Canopy

“They were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” (Mark 1:12)

We enjoy packaging God in manageable proportions: a single serving of Deity, not too much to overindulge our spiritual palate. If he is just the right size, then we fit him into our day in the appropriate places and banish him to the sidelines at our discretion.

It is easier to tolerate God when he doesn’t meddle in our affairs and demand what we cannot deliver. We like God to be within range to answer our pleas for help but not so near as to cramp our own particular lifestyle.

A casual reading of the gospels may allow us to stroll beneath the canopy of this erroneous thinking for a time. How kind of him, to cast out demons and make diseases flee. How thoughtful, that he would feed the multitudes with little more than a bag lunch. Inspiring that he saw potential in fishermen and lounged comfortably with tax collectors and various sordid specimens of humanity. How pleasant that he was always interested in teaching and proclaiming truth. This Jesus was certainly a model citizen.

Yet when we prolong our trek through Scripture, when we meditate and contemplate the familiar stories and statements, we quickly realize that Christ defies trivializing. He invites serious thought and cannot be easily dismissed.

In the opening verses of the gospel of Mark, the spotlight is definitely on the person of Jesus Christ. We encounter him proclaiming, speaking, calling, asking, initiating, controlling, and displaying his all-­encompassing authority. He invites his hearers to repent, believe, and follow him. He mesmerizes his audience; he silences demons with a few pointed words. Christ heals those sick in the flesh and those infested with evil spirits, without ever seeming out of breath or out of control.

The truth is, the Man must be reckoned with. We must come to grips with his deity, for he is completely and divinely beyond our comprehension.

In fact, we are the ones in desperate need of being managed by him.

Elizabeth A. Mitchell

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