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Faith Daily | 30 January 2021


PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Three


Bountiful God,

through your Son you have called us to repent of our sin,

to believe the good news,

and to celebrate the coming of your kingdom:

teach us, like Christ’s first apostles,

to hear the call to discipleship,

and, forsaking old ways,

to proclaim the gospel of new life to a broken world;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen



GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 4:35-41


35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”


GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by John Vickers


Only 13 miles long and 8 miles wide the Sea ( lake) of Galilee is unique. Fed by the fresh waters from Mount Hermon it is in a natural bowl 700 feet below sea level, the lowest fresh water body on Earth, and has pristine pure waters and abundant fish. It is usually calm and beautiful. However, the topography of mountains surrounding the Sea of Galilee is such that it channels the wind downwards and into the bowl of the Sea/lake, so that it churns the waters into 10 foot waves within minutes, which it often does in winter and summer.


It is thought that seven of the twelve apostles were fishermen. They were not illiterate, poor fishermen as often depicted, but rather, smart businessmen who owned their own boats and fished commercially.


Jesus and some of His apostles with a few boats, set off for the opposite shore from Capernaum, after an exhausting day of preaching and healing, unsurprisingly, Jesus fell asleep in the stern.


Suddenly a storm arose, waves broke into the boat threatening to capsize it. However this storm was different – so violent that it caused fear and anxiety ( in Greek) amongst men who had sailed on it all their lives.


The men raced to the stern in fear and implored Jesus for help, adding “don’t you care?” – fishermen pleading with a carpenter born in Nazareth, which is miles from any sea, appears rather odd.


Jesus awakes and responds with the words “Peace! Be still!” and immediately the sea becomes completely totally and absolutely calm. He then rebukes them as to whether they still have faith. They had doubted him.


Many allegorise the story, simplifying it “when you are in a sea of troubles, turn to Jesus” – however there is far more to it.


The men then experience and even greater fear or terror ( in Greek), as it dawns upon them that Jesus is no ordinary man or prophet, but had now revealed his identity.


The whole purpose of the story was for Jesus to reveal himself as the divine Son of God, in command of the creation, fulfilling the old testament scriptures. I will mention only three from Psalms - Psalm 65;5-7 , Psalm 89;8-9, and most relevant Psalm 107;23-32.


Prophets like Elijah had preached and healed and made miracles in the past, but no one had ever previously, nor since, demonstrated such power over the Earth as Jesus did on that day, so declaring His true identity as the Son of God and the eternal protector.



FINAL PRAYER: From the Psalms

Who by your strength made fast the mountains:

you that are girded with power;

Who stilled the raging of the seas,

the roaring of the waves:

and the tumult of the peoples.

Those who dwell at the ends of the earth

are afraid of your wonders:

the dawn and the evening sing your praises. Psalm 65: 5-7

O Lord God of hosts, who is like you?:

your power and your faithfulness are all about you.

You rule the raging of the sea:

when its waves surge, you still them. Psalm 89: 8-9

Those who go down to the sea in ships:

and follow their trade on great waters,

They have seen the works of God:

and his wonders in the deep.

For he spoke, and raised the storm-wind:

and it lifted high the waves of the sea.

They go up to the sky, and down again to the depths:

their courage melts away in the face of disaster.

They reel and stagger like drunkards:

and are at their wits’ end.

Then they cried to the Lord in their distress:

and he took them out of their trouble.

He calmed the storm to a silence:

and the waves of the sea were stilled.

Then they were glad because they were quiet:

and he brought them to the haven they longed for.

Let them thank the Lord for his goodness:

and for the wonders that he does for the children of Adam;

Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people:

and praise him in the council of elders. Psalm 107;23-32.

Amen



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