The Story & Way of Jesus: The Anamorphic Jesus (11.21.21)
Processing and responding to the Sunday sermon
After the group welcomes one another, have one person open in prayer and then take 2-3 minutes of silence. As you sit in silence, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart in love toward God and your group mates.
The Anamorphic Jesus
On Sunday, Dr. Bryan Loritts taught from Mark 4:35-41 on the authority of Jesus that is revealed to us in the storms of life.
He began this teaching on this section of scripture with a personal story.
Dr. Loritts was in a shopping mall and went into a store highlighting “anamorphic” artwork. This type of art has different things that can be seen from different perspectives. At “first glance”, you may see something right away. A face, an image, or something else. This could be viewed as a “surface” observation.
An artist working in this medium has other “deeper” images or intentions that require the viewer to look more closely, spend more time and engage in the art from different perspectives. This would be considered the deeper aspects and intentions of this specific type of artwork. This is how Dr. Loritts frames this section of scripture in Mark 4:35-41.
The Anamorphic Jesus (a picture beneath the picture). “Calming the storms of life” is the surface Jesus. Secondary application: Jesus wants to calm the storms of your life.
- Amoral – The storm isn’t because you did anything wrong
What Do Storms Reveal?
Dr. Loritts challenges us to look more deeply into this story. What does it really reveal?
Who you think Jesus is: Storms reveal what you really think about Jesus and even what you think he thinks about you. The disciples in that boat first cried out in their distress, “Teacher”.. They were filled with great fear because they didn’t understand they are not just in the presence of a good teacher, they didn’t (yet) know him as LORD. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus says “I’m God.” No-one can control the sea but God.
Who you think you are: How we look at ourselves can really change in the middle of a storm. “It’s because I have done something wrong. I am being punished.” “You don’t care about me Jesus. If you did, then this wouldn’t be happening. Job went through hell, not because He did something wrong, but because God was interested in manifesting His glory through a man of integrity,
Who really is in authority and who really is in control: Jesus’ deity means He had authority. He has the final say over everything that happens in my life. My response is in faith. Faith demands risk. Faith causes joy, which is an act of rebellion against being defined by circumstances. No-one can control the sea but God. “I’m trusting you Lord. I come under your authority no matter what is going on.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Reflection and Discussion
Read aloud Mark 4:35-41 and then prayerfully and silently reflect on the passage and these questions.
- Ask The Lord to reveal or highlight something in this section of scripture. “Lord would you show me what is on your heart for me as I read this?” As you read through these parables what do you sense the Lord showing you? Linger for a moment with what is speaking to you. More Lord… show me more..
- How do you respond to the unpredictable storms or circumstances that come up in your life? Who do you think God is during these times? What narratives come up around who you think you are? Do you feel like there is something wrong with you, or it’s because of you? Who is Jesus in these times to you? Liar, Lunatic or LORD.
- How do you see Jesus joining with you as you navigate not only the storms, but when the seas calm. How does His past faithfulness to you lay a foundation where you can trust Him for your future, no matter what happens? How does this knowledge of His faithfulness produce joy?
After silently reflecting, take these thoughts into a time of group discussion.
- What came up for you during the prayer reflection time? What would you like to share with the group?
- Dreaming out loud together, what would it look like to be a community that flourishes fully submitted to Jesus and His Kingdom authority and loving Lordship. What would the fruit look like weathering storms where Joy becomes the act of rebellion defining our circumstances?
Pray for your group, our church, our city, and our world.
Special Note And Invitation To Reality SF CG Community and Congregants.
Immanuel Prayer is a beautiful way of experiencing a more intimate connection with Jesus. Reality SF has a team of Immanuel Prayer Coaches! To find out more or to sign up for an Immanuel Session – click here. You can also contact our Prayer Minister – David McKinney firstname.lastname@example.org