Mark Chapter 4 Part 3

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Shalom and welcome to [Hebrew 00:00:06], a Hebrew phrase, which means, “You shall love Israel.” We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch, shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web @loveisrael.org, that’s one word, loveisrael.org. Now, here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.

Dr. Baruch:    Preparation is a very important factor in us pleasing God and being ready to faithfully serve him and also bear testimony to others concerning the truth of our Lord and our savior, Messiah, Yeshua. But the sad reality is this, that most people are not prepared for what God is going to bring about in the world. Take out your Bible and look with me, if you would, to the book of Mark and Chapter four, the book of Mark and chapter four. Now we’re going to encounter today a verse of scripture that I would expect most believers know very well. They’ve heard the account of when Messiah was in the boat upon the sea of Galilee, and he was traveling from one side to the other. And in the midst of that journey, during the evening, what takes place? A storm, and the disciples, because of the intensity of that storm, they were fearful.

They didn’t know what to do and they called upon him. And you know the rest of the story. He spoke and everything got quiet and still, and do you remember what he did at the end? He was very displeased with the disciples because they did not have faith. That is, they weren’t in a position to understand how to respond to what was going on. So look with me as we look more in depthly at that passage of scripture and we learn things so that we can be better prepared to serve our Lord and to be ready for the final days. Mark, Chapter four. Let’s begin in verse 35. Now, the first thing that probably needs to be stated is that there’s been an emphasis on the type of teaching that Messiah has been doing. He’s been teaching the masses in parables, and remember he said that they would be be hearing but not perceive.

Now, these parables were difficult but not impossible to understand. But the thing that is emphasized, Messiah was available to discuss them. And we see not just once, but time after time, the scripture speaks about the fact that there were those who approached him, who were there with his disciples, and they asked him questions and he taught them personally. Now, the point that needs to be emphasized is that Messiah was available to reveal the truth for those who are truly seeking. But others, they heard these parables, they didn’t understand them, they didn’t give them much thought, and they didn’t respond. So one of the questions that we have to ask ourselves is, are we willing, not just to hear the truth, but to deal with the truth and apply it to our life so that we can bear a faithful witness and do the things that God has called us to do.

Verse 35, “And he spoke to them in that day in the evening or when the nighttime was approaching.” Now everything in the scripture is very important for setting up the information that we need to know to be able to understand the scripture properly. And we usually see in the nighttime Messiah doing something… Praying. Why? Well, one reason is because, biblically speaking, usually the nighttime is a time of activity that is not good. Remember Messiah warned us, he says, “Do the work in the day because the night is coming when no man will be able to work.” So nighttime is oftentimes seen as an evil time. Something that is against God’s will. Now we know if we go all the way back to the Book of Genesis and Chapter one for example, it was darkness was over the earth, and the first thing that God did was to say, “Let there be light,” and light attacks darkness. So it’s very significant. It sets the stage for us to understand what’s going to happen in this passage, that this is all coming to path at the time of the evening. Let’s move on.

He says to his disciples, “Let us pass over to the other side.” Now, all too often when people do, we hear them, we simply say, “Okay, he was on the the Western side of the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, and now he wants to go over towards the Eastern side, to pass over to the other side, and we move on. But that expression is very important, to pass over to the other side. In Jewish literature from around that time and before, even today in the writings of the Hasidim, this concept, the other side, is very important. It speaks about demonic activity. The other side is where Satan is in a literature-listic way. So understand here it’s nighttime and they’re going to the other side. The thing that should be expected is demonic activity. And we know something… When he gets over to the other side, when we begin to study in Chapter five next week, we’re going to see on the other side, in an undeniable way, there is indeed spiritual activity that would be classified as demonic.

So he tells them, “Let us pass over to the other side,” and leaving the crowd, so all these other people, he departed from. Who was with him? Just his disciples and they brought to him, meaning a boat, and they placed him inside the boat. And it tells us there were also other boats with him. Now, why is that important to tell us that it just wasn’t him and one and two of the disciples? These boats were small. In fact, you can go to Galilee today in the area along the Sea of the Galilee, and you can see one of these boats, and perhaps three, four, five individuals can get in. And the reason why it tells us is that there were other boats with him, is to tell us that all the disciples were there. Now Messiah, his disciples, they were passing over to the other side in the time of darkness.

