2019-11-03 – Mark 4.35-41 – The Storms of Life
Bible Text: Mark 4:35-41 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2019-11-03 – Mark 4.35-41 – The Storms of Life
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.
CRASHING waves… SMASHING seas… [SLIDE]
Bringing sailors to their knees.
As they struggle to save their lives
Hoping and praying, help arrives.
Bleary eyed from lack of sleep.
Down in their cabins, huddled like sheep.
As they’re rocking and rolling down beneath
Weary sailors above, resist with gritted teeth.
The stormy seas as dark as coal,
Preventing the sailors from reaching their goal.
Battered and bruised, but still they fight…
Staring ahead, into the dead of night.
Rocking and rolling as they try to stand…
Hoping against hope, that they soon reach land.
hours later, as the storm starts to dissipate,
It leaves a calm tranquil sea in it wake.
The veteran sailors know the battle is over, and they have won…
As [they] contemplate, other storms yet to come…Poem: Storm At Sea – by amar qamar
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 4.35, pew Bibles pg. 891 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
Last week we read a parable from Jesus about Sowing Seeds. And one of the last verses we discussed is where Jesus said “Let anyone with ears listen!”
And I pray that you did listen as God gave us a good message in my opinion.
Since then, I found another passage in scripture that is related to Jesus’s plea, and it also relates to our message today called The Storms of Life. [SLIDE]
In Matthew 7:24, Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Again, the title of today’s message is The Storms of Life. We all will experience storms or difficult situations in our lives; this is a guarantee. However as Christians, even in the most dreadful of storms, we can still have much hope.
Today we are going to see how the apostles and Jesus handle a literal storm.
I have a couple pictures that complement our scripture verses here today:
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee – Rembrandt 1633
Jesus, Lord of the Storm – Carmel of St. Teresa of Jesus
Mark 4.35 Wind and Waves Obey Jesus
35 On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
This account by Mark is also written about in the Gospel books of Matthew and Luke. I thought we might find it interesting to read each of the authors’ accounts and see how they differed with each other. This is a great exercise to perhaps get a better understanding of all that had occurred as written in the Gospel passages.
Matthew 8:23-27 (pg. 862)
23 As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves—but Jesus kept sleeping. 25 So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” 26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Luke 8:22-25 (pg. 918)
22 One day he and his disciples got into a boat, and he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they were sailing he fell asleep. Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger. 24 They came and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to die!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him!”
So there you have it, the same story written and affirmed by three different authors about the Jesus and the Storm. When this was written, I believe all of the participants were still alive. All of them could have refuted it if they wanted, but there is no record of that. This was a real story about a real storm and Jesus showing His authority over it. And let me remind you that these appointed apostles were mostly all very experienced sailor-fishermen themselves. I can bet that they have seen many a storm in their days, and even on this same body of water. The fact that they were all feeling they were in danger is significant. This wasn’t a mild, everyday storm, this must have been a real gully-washer. They were truly frightened and thought they were going to die that day.
I was on that same Sea of Galilee myself just a few months ago. Fortunately for me, it was a very peaceful and amazingly beautiful day. We sang Christian hymns as we were slowly floating over that crystal clear sea J. What a blessing it was. In our verses here today, according to Mark and the other authors, that voyage was not so peaceful for the apostles and Jesus that day. In fact it was quite a treacherous sea going journey. Have you ever been on a ship in rough waters?
I promise you it isn’t any fun. The last ocean trip my family and I took included a couple days at sea during just a small storm with just a little rough waters. But even then I will admit, it was a little scary and people were starting to get sea sick. And we were aboard one of the biggest luxury liners in the world. I could hardly imagine what it must have been like to be on that rough and stormy Sea with the apostles in one of these little sail boats.
I have another picture here of a boat they only just recently found in the area of Galilee. They call it “The Jesus Boat”. I saw this boat when I was over there. The exhibit had only been open for a little while. They anticipate that this boat is similar if not the boat that maybe Jesus and the apostles were traveling in. The story of how they found and recovered the boat in the clay-bottom of the sea is quite amazing in itself. When they found the boat, they moved it with much care to the shore, then built the building around it. You can see it wasn’t a big ship, but instead a little boat that I would bet was not giving the apostles much confidence or security.
Storms on that very unique body of fresh water is very common. The small Sea of Galilee is located between two mountain ranges is also known as Lake Tiberias, through which the Jordan River flows. Its Old Testament name was Sea of Chinnereth, and later it was called the Lake of Gennesaret. It is full of fresh water and fish, which amazingly provides for half the fresh water in Israel for its people in the middle of the surrounding deserts. This lake is where Jesus chooses to show His command and authority over even the wind and the waves, where the great fishermen were quivering in panic during that storm.
