Dishman Baptist Church
Our Phenomenal Savior Pt. 2
  • I'm In The Lord's Army
  • All I Have Is Christ
  • Behold Our God
  • Amazing Grace
      • Psalms 119.121-124CSB

      • Psalms 119.125-128CSB

  • Introduction

    Good morning and welcome back. You are all beautiful - you were beautiful before and those of you who are still at home and haven’t joined us this morning are beautiful as well - but there is a special beauty to seeing all of you again this morning. What a beautiful worship - to hear voices raised again to our Lord, present in His house for worship. It is always a privilege to minister to you and to bring God’s Word before your eyes but today is a special day and it is one that we wont soon forget. Please take your copy of God’s Word, His inerrant, inspired Word and open it with me to Mark 6, Mark 6.
    As I was thinking last night I wandered back across the last few weeks to look at where we were when we were last together. That morning in April we were going to finish chapter 4 and here we are ten weeks later coming to the end of this chapter. How fitting it is I think that both chapter 4 and chapter 6 end with Christ calming a storm. Many of us, many of you have been facing one of the most significant and isolating storms of your lives over the last two and a half months. What a blessed reminder we have this morning that even in the midst of the storms of our lives we have a Savior who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Let’s look now at our passage for this morning and get another view of our phenomenal Savior. Look with me at Mark 6:45-56.
    Mark 6:45–56 CSB
    Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray. Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened. When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there. As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him. They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed.
    This passage is a seeming paradox - in fact if looked at in conjunction with the entire sixth chapter of Mark these verses cap off an entire series of paradoxes and conundrums. First Jesus calls the disciples away for a time alone. Then they are followed by the crowds and the day was turned into one of ministry which ended with the disciples appearing a bit frustrated and Jesus feeding a multitude of more than 5,000 and more likely in the neighborhood of 15-20 thousand people. Now here we are at the end of the day and Jesus puts His disciples into a boat and sends them away. Then He comes to them walking on the water and finally we’re told about a time in which Christ is healing those from villages and towns wherever He went. It all feels a bit disjointed and confusing. Did the disciples ever get the rest they were called aside for? Why did Jesus put them in the boat and send them away? What can we really learn from this entire passage? Well there are a few things that we will note about Christ and then see how they apply in our own lives. The first is that we have an Interceding Savior, an Interceding Savior. The next is that we have an Intervening Savior, and Intervening Savior. And finally that we have an Interpersonal Savior, an Interpersonal Savior. First, we have an Interceding Savior.

