This past week we gathered at Tillman to welcome Dante Stewart. Dante discussed the crisis of chaos and how in today’s world, we are constantly immersed in chaos.
The night began by reading Mark 9:14-29. In this passage, the text finds us in chaos in the valley. We are presented with a father who has done everything he can to help his son, yet nothing he has tried has helped get rid of the evil spirit within his son. The father then goes to the disciples, who represent the power of healing and the hope of Jesus, yet the disciples find themselves unable to help the boy. This makes the disciples question their work and they argue with each other as to why what they are doing is not working. In verse 28, the disciples ask Jesus why they were unable to do anything, to which Jesus responded, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
The ending of this passage is important because we are constantly overcome by weakness, and it makes us question Jesus, but what Jesus proves is that if we have faith and prayer, he will bring his presence and power.
So how does Jesus show up in the crisis of chaos?
1. Jesus brings his presence
Before the passage begins, Jesus is up on a mountain top. In the bible, mountains symbolize the presence of God and would represent worship and community in today’s world. Jesus could’ve stayed on the mountain with his quiet time, but instead he decides to come down the mountain and enter the chaos that threatens life. Jesus is not content with staying on the mountain and WANTS to come down and go into the chaos. Jesus tells his disciples that he knows they want to stay on the mountain, but there is work to be done in the valley. Jesus beckons for us to come down from the mountain which symbolizes our comfort zone and go into the valley to do his work.
2. Jesus brings his power
In this passage, we see Jesus bring the evil spirit out of the boy’s body, something that no one else had been able to do, including the disciples. In verse 22, the father states “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” To which Jesus replied “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” It is impossible for Jesus, who is all powering, to sit back and not help. So Jesus commands the spirit out, to which the spirit tried to destroy life and God’s creation before leaving the boy’s body. What is important is that in verse 26, many people watching questioned Jesus, just like the disciples do in verse in verse 28. Yet Jesus quieted these questions by touching the boy and lifting him up, symbolizing that encounter the power of Jesus can overcome any darkness that your soul possess. This means that no matter what you have done or what demons haunt you, with the power of Jesus, they will be gone and you will be saved.
3. Jesus brings purpose
Jesus embodies the ministry of changing and reshaping people’s life. Jesus also brings the power of resurrection with him. This can be seen when the father has come in contact with human, medical, rhetorical, and demonic power, yet the only thing that can help his son is the resurrection power of Jesus. While the father came in contact with the disciples, they could not help help his son because they had presence, but no purpose. Their lives were connected to Jesus, but their lives are not connecting to where Jesus is connecting. This is something that happens so often in today’s world, where people will post about scripture or read devotional books, yet their movements and actions don’t represent God’s and they question why they are not making an impact or a change.
With that being said, what should we do to change out actions to make those of God?
As a church, we are called to bring healing and hope. We must participate in what God is doing in the world so that his power and presence is felt. We can’t be content with prayer, but have our public life match our life of prayer. At the end of the day, God doesn’t want us to embody his power, but also embody his presence and touch the world the way Jesus did.