Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Daily Devotional: March 8

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt, 1632
Week Seven, Day Two, The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter Four

Fear is a destructive force. It causes people to act in ways they wouldn't normally act. It turns rational, sophisticated people into animals--initiating the fight or flight instinct dormant in our 21st Century brains. In Scripture fear is often referred to in negative terms because fear is the absence of love and hope. 

Who is this then?

In Mark Four we see the disciples and Jesus continuing their ministry near the Sea of Galilee. We then see them get in a boat and take off towards the far shore during the night. Jesus, likely exhausted from long days of ministry and teaching, is asleep on the boat when a storm begins shaking the frame of the boat all around the disciples, terrifying them. 

Who is this then?

When the disciples wake Jesus, they ask Him if He cares if they all die. He woke up and simply commanded the waves to be quiet, and they were. This showed His superiority over nature, but also how little He was worried. He wasn't overcome with fear, and He wasn't shaking with anxiety. There were times in Jesus' life where He became overcome with stress and worry, but over things He knew to be within God's plan. In this moment, against what would be a terrifying storm to anyone on a tiny boat in the middle of a sea, He was calm and confident. 

Who is this then?
Jesus' response to the disciples pierces to my insecurity. He asked them "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Fear is our reaction to things we don't understand, or can't control. By it's nature, it is the opposite of faith. Fear leads us to hate others, faith leads us to love them. Fear leads us to superstition, faith leads us to communion. Fear leads us to see Jesus in our presence and ask Him why He isn't doing enough for us. Faith leads us to see Jesus acting even when we can't see Him in our presence. Fear comes from the natural world, from our animal brains, from our desperate need to survive. Faith comes from our Christ-brains, from God, from our identity as commingling participants in the divine reality.

I assume Jesus went back to sleep after asking them these questions. The ultimate picture of Divine serenity and contentment. The disciples were now more freaked out than before. They began asking themselves what would become the single most important question in the history of the world.  

Who is this then?

Answer that question for yourself. Who is He? Does He lead you from your fears and into faith?

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.