Something Greater Is Here
Jesus Calms the Storm
Have you ever watched a movie or been reading a book and thought, I know this story! I’ve seen this play out before. I’m not talking about the severe lack of creativity plaguing our culture now. What I am talking about is often a good thing. There is a fine line between copying and retelling. But some of the best movies are retellings of classic literature. “Oh brother where art thou” is a fun twist on Homers Odyssey. The Lion King is a modern Hamlet. When it is done right, it’s not lazy, it is an homage.
We are going to see something like that through the next chapter of Mark. Gods story is intricate and detailed. His plan to rescue his creation from sin and darkness started long before Man ever left the garden. God orchestrated it together with perfect and purposeful. There was set-up that needed to happen in order to pave the way for Jesus. God prepared the world in specific ways by giving hints about his Character, and how he would never give up on his creation. God used a nation, of cowards, failures and idol worshipers mind you, to tell the world about him. He used kings, prophets and emancipators who loved him, but who were flawed. And then Jesus came to set things right at the exact right time. We are blessed to know that part of the story.
-Mark will show us through a series of stories that Jesus uses his life to retell some of the stories we’re familiar with in the old testament.
-We will see parallels that show how Jesus is a fulfillment of the things God promised to his people. All the things he asked us to do, knowing that we would fall short, Jesus has come to complete.
-Jesus is here to show that he is a better version than everyone who has come before him.
Mark written very fast paced. My study bible calls Mark a “docudrama”. It is a collection of tidbits of the life of Jesus. The tidbit we will read about today is Jesus calming the storm.
Our text is Mark 4:35-41
We only get 7 verses describing it in this account. We get a version of the story in all three synoptic gospels, and surprisingly this is the longest most detailed version!
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
• Jesus is traveling with his disciples through the region, and they have spent a full day in the hot sun keeping the crowds at bay as Jesus taught. He would teach the crowds with parables, and then the disciples privately.
• So they decide to get away
• it would have looked as archaic as you are thinking.
• The boat would have been made of wood, about 25 feet long, and fit 15 or so people.
37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
• A “squall” means a sudden and violent gust of wind.
• The sea of Galilee is hundreds of feet below sea level, so apparently it was and still is prone to sudden and violent storms.
• Danger comes out of the blue. Imagine not being able to swim. Do you know what happens when you wear loose fitting clothes in the water? Have you been on a boat when you are not in control?
• There is fear of death mostly, fear of losing the boat. No coast guard, no life jackets.
• Do not let the fact that Jesus is sleeping through this whole ordeal convince you otherwise: this was an intense moment.
• Jesus was tired, a reminder of his humanity. He is not straight out of an action film where the characters have a seemingly superhuman source of energy.
• They wake him up. Unclear why. Do they think he can calm the storm? From their reactions it sure doesn’t seem that way. Are they handing him a bucket to bail water out?
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
• As quickly as the storm was upon them, it’s over.
• This should immediately make clear that Jesus is no regular man or prophet
• Throughout the scripture there is only one entity who has control over nature itself
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
• There is no shortage of examples where God and God alone demonstrates power over nature
• King David writes…
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters…
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
god controls even the flood, the uncontrollable.
• Jonah also found himself on a boat, for a very different reason, sleeping when they were caught in a deadly storm.
• When the crew realizes Jonah is the cause, he is thrown overboard, and God stills the storm
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
• He rebukes the storm, and quickly turns to rebuke the disciples. They are chastised for their lack of faith.
• “why are you so afraid”
• there is an expectation that they have a certain level of faith at this point.
• Fear and faithlessness are connected. Fear is what manifests when we do not have faith.
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
• The disciples are talking amongst each other about what they just saw.
• Previously, when Jesus performed miracles the people around him were in awe or disbelief.
• But this scene gives us a different reaction from the disciples than a lot of the other miracles. It says “they were terrified”. The danger is gone, usually fear is replaced by relief or shock. But their terror transfers from the storm to Jesus.
• They were afraid of the storm because of its power. It clicks for them here that the storm is powerless over them. But the master over the storm is still in the boat.
• “Who is this?” Do you think it’s a real question?
A person could not be God. Only God has dominion over nature in that way. Yet it was a man, a tuckered out, sleep deprived man, who calmed the storm. The disciples did not know how to make sense of this.
Humans are not supposed to do what Jesus did. Even the ones that want to do good, can’t get it right. From Moses to David, they all got it wrong.
From the beginning, God knew he had to do it himself. He planned to take on flesh, and come down to show how it really should be done.
When God called Jonah, he got up and left… in the opposite direction he was told to go. He didn’t want to go to Nineveh, it was a foreign land. It was beneath him. And after a bit of arm twisting and stomach churning, Jonah did as he was told.
By comparison, Jesus listened. He didn’t need to be thrown overboard for God to calm the storm.
Jesus is a better Jonah in more ways than that. A little later in his ministry, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign. Jesus says they will only get one, and he calls it the Sign of Jonah.
The crux is this: Jonah, after initial reluctance, preached repentance to the gentiles, and thousands listened. Jesus is greater than Jonah. He preached the same message, and it has lead to billions of gentiles around the world laying down their lives and following him. Praise God
What do we do about this? We follow suit
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
• Where have I fallen short? What do I need to repent of right now?
Secondly, the disciples were afraid because they lacked faith
• What do you not trust God with?
• Do you know Gods character well enough to trust him?
• Is your fear in the right place?
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
I want to leave you this morning with verse 38. “don’t you care if we die”? Imagine looking Jesus in the face and asking him this question. How might he respond? As the disciples will find out soon enough, it turns out he does care if they die. He cares so much about them dying that he came to die in their place. He took on flesh to live a perfect life, that only he could live, and give his life for us.
Jesus did not come to erase Jonah, he came to complete the mission
Jesus is a better Jonah. And because we aren’t stuck with the old version, we are able to know God, and repent. Thats just what we get to do together as we celebrate communion.