Have you ever been in “fun house” at an amusement park? Everything is distorted. Items are disproportionate, making you feel either tiny or huge. You will step into a room and discover you are walking on the ceiling. Looking into a mirror, you will realize your own appearance has changed. Life was strange like that for the disciples following Jesus. Could they trust their eyes?
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” (Mark 1:35-38 ESV)
Although Jesus meet the physical needs of hundreds of people, his priorities were prayer and preaching. He tried not to draw a crowd. Numerous times Jesus asked people not to tell about their healing, so that He would be able to travel unencumbered (Mark 1:44-45).
And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 2:34-35 ESV)
Jesus placed spiritual relationships above physical ones. He ministered to people without regard to their sex (Mark 7:24-30), cleanliness (Mark 5:1-13), finances (Luke 19:2-8), positions in society (Mark 5:35-43), and race (Mark 7:31-34). He valued people over religious tradition (Mark 3:2-5 ESV).
Jesus believed nothing was worse than sin. He was more concerned about the heart of a man, than what he foods he enjoyed or how he ate them (Mark 7:18-23). Surely the disciples flinched when Jesus said it was better to cut off a hand than to allow it to sin.
And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16 ESV)
Although Jesus was content eating with tax collectors, the fishermen were ill at ease dining with the wealthy and despised. The disciples were uncomfortable traveling through Samaria, but they learned to keep quiet about it (John 4:27-28). Following Jesus meant continually being vulnerable in awkward situations (Mark 6:7-12).Following Jesus meant continually being vulnerable in awkward: ill at ease dining with the wealthy &… Click To Tweet
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4: 39-41 ESV)
Even more than fearing death in the storm was the terror the disciples felt when Jesus calmed the wind. How does one keep their footing when the dead are raised (John 11:40-44)? What is it like when your eyes see miracle after miracle? Does your mind rebel when you gather more leftovers, than food you had in the beginning (Mark 6:41-44)? Imagine suddenly seeing Jesus transfigured talking with Elijah and Moses (Mark 9:3-4 ESV). Would it feel like you could no longer trust gravity?
All their life they believed what everyone else did, then Jesus says the opposite is true (Mark 8:35-37). He said:
“Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).
“Everything is possible with faith” (Mark 9:23).
“Don’t worry about clothing” (Matthew 6:28).
“Watch out for the Pharisees” (Mark 8:15).
for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:31, 32ESV)
When Jesus taught parables, the disciples asked for explanations (Mark 4:10). But when Jesus explained about His impending death and resurrection, they did not ask. They knew He was speaking literally, they knew the meaning of each word, and yet they could not comprehend the concepts. How do you change your thinking so drastically, without having a breakdown?
Learn from them:
I gain comfort from their lack of understanding. They demonstrated their faith, by following when they were afraid. I also trust God though I am uncertain. I don’t have to be all-knowing, that is God’s job. I just follow Him.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)
Jesus gives a glimpse into the eyes of the Father; but I cannot truly know God (Isaiah 40:28). I am walking through life as though it is a room of “fun house” mirrors. But one day my vision will clear and I will understand.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV)
- Do you feel compassion for or frustration toward the disciples?
- How would you react to seeing miracles and having your beliefs challenged?
- Do you believe Jesus still pulls people out of their comfort zone?
- How willing are you to ignore cultural norms if Jesus guides you to embrace someone different?