FEAR OR FAITH
As we have preaching thru Mark one of the questions that we have been asking is who is Jesus? Mark has been answering that question through various miracles. Miracles of the healing of the sick and lame like Simons mother-in-law chapter 1, the leper in chapter 1, the paralytic in chapter 2, and the man with the withered hand chapter 3. Who is Jesus, He is the healer who can heal every disease, sickness, illness.
through his masterful teaching when he confronted by the Pharisees about the doing miracles on sabbath and through the parables section in chapter 4. He is the master teacher who knows all.
We have seen his power over the the demon possessed chapter 1:32-34 we looked at Legion in chapter 5 and how no one could subdue the demon but it bowed to jesus. Jesus is Lord of all and has power and victory over demons
we even saw jesus have power of the storm in at the end of chapter 4 Jesus is all powerful. What can’t he accomplish, what can’t he do. Mark has revealed to us that Jesus is like no one else and has the power over nature, the spiritual world, disease, and even death.
The question for us continues to be will we follow Him? Will we trust him and put lives in his hands and will we take up our cross and follow him.
You would think that at this the disciples who seen these miracles and heard these teachings, would put their trust in Jesus but at the end of the chapter 4 when they are put to the test they come up lacking.
When the storm hits whats the reaction of the disciples and those in the other boats around them? fear reached down into their hearts and had taken hold of them to the point hey forgot who they were with. Notice what they asked jesus. They didn’t ask him for help. They didn’t ask him to pray with them. They didn’t ask him to do something about the storm. They asked “teacher do you not care that we are perishing? Almost as if saying why don’t you join us as we are scared to death. So Jesus rebukes the the storm with three words hush, be still. and the storm becomes perfectly calm
the question that has been sticking with me ever since we looked at Mark chapter 4 is what Jesus says to the disciples. WHY ARE YOU AFRAID? DO YOU STILL HAVE NO FAITH (TRUST)?you have seen and heard all this and have been with Jesus and witnessed this stuff first hand and you still don’t trust him. You still don’t reach out to him and trust him to see thru the storm.
Isn’t that us though. We read these incredible events, we even see his hand at work in our lives, he sees us through all of life's ups and downs but we still don’t have faith. We still don’ trust him enough to turn all of our sins over to him. When the storm hits we still don’t trust him enough to see us through it. We question and complain to him but we don’t trust him.
Jesus equates fear with a lack of trust. Immediately in the next chapter we are confronted with 3 more miracles and at first glance they may seem unrelated but a common thread seems to be running through these miracles and its the theme of fear and faith. We have two examples of fear taking over and two examples of faith taking over and we can see them through the use of the words fear and faith or belief. Lets first look at the those who allowed fear to overtake them.
the disciples allowed their fear to cause them to forget who they were with. their fear was a direct result of a lack of faith = trust or dependence on God and not themselves. they were no at the point that the Psalmist was in Psalm 23 even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thy rod and they staff comfort me. the storm had kept them from trusting in Jesus. The fear of the unknown, the fear of death. whatever it was fear had taken hold of their hearts and it all stemmed from a lack of faith or trust in Jesus.
Then we get to the event around the casting out of legion. Again we see fear winning out in the hearts of the Gerasenes. imagine the fear they must have lived with with this demon possessed man who they tried to bind with chains but he broke them time an time again. the text even says that no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly he is screaming and and gashing himself with stones and in an instant when the demon see Jesus he comes and bows down before Jesus and ask him what business do we have with each other son of the most high God. Jesus cast him out and legion goes into the pigs and off the cliff. When the people saw what had happened what was their response? v. 15 says they were frightened. and the implored him to leave their region. Their fear kept them from coming to jesus. They were so afraid of what happened that they asked Jesus to leave. Instead of putting their trust in him and following him they they asked him to leave. they allowed their fear to keep them from following him.
Then we get to our two examples of those who were able to get past their fears and put their trust in jesus. The two stories are intertwined but lets look at each one and the barriers to their trust that they had to overcome. We begin with Jairus the synagogue official. Jairus was a part of the group that despised Jesus that rejected jesus and yet here he is bowing down at the feet of jesus imploring him to come and heal his sick daughter. Think about the fears that he had to overcome just to get to this point. the fear of being cast out of the synagogue, the ridicule, the loss of his prestigious position, the loss of respect he would receive from his peers. And yet he comes and bows at Jesus feet a posture of submission, a posture that says you are greater than I. You are superior and I am inferior. He trust Jesus enough to get past all those fears and he trust Jesus enough hat he believes he can heal his daughter from her sickness.
