Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Taking Him as He Is

I read something today that keeps churning in my mind.  As I well know, no matter how many times you read something in the Word, a fresh revelation is waiting to jump out at you. 

I was reading from Mark 4.  Following an intense few days (or maybe even weeks) of teaching, Jesus wants to go across to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  He had a divine appointment with a demon-possessed man He needed to keep.  However, before He gets there, Mark records a seemingly innocuous detail in verse 36:

So, leaving the crowd behind, they took him just as he was, in the boat.  (CJB, emphasis mine)

I began to wonder, what condition was Jesus in?  Surely, He was exhausted because a few lines later, we find Him passed out cold in the middle of a hurricane-like storm.  The ship is about to sink, so the Disciples wake Him up.

I would too.  Heck, when the toilet overflowed on Sunday night and I found water filling my bathroom, I screamed for my husband.  (I don't think I actually screamed but he will tell you I did.)  I can only imagine if I was in a boat that was about to sink, my reaction would be as, or more, panicked than the Disciples.

So, Jesus, being the One who commands the winds and the waves, told everybody to CHILL.

And everything in Heaven and on Earth did just that.  Then the Disciples really got scared.

You see, they didn't blink an eye when He said they were going across.  They didn't have any provision.  They didn't ask Jesus to stop so they could put together a little snack bag. There was no committee to plan what they needed to be well-stocked for the journey.  They just got in to go to the other side.  The point, from His commission in Mark 3:14, was to be with Him - first and foremost.  I think they'd seen enough of His flow to know they would be taken care of.

I've been on that lesson plan for awhile.  (It's a lifetime course.)  I know enough of Christ's flow to know He will take care of me/us.  I've been bee-bopping down the road with Jesus, letting Him have control of my agenda, teaching me what my ministry will be about and trying to just going with the flow, as I learn how to be like Him.  I imagine the Disciples were doing the same; for better or for worse.

Except now, things have gone from bad to worse.  They fear they are about to drown.

Maybe they were tired from all the crowds chasing and pressing into Him.  Maybe they'd gotten so used to extra-ordinary provision, in seeing Him work miracles and wonders before their eyes for awhile, they got complacent, desensitized.  Maybe they were lazy.  Maybe they didn't really get Who they were dealing with. 

Maybe.  But I tend to think those Twelve Dudes were just human.  (See my earlier reference to my panic when a toilet overflowed.)

When gale-force winds are assaulting you, or what feels like an earthquake of your circumstances, you run to Jesus to do something.  And He does.  However, it isn't always calming the winds and the waves.  We usually say He calms in the storm in us.  That's what we ask for, because it seems like the most Christian thing to do because we know some things just have to be endured.

But what if we are expecting too little by thinking that way?  What if we are terrified He will do something really crazy amazing (and then we really have to make a serious change) so we just ask for inner peace?

It keeps bringing me back to this question: Who do you take Jesus to be?

My answer isn't near big enough.  I've seen miracles, but I often default back to asking for and answer I can see myself; a solution I can understand (or even come up with).  I know this because I would ask for the same thing The Disciples did:


But that isn't what He did.  They didn't ask for Him to control nature, but He did.  He groggily rebuked the wind with 3 words.  And it became dead calm.  Before, they were about to be swamped and now, they didn't even feel so much as a gentle breeze on their skin.  Nada.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  No wind, not even a whisper.

That's the kind of power we need to start expecting to work in us.  In our Churches.  In the world.

In these dark, perilous times, He is calling the Church to turn to Him and rely on Him to take us where He has appointed for us to go.  By His power.  By His Might.  By His Resources. On His time, no matter what our perception of how things should be.

One of my favorite commentators, David Guzik, wrote this about Mark 4:36,
We must take Him as He was. Not as we wish Jesus was.  Not as others may present Jesus.  Not as you might see Him in the lives of others.
I'm glad to know the Disciples seemed to be even more afraid of Christ after all this went down.  I appreciate their humanity because it let's me see myself in the story.  My head might have exploded at this point if I were on the boat (wouldn't that be a nice Scriptural antecdote...."And one of the Disciple's head exploded"?).

They looked at each other with tea-saucer-sized-eyes and ask: Who is this Dude?  Who is this Guy we are with?  Incredulity Abounds.

As gentle as He is, as the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world for our salvation; He is also the Lion of Judah, ready to roar His Kingdom into full prominence.

Take Him as He is, however that means for you today.  Let Him do His work (i.e. His plan, not yours...make sure you know the difference).  Don't get scared because He is in the boat with you.  He has promised you will make it to the other side and even greater work will be done once you get there.

The One the wind and waves obey has made these promises.  He will keep them.

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