Kingdom of God
in 13 Weeks
Power Over Nature and Death. Learning About Nature Miracles and Resuscitation: Week 12
Observing the Stuff!
The Storm at Sea:
According to Paul (Rom. 8.21), the forces of evil hold creation in bondage and decay. In the beginning when God created, he gave humans dominion over all things. When Jesus and his disciples were in the boat, Satan was attempting to take that dominion away. The twelve, in fear, cry, "Master, we perish!"
They woke Jesus and immediately he rebuked the wind. The word, which Mark used for rebuke, is the same word spoken to the demonized man in the synagogue and to the fever of Peter's mother-in-law. Jesus spoke to the storm and told the sea to "be quiet." Again the same word was used by Jesus as the one he spoke to the demonic in the synagogue. He simply scolds the sea in the same way he did the demon.
It can be reasoned that Jesus uses the same words in dealing with demons and sickness that he used in dealing with the storm at sea, because he saw them as having the same cause. In bringing the demonic to wholeness, Jesus attacked the person of the demon. In healing the mother-in-law and bringing the sea into compliance, he attacked the work of the demon.
Power over Death
The Widow's Son:
The Daughter of Jairus:
One difficulty we have as Westerners some 2,000 years after the stories of Scripture is the two millenniums of Christian tradition. We stand on the positive side of Easter. We no longer see death with the same eyes that the people before the resurrection of Jesus saw death. We see death as a door to the hereafter, an entrance into the presence of a loving parent with whom we will have fellowship forever. Struggle for a moment to let your Christian understanding of death be temporarily modified. Look at death as it was before the resurrection of Jesus. It was final. No hope, for life itself had gone. Stand for a moment in the graveyard of the ancient past and see a father bury his only daughter of twelve, dead before life had had its fullest expression. Comprehend the agonizing note of finality wrapped in the shrouds of death as you adjust to the cold hard fact that your only daughter was gone with no promise of ever seeing her again. Feel the emptiness, the void, the hollow, vacant feeling that Jairus must have felt when he heard the word that his daughter was dead. Dead must have struck his ears like the blow of a hammer. She's dead; don't trouble the teacher any longer. Depression was already setting in.
Jesus, on the other hand, had a different view. He began to change the atmosphere around him. He sent everyone outside the girl's room except his small team and her mother and father. He spoke to the dead, lifeless body and life came rushing back like a torrent of water. Victory had been snatched from the jaws of defeat. Death had been conquered with the rule of God. Jesus had come into the enemy's camp and abolished his greatest weapon.
Jesus was on the attack, out to plunder the strong man's house. He drove out demons; stilled storms; healed the sick; cursed the unfruitful; fed the hungry; and threw death back into the pit. The victory over the grave was the final blow. It was a foretaste of the ultimate stroke of victory when Jesus was raised from the dead by the powerful rule of God.
The writers of the Gospels do not present Jesus as some kind of victim being led to slaughter. He was the conquering one who submitted to the cross so he could ascend to the throne. The death of Jesus was not an end. Satan may have thought he had won. But he did not. The death of Jesus was only a means to his final victory over Satan, his resurrection. Jesus never announced his death without announcing his resurrection (Matt. 16.21; 17.22-23; 20.17-19; Mark 8.31-33.; Luke 9.22).
The cosmic overtones of war and judgment are all there in the cross: darkness at a strange hour, rocks splitting, an earthquake, people coming out of the graveyards. The war had been fought and Satan had lost.
The resurrection of Jesus assures, confirms, and completes the victory of the Kingdom of God over the kingdom of Satan. It is for this very reason that the resurrection is at the very heart of the message of the early Church. It was the final authoritative announcement that God had won the battle and the firstfruits of the Age to Come had arrived. Paul insisted that there was no Christianity apart from the resurrection (1 Cor. 15.14, 17). It was a decisive event in history. If Jesus had not been brought back from the tomb, Satan would have indeed been stronger than God.
Death has been somewhat romanticized in Western Christianity. It is often seen as a sweet release provided by a loving Father who gently calls us home to be with him. Not so with the early Christians! They saw death as an enemy, a work of Satan to destroy them. Paul told the Corinthians that death was the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Cor. 15.26). It was last chronologically and last because it was the most powerful stronghold of Satan. The author of Hebrews sums it up: through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2.14).
Our job as believers is to carry his word and his works into this Present Evil Age. We should continue to be trained and sensitive, watch for what the Father is doing, and keep on doin' the stuff.
Doin' the Stuff!
BibleHandbook: Resource Stuff
Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible Dictionary. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. You might read the articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal needs.