3/05/2011

5) The Power (Mark 4:35-41)

Chap 1: The Dance (Trinity) (Mark 1:9-11): Are others dancing around you?
Chap 2: The Gospel and The Call (Mark 1:14-20): Is your teaching good news or good advice?
Chap 3: The Healing (Mark 2:1-5): Are your sins are mainly against God or people?
Chap 4: The Rest (Mark 2:23-3:6): Are you resting in your desperate efforts for significance?

Quotes: Is God safe? "Of course he's not safe. Who said anything abut being safe? But he's good. He's the King." (55) C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

"God is God, and since he is God, he is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere else but in his will, and that will is necessarily infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to." (54) Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor

"(Jesus) lets things happen that I don't understand. But if Jesus is God, then he's got to be great enough to have some reasons to let you go through things you can't understand." (54)
"If the disciples had really known that Jesus loved them, if they had really understood that he is both powerful and loving, they would not have been scared. Their premise, that if Jesus loved them he wouldn't let bad things happen to them, was wrong." (54)

"If (Jesus is) Lord of the storm, then no matter what shape the world is in--or your life is in--you will find Jesus provides all the healing, all the rest, all the power you could possibly want." (52)

Intro: The account of Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41) reveals the power of Jesus, which is the almighty power of God.

The Sea of Galilee sits 700 feet below sea level, and just 30 miles to the north is Mount Hermon, 9,200 feet high. The cold air from the mountains continually clashes with warm air coming up from the Sea of Galilee, creating impressive thunderstorms and squalls. Jesus' disciples, as professional fishermen, were used to them. But this was some storm, as they cried out in fear to Jesus, who was sleeping, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38) In response, Jesus woke up, and 2 amazing things happened:

  1. Jesus simply uttered, "Quiet! Be still!" (Mark 4:39)
  2. The storm obeyed like a compliant child.
Is This Story a Fabrication, or an Eyewitness Account?

Skeptics doubt the miracles of Jesus, such as this one, for clearly no one would ever be able to calm a raging storm, simply by saying, "Quiet! Be still!" unless ... he is God Himself. In ancient times, made up stories or legends do not include unnecessary detail. According to Richard Bauckham, a biblical scholar, those who regard the gospel accounts as fiction have trouble explaining why Mark, if he made up this story, would include details that do not shore up his "lie" that Jesus indeed calmed this raging storm, details such as "other boats" being around (Mark 8:36) when Jesus set out across the Sea of Galilee, or that Jesus was "in the stern, sleeping on a cushion" (Mark 8:38). A support for this not being a fictitious account was that these "irrelevant details" were included simply because the eyewitnesses remember them.

Does Jesus have power, or is Jesus power itself?

With a simple command from Jesus, "the wind died down and it was completely calm" (Mark 4:39). It seems redundant here, but Mark recorded 2 things happening simultaneously: the wind stopped, AND the sea became completely calm. Usually, when the wind stops, the waves still may rage for hours. But with Jesus' word, both the wind and the waves stopped immediately.

Fear During the Storm, Terror when the Storm was Quieted

Before Jesus calms the storm, they were afraid--but after Jesus calms the storm, they were terrified (Mark 4:38-41). Why? It is obvious that they were scared during the storm, right? Yet, Jesus asked them, "Why are you so afraid?" (Mark 4:40) Duh! They were afraid of drowning. They were afraid Jesus who loved them would allow such things to happen to them.

"Why are you so afraid?" To Jesus, their premise was wrong. They should have known better. Jesus was basically saying, "I do allow people I love to go through storms. You had no reason to panic in fear."

Then why were they afraid even after the storm ended and there was no more danger of drowning? Mark writes, "They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'” (Mark 4:41) Why were they more terrified in the calm than they were in the storm? Because Jesus was as unmanageable as the storm itself. We will never live in fear if we fully trust in God who is good, and who knows best, even when he allows us to live through a raging storm.

How do I Have Faith in a Storm? (A Parallel Storm Account in Jonah)

[You (I) need to go to Jesus for faith. If you do, you'll find that Jesus has been seeking you all along. Jesus is the author of faith, the provider of faith, and the object of faith.]

Both Jesus and Jonah were in a boat, and both boats were overtaken by a storm. Both Jesus and Jonah were asleep. In both stories the sailors woke up the sleeper and said, "We're going to die." In both cases, there was a miraculous divine intervention and the sea was calmed. In both stories, the sailors then became even more terrified than they were before the storm was calmed.

2 almost identical stories--with just 1 difference. In the midst of the storm, Jonah said to the sailor, in effect: "If I perish, you survive. If I die, you will live" (Jonah 1:12). And they threw him out, which doesn't happen in Mark's story. Or does it?

Jesus said elsewhere, "Now something greater than Jonah is here" (Matt 12:41; Luke 11:32). Jesus is referring to himself: "I'm the true Jonah." What does Jesus mean by this?

How Jesus Calms Our Ultimate Storm

As the true Jonah, Jesus meant this: Someday I'm going to calm all storms, still all waves. I'm going to destroy destruction, break brokenness, kill death. How? When Jesus was on the cross, he was thrown--willingly, like Jonah--into the ultimate storm, under the ultimate waves, the waves of sin and death. Jesus was thrown into the only storm that can actually sink us--the storm of eternal justice, of what we owe for our wrongdoing. That storm wasn't calmed--not until it swept him away. And someday, he will return and still all storms for eternity. If Jesus willingly faced the ultimate storm for us, will he abandon us in the much smaller storms we experience now? (Rom 8:32) Here is Justin Taylor's blog on "Jonah and Jesus" from King's Cross.

Question: Do you know that Jesus was cast into the ultimate storm, the storm you and I should be cast into, so that we will be delivered from the storm of God's eternal justice?

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