A Word From the Wise
On the Other Side (Mark 4:35-41)
Before they left for the trip on the Galilean Sea, Jesus had been teaching from the shoreline in a boat or ship teaching the people of the region in parables, specifically recorded are (3) parables: seed and sower (analogous to the impact of Word of God in different hearts), and planting of seed (analogous to progression through full maturity/harvest) and the significance of tiny mustard seed (analogous to Kingdom of God spreading and growing from very small beginnings).
These people came from all over in places such as: Judea, Jerusalem, beyond the Jordan, Tyre and Sidon, and flocked around Him, following Him because of the power demonstrated in healings and setting folks free from demon possession. He preached in several synagogues with much authority and His fame spread quickly.
KEY Words: So, He tells his disciples 'Let us pass over to the other side'...to pass over is movement or progression. It is leaving behind something on the way to something else. It is also symbolic of transition or displacement.
Notice Jesus tells them it is time to move and go over to the other side of the lake (referred to as sea), and they launched out in the boat. And we must have the same willingness to move when He directs us to do so. In the physical, they were moving from one side of the lake (city of Capernaum) to the opposite side in Gadara in Decapolis (referenced in Luke's account chapter 8). From a spiritual point of view Jesus promises 'I will never leave you nor forsake you' according to Heb 13:5. King David tells us not to fear even when our walk is through the 'valley of shadow of death' in 23rd Psalms. He is with us no matter!
The other side represents a different place or position from where you were. It is also a place that may be unknown or unfamiliar as Jesus did not give details of where they were headed. The disciples may have been familiar with the physical territory; however, not necessarily their purpose for going.
So, we see the disciples crossing over in a boat in the evening on the lake (happens to be the largest in Israel). It was probably dark with low visibility. They were relying on their past experiences, or senses to navigate the boat. Then suddenly, they encountered a great storm! AND GUESS WHAT, Jesus is resting comfortably on a pillow in the rear of the boat - maybe the lower part of the ship. The boat is quickly filling up with water until its' about to be full because of the tossing of the waves.
The disciples get a bit sarcastic with Him, when they wake Him up, asking why He is still asleep through this potentially disastrous situation where they may all perish (or die). Or so they thought! There are several lessons to be learned from this. I will focus on (3)....
Object Lesson #1:
WE must learn to rest in Jesus when going through hardships, difficult situation, even dangerous ones. It is very easy to become fearful because it is a human response; nonetheless we are spirit beings that must take control of the emotions and 'flesh' man. It is the one that Job demonstrated during his horrendous trial of sickness 'Thou He slay me yet will I trust Him' (only aware that God allowed the circumstances, not knowing the details). I love the assurance we have been given by Jesus penned by Matthew's gospel account 11:28... 'Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.' And then there is Ps 37:7... 'Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: Do not fear....' It is a choice we must make not to fear as it says in II Tim 1:7.
Object Lesson #2:
WE must remind ourselves of Jesus authority and power over any and all circumstances. They saw Jesus operating in power and we have seen the same. The only action required on His part was the spoken Word 'PEACE BE STILL'. In the passage of going over to the other side, God gives us peace in the midst of turmoil, in difficulty, in noise or disturbance, in the physical realm of potential harm. Peace comes from within - not from without.
→ John 14:27 - Applied version (peace)
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequest you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated, and cowardly and unsettled].
→ Isaish 43:2 - Passion version (passing through waters)
When you pass through the deep, stormy sea, you can count on me to be there with you. When you walk through persecution like fiery flames, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you.
Jesus was taking them to new levels in Him because He demonstrated His power for them so that what He did, they eventually learned they could do (and we ourselves in our situations). I can imagine their thinking 'Wow I did not know you like this, but know you've shown me, and I've experienced it, I also know I can do this!'
Object Lesson #3:
WE must walk by faith and not by what we see, feel, hear or touch, in other words our physical senses. The word in Heb. 11:6 'It is impossible to please Him without faith.' 'The just shall live by faith' - it is not an option. This is the proving ground right here. It is training (similar to those that enlist in army and experience boot camp).
SCENERIO: I was recently separated, (3) relatively young children, some financial support, struggling to make ends meet, and no job nor savings. Out of the marketplace for about (4) years as a stay-at-home mom.
God gave me strategy, connected me with an 'angel-type'. He was a independent recruiter who did not work for the company. He practiced with me, mentored me and was such a gracious help. I purchased an inexpensive suit. Repaired my old leather briefcase/polished it up. The God opened as my friend said 'a iron gate' for me ie. an open door- miraculous one. I later found out that there was an attempt to close the door; however, the HR manager eventually came around to agreeing to hire me.
Notice that when they crossed over, Jesus immediately is met with a great need. He has an appointment with a man in the country of Gadarenes. He is described in Chapter 5 as demon-possessed. He is utterly helpless; no man is able to successfully come to his aid. he is so filled with the spirit of Satan that he attempts to kill himself unsuccessfully. he runs around with no clothes, homeless living in gravesites. He has so much strength through these devils within that no man can bind him. Finally, when he sees Jesus, the demons recognized Jesus's authority and who He is, and he comes falling down before Jesus at His feet.
Jesus cast out the demons and he is so happy and grateful that he wants to go back with Jesus. Jesus constraints him and tells him to share his testimony with others. In the same chapter we find out that the herdsman/people in the area are not so pleased with Jesus casting out the demons out of man. The demons at their request are cast out of the man and into a herd of ~ 2000 pigs (livestock) that end up violently running down a mountainside drowning themselves in the water. I todays estimates they could have cost as much as $250,000. They become fearful and attempt to run Jesus out of the coast after seeing the man clothed in his right mind and the outcome of the pigs.
So Jesus understood His purpose for going over, even if for only one man. People will not always rally around you when you do a great work of carry out the plan of God. Sometimes they will run you out of town! Never mind that they knew this man in the same city bound for xxx's years was not completely free ...in his right mind! It should be a time of rejoicing. Jesus and the disciples had a divine appointment. Much like us today.
The rest of the story (Quick Testimony)
SCENERIO: Things were going well in the new position, kids getting acclimated to changes in lives, able to pay bills with more than enough, and then SUDDENLY like a storm!
There was a notice after about 7-8 months that I was being placed on the chopping block i.e. layoff. Because of the lack of time on the job, there was no severance , nor continuation of benefits, etc. Did everything I knew to do in the natural after praying, even speaking to the director of the department. Only a few months away, my last day.
Long story short, there was a change, only about a week or less left and HR notified me that the decision went up the chain to the highest levels within the division. She was skillsets that we need - the decision was reversed!
I'll wrap up by identifying the last crossing that must be made - its passing from death to eternal life. Whether we die of natural causes, sickness, or martyrdom like Steven in the book of Acts, we must all cross over alone. The only one to successfully take us is JESUS - for we move into everlasting life. We will put on incorruptible. Steven like Jesus saw the glory on the other side of death. Apostle Paul's account of Jesus in Heb. 12 ....who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and is set at the right hand of God.
Father thank you for the word you've given me to share...may it bless the hearers/readers in Jesus name...Amen!