Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-one through forty-three of the fifth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find Jesus having arrived at His destination from where He previously was in the region of the Gadarenes. If you read the words and language that is found in this passage of scripture you will find the continuation of that which was found in the preceding twenty verses—and ultimately a continuation of that which we found and read in the final verses of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark. As you come to and approach the final verses of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark you will find Jesus entering into a ship together His disciples and charting a very specific course and path—one that would lead them straight into an encounter with a man who was possessed with and by an unclean spirit. When you come to the final set of verses within the fourth chapter of the gospel which Mark wrote concerning Jesus the Christ you will find Jesus and His disciples entering into a ship in order to cross over to the other side, however, while in the ship in the midst of the sea they found themselves caught in the middle of a raging storm as a tempest rose up in the midst of the sea. The interesting reality concerning this passage of scripture is that while Jesus and His disciples were caught in my He midst of the storm with the wind and the waves raging all around them, Jesus was fast asleep in the midst of the boat sleeping on a pillow. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous peace and the tremendous calm that was present within the heart and mind of Jesus that He was actually able to sleep in the midst of the storm. What an incredible depth of peace, what an incredible depth of confidence, what an incredible depth of rest was found within the heart and soul of Jesus to not only not be anxious and fearful in the midst of the storm, but to actually sleep in the midst of the storm. Please note that I am not suggesting that we should look to and expect to sleep in the midst of the storms we face within our lives but rather that there should be such an incredible peace and such an incredible calm that should be found present within our hearts and souls that we are able to encounter and navigate the storms we find ourselves facing without fear and anxiety. It is absolutely incredible the amount of peace and rest Jesus has within Himself to be able to sleep in the midst of a storm that completely frightened His disciples who were in the ship with Him.
As you continue to read the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark you will find that Jesus’ disciples were exceedingly fearful and exceedingly anxious and actually cried out before Jesus in the midst of the ship. For the disciples all they could see and all they could focus on was the storm that raged all around them, and for Jesus all He knew while in the midst of the ship was peace and calm as He slept on a pillow in the ship. The disciples with their hearts which were exceedingly fearful and anxious believed themselves to perish in the midst of the storm and cried unto Jesus in the midst of the storm. What’s interesting about this passage is that not only did the disciples have to cry out unto Jesus, but they had to wake Him from His slumber. There was Jesus and His disciples in the midst of the sea and while the disciples were fearful, anxious and terrified, Jesus was fast asleep in the midst of the ship. What I happen to find to be extraordinarily powerful when reading this passage is that while Jesus was able to sleep through the storm and essentially be uninterrupted by the wind and the waves, It was the cry of His disciples which actually woke Him. Pause for a moment and consider that reality—the reality that Jesus could in fact sleep through the storm and be completely undisturbed by the wind, the waves and the rain, and yet the minute the disciples cried out in fear and in terror because of the storm, Ge awoke from His slumber. Oh how incredibly powerful our cry is. Oh how we cannot, we must not, and we should not underestimate the tremendous power of the cry that proceeds forth from our lips and from our mouths. We must understand and recognize how incredibly powerful our cry is, and how much weight and force our cries actually have before and in the presence of Jesus. In fact, as you read the final verses of the fourth chapter, as well as that which is found in the fifth chapter you will find the cries of certain people who desperately needed help, healing, wholeness and deliverance from the Lord Jesus. From the disciples who cried out in the midst of the storm, to the man from the Gadarenes who came unto Jesus and cried out unto Him, to the ruler of the synagogue named Jairus who cried out unto Jesus, these verses and these passages are completely inundated and saturated with the cries and pleas of desperation as those present during those days desperately needed help, healing and deliverance from the Lord Jesus.
