“Believe in Jesus When You’re Tempted Not To”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Mark 4.35-5.34
Mark chapter 4 in your Bibles if you will.
The last time we saw Jesus’ amazing teaching on the kingdom of God. We saw from chapter 4 how Jesus taught in parables. And in the parables about the kingdom of God, Jesus is clearly claiming to be the King of that kingdom.
How can Jesus claim to be that King? For the reader now, Mark knows that we need further confirmation that Jesus indeed is the King of the kingdom of God he has just taught on. Jesus is indeed God come in the flesh.
And to do this, Mark presents another series of miracles. Starting at the end of Mark chapter 4 and running all the way through to the end of chapter 5, Mark presents 4 miracles. Jesus calms the winds and the waves on the Sea of Galilee, he heals the demoniac of Gerasene as well as the woman with the hemorrhage. He also resurrects a little girl, the daughter of Jairus the synagogue official.
As we read through this passage this morning, hopefully you were able to note some of the occurrences of when people were afraid and when they believed in Jesus.
These four stories are ordered fairly similarly. Typically we have, in each story, the introduction of the problem, Jesus’ miracle, and then responses to Jesus person and his works. And as well see, each response will be instructive for us by way of application.
Beginning in 4:35, when Jesus calmed the winds and the waves for the disciples, Jesus responds by asking them why they were afraid and why they did not have any faith. Based on Jesus response here, we learn that we should believe Jesus when were tempted not to because of fear.
Beginning in 5:1, when Jesus healed the Gerasene demoniac, the herdsman of those pigs came and told the people in the city. They came out and it says that they were afraid and then they told Jesus to leave. Believe it or not, what we’ll see here is that we should believe Jesus when were tempted not to because of money.
Beginning in 5:25, when Jesus healed the woman with the hemorrhage, he healed a woman who was an outcast of society, having become unclean. She would be one who would be easily embarrassed. What will see here is that we should believe Jesus when we’re tempted not to because were embarrassed or because we think something else will work better.
Beginning in 5:35, Jesus resurrects Jairus’ daughter. Jairus had enough faith to ask Jesus to heal her when she was alive, but when things got worse, when she died, he was tempted to be afraid and not to trust Jesus. What we’ll see here is that we should believe in Jesus when we’re tempted not to because of the stressful events of life.
So the message of these four miracles as put together by Mark is this: Believe in Jesus When You’re Tempted Not To.
So, the first miracle is found in chapter 4:35-41. This is the miracle of Jesus calming the winds and the waves of the sea of Galilee. Here, and we learn, that we should believe Jesus when tempted to be afraid and fear him. Believe Jesus when you are tempted to be afraid of your circumstances and fear him. And in this story, the disciples are tempted not to believe in Jesus because of their fear.
Jesus Stills the Sea: Believe Jesus when tempted not to (afraid) and fear him.
Well, on the same day when Jesus was teaching concerning the kingdom of God, that night, verse 35 says, Jesus said to the disciples, “let’s go over to the other side.” And of course, Jesus is referring to going over to the other side of the sea of Galilee.
As you recall, Jesus was teaching the people about the kingdom of God in the previous passage when he was in a boat. He was pushed out from the shore and the people were on the shore listening to him teaching. Now, verse 36, the disciples come to take Jesus at his request to go over to the other side of the sea. There were likely 2 other boats around Jesus when he was teaching, as it says there the end of verse 36 that other boats were with him.
And so Jesus and the disciples all got into one of those boats.And when they were in the middle of the sea of Galilee, there arose a great windstorm and caused the waves to break over into the boat so much that the boat was filling up with water.
Now, the Sea of Galilee is located in a depression some 700 ft below sea level and is surrounded by hills. Rushes of wind would frequently mix with the right temperatures above of the sea and cause storm to come upon the lake suddenly. Storms on the sea of Galilee were notorious for being violent and sudden.
And during this storm, Jesus likely being exhausted from the ministry of the day, was asleep during the storm in the back part of the boat. Now, these boats, were likely large enough to fit about 15 people in them. And so the disciples came and woke him up and said verse 38, “teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Don’t you care that we are about to die?
