… “Who, then, is this?” …

Listening to the one and only Gordon Fee giving the below lecture … Professor Fee’s words are compounded with the Scripture like wet cement in my chest … Reading and listening them together make breathing difficult!  If that’s what “taking my breath away” feels like .. now I know what it feels like …

“Who, then, is this itinerant who behaved as if he were Jerusalem or Israel itself?”

“Who, then is this?”, they asked one another, Mark 4: 41

He was a masterful teacher, who spoke with unusual authority yet gentleness, who told magnificent stories to make His points, who called children to Him and blessed them as models of what people in God’s Kingdom should be like, who taught the great truths of Judaism with a new thrust and with great urgency — as though it were a matter of LIFE and DEATH, not a matter of mere quibble over fine points of the Law, splitting hairs.

But in that teaching, there is far more — His words, He claimed, were also a sign, evidence that the time of God’s rule had come present.  His stories were not in fact mere illustration of timeless truths, rather they were the Message itself, the justifications of His actions as those on behalf of God Himself.  His words had the power to compel judgment to the religious, on the one hand, and to comfort the outcast and the sinner, on the other.  With His words, God’s inexorable demand had come,

“Who, then is this,” we are compelled to ask,

“who sits in Moses’ seat, as it were,

but acts as if he were superior to Moses himself?”

That’s the great paradox that I simply cannot avoid it!

He acts as One who had the authority of God Himself; yet He nevers says, “Hey, look, I am divine, after all”.  It’s there all right, but it is also hidden.  It’s just there, but not quite there. Some come to see it; but the majority do not. But if He is right, then of course, it presents us with still greater problems, for surely He does it all wrong ..

If He is God among us …

then why not just a bit more concern in activity to prove His deity??

then why not send a few really powerful signs – the shaking of the earth here, the rattling of a few people’s cages there??

then why not overtly overthrow the evil oppressor, and especially why no power against his enemies??

If He is God among us …

how is it He tolerates the intolerable?  The religious who are self centered as to be unbearable bigots.  The truly evil who dominate people’s lives by opppression and manipulation?

how can He possible be right??

why didn’t He just zap a few for us to see His power??

Yet the believers have come to believe The eternal God Himself.  For He had made the human scene, stepped into our history, took off all wraps, as it were, and made Himself known.

And what an eminently reasonable thing for Him to do,

for how else might mere mortals, like us, like me, come to know Him, except by revelation?

how else might that revelation better be given than in a truly human life?

Who, then, is this, who so unsettles us by His mere presence?

Yet I believe for He is Good to me, despite any visible circumstances showing completely otherwise.  Yet who says His power is ever plainly visible, His power is repeatedly shining through what was invisible, so that one could put it in poetry, like this …

“In the beginning was the Word,

And the Word was with God,

And the Word was God …

And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,

And we beheld His glory,

The Glory of the only son of the Father,

Full of grace and truth ….

You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free
You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free

In the silence of the heart You speak
In the silence of the heart You speak
and it is there that I will know You
and You will know me
in the silence of the heart
You speak, You speak.

You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
in the work of the Spirit I cannot see.
You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
in the work of the Spirit I cannot see.

In the silence of the heart You speak.

***

Tears flow in projectile as I listened to Fee’s thrusting teaching and shouting of “SILENCE” in the middle of the lecture hall, the shouting of SILENCE resonating in vibration in my chest.  In the SILENCE of Jesus’ SHOUTING, He speaks.  In the silence of my own wrestling and rustling and struggling, He beckons me to trust … to trust … to trust … to trust … in His promises!  The promise that He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it, He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited. The promsie that in Him alone, there are deliverance and strength and we will find delivernace in Him and will make our boast in Him.

Lord! I will trust for there is no other way.  I will trust for there is no other God.  I will trust for apart from You, there is no other.  Nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide, but in You, alone, Lord!

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