The Gospel of Mark – Part 17
Jesus Calms a Storm – Mark 4:35-41
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Nov. 17th, 2019
- The Gospel of Mark’s main goal is to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ and draw the reader to answer the question of the identity of Jesus. In telling His story, Mark, in highlight and headline form, relays the teaching and actions of Jesus, along with His interactions with all kinds of people and their varied reactions to Him.
- In Mark 4, he gives us four parables in a row all based on the seed of the word and the advancement of the Kingdom in the hearts and minds of people. The word is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and produces powerful results in those who are attentive to what they hear, who treasure the word, and who receive the truth into the “soil of their soul” which has been prepared through repentance, humility and intentionality so that the seed will grow strong and produce a bountiful harvest.
- After giving this string of teaching, Mark then tells of four powerful interactions with nature, demons, sickness and death that demonstrate the authority of Jesus over them all. The first of these stories is when Jesus demonstrates His authority by calming a powerful storm with three words. My hope, from our passage for today, is that you will understand that in following the instructions of Jesus there will be storms that come along the way, that Jesus cares for you, that we are to put our faith in Him and what we should truly fear.
Mark 4:35-37 ESV
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 windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
Storms along the way
- Jesus and His disciples had a long day of ministry and teaching. People had come from all over the region and a huge crowd had gathered to hear Him. There were so many people that Jesus and His disciples got into a boat and pulled out a short distance from the shore so Jesus could teach them.
- When evening had come, Jesus directed His disciples to go across the sea to the other side. They immediately left the crowd, just as they were, and followed the instruction of Jesus to go to the other side of the sea and other boats came along with them.
- And as they were going, a “great windstorm arose.” This was not just a slight breeze or some little waves. The storm was so strong that it made seasoned sailors afraid. It was filling their boat with water and they were in danger of sinking.
- In following the instructions of Jesus there will be storms along the way . . . and sometimes because you are following the directives of Jesus, you will run directly into a storm. Don’t be upset or surprised by this. And don’t think that because you are following the will of the Lord that everything will be easy and go smoothly. The end result is worth it, but the journey will have challenges. Jesus told us that, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33 NIV). Peter told us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12 ESV).
- Look to the life of the apostle Paul for example – he was shipwrecked three times / your car-bus may break down-your flights may be canceled; he was bitten by a snake / you may be bitten by a tick; his eyes were failing him / you may come down with cancer or arthritis; he was abandoned by his friends / you may be abandoned by yours; he had anxieties and pressures / you may have anxieties and pressure (see also 2 Cor. 11:23-29). To reach God’s destination and accomplish His goals, you must persevere though the process. Don’t be surprised by storms that come. Continue to persevere and do not give up.
- And when we are in difficulty and our ship is taking on water and we are sinking, often we ask the same question of Jesus that the disciples did, “Do you care about what is happening?”
Mark 4:38 -39 ESV
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 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.
Does Jesus care?
- Here the close friends and followers of Jesus were doing as they were instructed and were being sunk by a great storm. And here Jesus was, asleep on a cushion in the cabin, seemingly oblivious to their plight. Just because Jesus is silent does not mean that He is not with you.
- In those times of desperation and struggle, often the question of our heart is, “Jesus do you care about what is happening? Do you see, do you know, do you care?” And Jesus responded to them. He spoke three words, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Just three words from Jesus can turn a great storm into a great calm. He has authority over all things. Sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He will calm us, but in all times He does care. Never doubt that for a second.
Heb 13:5 ESV
“I will never leave you nor forsake you”
Matt 28:20 ESV
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- In times of hardship or heartache the question is “is God good and can we trust Him?” The answer is that He is good, and you can trust Him. He will be with you in all things and He will make everything right in the end. The question is not is God good, but will you believe?
- After Jesus rebuked the wind, he turned and questioned His disciples.
Mark 4:40 ESV
He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Knowledge is not faith
- Knowledge of Jesus is not the same as faith in Jesus. They had knowledge of Jesus, they had heard His words, they had seen His power, they knew that He was with them in the storm. But having knowledge of Him is not the same as having faith in Him. The devil knows Jesus, but He hates Him. The religious leaders had knowledge of Jesus, but they condemned him. People know things about Jesus, but this does not mean that they believe that He is God and that they need to repent and place their faith in what He had done on their behalf. You either believe who He says He is or you do not. You either put your faith and trust in Him or you do not. And your response to Jesus is the most important decision one can ever make.
- A measure of fear is healthy and human, but those who have faith in Jesus will never be abandoned and will never be overcome. We will face hardship, we will suffer, some may be killed. But all things will be made new and you will have victory even over death because of faith in Christ and His authority even over death itself. “Fear not” is the most frequent command given in scripture and the reason that we are not to fear is because the “I am” is with us.
- After the disciples and those who were with them saw the authority of Jesus over nature by rebuking the storm, they questioned their faith –
Mark 4:41 ESV
And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”
What you should truly fear
- They were afraid of the storm that was coming at the boat but after Jesus calmed the storm, they were even more afraid of who was in the boat. They asked, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? If the wind and the sea obey Him, who is he?” What kind of person is this? What kind of authority and power does He possess?
- If they knew their Old Testament scripture, they would know that God alone has power over the wind and the sea. This actual event was described in Psalm 107
Ps 107:28-30 ESV
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
- This event gave evidence that Jesus was the Lord. That He is the Christ, the Messiah the Son of God. And they were right in fearing Him more than anything because He has power over everything. Jesus told us whom to fear.
Luke 12:4-5 ESV
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
- Everything that happens on this earth is temporary. The worst that can happen and the worst that people can do, only lasts for a lifetime. The thing that we should be most concerned about is not what happens to us here on earth, but what happens in eternity. The person that we should really fear is the one who has the authority to cast us into hell.
- Faith in Jesus is the only thing that can calm the storm of God’s wrath against sin. Jesus is the only thing that can bring peace to that storm.
- Each one of us will give an account of ourselves to God. “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb 9:27 ESV).
Rom 3:23-25 NIV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
- Because of God’s love He judges sin. And all of us are guilty and are rightfully under His wrath. However, Jesus had taken the punishment due us on himself so that we can be forgiven and justified by His grace through our faith in Him. If you have not done so already, place your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins today. Pledge your life to following and serving Him.
- Also, if you are facing “storms” in your life as you are following the direction of Jesus, know that He cares for you, He is with you, and He will see you through. Continue to have faith in Him and know that He will get you safely home.