Fear is mentioned three times in today’s Mark passage:
- Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Dead Sea and “a great windstorm arose.” Waves started to fill the boat. The disciples woke Jesus and begged him to save them (well, they actually accused him of not caring about them… Hm). After calming the wind and the waves, Jesus asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?” (Mark 4: 40)
- So, how did the disciples respond to this miracle? … they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” (Mark 4: 41)
- When they arrived on the other side of the sea, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man by sending his legion of spirits into a herd of 2,000 pigs that then drowned themselves. The response? When the people “saw the demon-possessed man… sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, they were afraid.” (Mark 5: 15)
Jesus does a miracle and people fear Him. His closest followers, the disciples themselves, were filled with fear. Even though Jesus did a miracle to address their fear!
What were the disciples and the people afraid of? Why did Jesus’ power – exhibited to meet needs – fill them with dread?
Maybe because they felt out of control.
They didn’t like the wind and waves when they were out of control. They didn’t like the possessed man who they couldn’t control (they tried unsuccessfully to bind him).
And they were afraid of this man Jesus who they couldn’t control.
How might I run to God with my fears… then run away in fear when He meets my needs? How might I fear the power of God that I can’t control?
Well, I am running on empty with ideas about this one, but I do know that I’m not too fond of the means God sometimes uses to meet my needs, to bring my life into control. Especially when He uses difficult circumstances – that I can’t control – to help me mature spiritually.
And maybe I try and control Him with prayers that circumscribe how He can best meet my needs (though, of course, I can’t control Him).
I think I’ll ponder on this for a while.
Dear Lord: Please give me more insight into why the disciples and the people so feared your miracle-working power. Help me to see how I act the same way. Amen.