The Bible is filled with accounts of the miraculous. For the Christian, miracles confirm God’s existence, his power and his message, but the secular world view allows no divine intervention. But if miracles are not possible we should all go home, forget about God, and abandon our faith. Portuguese philosopher Benedict Spinoza best summarizes the argument against miracles with the following syllogism:  Miracles are violations of natural law.  Natural laws are immutable.  It is impossible for immutable laws to be violated.  Conclusion: Miracles are impossible. But in step 2, Spinoza assumes what he hopes to prove! Instead, we should ask: “Do we have credible historical evidence of miracles?” I believe that we do—in the historically credible New Testament documents. New Testament scholar John A. T. Robinson concludes: “The wealth of manuscripts and above all, the narrow interval of time between the original writing and the earliest extant manuscripts, make the New Testament documents the best attested of any ancient writing in the world.” Princeton Scholar Bruce Metzger asserts that the New Testament you are holding in your hands today is essentially a photocopy of the original! Furthermore, there is abundant evidence that the accounts of Jesus’ miraculous life contained in the New Testament are highly reliable history. (See my sermon, “You Can Trust the Bible—It’s Reliable!”, [2017-1-29] at tcc.org.)
But Jesus didn’t perform miracles just to impress people. Jesus’ miracles were a confirmation that he was the unique Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah (Acts 2:22). Jesus’ miracles confirmed that with his arrival, the Kingdom of God was being established with power. There is no area of life over which God does not have control, and this brings us great comfort! If there is even one rebel molecule running around out there, then God is not sovereign. Today we are going read about an incident where Jesus demonstrated his power over nature.
Jesus had spent the entire day teaching the multitudes by the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). It was getting late and so Jesus and his disciples set out in the boat. Aided by the gentle breeze and rhythmic motion of the boat, Jesus falls into a deep sleep. But this idyllic scene suddenly changes. The clouds thicken and the sky darkens. Suddenly a wild tempest is upon them. They despaired as the boat fills with water. Meanwhile Jesus is sleeping, oblivious of the raging storm. Finally they wake him: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Isn’t it interesting, that when we face difficulties, we are quick to accuse God of not caring? When we think that way, we are equating God’s care for us with a life of ease and prosperity. Yet oftentimes when things are going great, God isn’t even on our radar. He takes a back seat to our pleasures. In the good times we ignore God and in the bad times we accuse Him! Truth is, God does care about you—but in his care for us he does not insulate us from trials (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3–5; John 16:33). Because Jesus is an overcomer, we will be too. So replace anxiety with trust. God is in control. Nothing will ever touch your life that God has not allowed. Nothing. Sometimes God walks with you through trials, and sometimes he delivers you from trials. In todays text he does both.
Jesus performed this miracle in order to open his disciples eyes to his true identity. He wasn’t just “one of the guys.” He wasn’t just “a great moral teacher.” The wind and waves do not obey wise men and teachers. This miracle demonstrates in a powerful way, that Jesus was more than a mere man. He was the divine Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the World. When he speaks, the wind and waves listen. Jesus is Lord over nature. He created the wind and the waves, and they answer to Him. The wind and waves recognize Jesus as God and obey him, but humans, with all of our intelligence do not. Jesus accused his disciples of lacking faith. Unbelief and fear always go together. They never should have doubted their safe arrival on the other side of the lake, because as they began their journey, Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side” (v.35).
Don’t ever doubt God’s ability to do the miraculous, but do understand that miracles are the exception, not the rule. We are not going to understand all that God allows (Deuteronomy 29:29). We don’t need to. In Jesus, we have ample evidence that God cares and that he is worthy of our worship and trust. And so I invite you to place your trust in him today.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Jesus is worthy of our worship and trust. Place your trust in him today. If you would like to know God personally, contact us here (connect.tcc.org) Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)