Sermon Summary – April 16, 2017
Mark 4:35-41 • Pastor Tim Tseng
Main Point: “God is bigger than the boogie man, He’s bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV. God is bigger than the boogie man, he’s watching out for you and me.” — Bob the Tomato to Junior
Happy Easter! The Lord is Risen!
Thanks to all who participated in and helped out with Good Friday service. God has blessed us with gifted worship leaders. During Easter, let us renew our faith and our confidence in Jesus Christ!
Let’s Cross to the Other Side (Mark 4:35-36, NLT)
Jesus finished giving his disciples some basic training. He had been teaching the crowds with stories that were hard to understand. So Jesus explained the meanings of the parables to his disciples.
Jesus now wanted to go to a region called the Decapolis (i.e., ten Greek cities) on East side of the Lake of Galilee. He is ready to minister to Greek-speaking Gentiles. We’ll find out more about this next
The disciples’ fear
What do you think was going on in the minds of Jesus disciples? I’m not certain they felt fully confident in Jesus as their leader and Messiah. After all, right after Jesus appointed them to be disciples, he was challenged and attacked by his family and the scribes. They accused him of out of his mind and even possessed. His family tried to get him under control out of fear of embarrassment while the respected religious leaders dismissed him as a spawn of Satan. So a huge question was whether “Jesus was credible.” [Mark 3:20-35] Jesus answered that a “divided household” cannot win; Jesus’ family is those who do God’s will.
But that gave little comfort because is Jesus’ movement was so small and so few people understood him [Mark 4:1-34] Was Jesus promise of the Kingdom of God big enough to change the world? Jesus answered that the disciples were to cultivate good soil, or, the kingdom of God, and that they should be confident that God will provide the growth. The kingdom of God will inevitably flourish even though it may start small. Well, the evidence still seemed a bit flimsy. And now,,,
Jesus was sound asleep, apparently, and without a care in the world (Mark 4:37-39a). They shook him awake: “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” It seemed that their worst fears were confirmed: Jesus was crazy and unreliable! It was a mistake to follow him. Jesus was going get us all killed!
What are your fears? Are they so strong that Jesus gets discounted, ignored, or dismissed? I’m guessing that most of our fears are focused on this life – on this side of eternity. Such as fear of failure, disappointment, and death. Unresolvable conflicts or relationship impasses. And Jesus doesn’t really matter during the storms of your life because he only matters for us in heaven or in the afterlife.
Where is Jesus in the midst of life’s storms? Is he sleeping? Sleeping is symbolic of death – so is Jesus dead and buried in our lives, like he was after Good Friday?
I admit that I’ve been scared recently. When people think I’m misleading our community; when people distrust my leadership; indeed, the current storm at Canaan’s English Ministry where I am being called into question are all very frightening and uncomfortable. The ship is casting about, tossed around by conflict. Water is getting into the boat. All my life in ministry, I’ve sought to encourage God’s people to be missional, be prepared for a world that is rapidly changing and challenging Christian faith. Yet, a stubborn resistance to be faithful to the way of Jesus became a life-threatening storm. Through it all, Jesus appears to be sleeping.
Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?
But then Jesus woke up. He rebuked the wind and commanded the waves to be silent; to be still! (Mark 4:39b-41). And suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.
Then Jesus turned to his disciples, almost scolding them: “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” At this point, I realized that the opposite of faith is not necessarily doubt. The opposite of faith is fear. Fear of uncertainty, fear of the loss of control of which death is the ultimate loss of control. Fear is the inability to trust anyone else other than yourself. It is the inability to have faith in someone else. It is what causes churches and families to tear each other apart.
So despite spending a significant amount of time with Jesus, the disciples still found it difficult to fully trust him. And instead of winning their trust, Jesus’ demonstration of authority and power over the storms sent the disciples into absolute terror. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
The disciples may have been afraid of the storm, but now they were terrified about Jesus. They may have had doubts about Jesus. Even though he healed people and cast out demons. Even though he promised to bring the Kingdom of God. But now he has demonstrated that he is even bigger than all that.
Can we trust Jesus now – in this life?
It comes full circle: can we trust Jesus when we really know who he is – God incarnate? Can we trust Jesus in the storms of this life when it is easier to trust him to save our souls and bring us to eternal life. Can we have faith in Jesus when we can’t find work? when we are at an impasse with our relationships? when we wait for colleges to respond to our applications? when we face financial struggle? when we worry about our children’s development? when there is distrust and disunity in the church?
So faith in Jesus is learning how to hang on to, to trust Jesus, when our lives now are threatened and so uncertain. And on Easter, his resurrection is confirmation that he has triumphed over sin and death (1 Cor. 15), so this life is worth living!