JESUS CAN BE TRUSTED IN THE STORMS OF LIFE BECAUSE HE IS LORD OF ALL –
CONFIDENCE IN THE SUPREME AUTHORITY AND PROVIDENTIAL CARE OF OUR SOVEREIGN SAVIOR SHOULD EMBOLDEN OUR FAITH
We see disobedience to Jesus Christ all around us every day. It is reflected in the language of most people who take His name in vain all of the time without any fear of accountability. It is reflected in the type of coarse humor and jesting that people engage in constantly. It is reflected in the pursuit of the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It is reflected in their sense of independence as if they are in control of their lives and their destiny instead of the Master of the Universe. People need a deep sense of awe and wonder at the majesty of the one who is sovereign over all things. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.
What type of fear of the Lord dictates our response of obedience? What do we say or do that we would like to pull back and change if we had a deeper knowledge of our Sovereign Savior? In our familiar story this morning the disciples of Jesus have their lack of faith exposed in the crisis of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus rebukes them with some stinging words for their cowardice and lack of faith. They have allowed their fears to consume their faith. They have perversely entertained the heresy that it seems as if their God doesn’t care about their welfare.
This is not just a simple story about how Jesus can smooth over the rough trials of your life and calm all of the seas that might be troubling you in terms of your external circumstances. Yes He can heal your diseases; Yes He can restore relationships; Yes He can put you on sound financial footing . . . if He desires. He can also choose to allow that disease to consume you physically or allow your job and finances to bottom out. But more importantly, He wants you to trust Him today for who He truly is – the one that even the wind and the sea Obey. Think how important this message was to the Gentile believers in Rome who were starting to face severe persecution because of their faith. I have gotten into the boat with Jesus and pushed off to head for the other shore – how is this going to end for me? Heroes of the Faith – Heb. 11:32-40
– 3 Clear Pictures – like snapshots or selfies – study these pictures; pull them back up and reflect on them
– 3 Penetrating Questions – drive home the lesson
I. (:35-37) PICTURE OF A TERRIFYING STORM — STORMS WILL ARISE IN LIFE IN THE CONTEXT OF GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL CARE
A. (:35) Jesus Leads Us Into Difficult Trials
“And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them,
‘Let us go over to the other side.’”
Same day when He had been teaching them precious insights about the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Now Jesus was taking them out of the classroom for some laboratory field work. Some of the best lessons are impressed upon us in the crucible of times of testing.
Crossing over to the east side (Gentile side) of the Sea of Galilee – 13 miles long; 7 ½ miles wide
Trip started at sundown and took place during the evening hours – adding to the terror
Grassmick: Mark’s selection of parables is followed by a series of miracles, indicating that what Jesus did (His works) authenticated what He said (His words). Both relate to the presence of God’s sovereign rule (kingdom) in Jesus. . . This section contains four miracles that clearly show Jesus’ sovereign authority over various hostile powers: a storm at sea (4:35-41); demon possession (5:1-20); incurable physical illness (5:25-34); and death (5:21-24, 35-43).
Wiersbe: Did Jesus know that the storm was coming? Of course He did! The storm was a part of that day’s curriculum. It would help the disciples understand a lesson that they did not even know they needed to learn: Jesus can be trusted in the storms of life. Many people have the idea that storms come to their lives only when they have disobeyed God, but this is not always the case. Jonah ended up in a storm because of his disobedience, but the disciples got into a storm because of their obedience to the Lord.
Scott Grant: Hear Jesus’ invitation: “Let us go over to the other side.” Is our Lord inviting you to venture into some unknown territory for his sake?
B. (:36) Never Forget the Presence of Jesus in the Midst of Trials
“And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was, in the boat; and other boats were with Him.”
Vividness of the eyewitness details provided here
“just as He was” – He had been teaching the multitudes from a boat a little ways off the shore; now He proceeds across the Sea without first going ashore – you sense maybe some urgency; desire to get away from the crowds
Yet other boats try to accompany Him; we are not told how they fared in the storm – but probably were spared as well
Stedman: And now we come to the physical exhaustion produced by the tremendous demands of the crowds upon Jesus. Here he is, at the end of a very heavy day of teaching, of ministering, and of healing. He is worn out. . . Mark also indicates that there were certain witnesses present to testify to the unusual phenomenon which occurred: “And other boats were with him.” Mark adds that to reassure us that what happened during that journey was not an hallucination.
MacArthur: Luke tells us they were sailing along. And Luke uses a very specific verb, the verb is pleo and it means to sail, not elauno, which means to row. You row when there’s no wind. You sail when there’s wind. So it was an ideal situation. The water was calm. They were sailing along. Those boats had the capability of being rowed. They had oars but they also had a mast and a sail. And when the breeze came up, they would sail. They launched from the shore and they were sailing along with a gentle breeze in the calm waters of dusk, pushed toward that eastern shore. Off they go.
C. (:37) Terrifying Storms Can Put Us Seemingly on the Brink of Disaster
“And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.”
