Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stating the Not So Obvious!

Mark 4:35-41 - Jesus Calms the Storm

35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind. 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

Did you notice in this story that Jesus TALKS to the wind and the waves?  Literally, he rebukes them!  Why is Jesus yelling at the weather? 
He is GOD for goodness sake, couldn't he have just lifted his arms and calmed down the wind and waves? 
He is LORD of All...Couldn't he have just closed his eyes in a moment of silence and brought calm to the storm? 
He is the Mighty KING....Don't you think he could have just thought about dampering down the waves and stopping the wind and it would have been enough to shut them both up?
It is precisely because he is God, Lord and King that he commands nature to listen up! Shut up!  They are at his beck and call.  He created them; he controls them.
But I suspect there is another reason why Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves, why he spoke outloud to the storm weather.
For the benefit of those listening. 
In this case, his disciples.  They're shivering, shaking and certain they are going to drown.  They run to Jesus for his help, so they must believe he can do something about it.  He does.  And what he does, he does outloud for them all to see and hear -- "Wind, waves - STOP!"
This isn't the first time Jesus spoke out loud while he was doing something miraculous (even when he didn't need to).  Check out this story from John 1.  In this famous passage, Jesus isn't bossing around the weather, he's bossing around a dead man --his beloved friend, Lazarus. Notice Jesus is mad when he shows up at Lazarus' tomb.  Scholars have a few theories about why, but most think it is the peoples lack of faith in Him, that has Jesus so upset.  You can hear his frustration in his response to Martha.
 38Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

This time Jesus spells it out.
"OK God, I know you hear me when I pray but I am going to to thank you outloud for listening to me not because you don't usually listen to me, but because, well, THESE people don't usually listen to me, let alone believe in me, so I am saying all this outloud for THEIR benefit.  Do you hear me everyone?  I am talking to God and he is listening to me, as usual.  So when Lazarus comes out in a minute, remember who I was talking to and also remember that the One who answers this prayer, you know, God?  He is also the one who sent me.  Lazarus rise!  Amen."

Only 3 words in this passage are directed at Lazarus.  The rest of it is Jesus talking outloud to his Heavenly Father for all to hear in order to help them understand WHO HE IS & WHO SENT HIM.
Same thing is happending back in the boat.  Jesus talks back to the waves and the wind during the storm.  He knows waves don't have ears.  But disciples do.  He knows that the wind doesn't "listen." But his disciples do.  And while the wind and the waves always obey him, the disciples don't.  The weather "knows" who God is.  Evidently, not the disciples.  They believe he has the power to do miraculous things, hence the reason why they run to get him during the storm and plead with him to save them, but after he does get the storm to simmer down, they mutter among themselves, "Who is this man that the wind and the waves obey him?"  Can't you just see Jesus getting supremely frustrated at this point, even angry?  He must have felt the same way in the boat as he did in front of the tomb. 
"Seriously guys?  You don't know who I am?  Have I not made myself clear?  Look at the storm? It's gone!  I TALK TO NATURE AND IT LISTENS!  I RAISE PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD!  You have seen me heal the blind, restore health to the sick, send the crippled running, give a song to the mute - and you don't know WHO I AM? YOU DON'T KNOW WHO SENT ME?"  If Jesus rolled his eyes at this point, he would have every right to.  But his emotion runs deeper than a casual frustration because he knew their unbelief - their lack of faith - was more than just an annoyance.  It was a matter of life and death.  It had eternal consequences. So, it made him angry.  Not kick-the-dog-angry, but break-his-heart angry. At the beginning of John Chapter 11, Jesus is described as being "deeply troubled." Before he raised Lazarus from the dead, "Jesus wept." (John 11:35 -the shortest verse in the Bible.) Sure, he was probably upset that Lazarus, whom he loved, had died, but he KNEW that he would raise Lazarus from the dead!  (See verse 4)  So what was he really upset about?
I think it was for a very simple, yet profoundly disturbing reason.  Whether he calmed the storm or raised the dead, many of the people he deeply loved still wouldn't believe.  "You have to see me to believe me" would prove untrue.  Many saw only a powerful prophet, a miraculous healer, a first rate magician.  The wind stops in its track at his command.  The waves cease.  Lepers are healed. The blind see.  Someone dead for four full days rises up in his grave clothes and comes out of the tomb to new life. 
Nope, not enough to believe.
You're a pretty miraculous guy though Jesus. Wow, that was impressive!  Who the heck did you say you were again?


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