Monday, November 18, 2013

Jesus Stills the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

There are three interesting things that standout in this fascinating but otherwise straightforward account of Jesus exhibiting power over the natural realm—the kind of power that only God has ever had in the Bible thus far.

First, that Jesus has a plan that requires Him to travel to the other side of the sea (and don’t think for a minute that He is simply being spontaneous) and that there may be forces that don’t want Him going there. That assumption makes this more than a tory about Jesus having power over nature, but that is better left for the next story when Jesus arrives at the other side. For now it is merely interesting to see Jesus use a similar approach to the weather that He employed against demons in chapter one.

Second, the contrast here with the story of Jonah seems deliberate. While their motivations and reactions are wholly different, Jesus and Jonah are both awakened on a ship in danger of going under by people accusing them of not doing what they should. Whereas Jonah was running from God’s plan and quite content to die however, Jesus is on God’s mission and comfortable in the assurance that nothing can work against God’s intentions.

Third, and likely the main point of the story the way that Mark tells it, is the fact that the disciples are still so ignorant and—even more importantly—so untrusting. Jesus had been teaching these guys the extra insights for some time now, and they were living with and learning from Him constantly. However, if there ever was a story that illustrated the vast chasm between knowledge and faith this is it. It does not matter how much one understands about the Kingdom of God or the teachings of the Bible; faith is a matter of trust and surrender. What God desires is faith. Faith seeking understanding is not a bad thing at all, but one should never assume that increased knowledge will help faith. Faith, not information, is the goal.

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