The Book of Mark
James J. Barker


Lesson 16
JESUS STILLS THE STORM

Text: MARK 4:35-41


INTRODUCTION:


1.     In Mark 4:37 we read, “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.”

2.     The Bible has much to say about storms.

3.     Psalm 107:29 says, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”

4.     Isaiah 25:4 says, “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm…”

5.     Nahum 1:3 says, “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”

6.     Sometimes (but not necessarily all the time) the Lord sends a storm because of man’s disobedience.  Isaiah 29:6 says, “Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.”

7.     We are familiar with the story of Jonah.  One preacher said, Jonah’s name has “become proverbial for those endangering the lives of others because of their own unwillingness to walk in God’s way” (V. Raymond, Edman, Storms and Starlight).

8.     In the case of Jonah, the Lord sent a storm to get his attention.   Jonah 1:4 says, “But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”

9.     Because Jonah disobeyed God, others had to suffer. The mariners were afraid, and they said to Jonah, “Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us” (Jonah 1:8).

10. Jonah admitted it was all his fault and he told them, “Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you” (Jonah 1:12).

11. Storms come for various reasons, and it is not always easy to discern why.  The devil sent a storm into Job’s life, and God allowed it to happen.  Job’s friends assumed Job was suffering because of some unconfessed sin in his life, but that was not the case.

12. But what about the storm that day on the Sea of Galilee?  It very well could be that Satan was stirring up the sea because he did not want Jesus to help the man with the unclean spirit (5:2).

13. In I Thess. 2:18, the apostle Paul said, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”

 

I. JESUS IS IN CONTROL

1.     The great miracle recorded here in Mark 4, demonstrates Christ’s lordship over nature.  His disciples said, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41).

2.     He is the God-man.  He is God manifest in the flesh.  This great miracle reminds us that our Lord is in control of everything.

3.     This miracle is also recorded in Matthew 8 and Luke 8, but Mark gives us a few details not mentioned by the other two.

4.     “And the same day, when the even was come…” (4:35). It had been a long day and a very busy day for our Lord (cf. 3:20ff).

5.     “When the even was come…” (4:35) – the storm arose during the evening.

6.     “Let us pass over unto the other side…” (4:35), i.e., the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, an area that was sparsely populated, compared to the western shore (where there were cities such as Capernaum and Tiberias).

7.     The Sea of Galilee is referred to as “the sea of Tiberias” in John 6:1 and 21:1.

8.     It is called “the lake of Gennesaret” in Luke 5:1.

9.     It is called “the sea of Chinneroth” in Numbers 34:11 and Joshua 12:3. 

10. “They (the disciples who owned the boats) took Him even as He was in the ship” (4:36).  They were already in the boat (cf. 4:1).

11. Only Mark mentions the “other little ships” (4:36b).  These “little ships” were probably little fishing boats filled with other friends and listeners eager to spend more time with Jesus.

12. Are you eager to spend more time with Jesus?  Are you eager to have quiet time, devotions, Bible reading?

13. The Sea of Galilee lies 682 feet below sea level, and is frequently hit with sudden, furious storms (4:37).  Often boats would capsize, and its inhabitants would drown.

14. The International Bible Encyclopedia says, “The position of the lake makes it liable to sudden storms, the cool air from the uplands rushing down the gorges with great violence and tossing the waters in tumultuous billows.  Such storms are fairly frequent, and as they are attended with danger to small craft, the boatmen are constantly on the alert.”

15. But God is in control. Our Lord “was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow” (4:38a).  This story (also recorded by Matthew and Luke) is the only clear reference in the Bible to Jesus sleeping.

16. One of the great mysteries taught in the Bible is the two natures of Christ – as man He was tired and needed to sleep, and as God He rebuked the wind, and commanded the sea to be still (4:39).

17. Jesus was in control even when He was sleeping, but the apostles were fearful and they woke Him up (4:38), which brings us to my next point.

 

II. JESUS CARES (4:38b)

1.     The hymnwriter wrote,

“Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadow with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threatening
A grave in the angry deep?” – Mary A. Baker

2.     Yes Jesus cares.  Another hymnwriter wrote,

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.” – Frank E. Graeff

3.     First Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

4.     Their question, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” indicates distrust.  It is possible for a Christian to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, but not trust Him for provision, protection, and preservation.

5.     Isaiah 43:2 says, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.”   

 

III. FAITH IS TAKING JESUS AT HIS WORD

1.     Our Lord had already told them, “Let us pass over unto the other side” (Mark 4:35b).  Faith is taking God at His Word.  The Lord told the disciples that they would make it to the other side of the Sea of Galilee; therefore there was no need to panic.

2.     When our circumstances seem difficult, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord, and believe His Word.

3.      Remember Abraham, that great man of faith.  Galatians 3:6, 7 says, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”

4.     Hebrews 11:17 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.”  How could Abraham do that?

5.     Abraham believed God.  Hebrews 11:19 says, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

6.     “Accounting that God was able…”

7.     “He’s able, He’s able, I know He’s able, I know my Lord is able to carry me through…”

8.     Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

9.     One night, the LORD took Abraham out and said to him, “Look now toward heaven, and tell (count) the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Genesis 15:50.  Abraham took God at His Word.

10. But the disciples were not trusting in Christ in the storm.  That is why He said to them, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40b).

11. Faith is taking Jesus at His Word.  Jesus said, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21:22).

12. Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20).

13. Let us take Jesus at His Word (Mark 4:40).

 

CONCLUSION:

1.     In this life we all must face our share of storms.

2.     Our Lord said in John 16:33, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

3.     Our Lord brings peace in the midst of the storm.  He said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

4.     Our Lord’s peace, strength, and power are at our disposal.  The Bible says, “ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2b).

 



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