Faithlife
Faithlife

Mark 4c

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Mark 4:35-38a… On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.

Commentary

When Jesus finished teaching one day he instructed his disciples to get into a boat so that they could cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. A boat that would hold 13 men, and possibly some women, would have been a sizable boat. Of course the text also reveals that “other boats were with him” which shows that other “disciples” were following him. Four kinds of disciples are described in the Bible. First, there were the curious. They followed Jesus to see him perform, but they wouldn’t commit to him and fell away after a time (cf. John 6:53, 60, 66). Second, there were those who were intellectually convinced of Christ’s lordship but who had no participation in His kingdom (e.g. Nicodemus in John 3). Third, there were unprofessed disciples who feared ridicule for their beliefs (e.g. Joseph of Arimathea in Matt. 27:57-58). Finally, there were the public confessors of Christ. These included more than simply the Twelve (excluding Judas who was a traitor from the beginning). So it was then; so it is today.

While traveling on the sea a great storm or “squall” overtook them in v. 37. These storms were common on the Sea of Galilee, for it sat some 600 feet below sea level. When cooler air would come through the mountains surrounding the sea it would mix with the warmer air below and cause storms that would stir up quickly over the sea. Fishermen like James, John, Peter, and Andrew were likely very familiar with such storms because they regularly worked there. But while the storm began to overtake the boat, Jesus was below the deck sleeping peacefully.

Verse 38 sounds sarcastic. In the midst of a life-threatening storm, when the boat is taking on water and it appears as if death is knocking at the door, Jesus was fast asleep – on a nice soft pillow. While everyone else was working Jesus was calm enough to sleep peacefully.

The fact that these experienced fisherman were afraid that they were going to die attests to how strong this storm was. Death apparently seemed imminent because the boat was taking on so much water and they were far from the shore. It’s as if God put them in the worst and most hopeless of circumstances so that Jesus could once again show his power to them. This is what God does for those who follow Christ faithfully. They see and hear far more than unbelievers or those who do nothing with what they hear. For to him who has, more will be given, but to him who doesn’t have, even what he has will be taken from him (cf. 4:23-25). Truly the disciples were a privileged group who witnessed all the power and majesty of God through Jesus Christ.

The fear of the disciples reflects their timid and unsure faith. They had already seen much from Jesus, but they apparently were hard-hearted enough to not really understand who he was. Knowing Christ and believing what he can do don’t always go hand-in-hand. They knew him, but they were put into a position where they HAD to believe. So they called to him.

Food for Thought

In the midst of life’s difficulties some folks panic while others sleep like babies. A calm and peaceful demeanor is a virtue that only true believers can possess. They know that there is nothing to fear, not even death, because God is in perfect control – even when it may seem like He’s asleep. John says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). Trust God fully today in all matters and prove to yourself and to God that His love is perfected in you.

Mark 4:38-41… But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” 41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Commentary

In the midst of the life-threatening storm the disciples had nowhere to turn but to Jesus. They had used all of their human expertise to save the boat and themselves, but when all seemed hopeless they went to Jesus and woke him up. Their cry is somewhat sarcastic: “Teacher, do you not care if we parish?” In v. 39 Jesus woke up and simply rebuked the wind and the sea, saying, “Be silent! Calm down!” Immediately the wind stopped, and the sea became dead calm, to the astonishment of his disciples. But in doing so he proved his Lordship over the earth. After all, he’s the God who created it in the first place (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Gen. 1:1), and all nature is submissive to Him. The storm began quickly as most storms do on the Sea of Galilee which lies 600 feet below sea level and looks up at Mt. Hermon which rises 9,200 feet above the sea. But though powerful, the storm was stilled in an instant simply by a word from Jesus – the Creator of all things. It was by this same word that all things came into existence in the beginning.

In v. 40 Jesus literally asked them, “Why are you such cowards? Where is your faith?” The disciples’ fear reflects their timid faith. They had already seen much, but they in fact were ignorant enough to not really understand fully who Jesus was. Knowing Christ and believing what he can do don’t always go hand-in-hand. They knew him but not fully – not as God. Clearly then, faith in God translates to faith in Jesus, for they are one and the same. Jesus wasn’t just demonstrating his power, he was revealing that He Himself was God.

Verse 41 is basically, “And being overwhelmed with great fear…” This makes perfect sense given that Jesus had just revealed himself as God. Fear is the response man has upon coming face-to-face with God Almighty. After Job witnessed God’s rebuke to his face he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Isaiah saw Yahweh sitting on His throne and said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips… for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:1, 5). Upon seeing the Lord Daniel said, “No strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground (Dan. 10:8-9). When Peter saw Jesus bring in a miraculous catch of fish he fell down at Jesus’ feet and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord! (Lk. 5:8). And when Paul encountered Christ while traveling to Damascus, “he fell to the ground… And though his eyes were open he could see nothing” (Acts 9:4, 8). So it is when men realize they are standing in the presence of God Almighty; they become gripped with fear and are so beleaguered they cannot stand His presence because he is so holy and they are so sinful.