I am sitting here this morning reading and considering the words which are found within this particular passage of Scripture—that which is found in the latter part of the fourth chapter, as well as that which is found in the fifth chapter, and I can’t help but be absolutely and completely captivated with and by the language that is contained therein. There is within this passage of Scripture a wonderful and powerful picture of just how incredibly powerful our cry is—particularly and especially in the midst of a storm that rages all around us. I still cannot escape the fact that Jesus was able to sleep soundly in the midst of the ship while it was being tossed to and fro by the wind, the waves and the rain, and did not wake up at all because of the storm. As you read this particular passage of Scripture you will find that it wasn’t the storm itself that caused Jesus to wake from His slumber, but rather it was the cry of His disciples in the midst of the storm as they became increasingly fearful in the midst of the storm. The disciples could see the wind, the waves, and the rain raging all around them, and their hearts and souls were immediately seized with fear, terror, dread and anxiety because they believed themselves to be in danger of drowning and being swallowed up in the midst of the sea. Consider if you will the words and language that is found within this particular passage of Scripture beginning to read with the thirty-fifth verse of the fourth chapter:
“And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 5:35-41).
Please don’t miss the incredible significance of that which is found in this particular passage of Scripture, for within it we come face to face with the awesome and wonderful power the sound of our cry has in the ears and in the hearing of the living God. As I am sitting here this morning there is a part of me that believes that there are men and women who right now are doubting and perhaps even questioning the power of the cry they have within themselves. There are men and women who right now are among us and doubt the power that is actually present within their voice, and the power that is present within their cry in the hearing of the living God. There are men and women among us right now who are doubting and questioning whether or not their cries of desperation have any weight and have any power in the ears and in the hearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more I read and the more I consider that which is found in the final portion of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark, the more I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the fact that it was not the storm itself that caused Jesus to awake from His slumber. It was not the wind that raged and howled all around them that caused Jesus to awake from His slumber. It was not the waves of the sea that crashed upon the ship that caused Jesus to awake from his slumber. It was not even the rain which caused Jesus to awake from His slumber. Instead of it being the the wind, the waves and the rain that caused Jesus to awake from His slumber, we find that it was actually the sound of the cry of His disciples that caused Jesus to awake from His slumber. We get the strong impression that the storm did not phase and did not even concern Jesus—despite the fact that all the disciples could see was the storm, and all they could do was believe that their lives were in danger because of the storm that raged before and all around them. Within this passage of Scripture we get the strong and powerful impression that the storms we face within our lives on a regular and routine basis have absolutely no bearing and no effect on the living God, and upon His Christ—despite the fact that all we see is the storm before and all around us. All we see is the storm that rages all around us—the wind, the waves and the rain—and all we see and are experiencing is the fear, the terror and dread that consumes our hearts and souls, and yet Jesus is completely unaffected and undisturbed by the storm. It’s worth noting that within this passage of Scripture we find it recorded of the disciples that they came and awoke Jesus, and said unto Him, Master, carest not thou that we perish? Essentially that which the disciples were saying unto Jesus was whether or not He cared about their situation and the fact that their entire existence was threatened by the storm that was raging before and all around them.
Have you ever found yourself in that place? Have you ever found yourself in the place where you are caught in the midst of a storm and you feel as though Jesus doesn’t care about what you are going through? Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a storm and have allowed yourself to believe that the storm is going to be the end of your life? The disciples believed that they were going to perish in the midst of the storm, and they immediately went unto their Master questioning whether or not He cared about their plight. Oh, please don’t miss and lose sight of the question they asked Jesus, for the disciples didn’t come unto Jesus and begin speaking of the storm. The disciples didn’t come unto Jesus asking Jesus if He saw the waves, and if He saw the rain, and if He felt the wind. The disciples didn’t come unto Jesus and begin speaking to Him concerning the nature of the storm, nor did they even come unto Jesus and begin speaking to Him concerning the fact that the ship was in danger of being completely and utterly destroyed because of and in the midst of the storm. Instead of coming unto Jesus and speaking unto Him concerning the storm that raged before and all around them, the disciples came unto Jesus and asked Him if He cared—and not only if He cared, but also if He cared that they perish. The question the disciples asked Jesus the Christ on this particular night in the midst of the storm is a question that I am convinced countless men and women among us ask the Lord Jesus Christ on a consistent and regular basis. I am completely and utterly convinced that there are countless men and women who come unto Jesus in the midst of and because of the storms they face, and instead of speaking to Him concerning that which they are facing, they immediately ask Him if He cares. Jesus, do you care that I am drowning? Jesus do you care that I am sinking? Jesus do you care that I am dying? Jesus do you care that I am going through this? Jesus do you care that I am enduring this hardship? Jesus do you care that I am suffering? Jesus do you care that I am facing and enduring affliction? Jesus do you care at all that I am hurting right now? Do you care about the wounds and the scars that I have experienced at this point in my life? Jesus do you care about what I am going through? Have you ever been there? Have you ever found yourself in a place where you have wondered if Jesus the Christ even cares about your plight? Have you ever found yourself crying out to Jesus and asking Him whether or not He cares that your life is threatened by the storm that rages all around you? It’s amazing that not only did the disciples ask Jesus whether or not He cared, but they also asked Him whether or not He cared that they perish. Thus, the question the disciples asked Jesus was not only whether or not He cared about them, but it was also a question that assumed the worst in the midst of their situation and circumstance. The disciples cried out to Jesus in fear, in terror, and in dread—not necessarily speaking to Him concerning the storm, but rather asking Him whether or not He even cared. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women among us right now who find themselves in this same exact place, for they wonder if Jesus the Christ even cares about that which they are facing and that which they are going through.
I have written concerning the power of a cry, and the power our voice carries with it in the presence and in the hearing of Jesus the Christ, and as you continue reading the New Testament gospel of Mark you will find this trend continuing within the fifth chapter. After Jesus had risen up in the midst of the storm and rebuked the wind and the waves, thus bringing it to a complete calm and still, and after Jesus and His disciples had reached their intended destination, we find Jesus and His disciples being met by a man who was possessed with and possessed by an unclean spirit. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the fifth chapter you will find the account of Jesus and His disciples arriving and reaching the region of the Gadarenes, and there encountering a man possessed with and by an unclean spirit coming out of the tombs. COMING OUT OF THE TOMBS TO MEET JESUS! COMING OUT OF THE PALCE OF DEATH TO MEET JESUS! Within this passage of Scripture we find this man from the region of the Gadarenes meeting Jesus and His disciples as they arrived on the shore in order that he might find deliverance and freedom from that which tormented, and that which oppressed him. Consider if you will the words and language that is found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the first verse of the fifth chapter:
“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when He saw Jesus afar off, He ran and worshipped Him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For He said unto Him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And He asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought Him much that He would not send them away out of the country. Now there was night unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him,s axing, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine, fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were sore afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray Him to depart out of their coasts. And when He was come into the ship, He that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with Him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus and done for him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:1-20).
Within this passage of Scripture we find this man seeing Jesus afar off as He and His disciples arrived on the shore, and He immediately ran unto Jesus and met them as soon as they got out of the ship. Mark records and recounts how this man from the Gadarenes who was possessed by a legion of demons ran out to meet Jesus and how he fell down before Him and worshiped Him. I feel compelled to bring and call your attention—not only to the fact that there is present within these verses the power of a cry, but there is also a power in posture as well. THE POWER OF A CRY! THE POWER OF POSTURE! In all reality, I would dare say that within these passages of Scripture there is not only a tremendous power in our cry when we cry out unto Jesus, but there is also power in our posture of humility as we come near and approach Jesus the Christ. When you read the fifth chapter of the gospel which was written by John Mark you will in fact find individuals who cried out in the hearing and in the presence of Jesus, but you will also find individuals positioning themselves in a place of humility and desperation before and in the presence of Jesus the Christ. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for while we must recognize and understand the power of a cry, and the power of our voice in the presence of Jesus, we must also recognize and understand the power of posture and the power of desperation in the presence of Jesus. There is not a doubt in my mind that this man who was possessed with an unclean spirit, and this man who had the Legion positioned himself in a place of sheer and utter desperation before and in the presence of Jesus the Christ, as he undoubtedly and undeniably desired deliverance and freedom from the bondage and oppression he had faced. Mark records and recounts how this man ran to Jesus to meet Him when He came out of the ship, and how he immediately worshipped Jesus when he met Him. What I have to say is truly remarkable about this passage of Scripture is not only that this man was delivered and set free from the oppression and torment of the legion which had possessed him, but also this man was instructed to go home unto his friends in order that he might tell them the great things the Lord did do for him. Please pay close attention to this, fo what began with this man having his dwelling among the tombs, and in the mountains completely isolated and cut off from those before and around him would end with him being instructed to go home to his friends. This account which began with separation, isolation and a complete separation from fellowship, relationship and communion would end and conclude with this man—finally and once and for all returning unto his home and unto his friends. GO HOME! GO TO THY FRIENDS! Pause and consider how incredibly powerful this truly when you consider the fact that this man had his dwelling among the tombs, and had his dwelling among the dead. This man who previously had his dwelling among the tombs and had his dwelling among the tombs would not be able to have his dwelling at his home, and would even have his dwelling among the living. RESTORED FROM DEATH TO LIFE! RESTORED FROM ISOLATION TO FELLOWSHIP! RESTORED FROM ISOLATION TO FRIENDSHIP!
