In the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus begins his public ministry and gets right to it, so to speak. By the end of Mark 1 Jesus has been baptized by John, tempted by Satan, called the first 4 apostles, cast out a demon and healed many people, including Simon Peter’s mother-in-law.
Jesus’ apostles know that he can heal the sick and cast out demons. They were given power and authority to do those same things. But at the end of Mark 4 they are filled when fear when Jesus calms a storm. “Who then is this, that event the wind and sea obey him?” They were surprised by Jesus, their own leader and teacher. They had been given power to heal the sick, but seeing Jesus command the raging storm to be peaceful was more than they expected. It appears they woke him up to help bail water. He criticized their lack of faith, and it appears that even they don’t get.
I set out to write a sermon titled “Don’t be surprised by Jesus.” He was, after all, the Son of God. After everything else they have already witnessed and been a part of, how could they still not understand? Along the way I realized that it is unreasonable to not be surprised by Jesus. He is surprising, his grace is amazing, and his love and mercy surpass our understanding. Throughout his ministry he is talking to women, eating with tax collectors, and touching lepers. As he is nailed to the cross to die, he prays for the people crucifying him. “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” If you’re not surprised yet, read further into the New Testament where we are commanding to think that way. (Try Philippians 2)
We must not become so comfortable that we are not surprised by Jesus. We can be lulled into such a sense of complacency that we miss the spiritual warfare going on around us. There’s a line in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe that says of Aslan “He’s not a tame lion.” Jesus is incarnate deity, maker of heaven and earth, who will one day judge the nations. It’s a shame that after a time we get used to it. Just don’t be surprised when you get surprised.