I am the master of my fate…or not

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

What a crock.

I can’t even control whether I get to work on time. Just think about all the little things that have to go just right for me to make it on time. At the very least, my alarm clock has to go off, neither of the girls can have an early morning crisis, the car has to start, everyone else has to successfully avoid crashing into me (or each other) on the way there, and countless other details. It’s scary at times to consider how little control we have over the most mundane aspects of life.

Master of my fate? I can’t even get the cat who lives in my house to do what I want.

And, I’m certainly no master of anything bigger than me. I’ve tried commanding the wind a couple of times. Wind can be quite annoying—especially if you’re sitting next to a campfire and it insists on guiding the smoke directly into your eyes regardless of where your eyes are actually located. So, I’ve tried forcing it to stop. It doesn’t work. Sadly, even if I hold up my hand and yell “Stop!” in a really commanding voice—and I can do a pretty good commanding voice when I want—nothing happens. It just ignores me. I’m pretty sure it’s really laughing and insulting me in its deviously soft wind-language. And, if you’re curious, using the force doesn’t help either. Wind is impervious to Jedi mind tricks.

A master of the universe I clearly am not.

Jesus is.

“Peace! Be still!” Just a few simple words. And yet, when they sailed from Jesus’ mouth, the universe listened—the wind slept, the waves relaxed, the raging storm ceased. Before the voice of the master, the cosmos bowed.

And the disciples were terrified. Until now, they still had not really understood who they were dealing with. Sure, they thought he was the Messiah. But this? This is something else entirely. This is someone who commands creation itself.

What’s going on here? Is Jesus just showing off so the disciples will get a clue and start to realize who he actually is? Maybe a little. But, there’s definitely more to it than that. This is the Promised One, the One who will restore God’s creation so that it again serves as the theater of his glory. This is the One who will pour the Spirit out on all creation so that it again pulses with life, sheltering and nourishing his people. This is the One with the power and authority to make everything the way it was supposed to be.

This is the voice of the master calling forth shalom.

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on February 18, 2011, in Gospel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Oh I hope you find this relevant, but your observations really resonant with me and I posted something from a similar mindset:

    a href=”Is Jesus a rebel, controller, manipulator?

    • Thanks Stuart, that is an interesting post. I was particularly intrigued by the idea that “manipulator” might be used positively of God. That’s a term that has almost completely negative connotations for me, but it’s intriguing to try and see it in a new light like that. Thank for passing the link along.

  2. Only people who haven’t had cancer or some such tragedy in their life would be brash enough to get a tattoo like that. I can’t stand stuff like that, that attitude; when I see stuff like that (the attitude) I find solace in places like Isaiah 2:12-22. Sorry, this just brought on a moment of imprecation 😉 .

    I’m glad Jesus is in control!!!

  3. A personal illustration is almost always a good way to make a point, and you did a particularily good and enjoyable job of it on this one. Thank you for doing it.

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