    An Interceding Savior

    Have you ever known someone who just didn’t get it - whatever the it in your particular context was? Many years ago, on my first ship in the Navy, we had a Sailor who sometimes just struggled with getting it. There was one night when we were in Charleston South Carolina pier-side and he was charged with taking out the trash before leaving the ship on liberty. This was way back in the days when we still used paper trash bags.
    Well this poor kid was in such a hurry to get on leave that he thought his best course of action, rather than looking for the dumpster on the pier, was to throw the paper bag and the trash over the side of the ship - which isn’t a good idea when you’re in port. Especially when you’re in port at a weapons station and they’ve enclosed your ship in a boom meant to keep anything that leaks or discharges off the ship close. He just didn’t get it - but what he did get was a small boat and instead of liberty he got a time of rowing around the inside of that oil boom with a broom collecting the trash from the now disintegrated bag.
    And the poor kid - if he would have just looked down the pier he would have noticed that the trash dumpster was only a few feet away from where he would have caught the bus to go on liberty. If he would have just opened his eyes he would have found what he was looking for right in front of him.
    The disciples were much the same way. They weren’t getting it. Despite being with Jesus for more than two years. Despite seeing all of His miracles and performing some themselves. Despite hearing all of His teaching and preaching and then practicing that themselves as well. They just didn’t quite understand. So when the quality and quantity of the meal Jesus made for the crowds resulted in a desire to take Jesus and put Him on the throne by force
    John 6:14–15 CSB
    When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
    the disciples would have been all to happy to go along. They were still held captive by their own preconceived notions of who Christ was to be. Just like my sailor so many years ago they didn’t open their eyes to recognize what was right in front of them but instead were determined to see only what they wanted to see. But Jesus knew their hearts and He acted decisively on their behalf.
    Our text says that immediately He made His disciples get into the boat. The word for made here is that word anankazo and it means to compel or force. It’s used only 9 times in the New Testament and it speaks of the idea of compelling someone to act in a particular manner. Paul uses this verb in Acts saying in Acts 26:11
    Acts 26:11 CSB
    In all the synagogues I often punished them and tried to make them blaspheme. Since I was terribly enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.
    Here Jesus, seeking to protect His disciples from getting caught up in the furor of the crowd, compels them, He forces them into the boat and tells them to head toward Bethsaida. And to the disciples credit they go.
    How often are we surrounded by people who are just willing to go along with whatever the next wave of popularity is without any discernment? Whether it was the fictional portrayal of God in the book The Shack a few years ago or the desire to follow the New Apostolic Reformation or the touting of the health, wealth and prosperity gospel we all know of someone who has succumbed to the temptations and the desires of those movements to practice a Christianity light or some version of Christianity that doesn’t hold to the true picture of who Christ is. How many of us are willing to compel people to come back from those aberrant views? How many of you are willing to compel people to give up practices or books that will lead them astray?
    We aren’t because it is viewed as divisive or unloving in our culture to critique or question the practices of others. And yet here we see Christ lovingly putting His disciples in a boat and sending them away, separating them, compelling them to leave a situation that would have been detrimental to their faith. Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to act this way or will we stand idly by as friends and family members are caught up in whatever wind of popular ideas are blowing in the interest of having a nice July 4th celebration?
    Or on the other side - are we willing to be open to the challenges brought into our lives by those who lovingly attempt to warn us against false teaching or unsafe, unbiblical practices that threaten to pull us away from the true Savior. Jesus disciples get into their boat and they row away as Jesus turns to dismiss the crowd. Using the same supernatural authority that He had used to get the crowd to sit down and have dinner in groups of 50 and 100, Christ now dismisses them to go home and in so doing He defuses the powder keg atmosphere of those who would desire to make Him king.
    It is important for us to recognize that this is no Jedi mind trick. Jesus doesn’t wave His hand or use some trick of the mind to send these people home. Instead He draws on His authority as the Son of God to command them to follow His directions. It is a demonstration that even those who are not His followers and haven’t submitted their will to His are still subject to Him as a sovereign ruler and therefore subject to following His commands.
