The Non Sequitur cartoon this morning features Noah standing with an umbrella. A saw horse and some boards rest nearby. Behind Noah stands a wood arch and behind the arch are pairs of birds, cats, dogs, sheep, bears, giraffes, oxen and pigs. A voice speaks from the cloud, "No, that's not what I said. Now let's go over it again..."
The cartoon is labeled Noah's Beta Version.
Noah not only needed to be obedient, but he needed to listen carefully to God's instruction.
Faith also involves listening and obeying. It was important that Noah not only believe the Lord, but the future of the world and the human race, the future of all creation was dependent on Noah listening and obeying.
Mark 6:45-56 follows Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 in the deserted place he had originally gone for some down time with the disciples. However, when they arrived a huge throng met them. So Jesus spent the rest of the day teaching the crowd until the disciples reminded him that the afternoon was wearing on and the people should be dismissed to go home for supper. Jesus used the five loaves, one per thousand, and the two fish to provide enough so that the disciples picked twelve baskets of leftovers, much more than they had furnished Jesus.
Afterward Jesus directed his disciples to get in the boat and head for the opposite shore. Jesus dismissed the crowd. But the disciples encountered a strong headwind and weren't making much headway. When they saw someone walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and who wouldn't wonder about such an apparition? On this occasion Jesus doesn't criticize them for their lack of faith, but says, "Take heart; It is I. Do not be afraid." When he got into the boat with and the wind ceased, they were utterly astounded.
They didn't understand about the loaves which pointed to Jesus as the Bread from heaven, the new manna in the wilderness, and they apparently hadn't listened to what he said the previous afternoon. Their hearts were hardened, they stubbornly refused to see into who Jesus was, who provided bread and calmed the waves.
The lesson seems to be that those closest to Jesus failed to recognize who he was, while the crowds "immediately recognized him." Sometimes the church is like those disciples, failing to recognize Jesus working in its life and in the villages, cities and countryside in which we live.
Jesus is the second Noah, who listened to and obeyed his heavenly Father, through the gift of the Holy Spirit build an ark, the church, on which we sail through the storms of life to get to the otherside. Along the way we are the crew of God's rescue vessel taking on board the drowning.
Look around. Where is Jesus working today? Who is it that needs rescuing from the storms of life among the crowds of people. Will they recognize Jesus' in us?