And without batting an eye Jesus merely gets up and rebukes the wind and said to the sea Hush be still and the winds and the waves obeyed him.
And he just turns to the disciples and says why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith? And when Jesus asked them why they are afraid, Mark uses the word here that has reference to someone being cowardly or timid.
So the storm ends even more suddenly than it began. And the disciples response to this is that they, verse 41, became very much afraid and they began to question the identity of this individual who was capable of doing this. You would as well respond with great fear if there is someone in your midst who could command nature and make it obey. Now chapter 5 verse one gives us a key part of this story to help us understand the point. Chapter 5:1, “they came to the other side of the sea.”
Don’t forget how Mark started the story. Jesus said 4:35, “let us go to the other side of the sea.” Now 5:1, “they came to the other side of the sea.” Jesus says “let’s go there” and “they went there.” Whatever Jesus says, happens. Jesus didn’t say “let’s go to the middle of the sea and die.” He said, “let’s go to the other side.”
But we’ve got a problem in this story, right? The problem is there is a windstorm and it’s causing the disciples to be afraid, even though Jesus made a promise about what would happen. They know what Jesus said in the midst of the problem, they are so consumed with the problem they don’t grasp ahold of his words by faith. And because of that, in this situation, they are experiencing a fear of death.
And Jesus in the midst of all of this is not the slightest bit concerned about any of it; he is asleep! And when they talk to Jesus about the situation they accuse him of his lack of care about their situation. But Jesus has already made a promise that they would get to the other side of that lake.
And Jesus question in verse 40 seems to indicate that they are timid about believing his promises. Why are you timid, or cowardly? Do you not have any faith?” Now, this is not faith generally speaking, this is faith that has an object. They were supposed to believe, not just anything, but what Jesus said in verse 35. Jesus clear will for the disciples was that they were to be on the other side of the sea. So the disciples were reluctant to believe Jesus promises and their reluctance caused fearfulness to rise up in their hearts. They didn’t believe Jesus, so they were afraid of dying in the storm. Jesus had given them specific promises about that situation.
The principle here then is that faithlessness leads to fearfulness. Faithlessness leads to fearfulness. Often times we are fearful during the trials of life, because we failed to believe God’s promises. Fearful believers might say, “I’m so scared, how can I believe? Can Jesus really help me? Does he really care that I’m perishing?”
This believer clearly does not know the true identity of the one who can calm the winds and the waves, just like the disciples in verse 41 when they were questioning among themselves who this was. A fearful believer is often consumed with the troubling circumstances, and not consumed with recalling to mind clear incidences were God has been faithful in the past and calling to mind God’s promises to him.
In the midst of trials, Peter exhorts us to recall to mind our eternal salvation. He says that you are, 1 Peter 1:5-7 (NASB) 5 … protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Call to mind your eternal salvation in trials.
Paul says we should not be anxious, but pray and let God give us peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB) 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NASB) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
Does Jesus care? Oh yes, he cares! But believe these promises from God and you’ll find the comfort He wishes to give you.
Believe Jesus when tempted not to and fear him. Believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because you’re afraid of your circumstances and instead fear him. Fear him, like the disciples in 4:41, not the circumstances, and believe his promises to you and do what he says to do when in times of distress.
TRANS: Not only should you believe Jesus when you’re afraid of your circumstances, you should believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because of money.
The Gerasene Demoniac: Believe Jesus when tempted not to (money) and proclaim him.
Believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because of some economic reason, chapter 5:1-20.
In fulfilment of Jesus’ promise, now 5:1, Jesus and the disciples come to the other side of the sea into the country of the Gerasenes. Right when Jesus gets up out of the boat and onto the shore, a demon possessed man bolts out from among the tombs and meets Jesus. This guy was fierce. He lived in the cemetery. People, because of his demon possession, would try to bind him and they would bind him with chains and shackles. But this guy would break apart those chains and those shackles and break them in pieces. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
If you lived in this country of the Gentiles, you would hear him screaming during the day and during the night… You would hear him screaming in the tombs and in the mountains and if you were to watch him he would be cutting himself up with stones. Yikes. Not a guy I would want to have coming running toward me. But he’s running straight for Jesus.
