I was reading Mark last night. I noticed a few things about Jesus.

In his parables, many of them deal with agricultural themes. Of course he is speaking the lingo of his generally agrarian audience. They would know something more than modern urbanites what he is talking about when he says the kingdom of God is like a head of grain or a vineyard or a sower or a mustard seed. I for one can’t picture what a mustard plant looks like. I don’t understand the life cycle of wheat. I am not intimately familiar with how seeds work or what they do under what conditions. My life doesn’t depend on these things. So I think there is a profound cultural disconnect between our modern culture of high technology and convenience, where most of us probably don’t understand well where our food comes from, and the culture of the Bible where everyone knew exactly where their food came from, because if they didn’t, they’d probably be starving. This makes me wonder, in my hurried world of modern convenience, what am I missing? I cannot say that I am intimately aware of how God’s creation actually works. Yet when I take the time to study it I am awed and amazed at what God has done. If I take ten minutes and just stare at a caterpillar on a stick: watch how it moves, how it eats, study it’s beautiful patterns, and think that God actually considered all that detail about something I hardly ever even notice… and despite it’s insignificance to me, it is so beautiful.

When Jesus calmed the storm, it pretty clearly demonstrated his authority over creation. If he says it, it happens. By calming the storm when he did, he used it as a teaching tool about faith. I mean, he was sleeping during a tumultous storm that had everyone else freaked out. Clearly he wasn’t concerned, but his disciples were. He calmed the storm and basically asked them, `What are you worried about? You’re with me; don’t you know you’re safe with me?’ Jesus is willing to affect weather patterns in order to teach his people about faith and trust in him.

In Mark 5, Jesus comes across a demon-possessed man. This man is plagued by a legion of demons. So Jesus casts all the demons into two thousand pigs and sends the pigs running into the sea, where they all promptly drown. Clearly Jesus sees the value of one tormented soul as a higher priority than a boatload of piggies (would he have done the same thing even if piggies were kosher?). It’s sad that the locals freak out about the pigs and ask Jesus to leave, because they saw a significant economic asset hurtling down the hill and into the sea, never to return. The fact that a tormented man was set free was probably not that crucial to them. The fact that God created the pigs and that Jesus had authority over them probably wasn’t that crucial to them either.

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