Holy Asides
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January 13, 2015, 7:00 PM

Claiming the Authority of Jesus (Reflections on Mark 4-5)

It is my hope to occasionally offer my reflections of the Bible-in-a-Year readings in this space. Chapters 4 and 5 of the Gospel of Mark are two of the most action-packed and insightful chapters concerning the mission and person of Jesus in the whole Bible. Chapter 4 begins with a series of parables concerning the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like a sower; like rich soil; like a lamp on a stand; like a mustard seed. In these parables we see that the Kingdom of God grows exponentially, is something to be proclaimed, and a marvelous blessing from God. 


Toward the end of chapter 4 and throughout chapter 5, we are given a clear picture of who Jesus, this Kingdom-bringer, is. Our first scene is a huge storm that comes upon Jesus and the disciples as they are in a boat. The disciples rush hurriedly around, trying desperately to stay afloat, to stay alive. And Jesus is asleep!!! “Do you not care that we’re going to die?” they ask him. And Jesus wakes up, and commands the storm “to be still.” And the storm ceases. The disciples are then filled with a whole different type of fear, than a moment ago. Not a fear of dying, but a fear of who this person is before them.


When they reach the shore, Jesus casts out a legion of demons from a man who has been so oppressed that he has been chained in the tombs for everyone’s protection, including his. After this, he heals a woman who has had a discharge of blood for 13 years—simply because of her faith in reaching out to touch him. And finally, Jesus brings a 13 year old teenage girl back to life. These passages show us that Jesus has power and authority not only over nature, but demons, and sickness, and even death.


What does this mean for us, especially in regard to Jesus sharing his power and authority with us? How do we take claim of that authority? How do we proclaim the Kingdom of God? It is no accident that in the next few verses Jesus sends his disciples out to minister and proclaim with next to nothing, except his authority. For it is in this authority that we have a voice, have power, have a message. It is quite easy for the Church to get bogged down with fancy buildings, lavish outreach programs, and near-perfect worship services. But all we need is to claim the authority that’s been given to us, not to exert power, but to proclaim, “Peace, be still.” And in doing so, we calm the storms of the world, which allows us to shine all the more brightly in his Kingdom Power like a lamp on a stand. 

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