2020-01-12 – Mark 6.45-56 – Sink or Swim
Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2020-01-12 – Mark 6.45-56 – Sink or Swim
(Business Meeting, Birthday Blessings)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
The title of our message today is Sink or Swim. You may not know this but your pastor is a certified advanced scuba diver. I love water in general but the joy of exploring the open seas is amazing to me. Part of our scuba gear is this thing called a buoyancy control vest or BCV that has air pockets. When a diver wants to stay on top, they fill the BCV with air from the tank and you can float all day long. When you let the air out of the BCV, then you sink into the water. In scuba diving you get to choose when you want to Sink or Swim. But unfortunately in everyday life, we don’t have that choice many times. And that is what we are going to see play out today in scripture.
We have been going through the book of Mark, who was a young associate of the Apostle Peter, who called Mark his spiritual son. From Peter, Mark received first-hand knowledge of the events and teachings of Jesus, and Mark preserved that information in this book we are now studying. Mark later joined Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey after Jesus had ascended into heaven. We are so fortunate to now enjoy Mark’s Gospel for which we can now know Jesus through.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 6.45, pew Bibles pg. 893 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
Right before the holidays we left off where Jesus had fed some 5,000 men or perhaps 20,000 people all-together while they were in the wilderness. “Everyone ate and was satisfied. And they picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish”. Then starting at verse 45, Mark wrote:
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray.
Our text here in Mark doesn’t give a reason for why Jesus made the disciples leave so abruptly in the boat, However our parallel verses in John 6:15 further elaborates by saying “When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself”.
So the people Jesus fed were overly ecstatic about having a miracle provider in their midst’s. And we know they were also anxiously expecting a Messiah & Savior that was prophesied about in the Old Testament. So they naturally wanted to make Jesus their new King. But that was not what Jesus came their to do. Being their “King of the Bread” wasn’t in His plan, therefore He sent the Disciples away and He withdrew again to the mountain by himself. Mark 6:47 continues:
47 Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and [Jesus] was alone on the land. 48 He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
Again this Miracle is also listed in the Gospel books of Matthew and John, and it is good to sometimes piece together the written accounts of the stories they shared. The Disciples were hours out rowing the boats, the waves were high and the wind was pushing back against their efforts to get across the sea. It was now around six hours since they left and they were only about four miles out, and they were probably getting exhausted from all the rowing effort in the storm. Jesus saw them from afar, and I could argue that Jesus could see anyone at anytime if He so desired, and He was certainly concerned for their welfare. Verse 48 continues:
Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. 49 When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.
In and itself, this story in the book of Mark, is a great message; Jesus walked upon the storming sea.. and He saved the twelve apostles. But wait, there is more.. For instance in Matthew’s account it adds that while Jesus was still outside the boat, Peter asked Jesus if he could come walk to Him on the water. You probably know the story. When Peter came down out of the boat, he walked on the water, but then became afraid of the storm and he began to sink. He called out to Jesus “Lord save me!”, and Jesus caught him and rebuked him for his lack of faith, and led him back to the ship safely. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”. [SLIDE]
Someone might ask, why did all this happen in the first place? Didn’t Jesus know that the weather was turning bad? To that I would suggest, of course He did, Jesus knows everything. However, I would propose that even after showing all the people the miracle of creating SO MUCH FOOD, Jesus knew that some still lacked faith in Him. So now perhaps Jesus wanted to provide a special additional learning experience for His twelve Disciples. Those strong (mostly fishermen) needed a wakeup call. One that would really “rock their boats” so to speak J
I am betting that Jesus might have even called upon that storm in the first place.
The twelve Apostles were shown these special miracles, which perhaps were custom designed for them at that particular time. This event also gave Jesus the opportunity to render His great comfort, as He showed them His divine powers of walking on the water and calming the seas. And John’s account of this event says that after they got Jesus into the boat, “immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading”. I love that word immediately here. Jesus immediately transported them to the shore where they were trying to go. You might know that there are several other times where this “immediate” transportation miracle occurs in scripture. Recall as written in Acts 8:39 Phillip, after he presented the Gospel and baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch, the Bible says “when they came up out of the water the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more.. but Philip then found himself at the city of Azotus”. I would argue that Philip was instantly transported, just like I believe the apostles were transported in our verses today via the JC Transporter. Isn’t that just so cool.. And there are others too. Ezekiel, Enoch, Elijah and even the apostle Paul talks about a miraculous transportation event, and I believe it.. You might think the concept of super-sonic flight is cool, but that ain’t nothing compared to the JC Transporter, lol. God can do anything He wants, Amen? My prayer is that one day, hopefully soon, we will all be boarding that miraculous train to heaven, Praise the Lord!
Verse 53 continues:
53 When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him. 55 They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed.
Jesus is such an amazing God-man Savior and Lord. How blessed are we to be part of His flock now, and even part of His family. These last verses here show how impactful and compassionate Jesus was to the people of that region. Jesus was making His mark in a big way. There were so many in need of healing that they even laid them out in the streets, so Jesus might just walk by them and they could just touch His robe to be healed. According to this text, Jesus went to many villages and towns teaching and healing the folks. This wasn’t an isolated incident. We don’t know just how many were healed but it was obviously many, many people. What an amazing ministry, what an amazing Savior indeed.
Every time I read this piece of Bible His-story, I sort of see myself like one of the Disciples. I see myself maybe like Peter trying to follow Jesus and maybe walk on water figuratively in some way by His power. Sometimes my faith is strong and I think I can perhaps move a mountain with God on my side; but other times, like Peter, when I step out in faith, I quickly realize that I still am lacking in some regard. Where would I be without my Jesus! This Gospel testimony we have here is so precious in my sight. How blessed I am.
Throughout the New Testament we witness how Peter showed his weaknesses and his sins in many different ways, but later God still allowed Him to lead the new and growing Christian church. Peter knew his faults and weaknesses, just like we all should know our faults and weaknesses. Because it enabled Peter to become a very humble yet powerful servant leader. And those are the best kinds of leaders in my opinion. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Romans 12:2, he said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you”..
In this story Jesus showed us His authority over even the elements of the water and the storm. You might recall Jesus calmed the storms a couple of times during His three and a half year ministry. Jesus showed us His grace and mercy in feeding the people and saving the disciples and Peter, and then healing so many other people too. It is time for us to really consider Jesus Christ’s Majesty don’t you think? And truly regard Him as our Lord and King. He deserves our allegiance.
Again this message is called Sink or Swim. Like the Apostle Peter and me, I am sure there are times in your life that you feel you are sinking. Times where the world around you is falling apart, and all you can do is reach out and yell like Peter did, “Lord save me!”. Let me tell you this morning you have a Rescuer.
As the song we sang earlier is called Rescuer, let me restate a few of those lyrics as we prepare to close this message:
He’s our rescuer
We are free from sin forever more
Oh how sweet the sound
Oh how grace abounds
We will praise the lord, our rescuer
The church, which is the Body of Christ in this world, is often like a ship at sea, being tossed with the wind, and the tide seems to be frequently against us. But praise the Lord, we have Jesus Christ to hold on to in the middle of the storm.
I am here to tell you that just like when Jesus saw the Disciples from afar while He was on the mountaintop by Himself, and they were struggling in their storm, Jesus our rescuer was watching over them. And He is watching over you and I now as well. And just like Jesus held out His hand so Peter who was afraid while he sinking in the water could grab hold of it and be saved. That same Jesus will come alongside you in your life storms as well. He will hold our His righteous right hand for you so that you could choose to take hold of it and be saved.
Maybe today is one of those days?
Would you please stand and pray with me now.