But as Jesus is heading to heal his daughter. a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. she had endured much a the hands of physicians, she had spent all her money, and nothing helped it only got worse. she hears about Jesus and she sets in her mind to touch jesus. Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of God Rom. 10:17 She believes or trust that if she can just touch the hem of his garment she can be healed. What happens she touches and immediately she gets well. Think about all the fears and barriers that she had to overcome to get to Jesus. One thing we often fail to realize is that this was was bleeding (womanly flow for twelve years) according to Lev. 15:9ff this woman was unclean and everything she touched was unclean so this woman was not allowed to be near people or go and worship or to be apart of society. She wasn’t supposed to be around anybody and certainly not touch anybody. She knew that. she fought through the crowd, she overcame those fears and she came to jesus . nothing was going to keep here from getting to Jesus but we let all sorts of things keep us from jesus.
Even after she is healed and jesus calls her out she is fearful and trembling but she comes and falls down before him and jesus tells her daughter your faith has made you well go in peace and be healed of your affliction. notice two things he says it was your faith( trust) in jesus that made her well. She trusted Jesus and his power to heal her and it did. But secondly notice that Jesus calls her daughter. In the healing of the paralytic it was the same thing he called him son when he healed him. Why those two words of endearment? You see it is those who come to him in faith, trust who are his children. they trusted him regardless of what others thought, they over came every obstacle of fear and they were determined not to let anything come between them and coming to Jesus. Faith/ trust overpowered fear in her life.
Now back to Jairus we have already seen he has trust in jesus to heal and he overcomes great obstacles and fears to come to Jesus and as him to heal his daughter, but now a synagogue official comes and tells him that his daughter has died and he should not bother him anymore. He is faced with another challenge, another obstacle. can he overcome his grief to still put his trust. Is it possible for someone to raise the dead. Note what Jesus tells him when he over hears what the synagogue official says. do not be afraid any longer, only believe. don’t allow fear to overtake you just believe in me trust in me.
He had to overcome the common thought that she was dead, that is the end. But is it, is there more Jesus said she was simply asleep. They people even laugh at jesus statement but Jesus takes them in the room and raises their daughter from the dead. don’t be afraid abut believe.
So Marks question to us this morning is what is leading our life, fear or faith? Do we really trust Jesus to get us through the storms of life, are we willing to push past our fears and trust solely in Jesus. Do we trust Jesus to get us through sickness, illnesses. DO we trust Jesus to see us through our financial issues, do we trust Jesus with our sin problems, do we trust jesus with our fears, do we trust Jesus and His word to the point that we will believe and follow him wherever he says to go. will we trust him and his word that when it tells us to do something that we do it without wavering. do we really trust jesus and his promises. Do we trust jesus to see us through the storm. I think sometimes we believe that at first that Jesus will calm that storm but what about when you have to live with bleeding for 12 years will you trust him to see you thru the storm. When you are faced with death will you trust him. When you are staring down at the cancer in your body that has not been taken away will you trust Him. will you trust him?
But I also think Mark ask us another question. What obstacles are keeping you from coming to Jesus. Nothing could keep the leper who came to be healed from coming to Jesus not even the crowds could keep the paralytic from getting to Jesus, not event he uncleanness of the woman kept her from coming to Jesus. Not even the the loss of his prestige and loss of his place in the synagogue kept Jauirus from coming to jesus. What obstacle is keeping you from Jesus. Is it fear of the unknown. do you fear what other people will think? are you afraid of what will happen. What fear is keeping you from coming to jesus and confessing your sins, fear of what other people will think, fear of what will happen and how other s will treat you. What fear is keeping you you from following Jesus wholly. are their social pressures, work pressures.
What keeps us from fighting thru the crowd to get to Jesus. What are we not willing to push past. Our family, friends, co-workers. We might be punished or be an outcast or reject us or even persecute us. What excuse keeps us from coming to Jesus. Fear or faith. What will you have.
What about when the storm is not removed from your life. Will you trust Jesus to see you thru it. When death is knocking on you r door and cancer or whatever it is eating away at you and you have prayed for it to be removed what will you do then? Will you trust Jesus to see you thru it? rest assured there will be a day when that storm will be removed will you say what Shad rack Meshach and Abednego said
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Will we trust Jesus? Notice that no one could help the woman overcome a lifetime of pain and suffering no one had the power to subdue the demon, no one had the power to heal the woman, no one had the power to calm the storm, no one had the power to heal the dead girl. only Jesus. Only Jesus has the power to help you in whatever you find yourself in. Will you have fear, or will you have faith. the Lesson is yours.