From Fear to Faith – Mark 4:35-41

1 | P a g e T h e G o s p e l o f M a r k – H I C B C
From Fear to Faith
June 2, 2019
 Mark 4:35–41 ~ 35 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 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. 38 Jesus Himself 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 got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
PROPOSITION: In Mark 4:35-41, we see three “great” details of this miracle on the lake that show us the authority of Jesus to strengthen our faith in difficult times.
I. The Danger: A Great Storm (vv. 35-38)
II. The Deliverance: A Great Calm (v. 39)
III. The Deficiency: A Great Fear (vv. 40-41)
1. The __________: A Great __________ (vv. 35-38)
2. The __________: A Great __________ (v. 39)
3. The __________: A Great __________ (vv. 40-41)
Personal Notes:
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Introduction
• Good morning! What a joy it is for us to be here with you this morning.
o And, it is a joy to have all of my family with me this morning…the first time I came it was just me…then we added Brianne (My wife) on the next trip…now we have the whole family!
▪ My kids Jacob 13, Ellie, 11, Andrew (10), Zoe (10), Josiah (8)
▪ I’m not sure who we’ll add to the group for next time ☺
• I want to say a huge and heart-felt thank you for your support and love for our family.
o Your prayers, notes, emails, text messages have been a huge source of support and encouragement to us.
• We are so thankful for you all and the ways that God is at work here at Hope in Christ Bible Church.
o We have really enjoyed our time with some of you so far on this trip…and with Peter and Sonya.
o You have spoiled us with all of the food, the fun, the fellowship…
• So, thank you to you all!
o It is a great joy to partner in ministry with you for the glory of God…you here, in Michigan, and us in Malawi.
• And if you aren’t familiar with Malawi, you can look it up on the map sometime.
• And you will notice that Malawi has the very incredible and very beautiful Lake Malawi as the eastern border…the ninth largest freshwater lake in the world.
o If you want to come visit us, we’ll take you to the lake!
o Here, I guess you have great lakes, so you can understand big lakes.
• And, I’m assuming that most of you have probably been out on a lake at some point.
• Where I grew up, in Spokane WA, we had many lakes…some large, some small.
• One year, my friend Dan bought himself a small sailboat…maybe 15 feet long or so.
o It was small enough that one person could sail it alone…but just barely large enough for us two 12-year-old boys to sail in it together.
• Well, we usually sailed on some small lakes, but one day, we took it with our families to a much larger lake a couple hours away from our home.
• And we were heading out sailing that afternoon…but Dan’s little brother begged us to let him come along.
o Well, there was no room left in the boat…but being nice brothers, we decided he could sit on the front of the boat.
o Let me emphasize ON, not IN…he sat up on the bow holding onto a handle that was there for pulling the boat out of the water.
• Things were going well at first, then a large storm came unexpectedly around from the next bay over in the lake.
o We worked desperately to keep the boat under control and at an acceptable speed.
o But, I have to admit…we were terrified.
o And we were IN the boat…but don’t forget Dan’s poor little brother Stephen sitting up front ON the boat holding on for dear life and screaming like a mad man.
o We tried to convince him everything was OK, but that is hard to do when you don’t actually believe it yourself.
• Eventually we dropped the sail completely…but the wind was so fierce it was still trying to fill up the sail as it rested in the boat.
o So then, I started gathering the sail up sitting on it.
o But then we didn’t have a good way to move except for a small paddle we had.
• Eventually some people in a motor boat came by and towed us in with a rope.
• And believe it or not, Dan’s little brother never went sailing with us again!
• And for some of you, something like that might be your worst nightmare: being a boat that might sink.
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o Maybe you don’t swim…
o Maybe you are afraid of fish nibbling your toes…or worse…
o Maybe the idea of being lost out on a lake terrifies you…
• But whatever it is…we all have fears.
o And we all go through difficult times.
• And I’m not talking about three boys having a scary sailing trip.
• The truth is, we all go through difficulty with things in this life like:
o Major or long-lasting illnesses…
o Lost jobs…unemployment…
o Broken marriages…
o Wayward children…struggles with parents…
o Unexpected bills…
o Strained friendships or family relationships…
o False accusations…persecution…
o Being a victim of a crime…
o Death of friends and loved ones…
• And in those times of great difficulty, hurt, pain, fear…we naturally call out to God for help.
o Christians and non-Christians alike!
o This is, in many ways, a very natural response of the human soul to cry out to the God who made us…whether we love him or not.