    Jesus, after dismissing the crowds, the text tells us that He retreats on His own to a mountain to pray. As usual Mark doesn’t give us the content of Jesus prayer, but there is enough in the context of the passage that we can surmise the subject of His prayers. While the object of Christ’s prayers never wavered - He always lifted His praise and His prayers to God the Father - the subject often varied. In this context Christ may have been praying for two things.
    The first is linked to the temptation that He faced in the wilderness as He was tempted by Satan to short circuit God’s plans for His enthronement through the cross by taking the reign of all the world’s kingdoms for Himself and submitting to Satan. He had been faced with that opportunity again this evening as the crowds were ready to make Him an earthly king without the need for His suffering and dying. And yet that is not why He had come - to be a mere earthly king - and so He could have been thanking God for the strength to resist temptation and asking for that strength to continue.
    Another topic of His prayer was the twelve men now struggling out on the lake. The text says that well into the night the boat was in the middle of the sea and He was alone on land. John tells us that the disciples had only gotten three miles even though, by this time, they had probably been rowing for more than six hours. Verse 48 tells us that He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. This is a significant statement. The word here is basanizo and it means tormented, battered, in…agony and in our text straining. It is used 8 times in the New Testament to talk about torment. In Mark 5:7 the demons in the man from the Gerasene tombs cry out
    Mark 5:7 CSB
    And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!”
    At the end of Revelation it is used in the same way to speak of the torment of Satan, the beast and the false prophet
    Revelation 20:10 CSB
    The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
    Our passage this morning is the only place where it is used and translated as straining - but the other passages fill out for us just how great and difficult this straining was. They were literally being tormented by the waves.
    In the twenty plus years I was in the Navy I saw my fair share of storms. Once when we were transiting from the Puget Sound back down to San Diego, I was sleeping in my bunk getting ready for a late night watch. As I awoke I could hear the engines running then they dropped down to nothing for a few seconds and then back up to speed. When I got to the pilot house and asked why that was the person I was taking watch from said that the bow had driven into a wave and if he hadn’t acted as he had we would’ve continued until the entire ship was submerged. We were being tormented by the sea - and the disciples were the same way.
    But what a fitting description of the disciple’s lives at this point. They were being assaulted by the ideas around them that threatened to encroach upon the truth of who Christ was and what He was teaching them. Their faith was on the verge of being shipwrecked because, despite the twelve baskets of bread and fish sitting at their feet and the supernatural display of power that had produced them, they still didn’t understand who they were following. As the passage will say later in Mark 6:52
    Mark 6:52 CSB
    because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.
    So the other topic of Christ’s prayer on this evening was His disciples because from His vantage point on the shore He could see them. There have been many who have casted doubt on whether or not this is possible from the shoreline for Jesus to see three miles out into the sea. If He were still on the mountain and that mountain were greater than 66 feet high the horizon that He would have had would have been in the neighborhood of 15-18 miles. I know that from having stood lookout on a Cruiser who’s bridgewings were 66 feet above sea level and we could easily pick out contacts at those ranges. From His vantage point on the mountainside it is not out of the realm of realistic possibility that Jesus could see the disciples in the boat even in a storm.
    So Jesus is praying for His disciples that their faith would not fail them. Just as He says later in Luke 22 to Peter
    Luke 22:32 CSB
    But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
    And His high Priestly prayer captured in John 17 is a prayer not only for these disciples but for all of us as well - Jesus is always interceding for His people.
    What about you? Jesus sees His disciples are struggling not only physically but, more importantly, with their faith. Rather than berating them or cajoling them - and there are times that He does do that, in fact we’ll see Him do that to Peter in just a few minutes, but He prays for them that the Father in His sovereign will and love would strengthen the disciples and solidify their faith.
    Charles Spurgeon said this about intercessory prayer
    2,200 Quotations from the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon: Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People Prayer, Intercessory

