Devotional #13 (12/25/12). More parables and Jesus calms the Sea.
Intro: Last week Jesus taught with a parable commonly known as “the sower” (someone who plants seeds). Remember a parable is using things that are seen all the time to teach a point. Jesus said the parable of “the sower” was the key to understanding all other parables. In this section he will give us more parables.
This Week’s Reading: Mark 4:21-41.
vv. 21-23. Jesus asks why someone would put a light under a bed. You have a lamp to shine light so you can see. In the same way Jesus says everything spiritual that needs to be known is made known and not hidden. He is giving a warning, if you have ears then use them.
vv. 24-25. This goes back to what we said last week under Mark 4:12. Remember how MacArthur said Jesus was giving both judgment and mercy? He is saying we are responsible for what we know. If a person hears only a little bit about Jesus and tells others that is what God will hold them accountable for. If someone hears a lot about Jesus but doesn’t tell anyone they will have to answer God why they didn’t tell anyone. Then in verse 25 Jesus says more blessing will be added to the person who does what Jesus says and tells others. But for the person who has been told a little and does nothing with it even that will be taken away. If they don’t want to hear it God won’t force it on them. The person who searches for food will find it, the person who doesn’t care will starve.
vv. 26-29. Jesus uses another farming example (probably because everyone listening was familiar with crops and planting). This time He says it’s about God’s kingdom. God plants seeds in men’s hearts but we can’t explain how it works, all we know is that the Holy Spirit speaks to all people. Some people want to grow and understand what God says and others don’t. But no one knows when the harvest will come. A harvest is when plants are ready to have their fruit picked. In this case Jesus is saying He will come back for those who have chosen Him, although no one knows when that is so people need to listen to Him right now!
vv. 30-32. A mustard seed is “usually about 1 or 2 mm in diameter” (Source 1). But, as Jesus says, it grows larger than other plants of its type: you can see a picture by clicking on Source 2 below. Jesus’ point was that the amount of people going to heaven started small but it will grow very large. Interestingly mustard seeds grow well in Hungary! (Source 1)
vv. 33-34. Jesus tells the crowds parables but later he takes the time to explain everything to His disciples. He was giving them much so as time went by they would be able to explain to others.
vv. 35-36. Jesus and his disciples go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Source 3) and Jesus is very tired so they bring Him along “as He was.” Also notice the mention of other boats which means that there were other eye-witnesses, not just the disciples, who see what is about to happen.
vv. 37-38. A storm came up on the Sea and it filled up the boat with water. Some of the disciples were fishermen so they had been on the Sea all their lives but they were really scared, so it was a bad storm. And where is Jesus? He’s asleep in the back of the boat (“the stern”: Source 4) which is interesting because that’s where the captain would be. So the disciples freak out, wake Him up and ask Him why He doesn’t care that they’re all going to die.
vv. 39-40. So Jesus wakes up and tells nature to be calm and it automatically obeys Him. Who has power over a storm, over waves and wind? Only God, the Creator of everything that exists. In Hebrews 2:1 it says Jesus made everything and since there are no contradictions in the Bible when Genesis 1:1 says that God made everything it must mean that Jesus is God.
And Jesus asks why they were scared since they had seen His power healing people and casting out demons. Jesus shows there is a connection between faith and fear. He says, “‘how is it that you have no faith?’” But what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In other words Faith is belief in something you can’t see. The important word here is “something”. There must be an object to believe in. For example if I put my faith in a chair that is something that I believe will hold me. In order to have faith in something I need to know about it. The disciples knew Jesus well, they had seen Him do amazing things but they got scared and lost their faith in him. So here Jesus is calling them out on it. A friend of mine heard me preach on this and brought up the point that there is no fear when there is faith. We see this again on the sea in Mt. 14:30-31. Peter is walking on water, then “afraid” (v. 30) then Jesus equates this with having “little faith” (v. 31).
v. 41. The disciples ask, ‘who has this kind of power and authority?’ It is the same question we should ask ourselves. Jesus is showing He is God so we should listen to Him. This is not a fairy tale—remember the boats? There were eyewitnesses who saw this.
Summary: Jesus will keep us safe no matter what storms threaten to kill us in this life. He is in the captain’s position and all we have to do is have faith that He will do what He has promised. My prayer for all of you is that you would lean your full weight on Jesus. That you would give Him your burdens. That you would tell Him you’re not perfect but you recognize He is. And that you know if you accept Him into your heart although everything will not immediately become easy and wonderful He will take care of you. He will protect you and love you like only God can!