(Part 56)


June 21, 2015

Today’s gospel:  Mark 4:35-41

Jesus sends us to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. We are supposed to leave our homes and comfort zones to do mission in other places. We go with Jesus as he says, “Let us cross to the other side.” (v.35).

Inevitably, because we engage in spiritual warfare, there will be challenges, difficulties, trials, oppression and persecution. There will be storms, at times violent. At times we feel we are being totally overwhelmed, as if “waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.” (v.37).

We look to Jesus, we pray and intercede, we ask for relief. But he does not grant us relief. At times we feel he is impervious to our pleas. We know he is with us, but it is as if he “was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.” (v.38a). In our desperation, we might even say, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (v.38b).

But of course Jesus cares. Of course he will not allow us to perish. Of course he is all-powerful and can provide relief in an instant if he so wished. We know all this, but oftentimes we still falter. Jesus asks us two questions: “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (v.40).

What terrifies us?

* Going into unknown territory.

  • Facing a diabolical enemy.
  • Rejection or even ridicule.
  • Looking at the demands of mission, especially the hardships and suffering.
  • Thinking about the demands of mission on our time and resources.
  • Having to deny ourselves and embrace the cross.

In what ways do we lack faith?

  • That God will provide for everything we need, and provide abundantly.
  • That when we unselfishly give of our time, talent and treasure, God will not be outdone in generosity.
  • That Jesus has already won the victory, of which we share.
  • That for God nothing is impossible, and we ought to look forward to signs and wonders as we do mission.
  • That even in suffering and pain, we can rejoice at the privilege of serving Jesus and his cause.

Jesus is always there with us when we go on mission. We ought to be “filled with great awe” that “even wind and sea obey” him (v.41). Such is the one who sends us forth. Wind and sea obey him. Even demons obey him. The question is: do we?

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