Friday, November 23, 2012

Immediately (part 3 of 4)

Creating an undoubtedly great stir, Jesus will go on to feed what is referred to as “the five thousand.”  Rather than staying to bask in the glory that this would bring, “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side” (6:45a) of the lake, as He went up on the mountain to pray.  From that vantage point, Jesus was able to see His disciples struggling against the wind.  He was going to pass by them, walking on the water, but changed His mind when they saw that His presence terrified them greatly.  Sensing this, “immediately He spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart; it is I.  Do not be afraid’.” (6:50b)  Surely, this is more of the immediate message of the Gospel. 

Over and over, as the Gospel stories proceed apace, through Jesus, with His words and actions, the author tells us “Your King is here.  All has been put under my feet.  I have conquered death and disease.  I have promised and delivered to you complete salvation (a joining with the Creator God by joining with the covenant people through belief in Jesus as King), redeeming you from the cursed corruption of this world through your faithful proclamation of me as Lord and subsequent allegiance to Me.  By the power of the long-hoped for resurrection of the dead that in-breaks the world here and now, I share with you the life of the age to come.  What need you fear?”  Just as Jesus got into the boat with His disciples, we join with Him (union) through the believing proclamation of the Gospel in both word and deed.  Jesus was now with them when they reached the other side of the lake, and “the people immediately recognized Him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard He was” (6:54b-55).  Yes, the very presence of Jesus, which now is manifested through the preaching of His Gospel and action according to it, communicates the same power.

Jesus went to the region of Tyre and Sidon, to the house of a Syrophoenician woman.  He did not want anyone to know that He was there, but this was an untenable desire.  “Immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of Him and came and fell down at His feet” (7:25).  Because this Gentile woman showed no delay, neither did Jesus.  Her daughter was relieved of demon oppression.  Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, making His way back to the Decapolis.  Here, he conducts His famous feeding of the four thousand.  Upon its completion, as before, He did not remain with the people, to bask in the adulation of the masses, but “immediately He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha (or Magadan/Magdala)” (8:10).  There was always more to be done.  Yes, in the power of the eternal life in which we share by the faithful allegiance to the Gospel (Jesus is Lord), there is always more to be done in His service, as the Christ works through us to extend redemption and covenant participation to His people and His creation. 

Jesus would be transfigured, and seen on the mountain with Moses and Elijah.  He came down from the mountain to find a crowd with some of His disciples.  “Immediately, all the crowd, when they saw Him, were greatly amazed and ran up to Him and greeted Him” (9:15).  A boy with an unclean spirit was brought before Him, “and immediately it convulsed the boy” (9:20b).  Upon this, Jesus makes mention of the requirement of belief upon Him for healing to take place.  “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” (9:24)  With confession of unbelief that included a revelation of the belief of the father, Jesus responded with deliverance, immediately. 

In time, Jesus would encounter a blind man, who asked for the recovery of his sight.  With his request, the blind man revealed his understanding of Who Jesus was, having called him the “Son of David” (10:48), recognizing Him as King of Israel.  This was the very manifestation of saving faith (faith that binds a man to the covenant God, people, and purpose) and Jesus responds to this gifting, saying “Go your way; your faith has made you well” (10:52a).  “And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way” (10:52b).  This formerly blind man, demonstrating the faith to believe the Gospel, desired nothing more than to follow his Lord and Master, his King.  Such is the inherent power of the message of the Gospel.  It is the power of God unto salvation.        

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