Monday, June 20, 2022

The Holiness of Christ (Mark 4:35-41)

"And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41).

Holiness belongs not only to God the Father but to Christ as well. We find a number of accounts in the Gospels of people’s reactions to the holiness of Christ. We have already learned that one aspect of holiness is separation. When Christ revealed that He was different from all others, that He was set apart by God, people had different reactions. The Pharisees responded with jealously, envy, and hatred. Those who recognized their own sinfulness responded with reverence, humility, and fear.

We find this reaction among the disciples when Jesus calmed the storm. When the disciples found themselves tossed on waves by a fierce storm, they were afraid and turned to Christ for help. But rather than having their fears put to rest, when Jesus commanded the storm to cease, their tears were intensified. Jesus was like no one else they knew, and this caused them to be afraid.

Peter had a similar reaction to Christ in Luke 5 when Jesus led him to catch a boat full of fish. In the face of Christ’s holiness, of His power and authority, Peter saw his own sinfulness and was humbled. We have already studied how Job and Isaiah had this same reaction to the holiness of God.

The Pharisees did not have the same reaction of fear and humility that the disciples had because they rested on their own self-righteousness instead of Christ’s. They had such exalted views of themselves that they did not recognize the transcendent holiness of Christ when confronted with His power in performing miracles and in teaching the truth of God. Those who rely on their own righteousness will not love to be in Christ’s presence; they will resent Him. But those who are humbled before God and who confess their unworthiness to stand in His presence will follow after Christ. This is because they realize how much they need Him. They realize they have no righteousness of their own. Even though they fear the power and holiness of God, they are welcome in Christ. By His grace we, who are not holy, can stand in His presence. That is the essence of Christianity—grace, and the essence of Christian ethics is gratitude. Our response to God should always be one of thanksgiving.

Sometimes Christians fail to respond properly to Christ’s holiness because they focus on His humanity and fail to recognize His divine majesty. They see Christ as friend and not Lord. How can you guard against this “over familiarity”? Keep the balance of Christ as friend and Christ as holy Lord.