Summary: Faith needs to be exercised. We can have faith in the Lord because His authority is absolute. Our faith in God is expressed through prayer and action.
Exercise is important. To stay fit and healthy, to stay strong, we’re told to exercise regularly.
You go to the gym and you’ll see all kinds of equipment to tone your body muscle and help you stay strong and healthy.
In the spiritual realm, we need that too. We say we have faith in God. All Christians will say they have faith in Jesus. But it’s another thing to be able to live a strong, victorious Christian life, right?
Faith is like a muscle, you have to exercise it every day to make it strong. Very often we say that we have faith in God. We say that we believe that He can do anything, but then we act as if everything depends on us. That isn’t a very strong faith, is it?
This is what happens to the disciples in Mark 4:35-41 [READ]
Jesus has never been a victim of the circumstances. And if we have faith in God, we need not be.
Jesus went through, together with the disciples, two devastating events ¡V both life threatening
¡V the killer waves, the extraordinary storm
¡V the killer demons, the unbreakable oppression
Jesus rides through these seemingly helpless situations (at least from man¡¦s point of view)
- Apparently without much of a struggle.
When He turns around and said, ¡§Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?¡¨ (4:40)
„Í He is actually telling us something ¡V you can overcome it, actually.
„Í You need not have to be so terrified by fears, actually.
Case 1 - It doesn¡¦t matter whether the devil caused the storm (which is most likely in this context), Jesus expects the disciples to be able to handle it ¡V by faith!
Case 2 - It doesn¡¦t matter even if the demons seemed to have things under his control.
They have to submit to Jesus.
STORM - the fact that the disciples were frightened tells us something about this storm.
„Í It was no ordinary storm ¡V they could have died in it.
„Í Remember that at least 4 of the disciples were experienced fishermen.
„Í They have seen storms before. They had survived storms before. They knew what to do in a storm. But this one sent them into panic. This was a storm beyond them.
POSSESSED MAN ¡V Mark seemed to stress something here ¡V
v. 3 ¡V no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain
v. 4 ¡V no one was strong enough to subdue him
No one! He was beyond man¡¦s help. It was a doom case.
Both these incidents were obviously beyond man¡¦s help. Yet Jesus exercised authority over them.
Case 1 - He rebuked the wind and commanded the waves to be quiet ¡V 4:39
„Í Jesus¡¦ authority was absolute ¡V it was immediate ¡V the wind died down; it was completely calm (4:29)
„Í This was not a gradual dying out of the storm, but a sudden and miraculous total ending of the storm and all its effects.
„Í There was no need to fear. Jesus said they were going over to the other side, not going under.
Case 2 - He commanded the demon, ¡§Come out of this man, you evil spirit!¡¨ - 5:8
„Í Jesus¡¦ authority was absolute ¡V the evil spirit has to
¡V 5:6 ¡§fell on his knees in front of Jesus¡¨
¡V 5:7 ¡§Swear to God that you won¡¦t torture me!¡¨ Jesus has the power to torture the devil.
¡V 5:10 he has to beg Jesus again and again; Mark uses the word again in 5:12 the demons begged Jesus¡K.
You see the BIG CONSTRASTS in both these events?
„Í On the one side we have hopeless, helpless situations ¡V almost impossible to do anything!
„Í On the other side, we have Jesus with absolute authority and power.
No circumstance or storm could defy the authority and power of His Word.
AND NEITHER SHOULD WE!
Storms like that would inevitably come, but no matter how difficult the situation may be, the question is: Are we prepared to stand in faith, believing Him and His Word.
Why do I say that? Because Jesus’ response to them was: ¡§Do you still have no faith?¡¨ (4:40) Luke 8:25 "Where is your faith?"
What does this mean? If you are in the boat, what do you think Jesus meant?
I¡¦m struggling in a storm, what do you mean that I should have faith ¡V do you mean that when I have this faith, the wind will stop and the waves cease? NO!
He is not talking about a dormant faith ¡V He expects them to exercise their faith.
„Í To cry out to God - pray that the storm would stop; pray for God to sustain the boat; ask God to keep their lives... etc