And Mark 5:7 (NASB)[he came and bowed himself down] and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”
The demons through this man invoke the name of God that Jesus not torment them. The demons were fearfully anticipating that time when he actually will do just that in the end times.
And verse eight gives us the reason why these demons were asking Jesus not torment them. They were asking Jesus not to torment them because he was saying to those demons Mark 5:8 (NASB) “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
That was what was going on there. Mark also records the exchange of Jesus with these demons concerning the name of these spirit beings. And the demons replied collectively that their name is legion. And they explained that that’s their name because there are many of them. And the term legion has reference to thousands. So the name fits the number of them. There must be thousands of them in this man.
And not only do they request that Jesus not torment them, but they also beg him not to send them out of the country of the Gerasene’s. So for whatever reason they want to stay within this country. And Mark notes in verse 11 there was a large herd of pigs feeding nearby on the mountain. And as a reader, if you were to stop there, and you already know how Jesus has, you would begin to get a sense of what’s going to happen next.
And just like you would expect, not only do the demons beg Jesus not to torment them and not to send them out of the country, but now, verse 12, they asked him to send them into those pigs.
And Jesus gives them the word in verse 13 and immediately they go straight into those pigs and the pigs rush down the steep bank and are drowned in the sea. And Mark notes, importantly here, verse 13 that there were 2000 of these pigs. So, it’s likely that there were roughly 2000 demons possessing this man as well.
Now if you were to think that these were just some random pigs out the countryside feeding on the lush grass next to the sea, Mark says you are sorely mistaken! This part of the story just sets up the major point that Mark wants to get across to us.
Verse 14, these pigs had herdsman. And you can imagine the emotional state of these herdsman as they went away into the city and the country. They went away into the city and into the countryside in order to report exactly what happened to everybody. And as these people came to see what happened, they went to that place next to the sea and verse 15 they came and saw Jesus and they observed this man who’d been demon possessed. They saw him sitting down, and he actually had clothes on for the first time in a long time, he was in his right mind…. And these people it says at the end of verse 15 became frightened. They were frightened in the same sense the disciples were frightened because they were fearful of the one that has the power to do these things. Someone of this magnitude was in your midst, and he was doing these things, what would your emotional state be? You would be very much afraid like the disciples 4:41; you would be frightened like the people of Garesene!
Mark notes that, verse 16, the eyewitnesses of this event told the people who came out everything that actually happened to this man who was demon possessed and they told the people all about the pigs as well.
Now, if you were these herdsman how would you have felt? What’s the major issue here? Some of you men are farmers. How would you feel if you just lost your whole herd of cattle?
Now, I don’t know much about farming, but I believe for today, if a pig weighs 300 pounds and if you charge the going rate per pound of pig by the hanging weight, then you get about 216 pounds of hanging weight per pig. Today’s standard I think is about $.84 a pound. If you calculate this by today’s standards, these herdsman lost roughly the modern equivalent of $363,204. How would you feel if you lost $363,204? You can let me know if my calculations are off if you like!
As you went throughout the countryside reporting what happened, with what kind of spirit would you be reporting these events? Joy? How ‘bout grief despair extreme anger?
So you can see why they would, verse 17, beg Jesus to leave the region. So they had the same fear of the person in their midst as the disciples did in the previous story in 4:41. But their response was not to wonder about who Jesus was, like the disciples, “What kind of a man is this…” but the people’s response here is to reject him. The other farmers in the area were no doubt viewing Jesus as being an economic hindrance to the area as well. There are probably other demon possessed people in the area and other pig farmers in the area and they didn’t want Jesus going around putting demons into their pigs.
