything immediately calmed down. I imagine Him standing, stretching, and looking around at their frightened faces, wondering if they would ever get it.
“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
And just like Butch Cassidy, the disciples asked, “Who is this guy?” (They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41)
Jesus is pretty hard on His friends. In other translations He asks, “Why are you such cowards?”
What’s He saying…to them, and to us?
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I think it’s important to take Jesus’ two questions together. He’s telling them they don’t need to be controlled by their fear because He’s with them.
And, to reinforce the point, He demonstrates His power. Even the mighty storm can’t withstand Jesus’ words.
Who Is This Guy?
I don’t think it’s a question for an old film or an ancient bible story. I think it’s a question we must ask every day.
Is He asleep? Doesn’t He care?
Doesn’t He see the injustice, the abused children? Doesn’t He care about the violent storms that threaten to overwhelm us?
I believe He’s awake. I believe He cares deeply, just as He cared that day on the lake. I believe He wants us, you and me, to trust, to do our best not to live in fear.
And I don’t know how to do that, not really. Except He promised He’d walk with us, you and me, and help if we ask.
I think the best we can do is try to understand a little more each day Who Is This Guy who calms the storm and holds me in the hollow of His hand.
That, and follow Him.