Printable PDF: 6-27-2021 Pentecost 05 Sermon
Pastor David R. Clark ~ Mark 4:35-41 ~ June 27, 2021 ~ Pentecost 5
ESSENTIAL ANSWERS WHEN WE FEAR
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Dear brothers and sisters one in faith,
You get up at the usual time and do your usual morning routine. It’s a little rushed, but not too bad. There’s gas in the car, homework is done, and no lunches are left in the refrigerator. The traffic is heavy, but not bad. You drop the kids off at school. Then you hear a 12-story building in Miami collapses for no apparent reason. Or a disturbed man is driving down Loop 101 shooting people. Or your phone rings with the results of medical tests and the doctor says, “You need to come and see me.”
How many times haven’t we looked back and said something like this… “The day started out normally enough…”
Every single person on earth suffers this way. And because we cannot control when or what happens, it often leads to fear. Have you ever felt yourself drowning in fear?
- Don’t you care if we drown? (verses 35-38)
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 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?”
The Sea of Galilee would be considered a lake for most of us in the U.S. It is considerably smaller than our many freshwater lakes and much, much smaller than the Great Lakes. But it is the largest repository of fresh water in all of Palestine. There is a high ridge on the east side (Golan Heights). So when weather changes it is possible for the Sea of Galilee to become dangerous very, very quickly.
That’s what happened to the disciples. The storm was so bad that the boat was filling with water. The disciples, some of whom were experienced fishermen, started to fear. They had seen storms like this, and they knew they usually didn’t end very well.
They did have Jesus there. They had seen him do miracles. They knew he had the power to change things, but he just slept. How do you sleep when your boat is taking on water? Finally, they didn’t think they were going to make it, so they woke him up. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
There is a little (or not so little) control freak inside each of us. We have to be able to pull all the strings, know all the answers, count the cost. As a matter of good stewardship, God does expect us to use all of the resources he has placed at our disposal. Friends and family, medical personnel, our government, and our church are all there to help and be a resource in their own unique way. Making good use of them is a responsibility God expects us to carry out when it comes to living our lives and solving our problems.
But there are times when that isn’t enough. There are times when the doctors can’t seem to heal, or the pastor can’t help the marriage we have been taking for granted for years. Then what? What do you do when you find yourself drowning in fear? Do you find yourself wondering where God is? In those moments when it is obvious that we are not in control, when we cannot affect the outcome, what about them? We have Jesus, too, but do you say, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
- Do you still have no faith?
Here is how much Jesus cares: (39-41) He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Jesus takes out the remote control for all of creation and presses the pause button. Suddenly everything is calm. The crisis the disciples were sure was going to end in tragedy is over. Just like that! No more wind. No more waves.
Jesus follows up this simple act (for him) by seizing upon this as a teaching moment. He sounds a little dismayed to me. The thing that had made him so tired is that he had just spent the day teaching. If you look at the section in Mark 4 before this you will see there are four parables Jesus had taught about faith and the power of God’s word. So, maybe it’s not a surprise that he says, “Do you still have no faith?”
Brothers and sisters, “Even the wind and waves obey him.” He is the Creator of all. He has power over all. Creation is not the limit of his power, only a sample of it. In other words, his power is much greater than that.
The opposite of fear, as Jesus points out, is faith. Faith means faith in his power, faith in possibilities. It means that God could have turned the planes back from the twin towers and could make you wealthy beyond imagination in the blink of an eye or cure your terminal disease. Faith also means faith in his wisdom. Sometimes that means he will allow tragedy to come into our lives. We won’t always know why. Children never like it and rarely understand when we tell them they are not allowed to do something that we know is not in their best interest.
That’s where faith comes in. Faith is knowing that even though we don’t understand, he does. Faith means bowing to God’s reasons and God’s time line. They are always better. We put our faith in the power of prayer. We put our faith in the power of his Word. We do this because we also put our faith in his love, the love he has shown us in all creation, in his Son, and our redemption. Even when we have cause to fear, we trust in God’s power.
Being a Christian means being people of faith. It is faith in what Jesus has done and what Jesus will continue to do for us. Do not be afraid. Do not be uncertain. Believe in what he says. In the midst of our greatest fears, our faith is in Jesus. Amen.