to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
October 14, 2019 – Monday
Mark 4:41 NIV
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
We have already looked at this event recently on October 8th in Matthew 8:27 which read The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” At that time we asked who were these men and where were they? We determined the men were the twelve disciples and they were all in a boat somewhere in the Sea of Galilee with the man they were talking about in terror – Jesus. The disciples were Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Nathanael (aka Bartholomew), Matthew, Thomas, James (the Younger or Lesser), Simon, Thaddaeus (aka Jude), and Judas.
Now let’s look at the primary difference between the two verses. Matthew says The men were amazed while Mark says They were terrified. Amazed versus terrified, could it be the same word with two different translations? No, two different words. Terrified came from G5399 with the transliteration phobeo where our English word phobia comes from. Amazed came from G2296 with the transliteration thaumazo and I could find no English word that originates from it.
So what is going on here? Of the twelve disciples some were amazed, they marveled at what Jesus had done! While some others were terrified, literally ready to take flight or flee except they had no place to go. Seeing Jesus’ easy control of the elements was beyond anything they expected or had ever experienced.
Perhaps we should note this was beyond anything they had seen from Jesus to this time. The idea of controlling the wind and the sea where both were thought of as uncontrollable where men at sea always had to do their best when fighting against them just to stay alive. Thus compared to His other miracles this one seemed much a greater miracle than all the others, but in reality it was only more spectacular. (Peter Pett’s commentary)
Thus both reactions of the disciples were entirely understandable. For us, having read time and time again of Jesus’ miracles we may remain amazed at His power, while at the same time forgetting just how incredibly terrifyingly powerful Jesus truly is. We speak so much about Grace and God’s mercy we sometimes (maybe often) forget Jesus is our literal Creator. Not just of us, but of all creation. The disciples got a glimpse of His power. Our glimpse comes in receiving His incredible mercy.
Let us not judge the fearful disciples harshly, but instead reconsider our own view of Jesus and keep in the forefront of our minds His awesome power. When we do that, His mercy becomes all the greater and we have a greater appreciation of Job’s question
What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? (Job 7:17-18)
And in David’s Psalm 8:3-4 where he asks
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
Let us make these questions our questions.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)