Walking Around Like He Made The Place

The disciples are intrigued by who Jesus is. They have left families, vocations, friends, hometowns, all to follow this man. This man who they have seen heal the blind, the lame, even the dead. This man who has spoken with such authority that crowds flock to him and the religious leaders of the day become incensed by his teaching.

But now they’re on the sea. Crossing over to the other side. And a storm comes up unlike anything they’ve seen. Many of these disciples of Jesus are fishermen by trade. They had seen swells and waves. But nothing like this. This is causing them to fear for their life.

Who is going to rescue them?

They scan the boat through the torrential downpour, looking for this man who seemed to have nature bent to his will. They fret as they fail to find him, but alas they finally do. What they find doesn’t instill much confidence or security. They find Jesus asleep in the boat.

A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this?Even the wind and the sea obey him!” – Mark 4:35-41

The storm ceased.

In a moment.

This man they referred to as teacher was clearly more than that.

He calmed the wind and waves.

He was walking around like He made the place.

Recently I’ve been thinking about this passage quite a bit. The great pun that I titled this post after came from a chapter in Jared Wilson’s book The Wonder-Working God. I wish I could claim it as my own, but I can’t.

This morning I read Genesis 1. Trying to get the year started off on the right foot, you know. As I was journaling about it and studying it, verse two kept leaping off the page.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depth, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. – Genesis 1:2

When we remember that Scripture is one major narrative played out over sixty-six books, we are able to see themes that run all throughout the story. Here’s one such theme that  and that I’ve begun to see more and more in Scripture.

The seas are symbolically used to characterize chaos and disorder. They are almost seen as a symbol of evil, since they have historically housed much that we can not see. Much of the literal oceans of the world are unexplored. In ancient literature, these unexplored seas housed evil.

For instance, Revelation 13 has the Beast (a figurative, non-literal symbol of evil) rise up out of where? The seas.

With that in mind, the first chapter of Genesis is stinking beautiful. God brings order from chaos. Remember, the book of Genesis is not a science book. It was never written to give us a scientific understanding of how the world was created and how it functions today. The book of Genesis was written to remind the people of God of the promises of God, the faithfulness of God, and the creative nature of God.

The world is produced, filled, and formed by the God of the Bible.

I have been created, redeemed, and made perfect by the God of the Bible.

That is what Genesis is about.

With that in mind, the first chapter of Genesis is likely included in the Bible to remind us as God’s people that God brings order out of chaos. Not only that, but He makes everything good.

The cosmos before creation are described symbolically as a sea, as watery depths (see the verse above). And out of seeming chaos and disorder, God brings the ordered world into being.

I think that’s powerful. And beautiful.

When you then fast-forward to this story in Mark, you should be struck with what is truly being said here. This is not a cute little story to tell children in Sunday school. This is a provocative and powerful truth.

Jesus is not just a teacher, even though the disciples first refer to Him as such.

He tells a chaotic and disorderly sea to be still.

And the disciples are in speechless awe and fear. Who is this man, that wind and sea obey Him?

Who is this man that did the very thing that God the Father did way back in Genesis 1? They knew the stories. God the Father brought order out of chaos (interestingly enough, He did so through the Son and the Spirit).

This man is no man.

He is God Himself.

That gives me chills.

Church, we live in a chaotic world. I woke up on a new year to the same stories of violence and unease. This year ahead may hold a lot of uncertainties for you. It does for me. Let us rest in the presence of the One who made the place.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

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Seeing Signs, Missing The Savior

God is consistently at work in my life. From giving me breath itself to orchestrating the events of my days, He is always at work.

How often do I stop to savor the fact that every act of His faithfulness is also an example of the glory of God?

Not often.

Most of the time I acknowledge the signs of His faithfulness without savoring the glory of my Savior.

If you’re like me, and you miss the glory of the Savior in the signs of His faithfulness, you’re not alone. In fact, we have company from all throughout Scripture. Yesterday morning, I was starting my day in God’s Word (I wish I could say this happened every day. It does not.) and read about Jesus turning water into wine in John chapter two. Look at the passage with me.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,  and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. – John 2:1-12

According to the timeline of events in the Gospel of John, this wedding takes place after Jesus has called many of his disciples to follow Him. Up to this point, Jesus has not done anything publicly that drew attention to the fact that He was the Son of God (Well, besides knowing everything about the disciple Nathanael just by looking at him. See John 1:43-51.). This was the beginning of His signs. The passage even tells us this in verse eleven.

But look.

