Friday, 19 September 2014
Mark 4: Whose News?
I met my daughter in Chicago for her best friend’s wedding. After we checked into our hotel she pulled out a gift bag.
“Why are you giving me a gift?” I was confused, thinking it must be for the bride. “No, Mom, it’s for you.” Under the tissue was a t-shirt. As I pulled it out, I saw the words, Grandma To Be across the front. It took a moment to sink in. What? Then I gasped. Speechless, teary, all I could do was hug her. Our first grandchild was on the way!
“Don’t tell anyone but Dad right now. We want to get the word out to other family and a few close friends first.”
Right. I needed to hear that. It wasn’t my news to tell–it was hers.
King of Secrets
Why did Jesus change his teaching style from preaching to parables? The first answer I can see from Mark 4 is that he had a right to. It was his news to tell. The gospel of the Kingdom is the news that the King has come bringing salvation to all who turn from sin to faith in him. Jesus is King, even of the message itself. It makes sense that the King has the right to proclaim the news any way that suits his purpose.
What is his purpose? That people would hear and understand and believe. The lamp under a bushel story shows that his purpose is to reveal, not conceal. If he had wanted to conceal he would have quit talking completely. But instead of silence, the crowd is given parables. This gives a chance for response. Anyone could say, “That’s a nice story” and leave. But anyone could also say, “That’s an intriguing story. I must know what it means.”
Whose news is it? The parables show us. It’s his, The King’s.
King of the Elements
If the parables show that Jesus is King of the secrets, the storm scene shows that he is King of the elements. He is so unafraid of the storm that it doesn’t even disturb his sleep. Most of us only wake up to noises that threaten us. We learn to sleep through the ones that are harmless. That’s why the disciples had to wake him up. The storm didn’t.
Once awake he didn’t react to the storm with any surprise or concern or fierceness. He simply spoke a word of command to each element–the wind first, then the waves. Someone with authority doesn’t have to raise his voice or brandish his weapon, he just has to give the order.
Who is this? The storm left the disciples with a question. What the parables didn’t show them the storm did. This is The King.
King who responds
His supreme Lordship makes it even more amazing to me that this King doesn’t command faith, he responds to it. He could have said to the crowds, “Believe!” just as authoritatively as he said to the wind, “Cease!” and to the waves, “Be still!” But instead he simply observed the different responses of the day: accusations, family pressure, crowd expectations, first faith–and told a story about soils. That story simply described the situation before him. It left the door open, let the seed settle.
He left room for faith to grow. Who ever heard of a king who throws out a “teaser” instead of delivering a command?
This is a King who loves our faith and will do anything to increase it, even send us into a storm. How would it look for me to respond to him in faith today?