• But as born-again Christians, this is very important.
o Because are not calling out to some unknown God or generic deity…
o We are calling out to our Heavenly Father…Abba…
• But, if we are honest with ourselves, there are times we wonder: is God really there?
o Is He listening?
o If He is listening, does he even care?
o Maybe you have experienced this in your life!
• In the midst of our struggles and difficulties it can be very easy to wonder if God really loves us.
o We are temped to doubt…not doubt God’s existence…but doubt his care for us.
• And today, in the book of Mark, we are going to look at a passage that deals with this very issue: a crisis of faith in the midst of a difficult situation.
o And the reality is, the disciples who experienced this trial are a lot like us.
o They didn’t respond well…and we get to learn from their mistakes.
• So, specifically, and this is in your notes:
o In Mark 4:35-41, we see three “great” details of this miracle on the lake that show us the authority of Jesus to strengthen our faith in difficult times.
• Mark, in his gospel, presents Jesus as the Servant Redeemer…but in this passage we get to see that the Servant Redeemer is also the Divine and Authoritative, Ruler of All Creation.
• And you will notice that I put the word “great” in quotes…that is on purpose.
o Mark uses a Greek word for great three times in this short story.
• So we are looking at the story from the perspective of Mark’s three times using the word great. Let me read the passage first…
 Mark 4:35–41 ~ 35 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 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. 38 Jesus Himself 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 got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
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• So let’s look at the first detail:
I. The Danger: A Great Storm (vv. 35-38)
 Mark 4:35–36 ~ 35 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.
• The phrase on that day takes us all the way back to v. 1 of this chapter.
o There Jesus was teaching along the shore of the Sea or Lake of Galilee.
o And he put out in a boat just a bit offshore to teach…
o He had taught with a number of parables…
• And now, with the day coming to a close, Jesus suggests that they go over to the other side of the lake.
o They would be traveling from the West shore over the East shore.
• And v. 36 says that they left the crowd and headed off directly (no need to even go ashore).
o And there were even other boats with them, Mark mentions.
• Now, one question in my mind is: how big is this boat they are in?
• Well, in 1986, in the mud along the shore of the lake they found the hull of a boat from Jesus’ time.
o It was 26½ feet long, 7½ feet wide, and 4½ feet high.
o This corresponds in design to a first-century mosaic of a Galilean boat preserved nearby.
o It had a place for two people on each side to row…and could fit about 15 people total.
o So, most likely, this is very similar to what Jesus and the disciples were on: bigger than my friends’ sailboat, but not huge.
• And all of that sets up the Danger of a Great storm…look at v. 37:
 Mark 4:37 ~ 37 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.
• Here is our first use of the word great…NASB has “fierce”
o It is where we get the English word MEGA.
o It means intense…violent…enormous…great!
• And this was a MEGA windstorm!
o The word for fierce gale can even be translated: tempest, whirlwind, hurricane.
▪ This is a violent storm!
o The waves were breaking over the boat…they were pounding and slamming against the sides of it.
o So much so that the waves were coming up over the edges and the boat was already filling up with water…
• This was a wild and crazy storm that was just battering this boat with Jesus and His disciples in it.
• And this was not totally uncommon for the Sea of Galilee…but it was a bad one!
o It was actually about 700 feet below sea level in a semitropical climate.
o To the Northeast of it was Mt. Hermon rising over 9,000 feet.
o The cold air from Mt. Hermon and the warm air from the lake would collide to make the furious and unexpected storms.
• And this was definitely a violent storm.
• But look at v. 38 to see what Jesus was doing.
 Mark 4:38 ~ 38 Jesus Himself 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?”
• Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat!
o Sleeping on a cushion or pillow that they often kept in the boats.
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• But the disciples are absolutely terrified…because they think they are dying…
• And they are panicking…so they go and wake Jesus up:
o Don’t you care that we are perishing???
o Don’t you care that we are all going to die???
• They truly feared for their lives!
• Now, some of you can probably sympathize with that right away…fear of the water!
o But remember, some of these men were professional fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.
o They had grown up on these waters.
o So a storm bad enough to scare them to death must have been one spectacular and violent storm!
• So that was the danger: a great storm!
• But let’s look at the next detail:
II. The Deliverance: A Great Calm (v. 39)
• Look at v. 39:
 Mark 4:39 ~ 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.
