The sea of Galilee is actually a vast lake (166 Km2) surrounded by a ring of mountains. It has been scientifically proven this unique geographical position is directly responsible for the storms sweeping the lake during the latter hours of the day. This condition still exists to this day and the local fishermen exercise a plenty of caution.
It is highly unusual that Jesus decided to sail across the lake at night. He was well aware of the risks involved. Besides the disciples also were very exhausted after a long day of ministry and Jesus’ request doesn’t sound fair by them. All these factors lead only to one conclusion. Jesus walked his disciples into a storm consciously and deliberately! Why would Jesus do anything like that? The answer is found in Jesus’ rebuke to the disciples (“Do you still not have faith?”) Of course they had faith. Just not in Jesus.
Some of us are like the disciples. We do have faith. But it’s misplaced. Today’s sermon is about relocating our faith and placing it on Jesus.
Text: Mark 4:35-41
A. Most of the disciples were former fishermen. They were familiar with the sea of Galilee. They had overcome many storms before.
B. They believed in experience, strength and skills. After all Jesus was a carpenter. What does he know about storms and waters?
C. We too place our faith in our own strength and skills every time we take matters into our own hands without acknowledging Jesus’ Lordship.
A. In Mark 4:40 “deilos” is the Greek term used in place of “afraid”. It implies “panic”. Panicking is different than the normal emotion of fear that arises in danger.
B. Placing our faith in self is very dangerous because we begin to panic when faced with situations beyond our control.
C. When panicked we place our faith at its disposal. We shift the blame to others like the disciples, (…don’t you care if we drown…?)
A. The question “who is this?” implies the disciples didn’t know that Jesus is more than a rabbi, miracle worker and a prophet.
B. To know half the truth is to believe a lie. The disciples didn’t know the whole truth about their master. Thus they believed in a lie that Jesus doesn’t care.
C. Most Christians know only what others tell them about God. It’s not wrong to learn from others. But we must know God personally. It is called intimacy.
A. Acknowledge Jesus’ Lordship: “…God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name…” (Philippians 2:9-11)
Attempting to handle the storms of life in your own strength is a clear indicator of misplaced faith. In other words your faith is in yourself. To place it back in Jesus first you must acknowledge his Lordship in every area (education, marriage, career and even ministry) and every storm of life.
B. Self control: “…For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control…” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Control yourself before attempting to control the situation. Don’t blame others (the disciples rebuked Jesus) So that your faith shall not be left at the dispose of fear and panic, which is also misplaced faith. Self control restores your faith in Jesus and helps you to exercise it.
C. Develop intimacy: “My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
Believing lies also is misplaced faith. The disciples believed the lie that Jesus didn’t care. We also are prone to Satan’s lies unless we get to know God personally. Intimacy doesn’t occur overnight however. It’s a lifelong process where you learn something new about your relationship with God every day. It requires spiritual discipline.
Image: Rob Lewis