Four Short Stories
This week the ‘story’ I want to focus on is actually four stories that are all connected and happen right in a row in the book of Mark. If you were reading the book of Mark and had never read the Bible and knew nothing about Christianity, you probably wouldn’t realize that Jesus was the Son of God right away. In fact, many of his disciples didn’t really grasp that fact until later on in Jesus’ ministry. You see, Jesus does perform miracles, gives sermons, and talks in parables, but he doesn’t come right out of the gate and say ‘I am the Son of God’. He reveals that over time through his words and actions. Often times it is the latter (miracles) that really get people’s attention.
What I like about the book of Mark is that his gospel is somewhat of a simple yet vivid account of Jesus’ ministry. He often focuses on what Jesus did more than what he said. This is very clear in the story line I want to look at this week. It begins with Mark 4:35 and ends at 5:43. Here is a synopsis of the four stories:
It begins with Jesus and his disciples on one side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus has just finished teaching and as a way to escape the crowds, he and his disciples get into a boat to cross to the other side. While Jesus slept in the boat, a furious storm arose. His disciples woke him up and he calmed the storm. Mark says “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.’” (Mark 4:41).
When they land on the other side of the lake, a man who is possessed by evil spirits comes out of the tombs to meet Jesus. You see no one was able to control this possessed man. They had tried to chain him, but he only broke the chains. They had tried to subdue him, but could not. So as a result, they had just left him to live in a cemetery basically, to keep him away from others. What’s more interesting is that he calls himself ‘Legion’ meaning that he was possessed by more than one spirit. Jesus casts the spirits out of the man and into a herd of pigs nearby.
Jesus and the disciples get back into the boat and cross back over to the other side. They are greeted again by large crowds. Jairus, a very well-known man, pleads for Jesus to come and heal his sick daughter. On their way to Jairus’ house, a woman who had been sick for twelve years reaches out and touches Jesus’ clock, she is instantly healed. Jesus then tells her that her faith has healed her. After arriving at Jairus’ house, it is revealed that his daughter has died. Jesus goes into their house anyways and raises her from the dead.
In all this time, this span of two or three days, Jesus does not give a sermon. He does not do any sort of teaching. He does not make any claims about who he is. He just does. We often think of Jesus as a teacher, someone who spoke a lot in parables. Mark’s gospel however is more concerned with what Jesus did.
When we look at our own lives right now, I think there is something we can learn. What if we did more with our faith rather than talked about it? What does doing something with our faith right now even look like? Right now may seem like a better time to talk about our faith rather than act on it because of our limitations of what we can do. However, there’s probably something that we can do. Maybe it’s our prayer life, maybe it’s how we treat our family members. What does God want you to do with your faith in this current season of life?
Questions for Discussion/Contemplation:
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