Christ’s Power Over Every Need
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series
Miracles Part 1: Power Over Nature and Demons
An Indian fable talks about a mouse that was constantly in fear of cat. So one day, a magician changed the mouse into a cat. But then the cat was afraid of a dog. So the magician changed the cat into a dog. But the dog was afraid of a tiger. So the magician changed the dog into a tiger. But then the tiger was afraid of a hunter. Finally, in exasperation, the magician said, “Be a mouse again, you have only the heart of a mouse and I cannot help you.”
“Even the Wind and Sea Obey Him” (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?”
“It had been a very busy day. The blasphemous accusation, the visit to the mother and brothers and possibly sisters, to take him home, leaving the crowded house for the sea, the first parables by the sea, then more in the house, and now out of the house and over the sea, “Let us go across to the other side.” It was the only way to escape from the crowds, but even there, “And other boats were with him,” So that there was a crowd even on the lake.
Jesus says, “Let us go” and they went, “just as he was” – Jesus was exhausted, the disciples were untrained and naive, the crowd was pressing and encroaching. Jesus never says, wait until the time is perfect and then we will go, Jesus was going and the disciples were going just as they were.
If Jesus is with you, the time is always perfect (His timing is perfect), and you have all you need to complete the task (because He is all sufficient). So when Jesus says, Let us go, you go. There will be times when Jesus says, “let us go” and you will say to yourself, I am not ready, but he wants you to go with him, “just as you are.”
“And a great windstorm arose” – “The word occurs in the LXX of the whirlwind out of which God answered Job (Job 38:1) and in Jonah 1:4, “and the waves were breaking into the boat” The waves were rolling across the boat and filling it with water.
(v. 38) “But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion” – Jesus was in the back of the boat, he found a cushion (because they left “just as he was”) and was asleep.
The disciples rebuked Jesus, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” They are not expecting Jesus to stop the storm, but just to show some concern for the fact that they thought they were about to die. “Moffatt’s rendering, ‘Teacher, are we to drown, for all you care?’
The verse contains the first of twelve times Jesus is addressed or described as Teacher.” But the disciples, even though they are calling Him Teacher, are not following His example. “We do ill to try to communicate our panic to him, we should allow him to communicate his calm to us.”
Jesus then rebuked the storm, and then turns and rebukes the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Jesus expected them to have more faith in His saving ability. He also asks the question before he calms the tempest. Even then, Jesus is teaching them.
(v. 41) The disciples dropped their nets to follow this man they believed to be the Messiah, they have seen him perform countless miracles, cast out demons, have heard him teach powerfully and in parables, and felt the crush of the crowds. But here as they stand in this boat, probably up to their waste in water, there was a great calm, then “they were filled with great”
The disciples were fearful of the storm – now they are fearful of the one who was over the storm. The growth we experience as believers is where we exchange one fear for another. All the things in this life that cause us to fear, should be exchanged for the fear of the Lord. Jesus is the one we should fear the most, and He is above everything else.
“They were growing in their apprehension and comprehension of Jesus Christ. They still had much to learn,” but it starting to sink in that this is no ordinary man. They ask “one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
“He is the Christ, the Son of God.”
Jesus is not just demonstrating power, “it is an epiphany through which Jesus was unveiled to his disciples as the Savior in the midst of intense peril.”
Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” The Creator-Lord controls what he has created.
Even though there was fear amongst the disciples, they continued with Jesus. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
One other thing before we move to the next miracles, remember in verse 36, “And other boats were with him.” Where are they at the end of the storm? Who knows, but the boat that had Jesus in it is still around to make the next adventure, the boats without Jesus in them are gone. Make sure you are in the right boat. Following close to Jesus is not good enough, you have to be in the boat.
“He lived Among the Tombs” (5:1-20)
5 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
Immediately, as Jesus gets out of the boat he is greeted by a man “with an unclean spirit.” Mark tells us that he was incredibly strong, that no one could hold him, and if chained he would break any chain that tried to hold him. He was known for screaming (night and day) and “cutting himself with stones.” “It means to cut down, we say cut up, gash, hack to pieces.” He would have been scarred all over with such recent and old gashes.”
“Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones” – There is no sleep for this man, screaming and running around, night and day. His time was spent in constant crying out in pain and suffering, and hurting himself. There two tired men meet eachother – one from saving and healing and teaching, and one from self-harm, isolation, screaming, and possession.
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God” – “This name for God is very ancient (Gen.14:18), . . . it appears in connection with Mechizedek, with Balaam (Num. 24:16), and in the song of Moses (Duet. 32:8).”
“I adjure you by God, do not torment” – “The word of adjuration (orkizo) is the word from which our word “exorcise” is derived. The evil spirit, in its fear is trying to match the command of Jesus by a counter-command in the name that it dreads.”
Torment – The word means to test metals and then to test by torture (cf. our “third degree”). The demons did not want to return to the place of torment, the abyss, their real home. The ones who tormented, did not want to be in torment.
(v. 9) “My name is Legion” – A full Roman legion had between 4 and 6 thousand men. We are told the demons name, but we are never given the man’s name. Revelation 2:17 says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’” We don’t need to know the man’s name, He knows the Lord and that man has been given a new name. What do you think Jesus calls him?
Characteristics of what Satan desires to do with humans:
- Surrounded by Death and Darkness
- Control – No Decisions
- Not take care of yourself
- No Sleep/Rest
- Pain and suffering
- Shame – nakedness
Demon possession and Jesus casting out the demons has been mentioned before, but this account in Mark gives us some insight into why demons even want to possess humans. “The function of demonic possession is to distort and destroy the image of God in man.”
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Satan wants to rob us, corrupt us, and crush as much as possible the image of God in all people.
14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
“and they were afraid” – They had all been afraid of the demon possessed man, but there he was, “sitting there, clothed and in his right mind.” “Apparently, they feared sanity more than insanity.” Was there fear of things getting better? We would rather keep the demoniac we know, then the sane healed man we don’t know. They couldn’t fix the problem (chaining the man up, he broke free), but Jesus with a conversation has completely healed him. Jesus was stronger than they were.
Giving up the substandard riches of this world, for the eternal riches of the next. Illus. of the dad asking for the plastic necklace.
These people were more concerned about their business interests than the healed demoniac sitting before them – what was the cost of one man being healed/saved from Satan’s control? Two thousand pigs. They were afraid of the future cost to their business. Their way of life was more important to them than the giver of eternal life.
If Jesus stays, there may more of these healings, and well we just can’t afford that – “they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.” In order for Jesus to be present with them, they would have to give something up. They didn’t want Him there. “Ironically they feared Jesus more than they did the demoniac and cared more for their pigs than for a fellow human being.”
Jesus knows that these people need to saved, so He tells the healed man to go and tell the people what had happened. They knew this man and what he was like, now they can see with their own eyes the power of Jesus’ influence in a person’s life. What a powerful testimony, the text says, “and everyone marveled.” (kept on marveling, imperfect tense).
The man, “went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. . .” – “The Decapolis was a loosely connected group of ten Gentile cities that had been set free from Jewish domination by the Roman general Pompey when he occupied Palestine in 63BC.” A man who was enslaved was now free and was telling his story to a city recently freed from control.
Characteristics of What Jesus desires to do with humans:
- Surrounded by life and choices
- Sound mind/Calm Spirit/Peace/Rest
- Given a calling and sent out to do good
 v. 39, “observe the poetic parallelism in the verse: wind and sea separately addressed, and the corresponding effects separately specified: lullied wind, calmed sea.” W. Robertson Niccoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; W.M. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967) 370.
 Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 1 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1932) 291.
 James Brooks, The New American Commentary, Volume 23 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1991) 88.
 George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 7 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1980) 710.
 Robertson, 293.
 William Lane, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids, Michigan; W. B. Eerdsman Publishing Company, 1974) 178.
 Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing, 1984) 654.
 Robertson, 295.
 W. N. Clarke, An American Commentary on the New Testament, Volume 2, Mark & Luke (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; Judson Press, 1950) 72.
 Clarke, 72.
 Robertson, 295.
 What they request is that they not be sent “out of the area.” In Luke (8:31) the request is that they not be sent into the Abyss (Rev. 20:1-3), the place of confinement before judgement (Gaebelein, 658).
 Lane, 184.
 Buttrick, 716.
 Brooks, 91.
 Brooks, 91.