Scripture – Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Mark 6: 30-56
The prophet Jeremiah taught in the kingdom of Judah, the southern kingdom, at a very difficult time. The Northern kingdom had already been taken into exile in 722 BC by Assyria. They were taken into exile because of their incorrigible rebellion against Yahweh. They would not give up the worship of idols. The Southern Kingdom persisted in existence but they too were on oxygen, anytime God’s judgement was falling upon them, again because of worship of idols and a general disregard of God.
According to the prophets, including Jeremiah, the people had it in their mind that it was enough to participate in religious rituals whereas Yahweh desired total devotion from the heart. As it was then, the same it is today. Worship and intimacy with God are the most important qualities God wants us to have. Not good health, not wealth, not good marriages, not great kids, but closeness with Him.
In Jeremiah’s time, even the Church leaders had abandoned God and misled people. They completely lost direction. They announced about the most important things that were not important to God and the people followed sheepishly. Jeremiah taught in the period of several kings. He started when king Josiah was on the throne. And he continued during Jehoiakim up to Zedekiah’s time.
Yahweh is the supreme authority of the universe. He is the potentate. He sets the laws by which the universe and society would run smoothly. We trample upon His laws to our peril. And Yahweh is a gracious God.
We see in the Jeremiah reading that Israel had sinned greatly, they had misled the people they led. There was almost a national rebellion and uprising against God. Indeed, God promises judgement, but He also declares future salvation.
The righteous branch of the line of David will come and re-introduce the fear of the Lord. We need to know that when the Bible says the fear of the Lord it does not mean fear like one would recoil from a lion but denotes extreme awe that leaves one in absolute wonderment.
In the gospel of Mark 6:30-56, we see the righteous branch, Jesus Christ walking the planet. Earlier in this sixth chapter, Jesus had sent his disciples two by two into the neighboring villages to spread the message that had come. Now, the disciples are returning from that errand, exuberant, and talking over each other’s voices telling what happened wherever they went. Jesus recognizes that they have been tired, busy; and so, He says, let us take some time off just by ourselves. But the people saw them go and ran ahead of them. By the time, the Jesus party arrived, the crowds had already gathered.
When the disciples were by themselves, Jesus walks on water and they are frightened when they see Jesus walking on the water. Jesus tells them not to be afraid because it was He. They received Him onto the boat and then crossed the lake. Later the Jesus party arrived in Gennesaret and the people recognized Jesus at once.
What do we learn from these incidents:
1-Let us recognize that God still rules the universe. We will do well to run our individual lives, and conduct our affairs in society by being conscious of His will.
2-We should conduct our lives in such a way that onlookers recognize Jesus in us. His kindness, His love, His devotion to God. We are the gentiles. Once upon a time, we who were not Jews were excluded from the people of God. But through His sheer kindness, He has now included us among His people. This was God’s plan from the beginning which has been fulfilled through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Christine Nakyeyune-Busuulwa is an Anglican priest, ordained in the Anglican Diocese of Mityana, Uganda
Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash
For Other Articles by The Rev. Christine Nakyeyune-Busuulwa
True Joy is Found in Obeying God (Luke 12: 13-21)