 

Food for Thought

God loves to bring His children to the point at which they can go nowhere else but Him for help. He knows that in our desperation we will cry out to Him for help. Too often, however, we wait until we simply run out of human solutions to our crises, then we call upon God. By then, however, it’s sometimes too late. Instead of it being the last thing we do, it must to be the first! Cry out to God today, and be reminded through your cry that you belong to Him.

Psalm 107:1, 23-30… Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever…

23 Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. 24 They saw the works of Yahweh, his wonderful deeds in the deep. 25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. 26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. 27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cried out to Yahweh in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. 29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

 

Food for Thought

Though not recorded in the NT, there is little doubt the disciples later recalled these words from Psalm 107 after Jesus stilled the sea. Written after the Jewish exile in Babylon, this Psalm dated back to the sixth century BC. But Jesus fulfilled it in his day also.

In the midst of the storms we face in life, let this passage be a reminder to us that God is in charge of ALL things, both good and bad. Where is your faith in the midst of life’s storms? God is over all things. He is never unconcerned with the level of our faith, and He’ll put us through terrible and horrific storms to purify and refine our faith if need be. All we must do is marvel at His greatness and know that He’s in perfect control of everything. Knowing this will help us heed the words of James 1:2-4 where we’re told to rejoice in our trails.

Sometimes when we get started on our journey to minister somewhere or be trained in ministry, we get opportunities to minister along the way. Jesus, while journeying to the other side of the lake to cast out demons, took the opportunity to minister to his disciples in Mark 4:35-41. Later he’ll travel to heal a young girl of a fever, but along the way he’ll take the opportunity to heal a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years. He never missed an opportunity to serve.

Whether it be the demons, diseases, sin, or the wind and the rain, they all become as silent and obedient as the sea did when Jesus shuts them up. He is sovereign over all creation. To go anywhere else or to anyone else to help us in our time of need is a waste of time and an insult to God. He brings us all to a point in our lives, at some point in our lives, and He puts us there so that we will call to Him and Him alone. Remember that the next time you feel lonely and in need of a friend. Remember that the next time you feel that you are at the end of your rope, as it were. God brings the storm to a climax so that we will cry out to him the same way the disciples did. He calmed the storm and rebuked their timid faith.

Let us give thanks to the Lord who gives us trials and sees us through them. If we’ll be submissive enough to believe He’s in charge we will successfully endure. Truly God disciplines those He loves, so if you’re being disciplined today be assured that He loves you!

 

Quote:

St. Augustine said: “When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune – shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him… A temptations arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the moment to awaken Christ and let him remind you of those words: ‘Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’”

Intro.

·         In beginning God gave to man; man gave to Satan. He lost his sovereignty over the earth.

·         The earth was cursed/corrupted: sickness, pain, death, war, hunger, natural disaster, etc.

·         God also planned man’s redemption through Christ: to redeem man; to redeem the earth.

·         God’s ultimate plan will be restored – no sin, no pain, no war. Man by himself could never effect such changes. We can’t even solve our own problems – spiritual or physical.

·         All power belongs to God (Ps. 62:11);

·         Take, for example, the vast universe:

o   Telescopes take us 4 billion light years – 25 sextillion miles into space. Yet we haven’t come near the edge of the universe.

o   We’ve discovered gravitational principles that keep the stars/planets in orbit, yet we can’t explain them or duplicate them.

o   The earth spins 1,000 mph at the equator, travels a 580 million mile orbit around the sun at around 1,000 miles a minute, and it careens through space with the rest of its solar system at an even faster speed in an orbit that would take billions of years to complete.

o   The energy of the sun has been estimated to be equivalent to five-hundred-million-million-billion horsepower. There at least one-hundred-thousand-million other suns in our galaxy, most of them larger than ours.

·         The microcosm: A teaspoon of water contains a million-billion-trillion atoms, which themselves are composed of smaller particles of energy and even smaller sub-particles.

·         And “God upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3).

·         Jesus came to the world to display his power. His miracles foreshadow the kingdom

Mark 4:35-41

I)            The Particulars (35-36)

A)    Four types of disciples

1)      The curious (Jn. 6:53)

2)      Intellectually convinced w/no participation (Nicodemus)

3)      Closet believers w/fear (Joseph of Arimathea)

4)      Public confessors (the Twelve)

B)     Sea of Galilee (600 feet below; Mt. Hermon 9,200 feet high above)

II)          The Problem (37-38a)

A)    Fearful & timid faith

B)     Exhausting human solutions

C)     Some sleep; others panic

III)       The Solution (38b-39) – a desperate cry to God

IV)       The Rebuke (40) – “Where is your faith?”

V)         The Application (41) – Fearful worship of God

A)    Job (42:5-6) – “I have heard of you, but now I see you”

B)     Isaiah (6:1, 5) – “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I have seen the Lord.”

C)     Daniel (10:8-9) – “No strength left in me; I fell on my face”

D)    Peter (Luke 5:8) – “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man”

E)     Paul (Acts 9:4, 8) – he fell to the ground; his eyes could see nothing.

St. Augustine said: “When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune – shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him… A temptations arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the moment to awaken Christ and let him remind you of those words: ‘Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’”

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