Why Are You Afraid?

Like the prophet Jonah, Jesus was sent to sow the seed of God’s teaching on other soil. Unlike Jonah, Jesus trusted God’s will, carrying out his Father’s instruction without hesitation or the slightest hint of rebellion. So you can imagine the Lord’s frustration, when at the first hint of danger, the disciples cower from God’s mission.

“The floods,” David cried, “have lifted up, O Lord! The flood have lifted up their voice!”

“But thy testimonies,” cower the disciples, “are not confirmed! Do you not care that we are perishing?”

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4: 35-41.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/5126626/TBAL%20Episode%20156.mp3

Episode 156 Mark 4:35-41; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Guess Who” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

2 comments

  1. I appreciated the point you made about how we shouldn’t interpret Jesus’s question of faith as implying that the storm would have necessarily ceased with faith, but rather that the disciples should trust in the will of the Father regardless of the storm’s outcome.

    I have a question, though: do you think the problem with the disciples’ behavior is that they wanted the storm to cease, or that they questioned God’s providence if the storm were to go on? In other words, would they have been fine to have said to Jesus, “We’d really like you to make this thing stop, but your will be done, not ours.”

    This passage together with earlier passages where you’ve been critiquing the miracle-seeking crowds and lack of trust in the seed/teaching, just brings up the question generally of how we ought to face adversity, or how active a role we take in life events that we can possibly affect. It doesn’t seem wrong to me, in and of itself, to ask for miracles, healings, deliverance, etc. — there’s plenty of biblical references to those things that don’t seem slighting — but it’s when it’s to the exclusion of getting the big picture of obedience and trust in God’s teaching / God’s will that it becomes a problem, no?

    In other words, making personal requests to God is not itself wrong, but it’s important to get it drilled into our manner of speaking and manner of thinking “your will be done” (rather than our own comforts/life/health/etc) as a suffix for everything?

    1. Insofar as the wind in Mark is blowing the seed further out, wanting the wind to stop is as much a sin as not trusting in the Father’s will. In a Markan context, the refusal to trust leads to the obstruction of the Father’s seed, which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that is pushing the boat further out so that Jesus can sow more seed on other soil.

      The nature of biblical parables is that their obvious meaning is innaccessible if you are not willing to trust the text. People refuse to accept the obvious meaning of the text because they fear its implications. As someone once said, if you feed the poor, you’re lauded as a saint; if you ask why people are poor, you are condemned as a communist.

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