When you begin reading with and from the twenty-first verse of this fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark, you will find Jesus passing over to the other side of the sea—the same sea which He and His disciples had previously crossed and encountered the raging tempest. This time around, however—instead of encountering a tempest in the midst of the sea, and instead of facing the wind, the waves and the rain, Jesus and His disciples arrived safely to the place where they had come from. In fact, Mark records how when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto Him, and He was near unto the sea. When Jesus had passed over to the other side of the sea, however, He didn’t immediately enter into a place of rest and a place of quietness, for we find Jesus encountering much people who gathered themselves unto Him. What’s more, is that there immediately met him one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, who when seeing Him fell at His feet, and besought Him greatly concerning his littler daughter who lied at the point of death. Mark records how this man cried unto Jesus praying unto Him that He might come and lay His hands on her that she might be healed. What’s more, is that this man also emphatically declared unto Jesus that Jesus needed only to come unto His daughter, lay His hands upon her, and she would live. What we find in this particular encounter is not only a tremendous power of a cry, and not only a tremendous power of desperation, but we also find within this encounter a willingness of Jesus to go with this man in order that his daughter might live and be made whole from that which plagued her. The twenty-fourth verse reveals that Jesus went with this man, and how many people followed Him, and thronged Him. Oh, please don’t miss the awesome and incredible truth that is found and contained within this passage of Scripture, for within this passage of Scripture we not only encounter and find a cry of desperation and a posture of humility, but we also find within this passage a willingness of Jesus to heal this man’s daughter. Thus far we have found Jesus’ willingness to calm the raging sea and raging storm that threatened His disciples’ lives, we have found a willingness of Jesus to drive out the legion which had so possessed, tormented and oppressed the man from the Gadarenes, and now we find Jesus willing to go with this ruler of the synagogue in order that his daughter might be made whole and live. Oh that we would never underestimate the tremendous power of a cry, and that we would never underestimate the wonderful and incredible power of desperation within the very depths of our heart and soul. Oh that we would never despise the tremendous power of our cry that awakens Jesus from His slumber in the midst of the storm that rages before and all around us, and the tremendous power of our cry in the midst of that which torments and oppresses us.
