I have always loved the way Jesus declared on occasion, ‘Marvel not that . . .’ He is our Head, the One in whom all things hold together, our crowned king, and His ‘Marvel nots! are like His ‘verilys’ – proclaiming truths we need to hear.
These were the words that inspired a couple of reflections which we are very glad to share with you. They make a very different sound from the endless updates on the spread of Corona, and bid us rather to contemplate the voice that goes out into all the earth, even to the ends of the world. (Ps.19:4)
Marvel Not but marvel well (i)
The music is ‘Latakia,’ a short piece Geth Griffiths led at one of our recording sessions, on behalf of Syria. Latakia is the principal sea port of Syria, and was the Laodicea of Revelation.
Once upon a time, a group of companions gathered together to discuss some remarkable stories they were hearing about their departed friend, stories that stretched their hearers’ credulity to the utmost. They looked suspiciously at one another, wondering whether intense grief and sleepless nights had addled their brains, or if the wine at supper had been of unusually strong vintage.
And then, without a sound, without either door or window being opened, there He was: their very best friend appearing right in front of them.
They grabbed one another’s sleeves and trembled with fear. “It’s a ghost!” they whispered, not daring to look.
But spirits do not have flesh and blood, and this was no evil spirit come to mock their troubled hearts.
They heard a voice they thought they knew, speaking such oh-so-familiar words “Peace be with you.”
Surely there was only one person to say such things to them?
Surely . . .
“Why do you doubt?” asked the One who stood amongst them.
And the companions held their breath, wondering if it could possibly be true?
“Look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself. Touch Me and see—for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
One by one, the companions turned their eyes to look at the hands of the One in their midst, One by one, they lowered their heads to look at His feet. And one by one, their fearful faces lit up with joy and amazement as the ghost revealed Himself as the One they loved most in all the world, and joyfully asked them for something to eat.
Lord, what delight it was for You to surprise Your friends! You love to amaze and delight us with Your greatness and Your love for us. You are a God of wonders!
You have made Yourself known to us, and You say, ‘Marvel not’ concerning so many things that are to us a great marvel. “Marvel not,” You said to Nicodemus when You explained to him the most central truth of all. “Marvel not that I say to everyone that they must be born again.” (Jn. 3:7) Lord, open our eyes to see You as You really are and to know You, and to marvel at the reality of Your sovereignty and the love and purposes that lie beyond.