By Rev. Vic Vergara
Mark 4: 35 ?34
?And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.?lt;br>
“And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto 20 Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.?lt;br>
One of the most difficult subject of Christian life is the teaching about Faith. Especially when we are passing through difficult times similar to the situations faced disciples at sea. When we say ?faith?it seems very easy to define. But do you understand faith in deeper meaning? What is faith? Hebrew 11:1 explained that “to have faith is to be sure of things we hope for to be certain of things we cannot see.?( TEV ) Another definition by some evangelist is that, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.?But what is faith according to our understanding?
I want to share some illustration for further knowledge about faith. When you travel by an airplane, you need to trust the pilot. People who do not believe in the Pilot will be afraid to travel by an airplane. When the airplane encounters some trouble the voice of the Pilot is enough to make us calm. If the Pilot says, ?Don’t worry everything is under control.?Then all the passengers are happy. Another example is this: those who believe in the doctor decide to go to the doctor for check-up. And then if there are some problems the doctor will give prescription to the patients. The patient will carefully listen to what the doctor says regarding the dosage of medicine to be taken, the timing of taking the medicine, etc. If the patient does not believe in the doctor, he will never come to the doctor. Based from these example we can see that faith is simply believing the word of someone whom you trust. If you have faith in God, you believe in what God says. Thus faith is believing what God says. And the word of God is written in the Bible. Do you have faith in God? This means that do you believe the Word of God and do you obey all the instruction therein? If you have faith in God this message is for you.
In this passages, our Lord Jesus Christ wanted his disciples to have their faith above the storm or above the trouble water. In this scene, Jesus said to his disciples, ?Let Us go over to the other side.?They have to cross over to the sea of Galilee. Jesus said with confidence , Let us go.?Means he will be with them. It so happened that a typhoon came while Jesus was sleeping. The disciples got panic and their eyes now were fixed on the storm. They talked about the storm. And the storm created fear on them. Let us compare the two Gospels regarding the same events at sea. In Mark 4:38,?And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish??Here in Mark the style is just like saying as blaming Jesus of his carelessness for their safety. But Matthew wrote as they were praying to Jesus. In Matthew 8:25 “And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.?lt;br>
In response to the Disciples, Matthew recorded that Jesus rebuked first the disciples then rebuke the Storm. Matthew 8:26?And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.?But in Mark 6: 39 ?0 Jesus rebuke the Storm first then rebuke the disciples Mark 4:39 ?40, ?And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? The disciple never answered the question of Jesus instead they question each other. What is the significant of these events in our life? Why Mark and Matthew have a different presentation of the saying of Jesus in their narratives. Here are some of the possible answer so that our faith in Christ must grow.
I. Jesus expected the disciples to develop faith as they talked and walked with Christ. The different between the two evangelist is that Mark concerns with the Faith formation of the disciples of Christ, while Matthew is concerned with the Faith development of the disciples as they talked and walked with Jesus.
The Bible says that faith cometh from hearing and hearing of the Word of God. It is easy to come to Jesus and rely our faith on Him. It is easy to say that we love Jesus, we want to serve Jesus. But when we passed through our difficult situations we are confused and easily focussed our eyes to the problems rather than to fix our eye on Jesus. Our ear hears only the noise of the storm of our life and not the voice of our Lord Jesus. Hebrew 13:5 said that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
After Jesus rebuked the storm He rebuked the disciples. He said, ?Why are you so fearful? How it is that you have no faith? ?Why Jesus said this kind of things? He wants the disciples to develop their faith. In the midst of trials and suffering Jesus never leave us nor forsake us. Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:29?For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake?We can only know more about Jesus during the storm of our lives.
When Jesus asked his disciples, the disciples never answered the question instead they questioned each other about who was that man? Possibly the disciple’s concern was the identity of Jesus. Hear the dialogue, ?Do you still have no Faith? Jesus Said. The disciple asked themselve, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!? If we get their conversation, Jesus is talking while his disciples is not listening instead they are busy in their mind about who is Jesus. It seems Jesus and the disciples were on the separate boats. They already received so many teaching about Jesus that’s why they believe him and followed him but in this situation it was a different approached altogether.
The point I want to drive is that when we are passing through a great difficulties in our life a Christian must not forsake God instead have faith in the living Christ. Faith allows us to see and experience Jesus calming the storms of life. What are the storms of Life? They are our Failure, frustration, Death of love ones, sickness, business bankruptcy, problems. Both the believers and non-believers go through these storms at one time or the other. But the good news is that the prince of Peace, Jesus Christ , Our Lord and Savior is accompanying us to face our problems. He is the one who permits us to cross over to good times. He said to the Disciples, ?Let us cross to the other side.?He didn’t say, You must cross but he said “Let us cross.?This means that our Lord Jesus Christ never leaves us. As we talk about Jesus and walk with him we will surely encounter difficulties but always be reminded that Jesus is doing good things in our life.
II. Jesus expected the disciples to see him walking above the water coming to our rescue.
Mark 6:45 ?53
?And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.?lt;br>
The disciples of Jesus had a difficulties in rowing their boat because they were rowing against the wind. Then Jesus made himself visible during that trying moment. Here the disciples were allowed by Jesus to enter the ship and cross over to the other side without Him. And he went to the mountain to pray. Then at fourth watch Jesus came walking above the water.
Here I believe that the disciples were more matured enough for they could go on to the sea without Jesus. They somehow had problems in rowing. What are their reaction during the hardship of rowing and facing against the wind. Maybe their mind was thinking about Jesus. While they are thinking about the Lord, the Lord appeared walking above the water to their rescue.
As the believers of Jesus are continually growing in faith, the hardships of life will never stop us seeing Jesus always coming to our rescue. Just think about Jesus in times of trials and you will find relief. In the midst of darkness of the night Jesus will shine and gives us enlightenment.
Sometimes we don’t know that Jesus is the one who are coming to help us. Like the disciples at sea, they are thinking that Jesus was a ghost and they were afraid. Then the voice of Jesus heard by them and made them comfortable. It is true sometimes there are deception of the enemy but the Word of God clearly tells us that Christ is here to help us. We must depend on the Bible as the Word of God because in times of trials and temptation there are voices of deception. Only the Word of God can prove that Jesus is speaking to us. You can see Jesus coming to you walking above the water.
Christian life is a life of victory for we are already sure of our destiny in Christ. It is also full of difficulties while we are immature. Do you recognize the presence of Christ in time of troubles? Do you depend on yourself during stormy whether,.
The two principles drawn from my message is that , Jesus is expecting us to develop our faith as we talk and walk with Him. Apostle Paul said, “we must walk by faith and not by sight.?2 Cor. 5:7 My experience in Korea is just like I am crossing to other side. There are a lot of difficulties I have encountered. Such as homesickness, cultural difficulties, relationship difficulties, language and food and mostly the weather. All of them I regard as storms of life but when I am reading this verses I realize that I must see Jesus in this situation. My faith should be above the storm for Jesus is with me and helping me to cross over the problem. And if I do this Jesus would increase my faith and I will become a more effective servant in my country.
The next principle is that Jesus expected us to see him walking above the water coming to our rescue. In times of life’s troubles when we meditate on Him, Read his word and pray Jesus will become visible to us and we will realize that He is very near to us offering us his hands. I always sing this song in my personal devotion and I feel released from so many emotional pains in my life. The lyric of the song is this:
Precious Lord take my hand lead me on , let me stand
I am tired ,I am weak ,I am worn
Through the storm , Through the night
Guide my feet to the light
Take my hand, Precious Lord, Lead me on.
Apostle Peter said, ?But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.?2 Peter 3:18