Hurricane Katrina: Lessons in Disaster

“Out of the south cometh the whirlwind . . .
He causeth it to come, whether for correction,
or for his land, or for mercy”

~ Job 37:9, 13

Once again, America and the world have been given an awesome reminder of the power of God’s creation. This power is so great that many men without faith stop to ponder its magnitude and come to the inevitable conclusion that the creation is mightier than they are. Incredibly though, they fail to see God who created such power and come then to the sound grasp of the infinite power of the Almighty who created and directs all things. “By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth” (Job 37:10-12).

Some have erroneously supposed that God began the processes of evolution and then held Himself aloof while they ran their own course. They do not see God conducting the affairs of the earth. But, they are amiss for, “He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow” (Psalm 147:15-18). They can easily see a major storm as nature run amok. However, not only is the storm not beyond His control, but it actually comes from God and accomplishes His purpose. “The LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:3).

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, numerous theological lessons beg to be drawn out of the rubble and that which was, and is, and is to come. Undoubtedly, many will rise to that challenge and bless us with observations likely dominated by the morbid and morose. However, let us not take up the form of the strictly theological, but rather consider some biblical worldview and Christian commentary on current events—a sort of cultural exegesis.

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The Prophet of Nazareth

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” ~ Matthew 21:10-11

Many titles were given to Christ in the scriptures, but the title in our text was not expected to be among them —“The prophet of Nazareth.” Christ showed up at a Jewish feast once and there was a stir among the people. Some said that he was the Christ and others doubted saying, “Shall Christ come out of Galilee?” The Pharisees gave their judgment to Nicodemas. They said, “Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Even Nathanael wondered at the testimony of Phillip when he claimed that they had found Messiah and he spoke of Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael questioned, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

The very title “The prophet of Nazareth” seems to strike a dissonant chord. The words do not seem to go together. Pomp and grandeur did not surround Jesus. Nor was he celebrated by the day’s dignities. Certainly, the life of the Lord here on earth was humble. He came from a place of no reputation. He came from a family of no reputation. Of a truth, Christ humbled himself and made himself of “no reputation.” This title identifies Christ to us in His humanity and humility. Nazareth was not highly esteemed among the people. Nevertheless, God raised up the greatest prophet from the humble shores of Galilee.

As we look back through the Old Testament, we realize that most of the prophets came from places of no real distinction. Consider Elijah the Tishbite. He just appeared on the scene in the book of Kings. He showed up and stood before the king. He was from the country of Gilead, a stony, rocky country village. The people there were laboring, working people. He certainly did not come from the highest classes and ranks of society. This holds for other prophets as well.

I wish to consider Christ as the Prophet of Nazareth. I want to bring to mind some of the ways in which he did the work of a prophet. I shall endeavor firstly to show Christ as a teacher. Secondly, I shall view him as a foreteller. Lastly, I will consider him as a miracle worker.

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