By Luke Johnson | January 22, 2015
How much do you talk in one day? How much of the day do you spend saying things?
Think about “speaking” for a moment: What does it accomplish for you? How would your daily life change if you suddenly couldn’t speak at all? (What did you do today? What would today have been like if you didn’t have a mouth?)
“Speaking” is pretty important in the Bible. How early on does someone start speaking?
Who is the first speaker? (Gen 1:1-10)
In Genesis 1, God speaks and things happen. Though no one was around to hear it yet, God spoke into an empty world and made things appear.
What is the first thing that God says to people in the Bible? (Look at Genesis 1:27-28)
What kind of words did he speak?
- Conversation? (“Hey, how’s it going? You must be new here. New person smell.”)
- Surprise? (“Whoa! What the ---? Nice bedhead, Adam!”)
- Marching orders (mission): Go be the masters of creation.
When God speaks in the Bible, his words aren’t idle. His words do things.
READ ISAIAH 55:10-13
What claim does God make about his own words in Isaiah 55?
Any idea who Isaiah is writing to? (To the people of Judah, headed for exile.)
Judah was being led away into exile because they ignored everything God had taught them. Their homes were burned, their cities were rubble, and it looked like their time as a kingdom was over. But in that moment, even though they’re being hauled off to enemy territory, God makes some big promises.
What is God referring to in 55:12-13? What might “You will go out in joy” mean to the people of Judah who heard Isaiah say these words?
This isn’t the end, because God says so. God declares in Isaiah 55 that his plans never fail. He's saying, “You’re not lost because I say you’re not lost, and I’m me.” God spoke the universe into existence. When God speaks, it's not 'just talk'. His words make things happen.
READ JOHN 1:1-14
Think about the creation story in Genesis 1 -- Do you notice any similarities with John 1?
What kind of “jobs” does the Word have when he comes into the world?
(To give light and life - John 1:9; to make people children of God - John 1:12)
Have you ever been ignored by someone? Have you ever needed to get someone’s attention and they just don’t seem to notice you? What do you do in a moment like that?
John says the world didn’t recognize the Word. How do you think the Word might grab people's attention?
READ MARK 4:35-41
Does anything pop out at you in this story?
Why are the disciples so afraid? (What complaint do they bring to Jesus?)
The disciples might seem wimpy -- but do you remember what these guys do for a living?
(They’re fishermen, which means they’ve seen their fair share of stormy seas. If seasoned fishermen are afraid they’re going to die, it’s got to be a really bad storm.)
What do Mark and John tell us about Jesus at the beginning of their gospels?
(As readers, we get more information than the people in the story. We know who Jesus is, but the disciples haven’t put it all together yet.)
By calming the storm, what does Jesus reveal about himself?
- He has sovereignty over creation. Nature bends to his will.
- Jesus has power over death. People in Jesus’ day associated the “sea” with “death” and “evil”.
- When Jesus commands the evil sea to stop attacking the boat, it instantly obeys. Jesus has power over death and evil things.
Putting it all together
What do you think Isaiah, John, and Mark want us to understand about God?
- Isaiah: God is aware of what’s happening to you, and he’s already planning to help.
- John: God isn’t some abstract idea, or doesn’t just watch things from far away -- “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”! He came into his own creation to save anyone who would receive him.
- Mark: God has power over death. Even if you’re freaking out because it looks like your life is over, God owns the world and has the power to save you.