Wednesday, June 5
‘Is Anyone There…?’
HG Wells, author of The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, wrote: “I am an historian. I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”
Why would an unbeliever say that ‘Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history?’ What is it about Jesus of Nazareth that has captured the attention of great and lesser minds from amongst all peoples? Is it the power of his words, the magnetism of his personality, the integrity of his life even in the face of the gross injustice perpetrated against him? Or is it his extraordinary feats, noted by 1st century historians such as Josephus? Or is there something more?
Records. Something we often overlook about the records concerning Jesus is that they were not written by just one ‘recorder’, or even by Jesus himself. There are four distinct writers who tell us about him – Matthew and John, who were amongst the twelve, Mark who most likely obtained his information from Peter, another one of the twelve, and Luke the physician, who assures us of his careful and thorough research. Given Jesus’ extraordinary transcendent power and compassion, his unique teaching and claims, this is important to know.
Consider the times when we feel helpless and alone. It may be that our job has gone or the unexpected death of someone we love. We are reminded of the times when men and women in Jesus’ life were afraid and utterly helpless. We ask, ‘Is anyone there?’
A storm. On one occasion Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with his close followers (Luke 8:22-25). We are given a glimpse of the ‘private’ Jesus: he was so exhausted that he fell into a deep sleep. He had to be wakened when a massive storm threatened the lives of everyone on board.
Shallow and set between high hills, the Sea of Galilee is notorious for its sudden squalls. As every sailor knows, this can be extremely dangerous, for rapidly moving air streams can quickly cause the waters to rise, making them treacherous. Experienced fishermen though some of Jesus’ followers were, they were terrified of this major storm. They felt helpless.
A Cry. Afraid, they awoke the sleeping Jesus saying, “We are perishing”. Amazingly, at his command, the storm was stilled.
Luke wants us to feel the compelling reality of their cry for help: “We are perishing!”
Yes, we too face times of fear and helplessness. But we have this assurance: whatever our situation is, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will hear us. Our helplessness can be changed into hopefulness. He is committed to using his vast resources to bring good out of the darkest moments of our life (Romans 8:28-30). We can be assured that we are never alone.
Luke would put to us the question that Jesus put to his disciples in the boat: “Where is your faith?”
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© John G. Mason – www.anglicanconnection.com
Note: Material for today’s ‘Word’ is adapted from my commentary, Luke: An Unexpected God (Aquila: 2019, 2nd Edition).
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Getty Music Worship Conference: ‘Sing…!’ – August 19-21, 2019, Nashville, TN
Theme: ‘The Life of Christ’ – www.gettymusicworshipconference.com
John Mason speaking – Breakout Group: Monday, August 19, 3:00-4:00pm.
Topic: ‘Thomas Cranmer and Christ-Centered Worship.