MS Week #15: Why Are You So Afraid?

Brad Libolt speaking on Mark 4:35-41. He spoke about Jesus calming the storm and challenged us to examine what kind of faith we have.

Psalm 55:5-8 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

  • One time my wife and I were in Sisters Oregon and we were eating at a burger place called Snow Cap. We were sitting at the plastic picnic tables with umbrellas, and all of a sudden this massive gust of wind comes up and people start freaking out. The wind took a whole table where no one was sitting at and carried it away.  Another time I was in Dallas Texas and there was a gnarly rain storm. We were about 50 ft from out car and ran to it. We got completely soaked.
  • Where I’m from there are a lot of storms. There are a lot of forces of natures, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc that we can not control. Our response is to run away because there is nothing we can do counteract them.
  • Storms are an unstoppable force of nature, that humans have no control over. In this story, Jesus controls a storm.

Mark 4:35-41 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

  • Remember this is the same day that Jesus was telling all his parables about the kingdom, he was teaching to a big crowd and now Jesus is getting into a boat, leaving the crowd, and going to the other side of the sea. On the boat Jesus decides to take a nap, but a storm comes and it’s really bad. The disciples wake Jesus up because they are afraid. Jesus wakes up, rebukes the wind and tells the sea to be still, and it does just that. He calms the storm. Jesus then asks the people who are with him why they are so afraid. Have they still no faith? Instead of answering they actually grow more afraid, and ask each other who is this Jesus guy, that even the wind and the sea obey?
  • Let’s look at a few things in this story.

Teacher, do you not care?

  • When the storm is raging, the wind is howling the people are terrified. The people think they will surely die and they ask Jesus if he even cares that they are perishing.
  • We are all going to have storms in our life, and they are going to make us afraid. Maybe we are scared of something that is happening right now, maybe we are scared of something in the future, or something from out past. Storms are inevitable. They are going to come.
  • It can be easy in the times that the storms come to ask God if he even cares about us. The people in the boat do just this, asking Jesus if he even cares that they are perishing.
  • When our life seems to be falling apart around us, the storms are raging and our fear is growing, we look up to God and ask, “God, do you even care? Do you care that I am suffering? Do you care about what is going on in my life right now?”
  • He does, look at what happens.

Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith? 

  • Jesus wakes up, calms the storm with a few words, then he directs his attention to the disciples.
  • He asks them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
    There was a terrible storm that was likely to capsize the boat, the people were afraid, and Jesus asks them why they were afraid. And then he links not being afraid with having faith. Have you still no faith?
  • He is saying that if they would have had faith, then they would not have been afraid. So the key to when we go through storms and begin to get afraid is to have faith. If faith stops them from being a afraid, and faith stops us from being afraid, then we must ask, Well faith in what? And what is faith?
  • Faith is not a blind hope that something will happen. It isn’t believing in something you can’t see. We have the phrase, “leap of faith,” which refers to stepping out into the unknown, taking a step towards something you can’t see and hoping for the best. This is not biblical faith. One pastor defines faith as “the confidant assurance in events not yet seen”. He says it is “positive certainty expressed in action”. Faith isn’t a blind leap in the dark, it is reasoned, carefully thought through. It is a confidence in knowing what will happen. It is taking a step because you know with absolute certainty what the outcome will be.
  • So for the Christian, our faith is in God and his promises. We are certain of who God is and what he has said and so with that certainty we can move forward, knowing what is going to happen. That is faith.
  • In this story, Jesus is calling out the people with him, saying, “Do you still not have faith?” After all they had seen Jesus do, cast out demons, heal people, after all he had said and taught, they still did not realize who he was or what he was capable of. God has been telling them who he is. Even more, they are forgetting who God is and what he has commanded. “Do not be afraid” is one of the most repeated commands in the Bible. It’s all over the place. God says over and over again to not be afraid, because he is God and he is with you. Not only have the people in the boat not realized who Jesus is, but they have forgotten who God is. They have no faith. They do not believe with confidence who Jesus is and the promises God has made.
    Not only have they not have faith in who Jesus is on this boat, but they don’t have faith in what God is doing in their lives right now.
  • So what about you? Do you have faith? Again, not a blind belief in something you can’t see, but a reasoned, confident, well thought out conviction about who God is and that he will be faithful to his promises? Good times or bad, Jesus is calling us to have faith.
  • God has told you not to be afraid, because he is with you. So when storms come, are you afraid? Or do you have faith that God is there and is looking out for you? Do you have faith that God will be faithful to his promise that we have no reason to be afraid? And what about faith in who Jesus is? Let’s look at how the disciples responded to this.

 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

  • The disciples get even more afraid, proving they had no faith. And they ask each other, “who in the world can this be, that even the wind and sea obey him?” Let’s not forget that Jesus calmed a crazy storm here.
  • Their question proves they have no faith, because they don’t know who Jesus is, even after the evidence has been laid out in front of them. The answer to who Jesus is is Psalm 65, what we read at the very beginning. Jesus is the God of our Salvation, the one who stills the roaring seas and calms the raging storms. The one who is the hope for all people. Jesus has proven over and over again, in tangible and visible ways, who he is and the disciples can’t even see it. He has proven that he is the God of our salvation. Do you see this?
  • So I’ll ask you again, who do you think Jesus is? Who is he? He is the God of our salvation who commands the storms and they hear and obey him? Is he someone worthy of putting our certain and confident faith in?
  • Jesus is going to purchase salvation for us. It’s not something we come up with on our own, it’s something that God must give us. The foundation of our faith is Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection form the grave. He didn’t just come to the earth to teach, but he came here to die. We can choose “yes.” He is the only way we can have true hope, peace, joy, purpose, and eternal life. Or we can choose “no” and we won’t have true hope, peace, joy, purpose, and eternal life. And we will have eternal life, but it will be in separation from God.

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