And sadly Jesus concedes verse 18 and he gets into the boat. And as they were all getting in the boat, the man who was demon possessed was begging Jesus that he might go with them. However, Jesus does not allow this verse 19. He tells him to go home to his people and be a witness concerning what had happened to him. He was to give his testimony of how Jesus affected his life. And he did just that verse 20 he went around and… Speaking about the great things Jesus had done for him and the people’s response to his testimony was one of amazement.
Like the other story, the point of application for us in this passage is in the response of the people. Like the other story, first we have a problem then we have a miracle, then we have responses to the miracle. After observing Jesus healing the demoniac, the people were fearful of Jesus and were considering the economic cost of receiving his ministry among them. And after considering it, they rejected him. They told him to leave their region.
As if considering a building a house, these people counted the cost and decided not to build. So the principle here is fearfulness leads to faithlessness. Whereas before the principle the previous story was faithlessness led to their fearfulness, when the disciples were in the boat scared of death because they failed to believe that Jesus said that they were going over to the other side of the sea.
This time however fearfulness led to faithlessness. The people who observed this miracle were fearful of him, especially that Jesus might cause economic hardship.
And isn’t that the case today. People today would say things like if I believe in Jesus, I might lose my job. And you might. Or believers even might say if I trust Jesus with my life he’ll destroy my life or change my life or lead me down some undesirable path. Marks point is that some people will not believe because they think it will cost them economically. Just like Jesus said, “you cannot serve God and wealth.” You must make a choice.
Are you willing to say with the hymn writer, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold I’d rather be his then have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands; I’d rather be led by his nail pierced hands then to be King of vast domain or be held in sins dread sway.” If you are fearful that Jesus will lead to economic hardship, then you will be tempted not to trust him, because that could happen. If you do lose $360,000 or your job because of following Jesus, will you keep on trusting him?
Well the demoniac would have. His response is that salvation leads to service. Salvation leads to service. The Lord delivers him from his distress and so he serves. He receives salvation from forces of darkness and so serves the Prince of peace.
So this passage has 2 responses. 1) Fearfulness leads to faithlessness and 2) salvation leads to service. The people were fearful and so were faithless. The demoniac was saved and so lead to service. So the exhortation here is to believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because of money and proclaim him anyway. Believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because of some economic reason and proclaim him anyway.
TRANS: (review) So to recap, from the disciples on the sea of Galilee first, believe Jesus when you’re afraid, and fear him not your circumstances.
And here, secondly now, believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because of some economic reason and proclaim him anyway. And now thirdly here with the woman and her hemorrhage, believe Jesus when you’re tempted not to because of some embarrassment and worship him.
Woman with the Hemorrhage: Believe Jesus when tempted not to (embarrassment) and worship
The next full story does concern the woman with the hemorrhage. However, beginning in verse 21 and running through verse 23, we have the beginning of the story that concludes at the end the end of chapter 5.
So in true Mark fashion, here we have a story within a story. Jairus comes to request that Jesus heal his daughter and on the way to doing that, this woman with the hemorrhage is healed.
So Jesus crosses over again in the boat, to the other side of the sea, and a large crowd is there. And so he stays by the seashore and one of the synagogue officials named Jairus comes up and when he sees him he falls at Jesus feet.
When Mark records that Jairus says to Jesus, verse 23, my little daughter is “at the point of death” we as the readers realize that Jesus needs to get there right away in order to heal her before she dies. We have the heightened sense that he must get there before she dies!? Then what?! Oh no!
So Jairus requests that Jesus come and lay his hands on her so that she will get well and live.
And he agrees, verse 24. Clearly Jesus gave some sort of indication that he was coming in order to do this very thing for Jairus. And Jairus was likely feeling relieved as Jesus agreed to go with him, and elated! He knew Jesus could do this! But as the story unfolds, Jesus gets held back! Oh no, is he going to make it in time to heal this poor girl?
To create more of a sense of anticipation, Mark notes that a large crowd was following Jesus and pressing in on him. Oh no! Jesus can hardly make it through the crowd. Will he make it in time?
