Friday 22 January 2016

Bible Book:

“A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” (vv. 37-38)

Mark 4:35-41 Friday 22 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 18:1-19


One commentary I consulted said this passage was simply there todemonstrate the authority of Jesus - I felt like responding sowhat? Because I suspect that for most of us life includes timeswhen, like the disciples in this passage, we are terrified,thinking that all is lost. When we are fighting storms, chaos, thepower of evil and particularly when we feel that those things areovercoming us, I'm not enamoured with simplistic opinions about theauthority of Jesus or views that blame my lack of faith, as thevictim, for why Jesus isn't calming the storm in my life and savingme from drowning.

So I was relieved to find a very different perspective from TomWright - one that puts this into a much bigger picture. (Hedescribes it as being like a blockbuster movie including us that isso large it needs to be seen on a big screen with surroundsound.)

In this view the fear and danger is an old one, one expressed inmuch of the Old Testament where seas and storms are about chaos andevil. The danger is much more than even a violent, unexpected stormon Galilee.

In the same way the solution, Jesus, is much more than a quickfix of the local storm. That reminds me of the beautifullyillustrated danger of quickly answered prayer that we see in thefilm Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey which includeswonderful scenes of chaos when God (beautifully played my MorganFreeman) has given Bruce the power to hear and answer prayer.Getting fed up of the endless requests Bruce simply answers allprayers with yes ... and chaos ensures. This question of theauthority of Jesus can't be worked out by simplistically answeringall prayers affirmatively. Instead it connects with eternity - itconnects with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in whichthe cosmic timetable of chaos and evil isdefeated.

If this is not about the power of Jesus to calm storms in ourlives if only we have enough faith (a view that can end upcondemning all), then maybe it is more about living through thestorms as people of faith knowing that in the end evil does nottriumph.

To Ponder

  • When you feel frightened of being overcome by storms, how mightthis passage help you?
  • When viewing different ways of understanding a passage, howmight this influence your behaviour? And would this behelpful/appropriate (or not)?
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