• Jesus woke up from his nap…and he does something shocking.
o He speaks to the wind and to the sea.
• But before we look at what he says, let’s keep this in mind.
o Jesus’ sleeping was not a sign that he didn’t care about the disciples.
o Remember, HE was in the boat too!
o His sleeping was a sign of his absolute sovereignty and control.
o He was perfectly at peace…He did not worry about the storm…it was not going to drown Him…and thus it was not going to drown the disciples either.
o Jesus did care about them!
o He just knew there was nothing to truly worry about.
• Now, consider what he does.
• First, Jesus rebuked the wind…
o Jesus speaks words of disapproval to the wind!
▪ He reproves a meteorological phenomenon!
▪ He commands the wind to stop!
o But here is the amazing part…the wind listens!
o Later in the verse is says the wind died down!
▪ It stopped completely…at His command.
• And then, Jesus said to the sea or the lake: Hush! Be still!
o Now, this is interesting wording.
o Hush…or peace! Is a command to be quiet! Stop making noise…the noise of the crashing waves in this situation.
o Be Still! Is a word commanding silence…and it was used of muzzling an animal.
▪ Jesus was forcing the waves into quiet submission.
o This time Jesus is speaking to water…to a lake…
o But the water obeys his voice!!!
o Look at the end of the verse: it became perfectly calm OR there was a great calm!!!
• So here is our next use of the word great…just as there had been a great storm…a mega storm…now there is a great calm…a mega calm.
o The word calm means tranquility…silence…
o Imagine undisturbed water that is like glass…perfectly smooth…
▪ The kind you water-skiers have dreams about!
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o That is what happened to the Sea of Galilee!
▪ Instant calm.
• Now, what is interesting is that the words for rebuked and be still were both used in Mark 1:25 when Jesus was speaking to demons and casting them out.
o So some have suggested that the violent nature of the storm might have even been demonic.
• Mark doesn’t tell us for sure…but here is what we do know:
o Jesus commanded the weather (the wind) and creation (the lake) and both of them listened and obeyed him!!!
o No mere mortal can do this! No one but God alone…the creator and sustainer of all the universe!
 Colossians 1:16–17 ~ 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
o Jesus is God
o He has all authority of creation and he feely exercises that authority here.
• So the disciples had been terrified of the danger of the great storm…
o But they experienced miraculous deliverance in the form of a great calm commanded by Jesus.
• And with that we have seen the authority of Jesus…and knowing his authority over all things strengthens our faith in difficult times because we can know and trust that he cares and he is in control.
• But, unfortunately, that is not how our story ends…there is one more detail we need to see:
III. The Deficiency: A Great Fear (vv. 40-41)
• This is sort of the downer part of the story.
o But we have already seen this.
• Think of how the disciples had initially reacted to the danger:
o Fear…panic…disbelief.
o They woke Jesus up and accused him of not caring about them!
▪ They were so afraid that they actually accused Jesus!
▪ Can you believe it?
• Well, by now they may have been feeling pretty sheepish since Jesus delivered them with just a few words.
• But Jesus turns from rebuking the wind and waves and he rebukes his disciples next:
 Mark 4:40 ~ 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”
• This word for afraid here means timid and cowardly!
o “Why are you such cowards?” Jesus asks.
• And then the real root of the problem is found in his next question: How is it that you have no faith?
o Don’t you believe in me yet?
o Don’t you truly trust me yet?
o This was their great deficiency: they were lacking faith…still…even after all they had seen and heard.
• This is a stinging rebuke for the disciples…they had been cowardly and faithless…and Jesus calls them out on it.
• And look at how they respond:
 Mark 4:41 ~ 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
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• Here is our last “great” in this story: very much afraid means a great fear! Mega fear!
• It seems that after Jesus rebuked them, they kind of huddled up together talking just to one another.
o And what characterized this group was they became very much afraid!
o They had a great fear!
• Now, this is NOT the same word for cowardly fear that Jesus used…it is a different word.
• We might call this a terrified awe…but they were truly terrified now.
• They had been afraid of the storm and worried about what it would do.
o But now they had realized that they were sitting in a boat with the One who could command the wind and the waves to obey him.
o They were in the presence of one much, much more terrifying than the storm.
• And so they had a great fear!
• And they are asking one another: who is this???
o Even the wind and sea obey Him???