Now, what’s going to happen? Well, it shouldn’t surprise us. There’s going to be demonic activity. Move on to the next verse. Verse 37, “And it came about,” and it’s emphasized here, “A great and mighty storm.” Now, when you read this passage as we’re going to do, you’re going to find that there are similarities between this passage of scripture and the Book of Jonah. Now why do I say that? Because Jonah also was in a boat. He was on a trip. He was passing from one location to another, but there’s a major difference. Jonah was fleeing from the presence of the Lord. This certainly wasn’t the case with Messiah. He wasn’t fleeing from the presence of the Lord. He was going into spiritual battle. He was going to an area which was known as a place of demonic activity. And as I said, later on next week, we’ll see that without any, any doubt.

So he’s going into where God has called them to go. So the point on what you see is this, there’s this great tempest that comes up, and the source of it is not God as in the book of Jonah, but the source we can derive is satanic in nature, demonic in nature. What happens here is very, very important. Now again, they’re passing over to the other side and we’re going to see next week that Messiah, he has war with demons, but the disciples, they were totally unprepared for what they were going to encounter that night. Now another thing that needs to be pointed out is that at least four of the disciples, what were they by profession? They were fishermen and they, probably, day in and day out, were on that Sea of Galilee on the Kinneret. And the thing that’s emphasized is that they were seized by terror.

Why? Probably because this storm that came up was like no other storm that they had seen throughout their years of fishing on that sea. It came up at once, immediately, and it was more intense than any other storm. And notice what takes place. Let’s move on, again in Verse 37, “And it came about a great tempest of a storm and also the waves beat against, or I was cast into the boat with the result already.” And that’s emphasized, I mean before anything happens, the boat begins to fill up with water and the implication is to sink and what happens? Verse 38, “And he was in the the bows of the boat that is in the stern,” and what was he doing? Sleeping with his head on a pillow. Now that sounds so similar to what Jonah was doing. And in the same way that the sailors in that boat during the time of Jonah had to come down and wake Jonah up, and Jonah spoke in a way that brought about what? That brought about the calming of the sea.

Also, what happens? Well, those sailors in the Book of Jonah, they knew that it was something unique. They were impressed upon to pray, each man to his god. But what was revealed in the Book of Jonah to those sailors, the identity of the one true God, the identity of the God of Israel. And that is, as well, a key point in this passage of scripture. So look again, it tells us in this passage of scripture that this great tempest arose. The waves were beating into the ships. And what happens? They began to fill up already with water. And what did they do? Well, when they look to their Lord, to their teacher, what happens? Well, he was there in the center, down in this little boat, sound asleep. And what did they say to him? Well, they spoke, waking him up and they called him teacher.

Now, that’s important. They could have talked to him as as some other way, rabbi, master, lord, whatever. But they spoke to him in the phrase, “Teacher.” Why was that? Simply because the scripture wants to emphasize that he has been investing in them, teaching them, training them, and now there’s an attack from the enemy and they’re totally unprepared. Why? Well, we’re going to come to that at the end of our study. But they had simply not learned the teachings of Messiah, their teacher. And if we could summarize what he was teaching, we could do so in one word. And what is that? The word, faith. He was teaching them how to be faithful, how to put godly truth into action, and when he was asleep, instead of them responding, instead of them understanding the nature of this situation, they did absolutely nothing but panic. And here’s the point I want you to see.

If we’re not spiritually prepared for the future, if we don’t understand how the enemy works and where he works, then what’s going to happen? We’re going to be easily defeated by him. We’re not going to accomplish the things that God has called us to do. Now, if we look at this, someone could say, “Well, how do you know it’s spiritual? How do you know it just wasn’t a storm? They had storms all the time.” Well, here’s the problem. Oftentimes the forces of demonic influence, they camouflage themselves in the natural so that we don’t put any spiritual significance on these things, and because we see them as just natural occurrences, we don’t respond with the spiritual power according to the truth of God’s word. And what happens? Well, think about them. They were fearful. Obviously they felt stress in their life. They were were dismayed. They had no idea what to do in and of themselves.

