Do You Trust Jesus for Life?

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 2/9/2020

This morning we’re in Mark 4:35 begins with the words, “On that day. . .” Its such an interesting choice of words, because of all the days Mark might have spent with Jesus, this was a day that really stood out. For most of the day Jesus had been teaching about his Kingdom. The whole power, reality, and benefits of God’s Kingdom hinges on just one thing. When Jesus speaks, do we listen? Do we hear/understand? Do we open see/perceive? Do we repent and believe? Do we follow and obey? So many soil types. Not everyone receives God’s words the same.

Mark 4:35-36, “On that day, when evening had come, Jesus told the disciples, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.’ So they left the crowd and took Jesus along in the boat…” I know this is hard to accept. But Jesus didn’t heal every single person, every single time, in every single crowd. First of all, the crowds often become desperate and violent. I read how over in China, people are so distraught they’re beating up the professionals assigned to help them! To avoid being crushed, Jesus often evacuated by boat! But the other reason Jesus didn’t always heal was because his greater priority was to preach! Every time Jesus’ popularity reaches a fever pitch, he pivots into teaching. You might remember back in Mark 1:35-38 how the crowds are hunting for Jesus but Jesus tells his disciples, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. That is why I have come.” 

Jesus never subjected himself to the crowds. Rather, He subjected himself to the Father in prayer… to His mission, to preach, to seek/save lost… and to the development of His disciples. So here in Mark 4, there Jesus goes again, setting sail! Then this scene! 

Mark 4:37, “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was being swamped.” I wonder how many of you have ever been in a such a life/death circumstance? There have been a few times I’ve got out fishing on Lake Springfield, in seemingly perfect weather. The sun was up. Not a cloud in the sky. Nothing on the weather radar, or in the forecast. But then WHAM. A windstorm. White caps forming, the water churning, water splashing over my bow. I’ve raced my boat back to the dock countless times. Thank God for 150HP motors. Those big motors aren’t for racing other bass boats, they’re for racing lightning! More than a few times, if that stormfront catches me, game over! 

Mark 4:38, “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion.” Somewhere over at News20, the weatherman sleeping on his cushion… Up at Lincoln weather station, some guy sleeping. Mark 4:38, “So the [disciples] woke Jesus up and said to him, ‘Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?’” 

I’ve carried this memory from childhood. One beautiful, sunny afternoon, our family loaded up our station wagon and went shopping. Mom and dad dragging us four kids through the grocery store. I bought a bag of candy. Seemed like just another day… 

But “on that day” as we traveled home on Rte 17, dad slammed on the brakes! Mom let out a bloodcurdling shriek, “DANNY!” And about as fast as I could turn, an enormous Locomotive came smashing into our car. Have you ever had that split-second realization, that your life was no longer your own? That life would never be the same? With terror the disciples cried out, “TEACHER! Don’t you care that we’re about to die?” 

In Mark 5, we have a series of stories, where Jesus encounters people in distress. Scene 1, the disciples are caught in a ferocious/deadly windstorm. Scene 2 is Mark 5:2. As Jesus gets out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit comes out from some tombs and meets Jesus. This was NO afternoon tea. Mark 5:3 tells us this man lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore. He had superhuman, supernatural, demonic, satanic strength. He couldn’t even be restrained with chains. He’s worse than a junkyard dog, he’s a graveyard dog. We’ll learn he’s naked and out of his mind. Mark 5:4-5, “He often had been bound with shackled and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” And now imagine this! Mark 5:5, “When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before Jesus, and cried out in a loud voice…” If I ever saw some naked ZOMBIE guy running toward me, I’d probably take off running! 

But here is a poor soul, being ravaged by Satanic darkness. Maybe you’ve known what it is to be ravaged by death. Ravaged by crippling anxiety, by deep depression and despair, by self-destructive/self-harming/self-cutting/suicidal impulses? Ravaged by your own carnality, by unbreakable addiction? People these days are quite preoccupied Zombies, and the Zombie Apocalypse. Zombies are so unredeemable, in video games or movies, we’ve no other recourse but to blast them away! But what if its you who is the zombie? What if its you, or a loved one, who is just a shell of your former self, crippled by fear, preoccupied with death, left to lurk among the tombs? When have you shrieked in terror because of the darkness within? 