And then, verse 25, a woman who has a hemorrhage for 12 years enters the story. Now this hemorrhage was likely an embarrassing thing for a woman. Not only that, Leviticus chapters 12 and 15 declare that she would have been unclean this whole time. This meant that no matter who she came in contact with physically, they would be unclean. Her husband, her children, she touched anybody they would be considered unclean. So, she could not enter the Temple or any synagogue. She would be rejected from all her friends and be considered an outcast. People talking about her…what a depressing state!
This woman, Mark notes, suffered a lot of things of the hands of doctors and she spent all of her money but was not helped but rather she had grown worse. Before the days of socialized medicine evidently.
She would give anything in order to be received by her friends and family again. And of course you can imagine having to either explain this or have other people talk about you behind your back saying, “don’t ever touch her because….” So this is a very embarrassing situation for this woman; no doubt, she has shed many tears over the years because of this.
She hears about Jesus and comes up to him verse 27 and touches just the outside of his cloak or his robe. The reason she did this is found in verse 28 that she thought that if she just touched him she would get better. And immediately her blood was dried up verse 29 and she had some sense of herself that she was healed.
Not only did she have the sense, but Jesus as well. Jesus verse 30 perceived in himself that power had gone out from him and so he turns around and says, “who touched my clothes?”
And the disciples, in true disciple fashion, not understanding Jesus nor taking his words seriously says, “the crowd pressing in on you and you say who touched me?” Everyone is touching you!
And Jesus kept on looking for the woman to see who touched him. And a woman came verse 33 with fear in her heart and with trembling on the outside of her body because she was aware of what happened to her. So she comes and worships, falling down before him and she tells him the whole truth.
And Jesus gives the explanation as to why she was healed and it’s because verse 34 that she had faith when she reached out to touch his garment.
And so just like the other two stories, after the miracle occurred, she was fearful and she was fearful of Jesus as a person. The disciples in the boat were fearful because of the magnitude of the person in their midst. The people on the hillside that day when Jesus healed the demoniac and sent those demons into the herd of pigs, those people were also fearful because of the magnitude of the person in their midst.
All have responded differently, and this woman is no different. She falls down and worshiped him and tells him the whole truth. Her fear, knowing what happened to her, had prompted her to come and worship Jesus and tell him all about it.
And then Jesus tells us that her faith started it all. Her faith led to her healing and to her awesome, respectful reverence for who Jesus is. Her faith led to her fearfulness. The right kind of faith leads to the right kind of fearfulness, which leads to worship. If you have faith in Jesus you will fear him and worship him.
This woman felt like an outcast because of her condition and very embarrassed perhaps to even approach Jesus because of her condition. And so the point here is that you should believe in Jesus when you’re tempted not to and worship him. Don’t be so concerned that you are the most sinful person ever or don’t be concerned about your embarrassment of your sin. Jesus can solve this. You come to him with faith and worship him. Believe Jesus when you’re embarrassed about yourself and fear him and worship him.
So believe Jesus when you’re in fearful circumstances and fear him. Believe Jesus when you’re worried about money and proclaim him, like the demoniac. Believe Jesus when you are embarrassed and worship him.
And lastly here, believe Jesus during stressful life events. Believe Jesus during the stressful events of life and be astounded at his care.
Jairus daughter: Believe Jesus when tempted not to (stressful life events) and be astounded.
We now can continue with this story, after it started in verse 21. We’re still wondering at this point if Jesus is going to be able to make it to heal this daughter. No doubt a stressful life event for Jairus.
I don’t know what you consider to be stressful life events, but 2 secular psychologists rated some 43 different events in both children and adults as being stressful enough and able to cause illness. On a scale from 1 to 100, Marriage itself is a 50. Oh, so that’s why my wife is so ill. Significant injury is 53, divorce is a 73 and death of a spouse is a 100.
Right after Jesus speaks with the woman about her faith healing her, v. 21, Jesus overhears a group of people talking to Jairus and telling him that his daughter has just died and he shouldn’t trouble Jesus anymore. And as a reader, we feel very let down. We were wanting Jesus to get over there as soon as possible because we knew that she was at the point of death. And then there is this big crowd and this woman that Jesus had to care for with the hemorrhage, and we are of course sympathetic with that, but were so sad now that Jesus didn’t make it over to this little girl!
