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Mark 4:35-41 Jesus Rebuked the Wind

Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 15, 2012


Mark 4:35-41 NLTse As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” (36) So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). (37) But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. (38) Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (39) When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. (40) Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (41) The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

 

Many people reading through Mark fly right past these verses, never realizing how they apply to the rest of the chapter. Did they forget in such a short time? How could anyone miss the point? Just a short thirty five verses ago Jesus began this chapter preaching in a boat. To understand the significance we have to see the relationship between the two. One way to learn the relationship is to follow the rules of a simple inductive study, comparing words which are the same, similar, and related to see the clear connection between the parable of the sower and Jesus rebuking the wind. It is as simple as that. But wait, before we can understand the complete connection, the lesson Jesus taught His disciples and continues to teach throughout all generations, we have to examine the entire chapter based on its unique theme. How do we find that theme? It is contained in the first few and last few verses of the chapter. The first few introduce the theme. The last few verses summarize the same theme.

 

Mark 4:1-2 NLTse Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. (2) He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

 

The main theme found in the introduction is uncovered by words that are repeated. This is meant to draw our minds to every detail Jesus teaches throughout the chapter. We also see the word boat repeated, which links it to the last portion of the chapter. Understanding how they are linked is revealed by the lessons Jesus taught between the two. We see a hint in the introduction. “He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables.” The summary also shows us a number of clues.

 

Mark 4:40-41 NLTse Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (41) The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

 

We see a set of related words repeated, afraid, no faith, and terrified. What were the disciples afraid of? Why did they ask, “Who is this man?” Maybe they couldn’t see the relationship between the two. How do we find the relationship?

 

The parable of the sower is special. It is one of the few parables Jesus explained. Why did Jesus explain this parable and not others? When asked to explain the parable, He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'” Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? (Mark 4:11-13 NLTse). We see the words understand and parable repeated throughout Jesus’ explanation. After this Jesus explained the meaning of the parable of the sower. Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. (Mark 4:21-22 NLTse).

 

Why did Jesus follow a parable about a farmer with seed with a parable about lighting a lamp? We first have to understand what seed represents. “The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.” (Mark 4:14 NLTse). Seed represents God’s Word. Where did Jesus get His interpretation from? Scripture of course. This is what Jesus was teaching. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11 NLTse). Scripture provides the spiritual interpretation showing the relationship between seed and God’s Word. As you can see, when the proper scripture is located, it also reveals more than the original. In this case Isaiah also explains the relationship between seed and bread, and of course Gods Word.

 

Light has its own spiritual meaning. The parable of the lamp may not seem to have a relationship to the sower and seed to the normal person browsing Mark chapter 4, but it is in fact the key which opens up the understanding of the entire chapter. “Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.” (Isaiah 51:4, 60:2-3 NLTse). “He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” (Daniel 2:22-23 NLTse).

 

Scripture shows light has a spiritual relationship to listening and hearing. Light is used to describe God’s glory and radiance. Light reveals deep and mysterious thingswisdom and strength. Paying close attention to Mark chapter 4, we find Jesus continues to follow the same routine. Jesus explained His parable about light the same as He explained the sower and seed.

 

Mark 4:23-25 NLTse Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (24) Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. (25) To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

 

Notice how Jesus repeats a select group of words, hear, listen and understand. We receive God’s light when we hear, listen and understand. That is when God’s wisdom, strength, glory and radiance are revealed. Make sense?

 

After the parable about light, Jesus tests His disciples to see if they understand. Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.” (Mark 4:26-29 NLTse). Notice how Jesus repeats the word seed to draw the minds of His disciples back to the spiritual meaning He provided for the seed scattered by the farmer in the first parable? In this parable Jesus is telling His disciples they do not understand how the seed transforms life. It that true? Jesus didn’t explain that detail yet. He explains a portion of the process in the next parable about a mustard seed.

 

Mark 4:30-32 NLTse Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? (31) It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, (32) but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

 

Once again Jesus repeats the word seed, which represents God’s Word, having a small beginning, but grows beyond expectations. The theme of God’s Word and growth through understanding are repeated throughout Mark chapter 4. Because this is repeated, we have to search for the same Word and understanding in the conclusion of the chapter.

 

Since the theme of the chapter shows us how to understand all parables, we have to follow the rules Jesus established, looking to God’s Word to reveal the spiritual meaning. This chapter also showed us how to look for key words, which are repeated. One of the words repeated during this scene in the storm is wind. Looking at scripture we find the spiritual interpretations for wind.

 

Job 8:2 NLTse “How long will you go on like this? You sound like a blustering wind.

Job 15:2 KJV Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?

 

Job shows us wind is used to represent people. How does this fit into the scene Jesus and His disciple when through in the storm? Scripture itself explains exactly why Jesus rebuked the wind and how it relates to what Jesus taught in Mark chapter 4.

 

Job 1:19 NLTse Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

 

Remember who sent the wind? It was Satan. This is one example showing how Jesus received the interpretations for the symbols He used in His parables. Studying additional texts in the New Testament shows us what the disciples learned from these parables.

 

Ephesians 4:14 KJV That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

 

It’s as if Paul wrote an explanation for the acted parable of Jesus rebuking the wind. When Jesus took His disciples into the boat, He showed them how they needed to listen and understand the spiritual lessons. This is why Jesus told a parable about a farmer and his seed from a boat. He did not want them to pay attention to the physical elements around Him, He wanted them to listen, concentrate on the words and learn. This is why Jesus repeated certain words, to show one rule to interpret all parables. This lesson becomes even clearer as we study additional related texts. “These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” (2 Peter 2:17-19 NLTse).

 

Peter is not the only disciple who saw the spiritual lesson Jesus taught that day. James also wrote about the lesson he learned. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6 KJV)

 

Mark chapter 4 centers on listening, learning and understanding. Jesus promised His disciples He would teach them how to understand all parables, and He fulfilled that promise. He also said, “When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand.” Once we learn how to study scripture we can see wind represents the people who do not want to understand, but insist they are qualified to teach others.

 

Jesus taught His disciples how to understand parables so they would go out and teach others. The book of Acts is filled with examples showing the disciples not only exhibited the qualities Jesus taught, but an understanding.

 

Acts 11:19-23 NLTse Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. (20) However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. (21) The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. (22) When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. (23) When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.

 

Like the New Testament reveals the Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled, the book of Acts shows how Mark chapter 4 was fulfilled. Not only the disciples, but Paul and many new believers taught others how to understand God’s Word much like the tiny mustard seed grew, shooting out branches in all directions, turning a large number of people to the Lord.

 

Acts 13:48-49 NLTse When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. (49) So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.

 

Acts 14:21-24 NLTse After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, (22) where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. (23) Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (24) Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia.

 

After teaching new disciples, Paul and the disciples prayed over them. Once they saw the Spirit was with them, they left them in the care of the Lord. Based on what they learned from Jesus, the disciples knew the Spirit would teach new believers what they needed to learn. They knew the Spirit was capable of teaching new believers the same way the Spirit taught them. Jesus taught the disciples how to put their trust in the Spirit., a lesson we need to understand.

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