    1038It has been truly said that if you have a very hard thing, you can cut it with something harder. And if any heart is especially hard, God can use the hard, strong, persistent vehemence of other mighty, passionate souls to pray the blessing of eternal life into that stubborn, rebellious heart.

    The disciple’s hearts were hard - but Jesus love for them and the power of His prayers was even harder. It may take a while but that hardness would eventually crack and give birth to hearts that demonstrated the same love and compassion that their own Master had showered on them. But Jesus doesn’t just stop at prayer - first He prays and then He acts, intervening on the disciple’s behalf.

    An Intervening Savior

    Jesus has been in prayer all night for His disciples while they have been struggling out on the sea. Now He comes to them. Mark tells us that the time is the fourth watch of the night. This is a good indication that Mark’s intended audience was Roman as the Jews acknowledge three watches while the Roman’s calculated time in four watches. The fourth watch would have been between three and six in the morning. The disciples were tired, probably wet and their nerves were fried as they struggled against the wind and the waves.
    But there is an important lesson here for us as disciples - no matter how bad the storm got they continued to obey and to demonstrate resilience. They may not have understood everything but they knew enough that their Master had commanded them to go to Bethsaida and they were going to make it or die trying. Do we practice our discipleship with the same sort of abandon? Do we forsake it all and say I’m going to follow Your commands regardless of what it brings my way? Or do we say “Ok God I’ll follow You but only if You remove any obstacles, guarantee smooth sailing and keep the weather nice for me.”
    I can say from experience that the hours between three and six AM are not the most productive or the best hours for people to be awake. The disciples were tired, bone weary, as they tried to make their way across the lake in obedience to what Christ had commanded them to do. They were trying in their own strength and they were failing just as miserably as if they had attempted to feed the multitude the day before using their paltry calculations.
    But they were not alone - Jesus was walking on the water to them. Now stop there for a second because there are lots of false ideas floating around regarding Jesus walking on the water. Some say He was just on a long sand bar that jutted 3 miles out into the Sea of Galilee that apparently only He knew about. Other’s have tried to say He was just walking along the shore (another impossible claim since Peter wouldn’t have sunk if he were walking to Jesus on the shore). Another thought is that there was a massive cold wave that caused portions of the lake to freeze and Jesus was “walking” on an ice float. Or we could just trust the Word when it says that the Son of God walked on the water.
    Now we come to another interesting phrase in the text as our translation says that Jesus “wanted to pass by them.” This is interesting because if Jesus is coming to help them then why would He want to pass by them. This is an unfortunate translation of these words which would be better rendered as come alongside another person, ship, etc. Again when I was in the Navy I had a Chief when I was a very junior Sailor who would always say “rig a fender and come alongside” meaning that we should walk with him for a few moments so he could teach us something of Naval lore or leadership or that he wanted to yell at you and wanted you close by so he could do that - for me it was usually a toss up which one would take place. So a better understanding of what Mark is saying here is that Jesus desired to come alongside the forlorn boat and to help them.
    But the disciples see Him and, in their bleary eyed, exhausted state think He is a ghost. A phantasma, from which we get the words phantom or phantasm. These seasoned seamen, men who had spent most of their lives on the water and had seen all kinds of storms are frightened by something they’d never seen before - the sight of a man walking on the water. Jesus answers them with a significant statement that says everything in two little words (ego ami). This is the very name of God given to Moses when he asked God what would be his credibility with the people of Israel.
    Exodus 3:14 CSB
    God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
    Later in Isaiah 41 the prophet would write
    Isaiah 41:13 CSB
    For I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.
    These exact words are what Jesus says here - Have courage. It is I (Ego Ami) Do not fear. I will be here to help you. What a beautiful statement of assurance - that we have a Savior who is with us even in our darkest times. Hear this this morning - no matter what you are experiencing in your life right now, if you are in Christ then He is with you. Have courage, do not fear.
    Mark chooses not to include in his story Peter’s request to walk to His Master on the water. Only Matthew includes those details - turn with me over to Matthew 14 for a moment so we can fill in the blanks. We’ll start in verse 28.
    Matthew 14:28–31 CSB
    “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
    Even after all of this time, even after having the boldness to ask to be called out of the boat, Peter still has doubts. He still takes his eyes off of Christ and looks at the circumstances surrounding him and thinks this is not possible, I can’t be doing this, this can’t be real. And he starts to sink. Doubt will kill your spiritual life. Doubt is the primary weapon of the enemy. It is how he tempted Eve in the Garden to eat the fruit. He planted the seed of doubt in her mind. “Did God really say?” “He’s holding out on you, if He really cared for you He’d share even this fruit with you.” “He can’t really love you.”
    Alistair Begg says this
    “Some of us are buried by doubt from whence there is fear and unbelief…Take up the shield of faith.”
    And this is Jesus council to Peter here as well - you of little faith - just trust in Me.
    When they get into the boat everything changes - Mark tells us that the wind supernaturally ceases. The disciples were completely astounded. This comes from the Greek word ekistemi and it means to be beside oneself. It is used in other places in the New Testament in conjunction with spontaneous worship
    Matthew 12:23 CSB
    All the crowds were astounded and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
    and
    Mark 2:12 CSB
    Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
    Here the same thing happens
    Matthew 14:33 CSB
    Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
    But we also get an interesting tidbit and warning from Mark. Look at what Mark says
    Mark 6:51–52 CSB
    Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.
    Despite the spontaneous worship that comes out as a result of this miracle, Mark informs us that their hearts were still hardened. Is it possible that even now, as we worship here this morning, that there could be some who rightly say “You are the Son of God” and yet still have hardened, confused or misled hearts?

