Mark's Minute 

Aug 17 2017

Today on the blog, an answer to a question from last week’s sermon, and some news that will hopefully make you more excited than ever to be at Parkland this week. If that’s not enough to make you click through, I don’t know what is…

Last Sunday we looked at the story of Jesus calming the storm from Luke 8:22-25. I said in that sermon that the point of that story isn’t to reassure us about Jesus’ ability to calm the metaphorical storms in our lives (although he can do that), but rather about what it means to be people who cultivate mature faith.

In the moments after the storm subsided, Jesus turned to the disciples and asked, “Where is your faith?” I said on Sunday that this was a bit of a strange question, especially given the fact that they had shown tremendous faith in getting in the boat in the first place and in believing that Jesus could do something about the storm. 

But Jesus called them to even greater levels of faith than that.

Here’s the question I got: what did Jesus want them to do in that situation? Should the disciples have done something more? Should they have tried to rebuke the storm themselves?

The key to answering that question lies in how you read the question that Jesus asked. Our tendency, I think, is to read his question have an undertone of disappointment, like when you were young and did something stupid and your parents said, “What were you thinking?”

“Come on, man. You seriously couldn’t stop that storm yourself? Now I have to get back to sleep again.”

Granted, I wasn’t there, but it seems to me that you have to read Jesus’ question differently. When Jesus rebukes people, it’s pretty clear that he’s rebuking them. When Jesus wants to pick a fight to ruffle the feathers of the self-righteous religious folk, it’s pretty clear that’s what he’s doing.

What’s more, it’s not consistent with Jesus’ pattern to rebuke people who have shown faith and who are walking in obedience. He rebukes the people whose behaviour is giving a false perception of who God is and what he’s doing in human history. That’s not the disciples.

I don’t think that Jesus’ question was meant to imply that the disciples should have done something differently, or that they even could have. If anything, Jesus’ question was intended to address the fact that they thought for sure that they were going to die, and it caused them to panic.

Jesus’ question gets to the inner peace that his disciples can have when they walk in obedience to him. We don’t have to worry about what’s happening around us, even if what’s happening around us is pretty terrible, because we know that Jesus is the one who has seen the end from the beginning and who has a plan to rescue and redeem his people eternally.

This week, we’re going to continue our series in Luke’s gospel and see what happened when Jesus got to the other side of the lake, which is where he was going when the storm came up. It’s one of my all-time favourite stories, and I’m looking forward to working through it with you.

That brings me to the exciting update: you never have to sit in those green plastic chairs again. I mean, you can if you want to—knock yourself out—but we now have new chairs that are actually comfortable, and I suspect that pretty much everyone is going to pick them over the old ones.

The story of how we got them (and how little we paid for them) is a pretty good one, but it’s one that’s better told in-person. Suffice it to say that I believe in God’s provision, and he has provided.

Good things are happening at Parkland—and not just with the chairs—and I know that God has more in store for us this fall. I’m honoured to be walking this journey with you as your pastor.

See you Sunday.