• Their faith in Christ was sorely deficient and lacking…and now there was this fearful awe and wonder at what they had seen.
o But this was, in a sense, all backward!
o They should have seen and believed who he was because of what he did!
• But they are asking: Who is this? Who do the wind and sea obey?
o The answer is the Son of God!
▪ They wouldn’t fully grasp this until after his death and resurrection.
o But that was the right answer to their question of who Jesus is: God incarnate!
• They should have had a deep-rooted faith…not wondering who he was…but knowing who Jesus truly was.
o This faith would have kept them from panic and kept them from accusing Jesus of not caring.
o They could have been at peace and resting like Him if they had faith.
• But they lacked faith…so they panicked in the storm…they were cowardly…and now they are left with a great fear as they are realizing the magnitude of who Jesus is.
• And we have much to learn from them and their deficiency of faith…
Conclusion
• In fact, we have much to learn from this entire story.
• Consider again all the “great” details we saw:
o I. The Danger: A Great Storm (vv. 35-38)
o II. The Deliverance: A Great Calm (v. 39)
o III. The Deficiency: A Great Fear (vv. 40-41)
• And these great details, I believe, were intended by Mark to show us the authority of Jesus and thus strengthen our faith in difficult times.
o The early church clung to these truths!
o They believed that Jesus was with them and cared for them too.
o One author wrote:
o “It is not surprising that in early Christian art the Church was depicted as a boat driven upon a perilous sea; with Jesus in the midst, there was nothing to fear.” 1
o That is a great picture of our lives: facing the fierce winds of doubt or temptation or trial…but we are strengthened by the presence of Jesus with us.
• And let us consider how we can learn these lessons too.
o How can we have the faith that we should? That the disciples lacked?
1 William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974), 178.
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• Let me give you a couple of thoughts, but I trust that as doers of the word, you will have others as well…but here are some ideas:
• First, we need to realize that trails, struggles, difficult times…these are NOT signs that Jesus does not care and that God is not concerned about us.
o Quite the opposite!
• God is very clear that he specifically uses trials to grow our faith and to mature us:
 James 1:2–4 ~ 2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
 Romans 5:3–5 ~ 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ~ 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
• So God uses trials and difficulties to grow us…to mature us…to prepare us for heaven!
o Don’t for a minute think that He doesn’t care.
• God is carefully working every trial, every difficulty, AND every joy and blessing for our good:
 Romans 8:28 ~ 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
• Therefore…what we need to do is exactly what the disciples failed in on that boat.
• We need to have FAITH!
o Not weak, tired, struggling faith…but robust, living, powerful faith based on the character of our God!
• We know that Jesus Christ is the creator and sustainer of the universe.
o We know that our God is all powerful, all-wise, and all-knowing.
o We know that our God is sovereign and unchanging…
• AND we know that he loves us as His children…we know that our sins are forgiven in Christ…
o And when God looks at His children, he doesn’t just see some sinner who never seems to get things right…
o He sees our sin as all paid for by the sacrificial death of Jesus.
o And he sees the righteousness of Christ Jesus applied to our account.
o And, God loves us like He loves His own Son!
o There is no condemnation for us because we are in Christ Jesus.
o This is the reality of our salvation.
• But we are a forgetful people…thus we need to remind ourselves of these truths over and over.
• We need to fill our minds with these realities from the Word of God and mediate on them.
• And when we believe these realities…when we trust that this is true…then we will be ready to face the difficulties that God brings into our lives.
o We won’t need to question His love for us…
o We won’t need to be overwhelmed or scared by the trials…
o We won’t need to give into anxiety, worry, or panic…
o We won’t need to get angry at the situation…
o We can rest in the greatness of our Savior and His loving care for us.
• Jesus is with us if we are truly born again…He is with all of His children.
o It is his presence that comforts us.
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• After experiencing this miracle…the disciples were asking a question: Who is this?
o We know the answer…
o But I like how the Roman solider put it at end of Mark after Jesus died:
 Mark 15:39 ~ 39 When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
• The disciples were slowly learning this.
• Brothers and sisters…let us not be slow to believe.
• The man who spoke peace to the wind and waves is our Mighty Savior…
o And He is the One who cares for our souls and speaks peace to them as well.
• May our faith in Jesus Christ continue to grow…may we put fear aside…as we trust in Him day by day…moving from fear to faith.
• Let’s pray.