And when we are spiritually unprepared, when we’re not growing and maturing, what’s going to happen? The enemy, he’s going to attack. And we need to see this as a spiritual attack against the disciples and the Messiah. We see throughout scripture that Satan is moving. The scripture speaks of him like a prowling lion looking for who he can destroy. And he doesn’t give up. He keeps trying. He keeps pursuing. And the sad fact is, all too often, he finds the people of God unprepared, unsuspecting. And when things happen, they do not respond properly. They begin to fret. They begin to be worried. They have anxiety, stress, and they do not respond in faith. And that’s exactly what we see with the disciples. Let’s move on, Verse 38, “And he was in the center, the bowels of the ship sleeping with his head on a pillow and they woke him up and they said to him, ‘Teacher,'” and notice the next phrase, “‘Do you not care that we are perishing?'”

Now that’s an interesting expression. Do you not care? Now that’s totally out of the character of Messiah. What we’ve seen throughout this gospel is how many times Messiah was moved with compassion. We see many times, and we’ll see this in the next chapter, that there was a great need someone had. And what did the disciples say? “Don’t bother the master. He doesn’t need to hear this. He’s not going to deal with that.” And what happens? Messiah responds. He’s moved by compassion to get involved in a situation. So the fact that it says here, according to the disciples, that he did not care, it shows that they really didn’t understand who was with them in that boat. So they asked, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” Verse 39, “And he gets up, he rises up and he rebukes the wind and says to the sea, ‘Be still and silent.'”

And what takes place? Tells us, “And the wind abated. The sea became calm.” And what’s interesting to note is this, the word. It says that there was a great calm, now that word, great, was used earlier in the texts to speak about the uniqueness of the storm, how it came up suddenly and it was so powerful, this great tempest. And now, immediately after he spoke, not after 30 minutes or an hour, but immediately things changed.

And the point I want you to see here is what they said in Verse 40. First of all, he said to them and he spoke to them and said what? “You cowards.” Now I don’t know how it’s translated in your Bible, but literally in the Greek language, it’s the word cowards. And he says, “How is it that you still do not have…” How does the verse end? “Faith.” And the point that needs to be emphasized is this, when we lack faith, we will have fear. We will not attack the problem, we will not have victory, we will not be over comers. But what will happen? We’ll be full of anxiety, stress, fear, and we won’t be able to perceive what is going on spiritually.

So notice what he says. Once more, Verse 40. “And he says to them, ‘What? Are you cowards? Have you still not have faith?'” And verse 41, “And they were seized with,” same word, a great fear. Now throughout this passage, what we can say about the disciples is that they were fearful, fearful, and fearful. And the reason so is because they lacked faith. And faith comes from doing, not just from hearing, but it says, “If the one has faith, let him do.” So, faith, the origin of faith is, of course, hearing, but the outcome of faith is doing. And what we learn is this, is when we put faith into action, that we will grow, that we will mature, and God also will begin to reveal things to us.

But because they were seized and they were overcome with fear, they totally lacked the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Messiah knew in an instant this wasn’t simply a storm that came up, but this was a spiritual attack. And that’s emphasized because immediately when he gets to the other side, who’s going to meet him? A demonic possessed man. So let me ask you a few questions. If you were in that boat, would you be able to discern, “Wait a second. This is a spiritual attack. I don’t need to fret. I don’t need to worry. I don’t need to panic. I don’t need to cry out. What I need to do is apply faith and faith is rooted in truth”?