Within this particular passage of Scripture we find Jesus agreeing to go with this ruler of the synagogue to the place where his daughter was lying on the point of death, and we find much people following Him and thronging Him. It was in the midst of this great crowd and throng of people that another individual is introduced to the story, for we find a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years making her way through the crowd of people in order that she might but touch the hem of the garment of Jesus. Mark records and recounts for us how there was a certain woman which had an issue of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. This woman when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched His garment. The reason she touched His garment is actually written and revealed by Mark, for Mark writes and records that this woman said to herself and believed within herself that if she could only touch His clothes, she would be made whole. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to read that as soon as this woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment she was immediately made whole, and the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the plague. Mark goes on to write and reveal how Jesus—while in the midst of the crowd that thronged Him—recognized and perceived that power had gone out from Him and had touched someone in the midst of the crowd. Pay close attention to the question which Jesus asked, for Jesus asked in the midst of the crowd who touched His clothes? WHO TOUCHED ME? This question is actually quite remarkable and astonishing when you think about and consider it, for Jesus not only recognized that someone had touched Him, but also that power had gone out from Him simply by someone within the crowd touching His garment. When His disciples began speaking unto Him concerning the great crowd of people and the countless people who were touching Him, Jesus continued to look around to see that one who had touched His garments. This must be carefully understood, for there is a touching of Jesus that is merely out of curiosity, and out of interest and intrigue, and there is a touch that actually causes power to be released from Jesus the Christ. There were countless men and women who were thronging Jesus the Christ, and countless people who were brushing up against Him, were rubbing against Him, and were touching Him, and yet Jesus recognized one touch from the rest of the others who had merely brushed up against Him. There was a touch that not only caused power to flow forth from Jesus, but also a touch which captured the attention of Jesus the Christ—and so much so that He actually desired that He might find that one who had touched Him. Oh that we would read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and that we would come face to face with—not only the reality of the power of a cry, and not only the power of a posture of desperation, but also the power of a touch. There is a power of touching Jesus that causes power and virtue to flow forth from Jesus the Christ into our lives to restore and make us completely whole within our physical bodies, our minds, our souls, our hearts, and the like. There is a power that flows forth from Jesus when we find a way to truly touch Him, and to touch Him based on faith believing that if He could merely touch the hem of his garment we might be made whole.
As I read these passages, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke—beginning with the words He spoke unto the storms, the wind and the waves. If you turn your attention back to the encounter of Jesus and the disciples in the midst of the storm you will find that Jesus rose up in the midst of the storm and emphatically declared unto the storm “Peace, be still.” Jesus rose up in the midst of the storm and rebuked the wind and the waves, and immediately declared unto the storm to be at complete peace, and to be still. When Jesus had finally come face to face with the woman who had received healing and wholeness after touching the hem of His garment, Jesus declared unto her “Be whole of thy plague.” To the wind, to the waves, and to the storm Jesus declared “Be still,” and to the woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years who had been healed after touching His garment, Jesus declared “Be whole”—to be whole of the plague which had consumed her body. Also within this passage is the word and message Jesus spoke unto Jairus, for while he was still on his way with Jesus and His disciples, and the great crowd of people who had accompanied Jesus, one came unto him and declared unto him that his daughter was dead and there was no need to trouble the Master any longer. Jesus—upon hearing the words which were spoken unto Jairus—immediately spoke unto him and declared “Be not afraid.” BE STILL! BE WHOLE! BE NOT AFRAID! There is a tremendous power in the cries of our voices, and there is tremendous power in the words which Jesus speaks unto us in response to what He has done in our lives, and in response to that which we are facing, experiencing and encountering. There is tremendous power in the words which Jesus the Christ speaks to us in the midst of that which we are facing, for Jesus spoke unto the storm, rebuked the wind and the waves, and instructed it to be still. Jesus spoke unto the woman who had been healed and made whole of her plague, saying, “Be whole of thy plague.” Finally, when speaking unto Jairus who had just received report that his daughter had died, Jesus declared unto him, saying, “Be not afraid.” Furthermore, Jesus didn’t simply declare unto Jairus to be not afraid, but Jesus also declared unto Jairus, saying, “only believe.” BE STILL! BE WHOLE! BE NOT AFRAID! BELIEVE! I am sitting here this morning, and I am completely and utterly convinced that these words are being spoken unto us within his generation, and that we who recognize and understand the power of a cry, and us who understand the power of desperation need to hear these words spoken unto us. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we recognize and understand the power of a cry, and whether or not we recognize and understand the power of desperation. Oh that we would hear the words which Jesus speaks unto us in the midst of our situation, and that which Jesus speaks unto that which threatens us, that which torments us, that which plagues us, and that which troubles us.