There are several accounts of storms at sea recorded in scripture. The two that mostly come to mind are of course events of Noah’s Arc, and Jonah and the Whale. Noah’s storm was of course unparalleled in its capacity, it stormed for 40 days and 40 nights, and covered the whole Earth with water. I can hardly imagine what that might be like. That would be probably be considered a category 10 Hurricane, or completely off the scales at least.
Then Jonah’s story with the “Great Fish”, has a lot of parallels to our storm here in Mark. Jonah the prophet was running from God and His mission to visit Nineveh. He got in a boat that was going in the exact opposite direction. The boat was caught up in a huge storm, the sailors were likewise in fear of their lives while Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Subsequently Jonah got thrown overboard and the “Big Fish” came and swallowed him up. But that is another story for another day. But if you think about it, there are many similarities in these His-Story lessons. And what a blessing they are for us to study.
A couple interesting side-facts are, just like Noah was in the storm for 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and nights after being baptized in water. And just like Jonah was in the belly of the “Great Fish” for three days, Jesus was dead and buried for three days before he arose. There are so many interesting corollaries throughout the Bible that even the most literate scholar is easily amazed. There are also so many places in scripture that God uses all of creation to show His majesty and authority to us His children. I can’t hardly comprehend how people can read this Holy Book and not believe.
Jesus Christ, as part of the God head, just as Jeremy read earlier from Hebrews 1, is the Author and Creator of All heaven and earth. As He created this amazing existence, Jesus also shows us in our verses today that He still commands authority over it all.
In our lesson today, just like Jonah, Jesus is soundly sleeping while it seems all Hell is breaking loose about them. The creator of heaven and earth, God incarnate was sleeping in the boat during the storm, and the fishermen apostles were truly and rightfully scared out of their wits. Have you ever been truly scared? I mean truly in fear for your life scared? We all will go through storms in this life, but as Christians the storms themselves don’t define who or whose we are, however our reactions to those storms or challenges most certainly do.
The storm that day on the Sea of Galilee gave Jesus another great opportunity to prove who He really was, God in the flesh. And I just love the apostles’ response, they said, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Up to this point in Jesus’s ministry, He had healed many people, He displayed His authority to them over all kinds of mortal ailments and even demons, and He proved that He was wiser than even the Jewish Pharisees, scholars and scribes. But now Jesus was showing them His pure unadulterated creation like powers even over that of the natural elements of the world. Mother Nature has nothing on Jesus Christ; not only did He create our world in the first place, but He also commands and controls it even today. Jesus was and is the very definition of AWESOME!
And Just as that storm proved out who Jesus was to the men that day, the storms in our life will also give us the opportunity to prove out who we are as well. The storms we will face may not consist of fierce rain, wind, and lightning, however they will be life challenging that is for sure. However as Christians those storms we will face can be considered blessed opportunities and challenges, in that we can then choose to point to our mighty God in heaven, and demonstrate, like Jesus, our trust in Him. These types of opportunities are rare, and we should endeavor to prepare ourselves in advance, to hopefully have an impact on others so they might consider for themselves Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
When Jesus asked the cowering apostles the question “Why are you so afraid?”, He was asking them to explore in their own minds the cause and origin of their fear. If we truly believe that we are going to Heaven; if we truly believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, then we truly have nothing to fear. And by Jesus asking the follow-up question, “Do you still have no faith?” He was manifestly pointing to a defect in their spiritual principles and priorities. Fear is a human weakness of the Heavenly principles in the human mind.
Remember the quote “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, that was by Franklin D. Roosevelt from the 1933 in his inaugural address about the Great Depression. It was most certainly true then as it is true now. As Christ followers we most certainly do not have anything to fear. God is on His thrown, and our home is in heaven.
As we conclude this message today, I want you to realize that as the apostles were first in fear of the storm and then Jesus calmed it, then our last verse 41 says, “And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” So they were first in fear of the storm and then they were in fear of the Lord. They finally fully realized that Jesus was truly the God man He was presenting himself to be. Jesus was amazingly loving and at the same time amazingly powerful in His presence. Jesus was like no other person who ever walked the face of this world. Fully God and fully man at the same time. He was, He is, and He will always be, God in the flesh. In that I pronounce that He is worthy of your allegiance. He is worthy of your love. And He is certainly worthy to be your one and only Lord and Savior Messiah. So “Fear Not” dear Christian..
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”.
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”.
Let us pray..
Observance of The Lord’s Supper