Summary: If Jesus is who He says He is, then we have nothing to fear.
Even though I grew up around water being from Watertown, I have a lot of fear related to water. When I was around 8 years old, I was out on Devil’s Lake (appropriately named, I might add) with my dad and some of his buddies on a home-made pontoon boat. We were night fishing for lake trout and our aim was to fish until the sun came up. After fishing for several hours, we decided to move to another location and my dad went to start the motor by pulling the rope. It started fine but proceeded to fall off the boat and sink to the bottom of the lake. My dad laughed but I got scared. We were in the middle of the lake in pitch darkness and had no oars so we had to take some old kitchen chairs that were screwed to the floor of the boat and use them to paddle our way to shore. It took hours to get to land.
A few years later I was in a small boat on Lake Michigan with my dad fishing for salmon. It was a cold, windy and rainy day. But then it got worse. Let’s just say that I turned various shades of green and ended up expelling the brats, cheese curds and Snicker bars I had consumed for breakfast.
When I was in high school I was out on Rock Lake with some friends and one of my sisters. I was skiing while my buddy drove the boat. He tried to make me fall by turning the wheel sharply. When he did, I fell and then he fell off the seat and landed on the floor of the boat. The boat made a circle and came directly for me as I bobbed like a buoy in the water. At the last second my sister (I guess I do like my sisters) grabbed the wheel and turned it, moving the boat away from me.
Then, days before I graduated from high school, I was out swimming with some friends in the Rock River right below a power dam when my friend Tim drowned before my eyes.
To this day I’m wary of water and would rather be a bum on the beach than wander into the waves. Our text for today takes place on some water and we’re going to find out that the disciples had some pretty intense aquaphobia as well.
Please turn to Mark 4:35-41. Let’s climb in the boat with Jesus as He takes us to the other side. Jesus obviously has some plans for His disciples that they don’t know about. In this passage we’ll discover five truths about God’s plans for modern-day disciples. We’ll see that if Jesus is who He says is, then we have nothing to fear.
1. His plan may be puzzling. We learned last week about the parable of the soils when Jesus used a boat as a pulpit because there were so many people crowding around Him. Check out verse 35 - “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’” I wrote down some reasons why I think Jesus may have wanted to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee with his disciples.
• To escape the crowd and get some rest.
• To free a man in bondage (more about this next week).
• To reach a different culture with the gospel (again, more next week)
• To teach and train the disciples.
I want us to focus on this last one but first a little background. While the Sea of Galilee is mentioned 53 times in the Gospels and is the setting or backdrop for many of the stories and miracles of Jesus, hardly any focus is on “the other side.” That’s primarily because that side of the lake was where the Gentiles lived and Jewish people would avoid that area at all cost. The Pagan people lived there and it was commonly believed that the devil himself had is dwelling there.
The “other side” was unsettling and uncertain so they’d rather stay away. As I thought about this, it applies to what our family is doing and also to what God’s calling the PBC family to do. We’re all called to follow Jesus’ plan even when it doesn’t make sense. Just as Jesus called His first followers to go with Him to the other side, so too each us must go where He goes. Incidentally, this is not a suggestion but a command of Christ. We see this in Matthew 8:18: “…He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.”
The disciples don’t hesitate. If that’s where Jesus wants to go then that’s where they’ll go. We see this in verse 36: “Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him.” They took Jesus “just as He was,” meaning they didn’t make any preparations or gather any provisions. If the Savior said it’s time to sail it’s time to sail to the other shore. Their resolve is about to be tested, however. You see, it’s easy to sail when the seas are calm but when storms come, it’s another story.