Scene 1, a deadly storm. Scene 2, a dying soul. This is quite a day do you agree? On that day… a profound invitation to trust/listen/believe in Jesus words. A boat ride. A whirlwind at sea. An encounter with unredeemable Zombie man. If Jesus ever asks you to go on a boat ride say, “No Thanks. I’ll catch up later!” 

Scene 3, a dying girl. But Mark 5:22-23, “One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, ‘My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.’” Permission to cry. Is there anything more distressing as the cry of a father (or mother) whose precious little child is dying? Many a parent, pastor, doctor, nurse, fireman, and police officer are uncomfortably familiar with this scene. Mark 5:24, “So Jesus went with him, and a large crowd was following and pressing against Jesus.” 

When its your child, Jesus can’t come quick enough. In a moment we’re going to learn she’s just twelve years old. Her whole life is in front of her. Imagine this father’s impatience, his desperation, his sense of urgency, his panic, maybe his rage at the crowd… “Everyone move, get out of the way, my little girl is dying…” 

Scene 4, a dying womb. Mark 5:25-28, “Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years. . .” Twelve years? What an interesting detail. What do you suppose was her issue? We just had a father pleading for the life of his dying twelve-year old. Now we have a woman whose womb has been dead as long as Jairus’ daughter has been alive. And it wasn’t just her womb that’s dead, its also her hopes and dreams for a family, for normalcy. Not only had her dreams died, but it appear she herself is terminal. Mark 5:25-26, “[she] had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse.” Mark 5:27-28, “Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. For she said, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.’” 

We have to ask, why is Mark stacking all these stories/scenes together? Mark is forcing us to face the reality of our mortality! So often we nurse these notions, these delusions, of invincibility. But then we step in a boat, or step out of a boat, and WHAM! We all have a “on that day…” If you don’t, you will. Four radically different scenes. 

People really amaze me at times with their attitude about death. There is this story over in Luke 13:4. In Jesus’ day, eighteen people die when the tower of Siloam fell and crushed them to death. Some assumed they came under judgement. Some people’s attitude was, “Sure glad I wasn’t in that tower… Sure glad it wasn’t my helicopter in the fog… Sure glad it’s not my aggressive stage 4 Cancer diagnosis… glad its not my city being hit by Coronavirus… glad I wasn’t caught in some Duck boat in some whirlwind… glad it’s not my twelve year old… or my womb… or my health failing. In Luke 13:4 Jesus is incredulous! “Do you think all of you are less guilty than all of them?” Do you imagine there was some greater curse on them because they were caught in that horrifying circumstance and you’re still here today on earth? 

What Jesus says is utterly shocking. Twice he repeats himself. Luke 13:1, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” And then Luke 13:5, “No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you too will all perish…” There is some business each and every one of us has to take care of today, and it’s called faith! Repent and believe—that is what Jesus preached everywhere he went! Repent or you will perish. It’s John 3:16: “For God so loved the World he sent his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It’s 1 John 5:11-12: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The one common denominator, in all these scenes, is each person had Jesus. Jesus alone has authority over death, to grant life. In each scene, the persons involved cry to Jesus for life! 

SCENE 1. A windstorm arose. The waves breaking over the bow. The disciple’s boat swamped in water. “Teacher, don’t you care that were going to die?” If that is ever a question, consider the story of Lazarus in John 11. Upon news of Lazarus’ death, Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled, and he wept. Mark 4:39-41, “[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the say, ‘Silence! Be Still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” And they were terrified and asked one another, ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” In my life I’ve known what it’s like for Jesus to calm a storm or two. But I also know what it’s like for Jesus to calm the storm within my soul, to say, “Be silent, be still, and know that I am your God.” That reality is what inspired the hymn “It is well with my soul.” 

SCENE 2. That poor, dying Soul. Mark 5:6-7, “When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before Jesus. And he cried out with a loud voice, ‘What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!” At first it appears it’s the man who is speaking, but it’s actually the demonic spirits within! 

Mark 5:9-16, “Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” 

What great assurance we have to know God always hears our cries! No matter how dark the darkness within grows. No matter how great the pain within—here was a man cutting himself! Keep crying out. With whatever faith, with whatever clarity of mind, with whatever measure of sincerity and sobriety you can muster, run and throw yourself at the feet of your God and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus showed up when this man was at his lowest, darkest moment. This man’s pain was the only reason “on that day” Jesus had for even being in the region. 

