Notes for Jesus Cry Havoc in Capernaum

Passing by the sea,

We pay no attention to that, It’s simply geography, but remember what the sea is symbolically…
We’ve been playing a lot of attention to sea and wilderness and what the mean.
The sea is where the monsters come from. The wilderness is death.

Remember he used to be down there by Jerusalem. What is Jerusalem? Jerusalem is the place of power. It is the city of the great king. We’re not ready for that yet. We’re going to back to Galilee of the nations.

Now on one level that isn’t surprising. Jesus was from there, but remember he was born in Bethlehem, he was under threat from the usurping powers who have been occupying the city of the great king and so he heads out into the hinterlands. Hinterlands are not wilderness, You can live there. There is the proper balance between land and water there, but it is also far from the center of power. This is where Jesus will begin, where he will start, where he will start to build something on a small scale, where he will prototype before he takes on the whole thing.

He passes by the sea, the small sea, not the great sea.

He starts with fishermen. Why? We don’t ask that question. We believe it is incidental. It isn’t incidental because of what he’s about to say.

So who are fishermen? They fish. But think about it in symbolic terms that Mark has been developing.

Fishermen are adventuring opportunists taking their life from the place where there is no life. If you think forward and you know the story you will remember that there will be storms on this sea that threaten their lives. But they take fish, which are small, sea monsters, and they eat them. They live on the edge of chaos, managing it bringing life for them up out of the place of death.

Farmers sort of do the same thing, except they bring water onto the land, the waters of chaos that come in small quantities unlike the deadly quantities that fell in Noah’s flood.

So there are fishermen there and Jesus says “come after me” and IMMEDIATELY they come.

“come after me” well why?

If you are fishing what are you looking for? Fish. If you are fishing with a friend and you’re in two places and your friend is catching a lot and you catch nothing what do you do? You go by our friend because you want to catch. Jesus is going out fishing, and he’s going to catch way bigger “fish” than what the disciples have been doing. That is exactly what he tells them. You’re going to catch people.

Does this means that they will suddenly be cannibals? Of course not. Does this mean that they will take advantage of people? No. In the next two stories we will see exactly that Jesus will do. Jesus will teach them how to “fish for people” but this will be Jesus’ own sort of fishing.

Remember the symbolism we’re working here. What is the sea? What are the fish? Sea is too much water. Come after me, they will come after him by following him, watching him, learning from him, doing what he does. This is the old way to learn I do, you watch, I do, you help, you do, I help, you do, I watch…

This word “immediate” Matthew will carry over but Mark will press is more than Matthew will because it follows through. “straightway…” was the old English translation. “straightway they forsook their nets…” Pay attention that Jesus replaces their nets. They have found something that was better than nets for something catching something better than fish for dinner…

He calls fishermen. Fishermen ply the sea for life. They live between two worlds. They are exactly, symbolically, who he needs for what he is about to do.

Now normally when you preach you stop at this story. That make sense, it’s one story, but they are connected. They tie in the other two because we not talking about fish, we are talking about people and their lives. We thought we were talking about fish but mentally we were focusing on income generation. That translated fishing into our terms. Now were doing other translating.

Straightway they left. Straightway straightway, take the straight and narrow way.Take the direct way towards the goal that somehow deep in your mind you know you need.

First he was walking by the sea, now he’s heading into Capernaum. Capernaum is a sea of people. They are not taking boats and nets, they are coming after Jesus into the sea of people. What will happen?

It’s the Sabbath day. Oh, this is the day where creation reaches its climax, its restful conclusion.

They go to the synagogue. The synagogue is in a sense the boat in the sea of occupying gentiles. This is where the people are God are acting like fishermen, living off the gentiles (like King David lived off of the surrounding cousins in their empire) but not being inundated by the water.

And he taught them not like the scribes. He’s wielding nets like no one they’ve ever seen before. With authority. He’s the author of nets. He designed them. He’s the maker of the thing, not simply a wielder of it. “Authority”, which means that he wields it, employs it like Tolkien employs middle earth. It all comes from him so he displays master over it in a way that recognizes that HE is its source, its origin, its owner.

But there is a demon-possessed man in the synagogue.

Now that’s strange. There’s a sea monster in the fishing boat. You you might be thinking about the life of Pi. There’s a tiger in the lifeboat. How do the fishermen deal with Leviathan, an alligator in the fishing boat? Well they sort of ignore it and try to manage it because they can’t resolve it.

There’s an untreated schizophrenic in church. There’s an alcoholic in church. There’s a homeless man in church. You tolerate, manage, watch, make your peace with but you can’t resolve. You live with the problem by sort of managing but you can’t resolve it so you keep praying that nothing bad happens. You hope you don’t need to kick him out or worse but you know that at any minute the alligator in the boat might bite your leg off so…

Leviathan is working on a level that the rest of you don’t know, don’t see. And now he speaks. He’s been enjoying the boat and the vulnerable fishermen in the boat. Everyone in the boat has been imagining they they have been managing him, but now he reveals that he’s been managing them. He’s been in the driver’s seat. He’s been bidding his time with them. He too has had designs for the boat but unable to tip it over. One has now come into the boat that is upsetting the balance and leviathan will now speak.

This will be apocalypse. This will be revelation. This will be the curtain coming off. This is Gandalf the White revealing himself and Saruman must yield but Saruman is going to still make his play.

Then into the house of the four he had called. Now we’re going to see why they left their nets. They too have been living with a demon in the house, in this case it is the fever of the mother-in-law. Straightway they told him. Fishing is good, but healing mom is way better. No amount of fish can equal healing. The fever leaves her.

Now its evening and the sun has set. Is Mark just telling us the time? He hasn’t told us the time much in the rest of the passage. Why is this important.

Jesus has been walking along the sea. He’s scoping it. He’s going to raid it.

Pokemon go viewing the world. Alhambra contact lens vision.

He raided the synagogue

He raided the fever

No he’s going to cry havoc! He’s going to raid the darkness and it’s going to be total melee!

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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