Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mark 4 -- Can You Hear Me Now

Jesus is so amazingly gentle with the disciples at the beginning of this chapter. Jesus teaches what we now call the parable of the sower, and the disciples do not quite get it. So when the classroom shifts from the lecture hall of the public square to the more intimate setting of a living room, Jesus explains the parable. In fact Jesus explains why he teaches in parables and not just plainly saying what he wants communicated.

the reason for parables, to clarify those who are open to what God has to teach. Jesus tells the disciples, along with you and me, those who are open to the message will understand. Wait just a minute. I feel like I am very open to the message of Christ yet I do not always understand what Christ teaches. Does this mean that I am fooling myself? Do I really lack the faith to hear from the Son of God? The answer is yes and no. It is not about whether I have faith or not, it is about the place I am at on the journey. The depth of understanding I have is incomplete. Hopefully the depth of understanding is always changing, getting deeper, but as I sit here writing this, I know there are things I do not understand about God. My openness is limited not by my faith, rather by my ability to sift through the pieces of my life I cannot seem to give up. We are reminded however, if we seek after the understanding of God and do so with all our heart, we will find understanding.

The end of the chapter shares the account of Jesus calming the sea. The waves are crashing over the edge of the boat and the wind is whipping. Jesus response, he is sleeping in the back of the boat. The disciples are frantic, they fear death is their next destination. Upon being woken up Jesus settles everything, the wind, the waves and the disciples. Isn't that how it often works, Jesus not only settles the situation, but he settles us when we allow that peace to come.

At the end of the chapter, I often read Jesus as being angry, reality is he is probably disappointed, when he says do you still not have faith in me? Jesus had just told the disciples he was giving them insider information, that he was giving then some extra lessons that they may understand on a greater level. Yet they still think he will allow them to die at sea during a storm. I can hear Jesus voice carrying some exasperation, can't you hear what I am telling you?

We have opportunity to understand so much more of the teachings of Christ than the disciples did. We have the teachings written in front of us, and have a huge cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. Do we really seek to hear Jesus now?

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