Must have been a terrifying storm if the most seasoned professional fishermen thought that they were goners
Hiebert: such sudden, furious storms of hurricane proportions were characteristic of the lake, which lies 628 feet below sea level. These storms often swept down on the sea through the deep gaps in the highlands surrounding the lake. The deep ravines served as gigantic funnels to draw the wind down upon the waters.
II. (:38) PICTURE OF PERFECT PEACE — DON’T MISTAKE THE CALM OF THE SAVIOR FOR INDIFFERENCE
A. What Does Perfect Peace Look Like?
“And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;”
We are going to see His humanity in his exhaustion and need for sleep and then His deity in His power and control over the forces of nature
Remember the farmer in the parable above went to sleep in perfect confidence in the sovereign power of the one who would bring about kingdom growth
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”
B. 3 Wrong Assumptions by the Disciples
“and they awoke Him and said to Him,
‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’”
Comes across in Mark’s gospel as a rebuke of Jesus
3 wrong assumptions:
1. Jesus is not just another Teacher
2. Jesus does care – not indifferent or hard-hearted
3. The disciples are not going to perish
Stand Still and see the salvation of the Lord
III. (:39) PICTURE OF SUPREME AUTHORITY — THE SOVEREIGN SAVIOR CAN CALM THE TERRIFYING STORMS OF LIFE
“And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea,
‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”
Supreme Authority means Absolute Control
Should not be surprising that the Creator can control His creation
Grassmick: “Be muzzled and remain so” – force of the perfect tense . . . somewhat of a technical term for dispossessing a demon of his power (cf. 1:25) and may suggest that Jesus recognized demonic powers behind the ferocious storm.
Hendriksen: What is very striking is that not only the winds immediately quiet down, but so do even the waves. Generally, as is well-known, after the winds have perceptibly diminished, the billows will continue to roll for a while, surging and subsiding as if unwilling to follow the example of the now subdued air currents above them. But in this instance winds and waves synchronize in the sublime symphony of a solemn silence. Something comparable to an evening stillness of the starry heavens settles upon the waters. Suddenly the surface of the sea had become smooth as a mirror.
IV. (:40-41) THREE QUESTIONS TO DRIVE HOME THE LESSON:
Remember the Lesson:
JESUS CAN BE TRUSTED IN THE STORMS OF LIFE BECAUSE HE IS LORD OF ALL –
In the most threatening of circumstances
A. (:40) Two Questions Asked by Jesus of the Disciples –
Why are you so timid? Why are you cowardly?
Why Don’t You Trust Me?
“And He said to them, ‘Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?’”
Greater danger than the storm:
No faith – 7:18; 8:17-21, 33; 9:19
Their lack of faith seems more directed towards His lack of attentiveness to their needs rather than to His power to save
Heb. 3:12 “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.”
Edwards: Typically in Mark, whenever the person and work of Jesus are highlighted, so, too, are discipleship. For Mark, the revelation of Jesus as God’s Son is not an isolated datum that transpires in a vacuum. Jesus’ self-disclosure occurs in the presence of insiders so that they may be enabled to hear, comprehend, and increase in faith. Who Jesus is lays a claim on what his disciples may become. These two elements of Christology and discipleship are evident in the present story.
Hampton Keathley: Fear is the result of a lack of faith. It is a failure to believe that God is good and God is in control. Although we all believe that Jesus is God, do we live every day like we really believe that He is really in control of every situation? Sometimes we say, “God was so gracious” when something good happens like He’s not gracious all the time. Sometimes we say something like, “Where was God when I needed Him?” When if we were taking a theology exam in the classroom, we know that God is omnipresent. That is a human description of our experience, not a statement of good theology.
B. (:41) Question Asked by the Disciples of One Another – Who Is This Jesus?
“And they became very much afraid and said to one another,
‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’”
Our response to the Sovereign Savior should reflect the extent of His providential power and care
Grassmick: In stilling the storm Jesus assumed the authority exercised only by God in the Old Testament (cf. Pss. 89: 8-9; 104:5-9; 106:8-9; 107:23-32).
Stedman: The word translated “awe” means “fear,” but it is a different kind of fear than that which occurs earlier. Then it was cowardly fear; here it is that sense of deep respect which has awe at its heart. Thus out of the failure of their faith there came this deeper impression, this glimpse into the mystery of his Personhood, which filled them with a deep sense of awe: “Who can this be, that even wind and sea obey him, who controls all the elements of the natural world. Who then is this?” The wonderful thing about this incident is that even though the disciples flunked their examination of faith, the groundwork was laid for a new expression of faith the next time they were under test. Thus their own failure opened the possibility for a new expression of faith to come.
Stedman: “Remember, the boat will not sink, and the storm will not last forever. That is having faith — to remember those facts.”
Hymn: Does Jesus Care When My Heart is Pained
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press,
And the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades
Into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief
There is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches
Till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
Illustration: Just saw the movie about Jeremy Camp: “I Still Believe” – very powerful