In “preaching study” posts, I share study & reflection as I prepare the Sunday message . I welcome interaction in this process, so feel free to share your thoughts. All Scripture quotes are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
Alright. This week I’m preaching in the morning traditional worship services at John Wesley UMC, my new church. I’m excited. The people are warm and encouraging and I’m looking forward to Sunday. Of course, I’m also nervous until I get the sermon to a point that I feel good about. So, here are a few thoughts as I begin my study and reflection in earnest.
The text is Mark 4:35-41.
Basic structure could be this:
v35-36 – Setting
v37-41 – Storm
37-39 – Wind Storm
40-41 – Faith Storm
The title is, “Questions of Faith.” That was needed before I could get far in my studying, but I’m glad I picked it because I’m curious about the role that the various questions in this passage play in unfolding its meaning and significance for us. Here they are:
1. v38 – The disciples’ question to Jesus while in the midst of the storm: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” The question is completely self-refenced, as are most asked in desparation like this. I do wonder whether or not the worry over “perishing” is truthful or hyperbole. Perhaps a commentary can clear that up…or not… Still, some brazenness to question Jesus’ care and concern, but again, given the situation, perhaps not terribly surprising.
2. v40 – Jesus’ questions to the disciples after commanding the wind and sea to calmness: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” What is the significance of the present tense “are” instead of asking they why they “were” afraid? Perhaps this incident is evidence of the disciples overall state and not a momentary lapse–their fear and faithlessness brought to light by the situation.
3. v41 – Disciples’ question amongst themselves: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” How has Jesus revealed himself, tipped his hand (so to speak), to them in this experience? How have his actions, words, etc cast light upon their beliefs about God, the world, and Jesus? If we were in the disciples’ shoes, what implication may have dawned on us at some point in light of experiencing this particular event?
More later. Thoughts?