Summary: The Gospel of Mark is answering the question "Who Is Jesus". The disciples had to answer it as well. Is Jesus the new prophet or the real Messiah. (another reference Matthew 14)
In Jesus Holy Name June 24, 2012
Text: Mark 4:35,37-39 Pentecost IV Redeemer
Finding God in Unexpected Places
(read the text)
Eight top recently reviewed books about Jesus:
1) The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry
2) Jesus after 2000 Years
3) American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon
4) Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus
5) The First Messiah
6) Deconstructing Jesus
7) Jesus and the Lost Goddess
Who is Jesus? That is the question that must be answered if you have heard his name. Who is Jesus? That was the question in the first century when he lived and it is still valid today. It is the reason Mark wrote His Gospel.
Two weeks ago the question was asked: “How can a person be saved?” The answer was a choice: “self-salvation” based on what you do to earn God’s blessings now and the hereafter. Or. Knowing that your eternal address is based on faith in Jesus and his death and resurrection.
This question: Who is Jesus? is the question that the ordinary man on the street, including the disciples had to answer. The religious Jewish scholars had to answer this question. That is why in the Gospels we read about the Sadducees and Pharisees always watching and listening and questioning Jesus.
Almost 2000 years ago the land of Galilee was humming with rumors. Have you seen him? Did you see his miracles last week? Do you think he is a prophet sent from God? Maybe? You know he grew up in Nazareth. His dad was an ordinary carpenter. It’s hard to say. I hear he’s going to speak at the synagogue this Sabbath.
It didn’t take long. Soon people were traveling from every place. The streets were choked with people wanting to see the man who worked miracles. They gathered on the hillsides. They heard him speak in parables.
He told them that the kingdom was like a farmer who went out to sow seeds. He compared the Kingdom to the small mustard seed, which becomes a giant plant. He told many stories, but the day was now fast passing and it was time to depart. Jesus told his disciples that they must go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
When the evening came he asked the fishermen with him to travel by boat to the other side of the lake. He was very tired. He fell asleep. Soon the stiff winds began to blow. Clouds filled evening sky. The sky cracked and rain began to fall. Hard. A furious little storm, with waves beginning to break over the boat. The fishermen were bailing for all they were worth but the boat was about to sink.
They were afraid. They woke Jesus; all hands were needed to keep the ship afloat. Jesus got up… rebuked the wind and said to the tossing waves. “Quiet!” “Be Still” Immediately the lake was smooth as glass and the air was till.
Those in the boat were stunned. Matthew tells about the same event and records their words: “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and waves obey him?” Who would expect to find God in a boat in the person of Jesus? An unexpected place. They discovered that God was in their presence in the person of Jesus.
In the little village of Nazareth some 30 years before an angel told Joseph in a dream….that “Mary would have a son and he should be name Jesus. He will be called Emmanuel which means: God is with us. This my friends is the radical concept of Christianity. God came to the earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. No other religion in the entire world believes that the Supreme Being, the One who created all things would ever come as a person, die on the cross, and rise from death and then freely offer the gift of eternal life by faith in this same Jesus.
To the Jews, God was in heaven and he chose to dwell on earth in the “Temple” in Jerusalem. Jews would bring their offerings to the temple in Jerusalem. They would gather in Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement and the priest would take the community through “divine worship.” A spotless lamb would be sacrificed. Blood would be sprinkled on the altar and forgiveness would be pronounced.
These Jewish fishermen also expected to find God in the temple… not in the boat, not in the synagogue in Capernaum. In Matthew 14 we find the rest of the story… Another storm. They are rowing against the wind… when Jesus comes walking on the water in the darkness of the night. Peter said… Lord, if it is you let me come to you. Peter walks on the water to Jesus. But he takes his eyes off Jesus and begins to sink. Jesus reaches down, takes his hand and immediately they are in the boat.