Notice Messiah simply did what? He rebuked, and that’s an important word. Why? Because so often in the scripture when that word is used by Messiah, “For rebuking,” he may be rebuking individuals, but at the source is what? Satan. So that word tells us, it gives us insight that this is indeed a spiritual attack. Here again, the disciples weren’t discerning the spirituality of that situation. They were focusing upon themselves and what might happen to them instead of focusing in on the fact of what they were doing, that is, going to the other side. They should have been prepared for spiritual battle. Look at Verse 41 again, “And a great fear seized them and they said to one another,” and don’t miss the exact translation of this phrase. Literally, “Who therefore is this one?” Now obviously they’re speaking about Messiah. Someone, and we’re one quarter of the way through the Book of Mark, and we see very early on in this Book of Mark, Messiah chooses these disciples. And from the time that he chose them, they were with him.

They heard his teaching of the masses. He brought them into intimacy with him. He revealed the truth in a more excellent way to them. They saw miracle after miracle, and yet now after probably a year or so with him, what happens? They still don’t know his identity. And the thing that’s emphasized in this scripture is the identity of Messiah. Now, one of the reasons that we’re studying the Book of Mark is to emphasize two important theological truths, and that is the identity… We could say it another way, the person of Messiah, and also the work of Messiah. Now some passages emphasize one or the other, and it’s clear in this passage that’s what’s being emphasized is the identity, the person of Yeshua [Hebrew 00:23:02], Jesus of Nazareth. And the only conclusion is this, look at what it says, “Who therefore is this one that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Now, remember an important truth to help us understand the proper interpreting of this passage is the Book of Jonah. And in the Book of Jonah, we see something very important. We see that everything and everyone in the Book of Jonah obeyed God except for one, and that was Jonah. And in this passage of scripture from the Gospel of Mark, we see once again that it’s the disciples that kind of parallel Jonah. They didn’t get it correct. They didn’t understand what was going on. They didn’t understand who was with them in the same way Jonah didn’t understand the important role that God was calling him to do. So in the Book of Jonah, as I said, everything follows in obedience to God. The wind, the sea, the great fish, the sailors, the lot, the worm, the Gort, everything obeys. And now we have this question, “Who is this one that even the sea and the wind obey him?”

Now what we need to conclude as we begin to wrap up is this, if the sea and the wind obey him, and who’s this? Well, this passage is one, like so many others in the Book of Mark, that emphasize the divinity of Messiah in the same way that it was God the Father in the Book of Jonah who was bringing about all these things, that storm that tossed around that ship that was heading for Tarsus… In that same way was God that caused the tempest. Now it is Messiah, the son of God who is commanding the sea and the wind, and there’s a great calmness. And that’s what faith does. When we have faith, we’re not going to be panicking. We’re not going to be full of anxiety and fear, but when we have faith, there’s going to be a calmness that comes into our life.

That’s why the Apostle Paul, he could say that he knew the peace, the peace that passes all understanding. And the concept here of peace is not that word for simply the absence of a violence. Rather it’s a word, peace, in the sense of what we’re seeing now that is tranquility, that calmness. And it’s interesting because if you do a good study of that word, rooted within it, is the idea of assurance, that peace that comes from knowing the truth. And that’s what this passage is trying to develop in the reader… That we wouldn’t be like the disciples and simply says, “Who is this one?” But that we would go ahead and we would answer the question, and we would understand that this one that calms the sea and the wind is Messiah… Yeshua, the son of God, Emmanuel, God with us.

So let me ask you this question. Have you come to the conclusion of who Yeshua [Hebrew 00:26:44] truly is? Do you understand the authority and the power of his word? Have you applied it to your life and are you using it to be prepared for the opposition? Because in the same way that the opposition, that is the demotic influence in that world at that time was moving against the disciples, nothing has changed 2000 years later. There’s that same demonic influence in the world that wants to come and oppose everything that has to do with that peace that Messiah and his word brings about. So when you have struggles in your life, do you fret? Do you fear? Do you have your body full of anxiety? Are you trying simply to flee from that? Or do you understand that it’s an opportunity for you to utilize faith and bring a righteous, a calming, a holy influence in to that situation? Well, we’ll stop with that until next week when we enter into Mark’s Gospel and Chapter five.

Speaker 1:    Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, love israel.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you in our Messiah, Yeshua, that is, Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom from Israel.

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