    An Interpersonal Savior

    The next section in our passage this morning is really a summary statement of everything that has happened in the ministry of Jesus over the last 3 chapters. The timing seems to be at a point later than the night in the storm. On most maps of Galilee Bethsaida was in the northeastern corner while Gennesaret was southwest of Capernaum - which lay at about a mid-point between the two. To push off shore heading for Bethsaida and landing at Gennesaret would be a bit like leaving Spokane Valley and heading for Sandpoint but ending up in Kennewick. We should remember about the Gospel writers that chronology didn’t always factor into what they were writing. But there is something here for us and especially for those who might have hardened hearts.
    If we were trying to gather a team for a project or an undertaking and things started going off the rails we might be tempted to pull the team back, to privately teach them. And that would be a reasonable action on Jesus part - after all we’re less than a year away from the Crucifixion at this point in His ministry and these men still weren’t getting it. Yet Mark tells us that Jesus couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized because His ministry among the people has been that successful up to this point. Everywhere He goes they bring the sick to Him and He heals them.

    Conclusion

    And that knowledge should give us great hope this morning. This entire passage should provide great hope for those who may be floundering in a storm and feeling all alone - you have a Savior who is interceding for you. Who even now sees your pain and hurts and is praying to His Father that you would be strengthened, that you would persevere. There is hope for those who’s faith is wavering that we have a Savior who intervenes when the time is right for His purposes and for our good. Notice that the disciples had to struggle a while before Christ came to them. That may not sound like good news because we don’t like the struggle but at the perfect time Christ came to His disciples and the storm ceased. And He condescends to heal those in need of healing. The greatest healing is when a hardened heart of stone is turned into a heart of flesh.
    We may be doubting this morning. We may be floundering in our own storms of life. We may wonder why we aren’t getting it but rest easy dear Christian - Christ is with you. He is interceding for you. He is intervening for you. He is present with you as an interpersonal Savior. It would seem bleak that these 12 men weren’t going to get it. But they did - at least eleven of them did and they were mighty witnesses for the faith. Each of them ended up being martyred because they got it. And each of them has been given their reward in Heaven that awaits all those who remain faithful in Christ.
    Maybe you are here and you’ve never submitted your life to Christ. No matter what other storms you may be facing - financial ruin because of COVID-19, relationship struggles, health issues - none of them are as great a storm as the presence of sin in your life that is currently separating you from God. We can’t promise you that if you submit to Christ this morning that those other storms will dissipate. But we can say with confidence that if you submit to Christ this morning that the storm of guilt, of sin’s power over your life, and worst of all the impending storm of God’s wrath will dissipate under the deluge of the shed blood of Christ. He took all of those things on His body on the cross experiencing the wrath meant for each of us and paying the price on our behalf so that we can have His perfect righteousness credited to our account and be viewed as perfectly pure before His Father. What could be keeping you from that today?
      • Mark 6:45–56CSB

      • John 6:14–15CSB

      • Acts 26:11CSB

      • Mark 5:7CSB

      • Revelation 20:10CSB

      • Mark 6:52CSB

      • Luke 22:32CSB

      • Exodus 3:14CSB

      • Isaiah 41:13CSB

      • Matthew 14:28–31CSB

      • Matthew 12:23CSB

      • Mark 2:12CSB

      • Matthew 14:33CSB

      • Mark 6:51–52CSB

  • Crown Him With Many Crowns

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