Summary: Why did Jesus rebuke these sailors (who knew a bad storm when they saw one) for their fear? I don’t think He did. Find out why.

In our last series, we dealt with questions we’d like to ask God.

For the next few weeks, we’re going to turn that around and look at questions Jesus would ask us. And the first question we’re going to deal with is found in found in Mark 4:35-41 - "Why Are You So Afraid?". (Read text and have opening prayer).

OPEN: Every summer, Hollywood comes out with a series of “Blockbuster” movies that they hope will bring people out to the theatres. This summer, one of THE blockbuster movies dealt with the sea and ocean going ships. Anybody know what that movie was?

“Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest.”

This was the second in a series of 3 dealing with Captain Jack Sparrow and his band of pirates.

In the first movie (from last summer) the evil captain of “The Black Pearl” turned to another character and said: “Arhhh… there be monsters”

Now, that line wasn’t original with the “Pirates of the Caribbean”. It has been around for years. And I had often wondered why any pirate would say something like that.

Then, I ran across an illustration that explained the saying:

In the British Museum in London, there is an old mariner’s chart drawn in 1525 outlining the North American coastline. The cartographer who created the map did so from information gleaned from ocean-going crews of the day. There were notations on where reefs might be, and where the best harbors could be found. But there were certain sections that were relatively blank. And in those sections were notations like the following:

* "Here be giants!"

* "Here be fiery scorpions!"

* "Here be dragons."

In other words: “Here be monsters”

APPLY: Ever since man has gone out on the water in boats, seafarers have always been just a little afraid of the unknown, the unseen and the uncontrollable. And they felt fear.

Have you ever been afraid?

ILLUS: My wife says I have been.

Now I personally I prefer to think of it as healthy respect for gravity. But she says I’m afraid of heights.

Years ago, when Diana and I were dating, I took her to a place called “Fun Spot” in Angola, Indiana. It had a go-kart track, carnival games and various rides. And when I first took her there her favorite ride was… the Ferris wheel.

Now I had ridden a Ferris wheel only once before in my life. I believe it was with my brother Jack (who was 8 years older than I). Now my brother’s idea of fun on the Ferris Wheel was to rock the bucket.

I personally didn’t think it was all that much fun.

In fact it seemed anything but safe.

The only thing between me and the pavement was a flimsy bar that seemed to have no intrinsic purpose other than give you something to hold onto if you fell out.

So, here we were at Fun Spot… and Diana wanted to go up in the Ferris wheel. As scary as that prospect was, I wanted to show that I was a big strong man… but instead I trembled all the time we were up there.

Everybody experiences fear at one time or another in their lives. We like to think of it as normal. Even practical. But here in Mark 4, we find Jesus asking one of the most unusual questions He ever asked His disciples:

"Why are you so afraid?" Mark 4:40

(The Setting) Jesus had spent the day preaching and sharing parables with the crowds that gathered to here Him teach. Evening has come and He tells His disciples to set out in the boat. About half way across the Sea of Galilee, a terrible storm descends upon them. The winds blow, the waves broke upon their ship and they began to take on water. In fact, there’s so much water coming in that the disciples are afraid they might sink. But in the stern of the boat, Jesus is asleep. It’s been a long hard day and virtually nothing seems capable of waking Him. The disciples can’t understand this. In fact, they seem to be a little angry as they shake Him awake and say “Don’t you care that we drown?”

Jesus gets up, calms the sea, and then asks “Why are you so afraid?”

I. Now - what strikes me as so unusual about Jesus’ question is that it would seem the Disciples had every reason to be afraid.

These are experienced sailors, fishermen who made their living on the Sea of Galilee. When these men got scared of a storm while out on the water you can pretty well bet, they had good reason.

But Jesus asked them: “Why are you so afraid?”

Now, this puzzled me… because fear isn’t always a bad thing

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William Collins

commented on Aug 25, 2006

Jeff, I thought the illustrations "For this I have Jesus" and the one about the map were both very good. I'll probably use one or both. Thanks, Bill

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