In Christian education and conversation we often talk about how human Jesus was when he became a man and lived in our world. We realize that he was never devoid of his divinity, yet he was fully human and felt everything we feel, struggled with human issues, and had to make choices between good and bad. It has always been an area that I believed, yet I saw this man navigate his life so perfectly that even though he was human I suspected that his god-ness made him a little more superhuman.
That was, until I read a very short sentence in the midst of a verse in Luke this week. The verse reads, “As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.” Luke 8:23 (NLT). Normally, I read on and see that the glory of God is expressed through the fact that Jesus calmed the storm and then rebuked his disciples for fearing when Jesus was in the boat with them and had said clearly that they were going to the other side. I’ve always focused on the fact that what Jesus says, “let’s cross to the other side of the lake,” meant that NO MATTER WHAT the boat was going to end up at the other side of the lake. This time, though, I saw the words “Jesus settled down for a nap” and stopped there, dumbfounded.
Isn’t it amazing how we can read the same words over and over and find something new jump out at us? And, isn’t it amazing how something that has always seemed insignificant suddenly means so much? I like to nap, I won’t lie. But, I often feel guilty for napping. I feel that I should really be doing something much more productive – even if it is on my day off. I have viewed the time I take to sleep as a waste of time. I have certainly been working on this flaw in my thinking. I’ve chosen to focus on self-care and encourage my friends to ask me the question of whether I am taking care of myself and practicing self-care. I am a driven individual – this is no surprise to anyone who knows me. I’m also competitive, love pushing the limits for a rush of adrenaline, want more and rarely settle for less. Yet, I came face-to-face in these few words with the fact that Jesus’ humanity and mine are really the same.
Jesus napped! Maybe it’s just me, but realizing this fact made him so much more relatable. And, the scripture didn’t say that Jesus accidently fell asleep or was caught unsuspecting by his disciples because he was resting – he settled down for a nap.
Ahhh – God continues to help me to see that he is in control and that the world will really keep revolving even if I check out on a Sunday afternoon and snooze. This makes another verse even more meaningful, too: “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36 (NLT)