When everything around us is out of control – King Jesus remains in control!
(Mark 4: 35-5:43)
We live in a management world. Our work place is a place where we gain and exercise control. We buy expensive insurance policies that are designed to protect us from loss. The worse thing for many people here in Frankfurt is to no longer have control over their finances, their health, their relationships, their work, even their emotions.
But control is an illusion. Life is inherently destabilizing. We will face things this year where we will be in over our heads. The question is not whether we will be destabilized, but what will threaten us, when will it happen, and how will we respond when it hits us?
Last week Nico talked about how our response to the gospel leads to an abundant life. This abundant life is ours to experience, even in times of uncertainty and turbulence.
Today we will look at three destabilizing forces that threaten our well-being. We find them at the end of Mark chapter four and in all of chapter five. The three destabilizing forces are natural forces, demonic forces, and bodily forces.
1. Destabilizing Forces Threaten Us
a. Natural Forces (4:35-41)
After a long day of teaching Jesus tells his disciples, who are seasoned fishermen, to row to the other side of the lake of Galilee. So exhausted was Jesus that he fell asleep on a cushion in the stern of the boat. While he slept a raging storm descended on the lake and caught the men by surprise. The storm’s gale force was so severe that waves broke over the boat and it was sinking. Soaked to the bone and crazy with fear, the disciples wake Jesus and ask, “Teacher, don’t you care that we drown?” They have no control over nature. They have death by drowning before them. They are terrified.
b. Demonic Forces (5:1-20)
The next event happens on the other side of the lake. Jesus gets out of the boat and is met on shore by a man who is possessed by demons, thousands of them have taken residence in this poor man. Demonic forces have him in their grip. He lives in caves, goes about naked, is so strong that even iron chains cannot hold him, he cries out night and day, cuts himself with rocks. No one dares to come near him.
We underestimate the presence of evil spirits. Ask any African and he will tell you, they are real. Where a storm can drown you, evil spirits can torment you.
c. Bodily Forces (5:21-43)
Again, Jesus crosses the lake of Galilee and is immediately met by a Synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus. Jairus’s pleads with Jesus to go with him to go with him to heal his twelve-year-old daughter who is dying. As Jesus goes with him, a woman who had been hemorrhaging blood for twelve years sees Jesus as her last hope. She has spent all that she had on doctors, but to no avail. As the crowds press in on Jesus, she touches his garment in the hopes of being healed.
When Jesus reaches the house of Jairus, mourners are wailing. They are professional mourners who are paid to shriek and cry. They tell Jesus not to bother. The girl has died.
What sense do we make of these events? They are compressed illustrations of things that have gotten out of control. What effect did they have on the people then? They terrified them. They destabilized them. They were in over their heads, out of control.
2. Divine Presence Comforts Us
What I did not tell you, is how Jesus responded to destabilizing events that knocked the wind out of people. In every situation Jesus showed himself to be in control. He was the King and as King, he had authority over nature, over evil spirits, over sickness, even over death itself.
In the wind and the rain, Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”, as if the storm were a person. The result? “Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
The disciples reacted with terror. “They were terrified and asked each other, Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.” And then Jesus rebuked the disciples. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Who is this? Who is Jesus? Well, he is the sower that spreads the gospel into our hearts so that we might respond in faith. That would lead to a life of abundance. Who is Jesus? He is the king of his kingdom, announcing that normal people like you and me can access his kingdom today. Who is Jesus? He is the one who is greater than the circumstances that are out of control. Jesus is greater than natural forces. Jesus is greater than devils. Jesus is greater than sickness and even death.
But how do you respond to the greatness, to the divinity of Jesus? The answer is faith. Jesus chided the fishermen in the boat and asked “Do you still have no faith?” You see, you can be around Jesus without trusting Jesus. But then there was the woman with the issue of blood. We see Jesus commending her faith. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” When the mourners approached Jesus and told him that the girl was dead and he shouldn’t bother to come into the house, Jesus answered “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Fear is the absence of faith. Faith leads to confidence and drives out fear.
What are you afraid of tonight? What in our life is bigger than you can handle? What is keeping you from sleeping? What is not in your control?
When things get out of control, do you have faith? What is faith? Faith is trust. And faith always has an object. We put our faith in something or someone. Its not how strong our faith is, but how strong the object of our faith is
-> Ice-skating (great faith, thin layer of ice. Little faith, thick layer of ice)
When life and circumstances get out of control, what can you be sure of? Three things: 1. The strong Son of God, King Jesus, is here. 2. The King who is here, is in control. 3. The King who is in control requests you to trust him.
3. Delight yourself in the One who gave up control
King Jesus is in control of all our circumstances. What he longs for is your trust. What can help you put your trust in Jesus as your Commander and King?
The answer is capitulation. Only one time in all of history did King Jesus surrender his sovereignty. It was when he came to the earth to become a frail human and to give up control over his life. He allowed evil men to murder him on a cross. The cross was the electric chair of the first century, with the caveat that it was more brutal to die on a cross than in an electric chair.
Why would Jesus give up control like that? Because of his love for you! He knew that you cannot save yourself. That’s why he made himself to be the sacrifice you could not make to rescue you from your sin and self-centeredness.
If Jesus did that for you – how easy it should be to run into his arms and accept what he has done for you. Embrace Him as your King. Know that He is in control of the things you cannot control. Give your heart to Him, knowing that He gave his life for you. Amen.
King Jesus, nothing that unsettles me is out of your control. You are lord over natural forces, lord over the spiritual world, lord over sickness and death. But are you lord over my life? To be honest, there have been many times where I was in the driver’s seat. I put you on the back seat of my life.
I don’t want to live like that. You relinquished control over yourself and others, allowing yourself to die in my place. I now see how devoted you are to me. I want to be devoted to you. I place my trust in you. Take the driver’s seat, I’ll take the back seat. I give you full control over my present and my future, because I know you are in full control of all that is destabilizing in my life. Amen.