Scripture Reading — Mark 5:1-20
“What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” — Mark 5:7
Yesterday we saw how Jesus dealt with a storm on the sea. Today Jesus and his disciples encounter a storm on the land. The raging man in this story is dangerous and uncontrollable, and his howling voice screams like the wind but with a remarkable truth: he identifies Jesus as the “Son of the Most High God.”
The disciples themselves have not yet declared this truth about Jesus, and they are only slowly coming to realize who he is. They are still learning, and so are we.
Just as he did on the sea, Jesus calms the furious storm in this man by using his authority. The man is freed from his torment by evil spirits, he returns to his right mind, and he goes home to tell his family and many others “how much Jesus had done for him.”
This story has reminded people of God’s work through Moses at the Red Sea (see Exodus 14-15). The legion of destructive forces is drowned in the sea, evil is put in its place by God’s authority and power, and there is deliverance, salvation. These are big themes, and Jesus is right in the middle of them.
When we correctly identify who Jesus is, we too may wonder, “What do you want with me?” May we learn who Jesus is, be delivered from the power of Satan, and be invited to faith and new life. Instead of chaos and damage, Jesus brings deliverance and peace!
Jesus, Son of the Most High God, have your way with me. I thank you for bringing peace and deliverance. Help me to tell others how much you have done for me. Amen.
From Seed to Branches
Scripture Reading — Mark 4:30-34
“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like . . . ?” — Mark 4:30
In January I look through seed catalogs and choose seeds to buy for planting our garden in the spring. It takes a sense of vision to see what those seeds will become. For example, no matter how closely you look at a tomato seed, you cannot actually see the plant or the fruit that it will develop. But if you plant it and it grows, after some time you will actually see the plant and its fruit.
A seed seems to make for such a small, insignificant beginning, but just planting it can lead to a dramatic transformation.
Jesus encourages his disciples not to be discouraged by the seeming insignificance of the seedlike beginning of the kingdom of God. He urges us to look beyond the mustard seed to see what happens to it. It will grow into a tall shrub that will have branches large enough to welcome and shelter birds! Amazing!
This parable offers great encouragement to Jesus’ disciples, who only later saw glimpses of what God would accomplish through the death and resurrection of Jesus: a single seed would be sown, and yet Jesus would emerge from the ground and his kingdom would begin spreading its branches everywhere so that people of all nations could enjoy its benefits.
Be encouraged, disciple of Christ! The present size of the kingdom of God is not the whole story!
Dear God, sometimes I am impatient with your kingdom not being fully grown. Thank you for its spread and for what is still yet to come! May your kingdom come fully! Amen.