Friday, March 27, 2015

Jesus Calms the Storm and the Demoniac.

We previously saw how Jesus was anointed by God's Spirit as Israel's true and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to overcome the temptations of Satan(Matthew 4, Luke 4). After this Jesus begins to form a 'new people of God' around himself (Mark 1, 3). The next two stories that we'll look at highlight Jesus' unique power and authority. 1) Watch and or Listen to the Story. Repeat as necessary, then 2) read the commentary below.
Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35–41)
Behind this story are echoes of older stories. God formed the world out of the chaotic sea and later lead Israel through the sea out of Egypt. In this story we see the power that made the world at work through Jesus. Jesus and his disciples seek to cross the lake, but a sudden storm starts filling their boat with water. This storm was so severe that these experienced fishermen were sure they would die. They misinterpreted Jesus’ ability to rest in the storm and rebuked Jesus for not caring about them.

Jesus rebukes the storm and everything becomes completely calm. After rebuking the storm, Jesus rebukes his disciples for being afraid and not trusting him. They wait until they’re about sink before the cry out to Jesus for help. Then they accuse Jesus of not caring about them. They were afraid of dying but after the wind and waves obey Jesus they’re terrified. The disciples look at each other wondering who is this that the ‘wind and waves’ obey. Don’t be surprised if Jesus reveal himself to you through a storm and challenges you to trust him.
Jesus Calms the Demoniac (Mark 5:1-20) 

On the other side of the lake is a man with an evil spirit who lived among the tombs. The spirit gave him great strength so that he could even break chains. The spirit gave him power but tormented him so that he cried out and cut himself with stones. Jesus commands the spirit give its name which the spirit says is ‘legion’ for they are many. They beg Jesus not to send them out of the area but to permit them to go into a herd of 2000 pigs on a nearby hillside. Jesus permits them so the demons enter the pigs only to lead the herd into the lake to drown.
The people come out and see Jesus with the man who had been demon possessed dressed and in his right mind. The people are afraid and they plead with Jesus to leave their area. The man who had been demon possessed begged to go with Jesus. Yet, Jesus wants the man to go to his family and tell what the Lord had done for him and how he had received mercy. The man obeyed Jesus and went into the towns and told people about Jesus and when the people saw him and heard what had happened they were amazed. In these stories Jesus exercises his authority over the physical world and the unseen spiritual world by the power of his word.

Stay Well,
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms

Prayer Requests:
1) Please pray for the 'International Students Ministry' at Christ Church Stellenbosch. We pray that those attending our Thursday afternoon gathering will reach out and invite friends.

2) For connecting with international students through hospitality (having them over for dinner) to deepen friendships and show Christ’s love.
3) The 'School of Storying' planned for Malawi has been moved to next year 2016. Pray that we can find the right accommodations and the best possible participants for the 5 week training.

4) We praise God for some very generous individuals and for our main partnering churches. Please pray for consistent giving and that God will grow and bless our partnering churches.
5) We have decided against making a trip to South Sudan. Pray for our friend Darien that he will be encouraged in his work to train Anglican Pastors in that troubled country. He is very experienced and familiar with traveling throughout Africa but he and the Pastors he is seeking to train need our prayers.