Summary: "Going to the other side" of faith and Taking on the Storms!
“Taking on the Storm”
Probably for the sake of privacy and relaxation, Jesus proposed a trip across the lake of Galilee. With the vividness so characteristic of our author, Mark gives a graphic account of the stilling of the storm (4:35-41) and of the freeing of the demonized man whom Christ met on the “other side.” 37. The great storm wind was typical of the Sea of Galilee, situated in a pocket, as it was, with hills on every side. The rising of the warm air of the day allowed the cooler air from the hills to rush down the ravines onto the lake with twisting, whirlwind action that churned the waters into an angry tempest. Mark’s account paints a vivid picture, taking the readers to the very scene of action.
Obviously, this passage in literal terms records the account of Jesus and his disciples going to the “other side” of the Sea of Galilee. This wasn’t just some trip-this was into “forbidden territory.” It was unheard of to go to the other side! They probably thought Jesus was crazy! And that’s where this passage can be taken from not only a literal interpretation, but a very symbolic spiritual lesson can be learned here. That’s what I want to talk about.
I. “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” –4:35
-Obviously in literal terms, Jesus was telling his disciples to go WITH him (important as we will see in a moment) to the other side of the sea. This in itself was a bold move-unheard of. But this is where the lesson comes in. Jesus was teaching his disciples to “leave the crowds behind (vs. 36) and go to unheard territory to proclaim the truth.
-Are you willing to leave your comfort zone to do what God wants of you? Have you avoided living out your faith and going to the “other side” because of some personal excuse?
II. “Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.” vs. 36
-There is a lot of important things in this verse. First, they were willing to leave the crowds to obey Jesus’ command. They were willing to GIVE SOMETHING UP in order to follow. Are you willing to give something up-are you willing to leave the crowds behind in order to “go to the other side” and live REAL faith?
-Second, they took him along. The disciples did, not Jesus. See, the disciples initiated the trip-Jesus just asked them. That’s the way Jesus works spiritually as well. He calls us, but we have to be willing to accept his calls to set things in action.
-Third, the disciples “took him along, just as he was.” Nothing fancy, no clothes changing to visit the neighbors-just as he was. And that’s just another thing about “going to the other side.” God doesn’t care about getting cleaned up spiritually-he doesn’t care if we’re perfectly fit or some awesome Billy Graham type evangelist-he wants everyday, real, ordinary people! Look at most of the people in the Bible that God used-David, Moses-his disciples! They were all average! Are you avoiding going to the other side because you doubt your ability or are afraid of going just as you are?
III. “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” –vs. 37
-This is where it gets interesting. A wrench gets thrown in the machine if you will. Up until now, everything has been going pretty well. Granted, the disciples are quite reluctant to go to the other side of Galilee, but nevertheless, they have obeyed Jesus. No questions asked. But now the plot thickens.
-A very important lesson needs to be learned from this little verse, and this is what I want to focus on. All previous verses in this passage talk about going to the “other side.” We discussed going to the “other side” in our lives and stepping forward into our “forbidden territories” to truly live out our faiths. But what now? What about the storm? I thought Jesus was supposed to keep them safe? This verse reveals something important that many Christians either don’t realize or are too afraid to accept. As soon as we’re willing to go to the “other side” the storms will come! It’s rough-Jesus never said the journey would be easy! And THAT is when Satan tries to trick us into thinking God isn’t there in our lives! This keeps us from taking bold steps in our faith that are necessary to being truly effective. This is what I call the “Evangelical Storm” of faith.
-There are other storms. What about just everyday life storms. Does it seem like one thing after the other just keep hitting you over and over? Are the waves breaking over your life boat? Sometimes everyday problems seem to pile on each other until you feel your boat is about to sink! That’s why many people aren’t here today-they feel like that can’t handle it-do you feel like you can’t handle something? Let me tell you, if YOU let go of the paddle of your boat and let GOD steer for you, you’ll realize this type of storm can be controlled too! This type of storm, what I call the “Life’s Little Storms” can tear us down more than anything, but both of these storms can be tackled. You see, Jesus didn’t stop there. The storm didn’t defeat them. Lets read on.