What's with the water jar?

by Gavin  

What's with the water jar?

 

It’s great to have good Bereans (Acts 17:11) in our services, who listen attentively to the sermons, and are willing to engage meaningfully on the content!  And even be prepared to challenge!

 

OK, so yesterday I preached Mark 14:12-21.  This a staggering and mind-blowing account of how a holy, righteous God uses human sinfulness to achieve His own good and wise purposes.  We learned that through two facets of this story: 1) Jesus’ total control over all the events, and 2) Judas’ total culpability for all the events

 

Those 2 facets of this account show us how a holy, righteous God uses human sinfulness to achieve His own good and wise purposes… a lesson that we need to heed today!

 

As we unpacked this, we saw that Jesus sent 2 disciples into the city.  We know from Luke 22 that these men are Peter and John… part of the inner circle.  Jesus says that they were to go into the city, into the frenzy, amidst hundreds of thousands of people, crushing crowds, animals, carts, dust, noise… Everyone was thinking Passover:  preparation, final arrangements, final shopping, and lambs to the slaughter…

 

And Jesus says that in the middle of that circus, a man with a water jar will meet them.

 

This is a taste of Cape Town in the next few weeks and months, but also what millions do across the globe each day – fetching and carrying water to their homes.

 

Get this – that was unusual, because typically the women did the water duties.  So, if that was the case it would have been pretty easy to identify the man with the water jar.  The point was well made to me after the service yesterday, and I concede that fully.

 

BUT male slaves were used to carry water as well, and with the Roman occupation there must have been lots of slaves conveying water to the barracks etc.

 

So then, what are the chances?  Even if they found a guy with a water jar, what are the chances it was the right guy, going to the right place? There was no communication, no set meeting point, no SMS, no pin drops on WhatsApp… they just had to go, and meet a random man with a water jar.

 

So, if it was unusual for men to carry the water, and that is Mark’s point, then we accept that in the providence of God, the paths of that man crossed with Peter and John at the place and time.  If there were many men carrying waters jars in the city, and they just happened to stumble across the right  man at the right place and right time, the same point holds true – it was all providentially arranged, and God’s plan and timetable to get His Son to be arrested, tried, tortured and crucified still worked out perfectly.

3 comments

Comment from: Cobus [Visitor]
Cobus

Thanks Gavin. I often think that the problem is that we cannot differentiate between God’s Providence and our own will. All too often we ascribe the good stuff to ourselves and question God regarding the bad instead of recognising God’s guidance and care throughout our lives.

01/29/18 @ 06:17 pm
Comment from: Gavin [Member]

Thanks Cobus. That’s really the nature of man, right? We want a God who delivers a good life, but that fails to grapple with the complexity in the Bible of a God who may well (and frequently does!) use pain and trial and hardship as part of His good, wise, just and righteous plans.

William Cowper captured it well with the phrase, “Frowning providence” in the 4th verse of his wonderful hymn…

Verse 1
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Verse 2
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Verse 3
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Verse 4
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Verse 5
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Verse 6
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

01/29/18 @ 06:38 pm
Comment from: Cobus [Visitor]
Cobus

Wow… we should have sung this on Sunday, but, Providentially, “It Is Well With My Soul…” is in the same vane, reflecting the same theme.

01/29/18 @ 06:58 pm

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