And so Jairus experiences the death of a close family member, which ranks 63 on that stressful life event scale.
And Jesus takes only Peter, and the two brothers James and John, with him. And they arrive at this man’s house verse 38 and he saw the people weeping and wailing. A great commotion. Now, note that these are likely professional mourners. Believe it or not, in the ancient world, people would hire others to come and cry loudly.
And so when Jesus enters, he asked the question that he does in verse 39, “why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died but is asleep.”
And that’s why, verse 40, they begin laughing at him. These people really aren’t sad in their hearts. They laughed because these profesionals know for a fact that she’s dead.
Now, when Jesus points out that this child has not died but is asleep, he’s making a point. His point is that he has the power to raise people from the dead just like other people have the power to wake others up from sleep.
Also, do remember the last individual who was asleep in our message this morning? Jesus was asleep in the boat. And this gives us clear indication that all of these stories are meant to fit together. Mark begins and ends, he bookends, with someone being asleep. Jesus is asleep in the boat and this girl is “asleep” as well. The disciples it says “woke up” Jesus. What will Jesus do for the girl?
And Jesus put them all out and he took along Jairus, the child’s father and the child’s mother as well as Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and they enter into the room where the child was laying.
Verse 41, Jesus takes the child by the hand and says to her in Aramaic the translation, “little girl, I say to you, get up!” When Jesus says “get up”, it’s the same word used when the disciples came to Jesus in the boat and woke him up. Mark clearly wants all of these stories fitting together.
And the girl does just that, verse 42, the girl gets up and begins to walk. And of course everybody’s response is that they are completely astounded. And he wants that no one should know about this and he commands that something be given her to eat. These details that Mark gives that indicate a definite eyewitness experience of someone.
So initially, before the story about the woman with the hemorrhage, Jairus clearly had faith when he comes to Jesus and asked that he come and heal his daughter. And then when Jairus learns the news that her daughter died, Jesus says, verse 36, do not be afraid any longer only believe.” So you can see then that once again there is a relationship between fear and faith.
And when Jesus says this it indicates that Jairus was fearfully doubtful that Jesus couldn’t help anymore after his daughter died. That’s the way the story is even constructed. As readers, we’re so concerned whether or not Jesus will make it as the crowds throng in on him and as Jesus has to stop and address the woman. And that even those who come to tell Jairus what happened, argue the point that, “why should you even bother Jesus anymore she’s dead.” And that leaves all of us including ourselves, in great despair! But don’t be afraid only believe! The temptation when things go from bad to worse, even if you initially believe like Jairus, is to let your faith turn into fear. So the principle here is that even true faith, when in life stressful events, can turn into the fearfulness.
Jairus was fearful and his daughter died because he didn’t cling to Jesus’ promise. Jesus, after Jairus came to him, clearly made some indication to him that he was going to go and heal his daughter. Jairus knew Jesus could do this. The stressfulness of life events tempt you not to embrace Jesus’ promises to you.
Remember, we are dealing with the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our afflictions so that we ourselves may comfort others with the comfort that we have received from God, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Cast all your care upon him for he cares for you. If you do this, if you truly do this, you will receive the peace of God which will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Believe those promises, cast all your care upon him, receive peace from God!
And regarding death, we are comforted with the thought that our believing loved ones we will see and be with in glory, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
So believe Jesus when you’re tempted during stressful life events, and be astounded at his power and care like those who witnessed that resurrection that day.
Believe Jesus when you are afraid, when you’re concerned about money, when you’re embarrassed to approach him, and during stressful life events. You should fear him like the disciples in the boat, proclaim him like the demoniac throughout the cities, worship him like the woman with the hemorrhage, and be astounded at him like those who witnessed the resurrection.
DON’T PRAY YET
505: master tempest raging. Imagine yourself in boat. Note the faith of the hymn writer.