Although more than just His disciples knew that it was Jesus who had created this amazing wine out of simple water (according to the passage, the servants were obviously well aware of His miracle-work in this event), there’s not much hullaballoo surrounding this.  Jesus has just done the miraculous, and those who saw Him do it had to have been astounded at His control over nature and the molecular structure of liquids. Yet according to the passage, not all believed in Him. Not all realized that this was the Son of God in their midst. So instead of a crowd of followers who believed in Him, it is just his family and disciples that move from Cana to Capernaum (v. 12).

Jesus has never shown up at my house when Jamie and I have had people over, turning our filtered water into McAllister’s sweet tea. That would be pretty dope.

Jesus has however moved in my life in countless ways, just in 2019 alone. Jamie got me a journal for Christmas with pages to write out ways that God has shown His faithfulness to me. I’ve already got a couple pages full. Obviously the list could be endless, but I have limited it to major things.

Here’s a sample of a few.

On January 9th, I prayed that God would give Jamie and I guidance when it came to buying a house in town. This past Thursday, we moved into a home that we absolutely love! 

Back on February 11th, I prayed that dear friends of ours in our faith community here in Vernon would get the adoption of their three boys they currently foster finalized with a date on the calendar. That date is now set! 

2018 was a lonely year for me and my wife Jamie. We have been praying for solid Christ-centered friendships. God has used the last few months to strengthen relationships that we have with other families in our church, as well as introduce new friendships into our habits and rhythms.

We have a Disciple Now approaching in just three days at my church, and due to some poor decisions on my part, I wrestled with insomnia occasionally in the past month. But as of late, God has answered my prayers for a trusting heart and good, deep sleep. 

All of this was God’s faithfulness to me. A new home. Adoption finalized for this family in my church. Community. Rest.

It came from Him.

God has shown me signs of His miraculous power, His power over my emotions, my circumstances, my relationships, my ministry, my desires, my aspirations, my health. But have I missed the glory of the Savior in their midst?

Probably.

I may briefly thank God when a prayer is answered, but I rarely meditate on what it tells me about the character of God, the glory of God.

Don’t be like me.

Don’t be like the servants from John 2.

Don’t stand in awe of the sign but miss what it signifies about the Savior.

Meditate on all that God is.

Meditate on His glory.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

 

 

Do What I Ask Of You

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

I was in my room reading this morning when my eyes fell on this verse (Mark 10:36). I was stunned and immediately started judging these two disciples. I mean, the audacity of these two men to approach Jesus and say such a statement is appalling. I mean, this is Jesus, the Son of God, who had been doing miracle after miracle throughout the region while teaching about repentance and the good news of the kingdom’s arrival. They had witnessed Him casting out demons, feeding multitudes with just a few fish and a couple loaves of bread, teaching about true religion, and healing tons of people. Yet despite having seen all of this power and glory, they chose to approach Him with their list of things He needed to do for them.

This seems so totally crazy, right? The acts of Jesus should have drawn these men into deep worship and adoration, but it instead led them to think selfishly about the ways that Jesus could bless their lives and bless their status.

Quickly, very quickly, my mind went to the ways that I have treated Jesus in exactly the same way. He has shown His power in my life in many ways. The way He saved me alone is enough of a sign of His power. Not to mention the daily gifts of grace that He provides for me. The daily ways that He protects me. The ways that He has done incredible things in the lives of my friends and family members for as long as I can remember.

The Scriptures show me His glory as well. The entire Bible paints a tremendous picture of His greatness, holiness, and majesty. Every story I read is a reminder of His greatness and His grace. It’s legitimately on each page, sometimes explicitly and other times implicitly.

Yet with all of this evidence of His character that should be pushing me into worship and adoration of Him, I still come to Him some days (or most days) with a list of things in my life that I want Him to bless. If I’m in a rush to get started in school and work responsibilities my time with Him becomes just a chance for me to quickly tell Him everything that I want from Him throughout the day.

I too approach Him and say:

I want you to do for me whatever I ask of you

When did we get it so backwards? Obviously as evidenced by Scripture, this is not a new struggle. We all have the tendency to approach the greatness of our God with our lists.

There is definitely a healthy way to ask for God’s providence in your life. In the Lord’s Prayer we are told to state, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Our God is compassionate and loving, quick to extend mercy and help in our time of need. There is no sin in asking God for His help in a situation. Yet to come to the Lord as if He is obligated to meet our needs is preposterous. We serve a gracious and generous God, but we don’t serve a God who is entitled to give us a thing.

If you’re like me, it’s easy to subconsciously come to God with this type of mentality.

Don’t make this same mistake.

Go to the Lord in faith, asking Him to move. But don’t act like He’s required to.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

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