Summary: This sermon deals with verse 41 - WHO IS THIS? It is a question we all must ask ourselves in our relationship with Jesus - Who Is He? How we answer that question will help determine how we live out our life in Christ.
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41 (cf. verse 41)
Title: Who Then Is This?
Theme: Trust/Faith - Identity of Christ
This sermon deals with verse 41 - WHO IS THIS? It is a question we all must ask ourselves in our relationship with Jesus - Who Is He? How we answer that question will help determine how we live out our life in Christ.
Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)
Jesus Calms a Storm
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sins of the world.
I like it when a story ends well. I like it when things turn out right. I like when at the end the world is a better place. I don't like it when a movie or a book ends with things still in an upheaval or when things don't come to a conclusion. I don't like it when things turn our badly. I tend to think - "why in the world did they make a movie that didn't end well?" "Why spend all that time writing a book that ends badly?"
In some ways, our passage this morning has a rather odd ending. In fact, the whole story reads better if you leave verse 41 out of it entirely. Just reading the passage - verses 35 - 40 gives us an amazing story.
Mark tells us that Jesus is finished for the day. He has been teaching and healing people all day long and is exhausted. It's time to move on and Jesus wants to get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee before twilight. He wants to share the Kingdom of God with the people that live in that area. He wants to go from the area of Israel that was under the rule of Herod Antipas to the area controlled by his half- brother Philip the Tetrarch.
The easiest and fastest way to get there is of course, by boat. Where Jesus wanted to go was only about a 4 - 5 mile journey straight across the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. To go over land would have taken at least a day or two and Jesus was in a hurry. If the wind is favorable you can be across the upper part of the Sea of Galilee in around an hour by boat. That means at most it should have taken about 90 minutes and that is if there was very little wind.
So, the plan was to get to the other side around 7 or 8 o'clock which would give Jesus and his team plenty of time to make camp at the shore or to make their way into a small town and find some lodging. Peter, James, John and Andrew had made this trip a hundred times or more so they knew how to navigate their boats across this part of the Sea of Galilee. Even though everyone was tired and it was getting late in the day they still set out to make the trip. Everyone knew that they had skilled sailors on board so there was nothing to worry about. In fact, as we see Jesus even took the time to get a quick nap.
However, as we read before they got too far out a violent storm brewed up. It's intensity was more than Peter, Andrew, James and John could handle. Before long they and everyone else on board were fighting for their lives. As we shall see the reason behind this violent and sudden storm was supernatural. Peter and the gang hadn't misread the weather. Mark lets us know that there was an supernatural evil force behind this quick and violent storm.
We don't know how far out they were from land, but as you read Mark's version of the story (which of course was Peter's account), swimming for shore was out of the question. More than likely they were at least a mile from shore and it is quite easy to assume that not all the disciples could swim or would be good enough swimmers to make that distance to shore.