Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jesus, Do You Not Care?

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:35-38

I really enjoy this Bible story.  First of all, for some reason picturing Jesus asleep is a little funny.  God Himself, actually becoming man and is fully man so much that He take naps.  And you think God is not for your joy...Jesus napped.  Come on.  That's great.  

Anyways, I wanted to point at some things in this story.  But let me set it up in modern day terms because I think we do this a lot.  The "they" in these verses are the disciples Jesus were traveling with. They are observing the windstorm and the waves crushing their boat.  Symbol?  When storms come into our lives.  When life hands us lemons.  When life punches us in the gut.  When bad things happen to good people.  When the good die young.  When troubles arise.  When something doesn't go our way.  I've heard time and time again from avid atheists or agnostics or unbelievers that they have a hard time imagining a "good" God with so much evil in the world.  
Great concerns.  

If anything, I give atheists and agnostics credit for being extremely and painfully honest about their concerns about God.  A lot of Christians are afraid to bring their frustrations to Jesus just as the disciples did in this story.  But let's go there and look at what is being said and who its being said to.  Because I think stories like this point to the depths of human pain and our awareness of our condition.  God, why does bad things happen?  Why have you forsaken us?  Why are you allowing so much evil?  How can you just sit there and let it happen?  Why did you let me get raped?  Why did you let me get abused?  Why did you allow sex trafficking to plague women across the world?  Why are people homeless?  Why are people starving to death?  Why are we hurting?  Why are we sad?  Why are we broken?  God, can we have answers!?  

Jesus!??  Do you not care that we are perishing!!!??? I mean look at us!?  

Let's finish the story.  

"And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." Mark 4:39 

Can you imagine that?  Put yourself in the boat.  Put yourself in your situation, staring at something so frightful, so pressing with fear and anxiety nearly consuming you, and Jesus wakes up and says to the storm, "STOP IT!"  And it does..........

What is this saying?  

Well it's saying a lot of things.  First, I can picture Jesus after calming the storm answering their question."You ask me if I care?  Am I not here with you?"  

My friends.  Hear that.  Is Jesus not here with you?  

Why was He even in the boat?  Why was He even on the Earth?  I'll give you the answer.  To proclaim the truth of God and to redeem man from sin and death.  So....OF COURSE HE CARES!  IT'S THE WHOLE REASON HE WAS EVEN IN THE BOAT!  

All your questions about the evil you see in the world is the whole point of the Gospel.  We're the ones putting all this credit in man, even when we see how evil man is continuing to become.  And Jesus sees us as wicked sinners BUT STILL chose to love us and claim us as His own and reconcile us back to God.  And in all of that we get life and life more abundantly.  We get a hope....the hope of eternity with Him.  The evil you see points to the cross and Jesus taking the sins of the world and absorbing the wrath of God.  The evil you see is why God's wrath had to be satisfied with the death of Jesus.  Your awareness of the storm should point to this-----> THANK YOU JESUS FOR COMING TO REDEEM MAN FROM THIS WICKED WORLD.  

And yet...we do what the disciples did.  We see the storms and we fear for our lives and we freak out and run to Jesus and scoff and form other religions and stop going to church and hate Christians, "Jesus, you don't care if we die at the hands of this storm.... you lousy savior"  and Jesus wakes up and speaks to the storms and it stops immediately.  Let's finish the story.  

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 

We gotta stop there.  Your awareness of your storm is great, but your current fear may be because you have no faith in Jesus?  So a lot you atheists and agnostics, it's hard to see God move without having faith in Him.  He doesn't work like that.  And maybe you've been around some faithless Christians posing as having "the faith" but you haven't been able to experience their faith.  Let's keep reading.  

And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:40-41   

You see how the fear shifted?  Remember that bully in high school?  And you're afraid of the bully, but then another bully comes along and beats that bully up.  So now you're more afraid of the bully that beat up the bully?  That's what  just happened.

The disciples feared the more powerful presence---and it wasn't the storm----it was Jesus.  

And friends.  Your storms are not the most powerful presence.  The present evil is not the most powerful presence.  Jesus is.  And He is a loving Savior, compassionate and gentle.  Have fun trying to wrap your mind around something being for your joy but has completely and fully conquered evil.  So you shouldn't be afraid of the mysteries of the Illuminati and the Bermuda Triangle...or UFO's or underwater dragon sharks...(or that's probably just me) Jesus speaks to those things and they listen.  So lose the faith in your storms ability to kill you, and place the faith in Jesus who is able to make those storms obey His command.  

And of course He cares.  He came and died didn't He?  The cross is the proof that He cares.  He never promised a better today, He's promising a better eternity.  You don't have to can live forever in Him.  

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