Posts Tagged ‘miracles

24
Jul
08

Any room in your boat? (Mark 6)

The home crowd could not see beyond what they had known. They had known Jesus to be a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother to James, Joses, Judas and Simon (see Mark 6 v. 3); they were not willing to believe that he was more than that. Things were different outside of Nazareth. Some thought Jesus was Elijah, while others thought he was a prophet. Because of his miraculous works, there were those, including King Herod, that believed Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Indeed Jesus was doing amazing things. Sick people were lining his route, believing that if they could but touch the edge of his garments they would be healed (see v. 56).

But there is another side to Jesus that is expressed in the narratives of Mark 6 and that is Jesus, the one who cares. Tired as he was, when he arrived on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion on the masses that flocked to him (see v. 34). Although the disciples suggested sending the people away, hungry as they were after listening to Jesus teach late into the day, Jesus would have none of it. The crowd was fed until they were satisfied and then dismissed by Jesus. Jesus not only cared for the crowds but for his companions. He had dispatched them by boat to the other side of the Sea. After praying, he began to walk out to them. The wind was against the disciples and they were struggling to make any headway. As Jesus approached, they thought he was a ghost. With the same compassion that led him to reach out to the crowd who were like sheep without a shepherd, Jesus reached out to these fearful ones, who were like sailors without a captain. He said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (v. 50). Jesus got into the boat with them and the adverse wind that had buffeted their advance was silenced. Again they were amazed.

What the moment calls for Jesus has, better yet, what my moments call for Jesus has. Will I be like the home crowd and restrict Jesus to what I have known about him? Or will I respond to his compassion and care and permit him into my boat?

21
Jul
08

Getting a legion of help in understanding Jesus – Mark 5

“The Great One”, “The Flower”, “The Big M”, and the list goes on of nicknames given to star athletes. Our lists will differ, given our sport of choice and our era of focus, yet what remains the same is that each moniker serves as a sort of verbal shorthand denoting the the skills, size and achievements of the one so named.

As I read Mark 5, I noted that the city crowds marvelled at what Jesus had done for the demonized man (see v. 20). His affliction had been untreatable and even uncontainable. People had tried, but their best efforts and their strongest chains could not subdue the demonic legion that occupied the man. Yet when Jesus showed up, while he was still a ways off, the demons knew the game was up. The encounter was short lived; the gaggle of unclean spirits were dispatched by Jesus into a herd of unclean animals and the man was restored by Jesus to his right mind. Indeed a marvelous thing.

At the end of the chapter the setting is different, not city crowds but a small group comprised of a mother and father and a few close followers of Jesus. What they beheld in the company of Jesus left them overcome with amazement (see v. 42). The 12 year old daughter of the mother and father, who had been sick and then pronounced dead, had been restored to life and to health by Jesus. This was no circus act, no grandstanding by Jesus, just a miracle arising from his compassion. Indeed an amazing thing.

What handle fits such a one as Jesus? “Marvelous One”? “Amazing One”? “Miracle Worker”? Each nickname speaks some of the truth about Jesus…but not the whole truth. So who is Jesus? Oddly we are helped in our quest by the submissive query of demonized man, who asks, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (v. 7) Jesus is marvelous and amazing and does the miraculous because he is the Divine Son.

“So what?”, we ask. Here is my answer. When I find myself in circumstances that are beyond my best efforts to fix or contain, Jesus can deliver me from that darkness. When events unfold that are sorrowful and perplexing and common wisdom would say, “It’s all over, give up”, Jesus can enter that situation and bring hope and new life. I don’t follow one that shrinks back from evil and darkness nor from sickness or death, but rather I follow one who can enable me to overcome for the glory of God.

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