Mark 4:35-5 Bible Study Notes

We did a sermon series on this part of Mark’s Gospel earlier this year.

Question: Having a quick look at the passage, can anyone remember what the title of this sermon series was & what the main point of this section of scripture is?

The sermon series was called “Jesus is Lord”, because in the space of three stories, Jesus brilliantly demonstrates how powerful and mighty he is, how he is Lord over all things and can do mighty miracles.  So, this section of Mark is all about the power and authority of Jesus.

 

Section 1 – Jesus calms a storm

Read Mark 4:35-41

Question: What does Jesus show he Lord over in this story?

Jesus shows he is Lord over creation.  The wind and the waves obey his commands and rebukes.  This is extraordinary power!  Psalm 89:9 says “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them”.  It is written in praise of God, so the end of Mark 4 is one place you can go to prove the divinity of Christ in the Bible.

Question: What does it say about Jesus that he was fast asleep during a storm?

Jesus was amazing at sleeping!  Because Jesus was fully human he needed rest and sleep.  And because he totally trusted his Father in heaven, he was able to fall asleep easily, for he had no anxiety.  Even during a storm, he could stay asleep because he had no worries.  It also shows us that sleeping is part of righteousness.  If Jesus was perfect in righteousness and he slept, then as we seek to live righteous lives, we can sleep!  There are other times in the Gospel where Jesus foregoes sleep, in order that he might stay up all night in prayer, for example.  Christians should follow Jesus’ example.  At times, staying up late or getting up early to pray, but other times sleeping, knowing that sleep is an important part of a righteous life.

Question: Looking at verse 38, does Jesus care that his disciples were perishing?

The disciples were not perishing in the storm.  They were not going to die.  But they were perishing in sin and Jesus definitely did care about that, because he came to Earth on a mission to save the disciples from perishing in sin, by dying on the cross.  In verse 38, the disciples could not have something more untrue.  Of all people, Jesus really did care that his disciples were perishing.  He cared so much, he was prepared to die for them.

Question: What does this passage teach us about fear?

In the story, the disciples’ fear switches.  At the start of the story, they are afraid of the storm.  They are afraid of how strong the wind and waves were and were scared of dying.  But by the end of the story, the disciples fear has switched.  In verse 41, it says they were filled with great fear, but now their fear is directed towards Jesus.  If Jesus is so powerful and mighty he can command the wind and the waves, surely he is far more worthy of our fear.  Christians, therefore, should not fear the things of this world.  Since Jesus is Lord over creation, he is more worthy of fear than anything in creation.  He can command created things to do his bidding.  Normally fear drives us away from someone or something.  But fear of Christ is tempered by knowledge of his amazing care for us.  Christ’s power means he is worthy of our fear, but Christ’s care for us means we should not run from him in fear, but rather run to him for protection and refuge.  Hence, this story powerfully reveals Jesus as full of compassion and yet full of power.  Together those two things make him worthy of our complete faith and makes him a completely worthy king over all.  It is a wonderful thing to describe Jesus as Lord over creation.

 

Section 2 – Jesus heals a man with a demon

Read Mark 5:1-20

Question: What does Jesus show he Lord over in this story?

Jesus is Lord over all spiritual powers, including unclean spirits in this story.  Even the demons obey his commands.

Question: What are the similarities between this story and the storm story?

The storm is described as “a great windstorm” to emphasize its power.  Here, the demon possessed man is strong enough to break chains and no one can subdue him.  Jesus uses just his words in both events and the windstorm and the demons obey his word.  On both occasions people are described as afraid of Jesus or fearing Jesus.  Jesus is clearly portrayed as a man of supreme power.

Question: Is there any significance to the pigs dying as well?

Assuming these people are Jewish (this is likely, although not certain), why were they keeping pigs, when eating pork was against their food laws?  It appears these Jews loved money-making more than obeying God’s law.  Consequently, the demons request to go into the pigs, not only served Jesus’ purpose in healing the man, but also brought punishment upon these disobedient Jews for breaking God’s law.  This economic cost is probably the reason they wanted Jesus to leave the region after this miracle.

Question: Why doesn’t Jesus allow the man to come with him?

He had a more important purpose, that he proclaim the Gospel to his friends and the people in the Decapolis.  I’m sure following Jesus would have been amazing and he would have learnt lots, but sometimes God denies us seemingly good choices and keeps us in the place we already are, for the sake of his purposes.

 

Section 3 – Jairus’ Daughter

Question: What does Jesus show he Lord over in this story?

Sickness and death itself.

Question: Are there any similarities between this story and the previous two?

Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet, just as the demon possessed man did.  This picture of submission and worship emphasizes Jesus’ power and authority.  The woman who was healed could not be healed by any doctor.  In this sense she is similar to the demon-possessed man who could be chained by any human.  These miracles that Jesus is doing are beyond human ability.  She has also suffered for many years and the demon-possessed man had seemingly suffered for a long time.  In the case of the little girl, Jesus once again heals using his words only.  This is interesting because Jairus initially asked Jesus to lay hands on her, but Jesus is so powerful he didn’t even need to do that.

Question: Why did Jesus go with Jairus rather than just heal the girl from afar?

The girl’s death gave Jesus and opportunity to show even greater power.  This is often the reason why we don’t see immediate healing or breakthrough in our lives – it creates opportunity for God to receive even greater glory.  For example, what brings God greater glory – a disabled person being instantly healed or a disabled person who worships God throughout their life despite their condition, to be healed at the end of their life?  Or what brings God greater glory – a church that grows to 1,000 people in a year or a church that stays at 10 people for two years, where it’s members shows steadfast faith and then it begins to grow?

 

Question: What differences are there between the woman who was healed and Jairus’ daughter who was raised from the dead?

The women is healed by touching Jesus’ cloak.  She was the one acting in faith and Jesus actually wasn’t very active in this miracle, other than providing the power by which she was healed.  In contrast, the people who announce that Jairus’ daughter is dead have absolutely zero faith and essentially tell Jesus to leave.  Jairus himself had faith for a healing, but it is unlikely that he had faith for a resurrection.

This is extremely interesting.  There is a school of thought that healing requires faith from the person to be healed.  It is true that there are many times when a person’s faith to be healed impacts Jesus’ behavior and secures a miracle, just like the sick woman.  On the other hand, there are examples such as Jairus’ daughter’s resurrection where Jesus delivers a miracle in spite of a lack of faith from the surrounding people.

 

Question: In three different stories, then, Jesus shows he is supremely powerful, that he is Lord over creation, spiritual powers, illness and death.  How should Jesus’ Lordship change the way we live this week?

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