SCENE 3. The Dying Woman, with the Dead Womb. Mark 5:27, “Having heard about Jesus, [the woman] came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched his clothing. For she said, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” Mark 5:29-30, “Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction. At once Jesus realized in himself that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” Mark 5:32-34, “He was looking around to see who had done this. The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. ‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.” 

SCENE 4. The Dying Twelve-Year-Old. Mark 5:35, “While Jesus was still speaking [to her, on that day], some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” How real to life are these stories. Sometimes this is people’s attitude… “Why bother God? Why bother praying? It’s too hopeless, it’s too late.” For that childless woman… Jesus wanted her to know that no pain, no struggle, no loss, no hurt is ever too small for God. If only she knew the love of God, she wouldn’t be afraid, she wouldn’t have hidden in the crowd trembling, she would have raced forward and openly embraced Jesus. You are never a bother to God. God desires that you have peace! That you experience healing from all affliction! 

Jairus, don’t bother Jesus any longer. Mark 5:36-43, “Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 

40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.” Ghosts don’t eat! This was a real, physical, tangible, bodily resurrection. 

You know, everyone in Mark 4/5 evades death—everyone except this little girl. She died. In John 11, Lazarus, Jesus’ close friend, died. Those eighteen people in the Tower of Siloam died. Jesus, on that cross, also died. There isn’t a promise in Scripture saying our bodies will never “physically” die… The promise of Scripture is what Jesus tells Martha in John 11:25-26, upon the death of Lazarus. Jesus says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe?” The promise is that even if we die, we will not perish, because Jesus is with us always. All things work to the good of those who love God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God—no storm, no power, no tragedy, no bad news, no bad diagnosis, no sickness/disease/death… 

“Repent and Believe… Repent or Perish” isn’t a death threat. It’s an invitation to hope. That just as God raised that girl, and Lazarus, and Jesus so shall he raise you! Repent or Perish is an invitation to right now, while its still “today,” to take care of business! We’re not guaranteed tomorrow. What say you? Will today be the day of our salvation? Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved! Amen? Who believes Jesus words, “I am the resurrection and life?” Who has declared their hope in baptism? Baptism is declaration of hope… though die, though buried, we have a resurrection destiny!

Scripture Verses

Mark 4:35-5:43

Worship Playlist

Oh Our Lord by Paul Baloche

Holy Ground by Passion

You Never Let Go by Matt Redman

Mighty to Save by Hillsong

Study Questions

  1. What is the single most powerful force you have ever experienced? How did it affect you?
  2. Read Mark 4:25-41. The disciples experience two incredibly powerful forces--one that could bring certain death and one that could spare life. When have you found yourself in a life or death circumstance? How did God become real to you during that time?  
  3. Read Mark 5:1-20. The disciples were amazed at Jesus power over storms. How does Jesus demonstrate his power to do something even greater? Do you believe God can restore a dead soul today?  
  4. Read Mark 5:21-24. Mark paints a gut-wrenching scene of a father seeking healing for his daughter. This scene might be compared to the story of Lazarus in John 11. How is God's timeline for healing sometimes different than our own?  
  5. Read Mark 5:24-34. Mark paints a picture of a woman whose womb had been dead for 12 years . What hopes or dreams might she have had? Why was it so important for Jesus to find her? What was significant about the way Jesus addressed her (i.e. "Daughter")?    
  6. Read Mark 5:35-43. Why did members from Jairus' household tell him to stop bothering Jesus? What assumptions did they make about the power of death?   
  7. What do you make of the way Mark stacks these four stories? The twelve were as good as dead. The Gerasene man had a dead soul. The woman had a dead womb. Jairus daughter was sick but then died. Do you believe God has the power to restore peace, restore dead souls, restore dead wombs, restore a child from the dead? What is the basis for such confidence?  
  8. Read John 11:1-44. Do you believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and Life? Do you believe that Jesus has the power to give you the gift of life even though you might die? How important is this hope in a world where healing seems so uncertain? 

Apply It!

Resources

At the Lakeside Bookshelf:

Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of The Son of God by Timothy Keller