Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Awe-ful Mystery

Luke is crying right now. I'm trying to ignore it but it's so hard. I think I commented not long ago that he's kind of regressed back into the crying stage. It's 10:20 PM!!!! Granted tonight he did get to bed late (about 9:20PM) because it was a church night. He's been back there mumbling and playing but the moment he starts to really get sleepy he starts screaming. He will be asleep in no time though. I just have to endure hearing him cry! I hate it! :(

So, to the real reason for this post. ...

Today I began reading chapter 4 of The Holiness of God by RC Sproul. The chapter begins talking about a familiar Bible story that we've all heard of: Jesus calming the storm. Here is the scripture just to refresh your memory.

Mark 4:35-41 ~ On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

So, we see here of course the Jesus tells the disciples that they need to cross over to the other side. Jesus had just finished teaching to the crowds on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This large lake was known to be unpredictable but it didn't really worry the disciples because they we're fisherman. So, they set out for the other side. Some time after they set sail, a 'great windstorm arose'. No doubt that these fishermen disciples sprang into action trying to fight against the
We see next that Jesus is sound asleep on a pillow in the midst of this violent storm. Many people find this part of the story interesting. The Son of God is sleeping through the storm. But I would like you to note that this in particular is not really one of the spectacular parts of this story. As Sproul points out in chapter 4, he has been on planes and experienced frightening drops in altitude or fierce storms while sitting next to men who were sleeping like babies. Some people can just sleep through anything. We all know that Jesus was not surprised by the storm, which allowed him (I'm sure) to sleep well during it, but that is not the most amazing part of the story, not even close!
So, while Jesus is snoozing away, the disciples come to Him and ask, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”. More of an accusation than a question, don't you think?
There is no proof that Jesus responded to the disciples. Instead, He spoke to the wind, He spoke to the waves. He plainly speaks to the storm. Jesus, God in the flesh, commands the storm to 'be still' and it does. Now, that is amazing. Something not human, without reason, heard the voice of it's Creator and obeyed the command. Wow. I could go on.. but I really want to note some other things before this gets too long.
Next, we see that even though the sea is calm and tranquil the disciples are still in a tizzy. The Bible says that they 'feared exceedingly'. We have a calm sea, not a ripple in sight and they we're more afraid now than when they we're in the midst of the storm. They ask each other, in fear, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” They are basically asking 'what kind of man is this?' They had never encountered such a man. In Sproul's words:

"They we're in the presence of the holy."

They feared because they we're witnessing a holy God calm a storm. In chapter 3, Sproul attempts to define the word 'holy' and even admits that it really is difficult. God is holy. We tend to want to add holy to God's list of attributes. For example, God is a loving God; He is pure; He is just; He is holy; He is merciful. But holy encompasses all that He is. He loves with a holy love. His justice is holy justice. His mercy is holy mercy. He is holy. He is separate from all others. He is the One True Holy God. It is such a mystery and I'm enjoying every minute of learning more about the holy God who has called me to Himself. The more I learn, the more I feel I will never learn! I can't wait to meet Him but I also can't imagine even being in the presence of such a God. What will I do with myself?! I am so unworthy.

"Hence the dread and amazement with which, as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God.... Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." John Calvin


Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I'm so glad you're reading this book! It will be such a blessing to you...