I felt encouraged/lead to once again read and consider the fourth chapter of Mark. It is a fascinating chapter that will challenge and edify any believer. But while reading the chapter, I remembered a message I sent about seven or eight years ago. So, I hope you don’t mind my returning to a previous message, but I can’t help it. I truly feel that it is something you must be reminded of.
You see, in the fourth chapter, there is a story about Jesus and his disciples riding across a sea in a boat. A storm came up and the ship was getting tossed around. Ooh, that reminds me of something:
Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew . . .
Oh sorry, wrong story . . . in Jesus’ story the crew wasn’t so fearless. You see, when the storm rose up and the waves began to crash over the sides and threatening to sink the boat. The disciples naturally began to get worried about it and of course looked for Jesus to “fix-it” somehow. So where was He? Oh, in the back of the boat sleeping.
I don’t know about you but that doesn’t comfort me much thinking that Jesus was asleep when the disciples’ ship was going to sink. So they woke him up saying, “Yo, don’t you care that we are sinking?” What about you? You’re going through some crisis right now in your own life and you are praying wondering where Jesus is. Are you wondering if he cares about your situation? Why isn’t he rescuing you?
Well what happened after Jesus woke up? Did he apologize for sleeping during their crisis? Well . . . not quite. He indeed got up and since He was awake anyway, rebuked the winds and they calmed down. But He didn’t stop there. He looked at the disciples and rebuked them. He looked at His disciples and said, “Why are you such cowards? With all the time you have been with me, don”t you have any faith at all?”
Whoa, that sounds harsh, doesn’t it? It was only human to be afraid in such a storm. But that wasn’t way Jesus chided them. He was telling them, “After all this time with me, you still don’t know who I am? How could you possibly walk with me for this long, and not know what you are capable of doing. Didn’t I give you authority over the elements of the world. Didn’t I tell you to go in my name–or with my authority?”
Indeed, the disciples were astonished by the amazing miracle Jesus had performed. The passage say, “They were in absolute awe, staggered and wonder what manner of man this was, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (4:41).
Can you imagine that? Jesus’ own disciples didn’t know him. He had personally called each of these men to follow him and they had ministered alongside him, to multitudes of people. They, rhemselves, performed miracles of healing, and fed masses of hungry people. But they were still strangers to who their Master really was.
Sadly though, the same is true today. Multitudes of Christians have ridden in the boat with Jesus, ministered alongside him, and reached multitudes in his name. But they really don’t know their Master. They haven’t spent intimate time shut in with him. They have never sat quietly in his presence, opening their hearts to him, waiting and listening to comprehend what he wants to say to them.
We see another scene regarding the disciples’ faith in Luke 17. The disciples came to Jesus, asking Him to “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Many Christians today ask the same question: “How can I obtain faith?” But they don’t ask the Lord himself for their answer.
If you want increased faith, you have to do the same thing Jesus told his disciples to do in Luke 17:8. How did he answer their request for faith? “Gird youself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken” (Luke 17:8). Jesus was saying, in essence, “Put on your garment of patience. Then come to my table and sup with me. I want you to feed me there. You happily labor for me all day long. Now I want you to commune with me. Sit down with me, open your heart, and learn of me.”
Father, sometimes we look in all the wrong places for help. Train us to look only to you; look in your Word; examine our own hearts and call on your name. We do thank you that as Hebrews 4:16 says, that in our times of need we can “confidently approach your throne of Grace to receive Mercy and find Grace to help.” So right now, we come confidently–we are not afraid or timid, Father. No, we pause and approach that throne of Your Ability and take hold of Your Mercy and Your ability to overcome this (you describe your particular need ___________) in the auhority granted through the name of Your Prescious Son Jesus. We speak to the winds in our own lives and call them to cease and to quit their blowing. We stand strong in the Power of your Might and stand Victorious!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add youm—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.