Friday, June 27, 2014

Mark 4:40, Lacking Faith

Why should his disciples have had more faith--both that Jesus cares and can take care of bad situations? What experiences had they already had with Jesus? In chapter 1 they had witnessed Jesus expel a demon, heal Simon's mother in law, and even instantly heal a leper. In chapters 2 & 3 he heals a paralytic & others.

Luke, in chapter 8, records his corresponding account. Since his account was intended to be an "orderly" or "logical" account, which appears to be chronological as indicated by Luke 1:3, what precedes chapter 8 adds more insight in answering the question why Jesus' disciples should have had more confidence in Jesus. Chapter 5 (vss.1-11) recounts a miraculously large catch of fish. In chp.7 (vss.1-10) without even so much as seeing the sick child in person, Jesus heals the child "long distance." In the same chapter, vss.11-17, he brings a person back to life.

So, reiterating: He expelled demons, healed sick people, raised a dead person back to life, restored the flesh of those whose bodies had been ravaged by leprosy, and, with just a word, caused an abundant catch of fish. All of this ought to have demonstrated to his followers not only that he was very capable of handling any situation, but desired to help others.

Instead of the disciples’ panicked "We're going to die!" exclamation, they could have shown faith and woken Jesus to ask him to fix the situation. "Jesus, sorry to wake you, we know you're tired, but we need some help here." Instead, they said, "Don't you care we're all about to die?!" It truly was a lack of faith. Yes, Jesus does care. No, they were not going to die.

But this account once again demonstrates an observation I've made that seems to be repeatedly confirmed: Our faith is tested to see just how much we trust & calmly wait on God and Jesus. We need to remain confident that they will keep their promise to always care for us. This may not necessarily turn out as we expected. In some extreme cases, we may even lose our life. But even in that extreme case, the resurrection hope calms us that nothing or no one can separate us from God.

(Case in point--consider the possibility of being thrown into a furnace that was so hot, it could instantly vaporize you. Anyone could rightly conclude that such would definitely be beyond the "point of no return." Yet that is what three faithful men faced. But, even after being thrown in, it was NOT the point of no return from God’s viewpoint.)

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