Summary: Even a glimpse at the Life of Jesus Christ makes obvious the fact that God is a God of excellence. A life of excellence is what He has bought for us. What does that mean for us as Christ-followers today?

“Pursuing Excellence”

Mark 4:35-41

As we examine the life of Jesus as it is recorded for us in the four gospels, we get glimpses through windows, as it were. Not every detail of His life and ministry is recorded for us, nor could it be. The Apostle John tells us in John 21:25: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.”

Our text this evening is just one such “window” into the life and ministry of Jesus.

‘And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side." And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was, in the boat; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, "Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?" And they became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’

At first reading, it seems obvious why it was recorded. We see Jesus, weary from a long, long day of healing and teaching and feeling the very real needs and sufferings of those around Him, we see Him sleeping peacefully in the rear portion of the bottom of the boat. He senses no danger and so sleeps peacefully and serenely, showing His disciples just how calmly one can sleep when they have a pure conscience, and when they know they are safe in the hands of God. The disciples, though, have a limited confidence and faith. They know that the Master is with them and that He can indeed save them, but they have not yet fully realized that the Son of God, the Messiah, was on board. They should not have forgotten that He had power to save to the uttermost, and that with Him they were truly and completely safe. So, too, Christians should never fear danger, disease, or death. With Jesus they are safe. No enemy can reach Him; and as He is safe, so we shall be, too.

Then, He rebukes the winds and the waves and commands them to be still, to be at peace, to stop storming. What irresistible proof that He is divine. The storm subsided; the ship glided smoothly; danger fled; and in amazement they stood in the presence of Him who controlled the tempests that God had raised; and they felt that "He" must be God himself, for no one but God could calm the heaving seas and disperse the gale. No scene could have been grander than this display of the power of Jesus. The darkness; the dashing waves; the howling winds; the heaving and tossing ship; the fears and cries of the seamen – all by a single word hushed into calm peacefulness. Nothing else they had experienced could present such an image of power and divinity so grand and yet so frightening. On obvious message to all of us who call upon the Savior that when life and the world and the devil himself threaten our peace and our safety, that going to this same Jesus is the surest place for comfort and security.

That is a brief overview of the conspicuous message of this text. Tonight, I want us to look deeper. I want us to look beyond the obvious. I want us to look, as it were, between the lines and behind the scenes. The parallel account of this event is in Matthew 8:18, 23-27. When we combine the activities of Jesus from the two accounts, we see that He was extremely and intensely busy that day.

Jesus has taught extensively that day on the nature and character of the Kingdom of God, stood firm in His expectations of anyone who would call themselves a true follower of His, He has healed a leper, healed the Centurion’s servant, and healed Peter’s mother-in-law, as well as had private teaching time with His Chosen Twelve. The man is tired! Mentally, emotionally and physically, He is worn out. He needs restful sleep, and He knows that He won’t get it staying where He is. So, He commands His disciples to take the boat they are in and sail to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. This boat was not prepared for a trip – Jesus had had them push it our a little way from the shore so that He could teach the multitudes gathered around. There were no provisions, no extra clothing, no supplies of any kind. Yet, the Master wanted to sail away, and sail away they did. The sea was calm and there were no obvious signs of a storm.

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