Probably every Christian has wished to have been there 2000 years ago to see Jesus in his earthly life. But was the life of faith necessarily easier for Jesus’ contemporaries than for us? Here is an interesting perspective on this question:
“One is stirred, one harks back to those beautiful times, sweet tender longings lead one to the goal of one’s desire, to see Christ walking about in the promised land. One forgets the fear, the distress, the paradox. Was it so easy a matter not to be mistaken? Was it not a fearful thought that this man who walked among the others was God? Was it not terrifying to sit down and eat with him? Was it so easy to become an apostle? … I do not feel brave enough to wish to be contemporary with such events, but for that reason I do not judge harshly those who were mistaken, nor think meanly of those who saw the truth” (from S. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Penguin, 1985).
It is a helpful reminder that, just as we face challenges today, those who met Jesus in the flesh also faced their own particular difficulties. This Sunday, as we consider Jesus stilling the storm, we are reminded of the terror he could inspire in his disciples. We also know that Peter himself could only grasp Jesus’ true identity because God revealed it to him (Matt. 16:17).
We must not forget that God’s Spirit gives us a clarity about God’s plans that is the envy even of angels (1 Peter 1:12). Until he returns, the Scriptures provide us with all we need for an ever-brightening vision of Jesus Christ.