This is my 200th post! And of all my posts thus far, this one has the most important message. The implications of this post cannot be ignored.
Mark 4 begins by relating four of Jesus’ parables. It is Jesus’ longest teaching section in Mark’s gospel so far. And then, Mark describes four incredible miracles done by Jesus. Mark is very particular about the stories and the details he includes. It’s easy to take each of the following miracles on its own, break it down, and find the meaning behind it – like I did with my last post. But that is not what Mark intended to be done.
If you notice while reading through this series of miracles [Mark 4:35-5:43] occurs within the span of 24 hours. That night he calmed the storm. That morning he drove out the demon. That afternoon/evening he healed the woman with uncontrollable bleeding, and he raised a little girl from the dead. If I could go back and be with Jesus during just one day of his ministry, this would be it!
Like I said, Mark has a reason behind every detail, every description, every series of events in his gospel account. So what is tying these seemingly separate and distinct miracles together?
Here’s the first thing these stories have in common:
4:37 There was a natural disaster that nobody could manage
5:3-5 There was a demon nobody could restrain
5:25-26 There was a disease that nobody could cure
5:35 There was a dead girl – what can be done after death?
Think about it – we are still powerless about these very same things today! We can predict when and where the hurricane will hit, but we are powerless to stop it. We can do our best to rid ourselves of our own demons, but people still fall to temptations and addictions. We can treat the symptoms of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and AIDS, but we cannot cure them. And people still die. When it comes to these very enemies – disaster, demons, disease, and death – we have no more power over them than we did 2,000 years ago!
Secondly, check out this next connection:
4:41 When the storm was calmed, the disciples were terrified
5:15 The townspeople were afraid when they saw the previously possessed man made well
5:33 The woman was afraid for her life when Jesus called her out of the crowd
5:36 Jairus was fearing the worst when he heard that his daughter had died
Our lives are often plagued by fear, worries, and anxieties. It’s a frightening thing to be under a tornado watch. It’s terrifying to think about the evil that continues to fill this world because of Satan and his demons. The fear itself in the face of a terminal illness can be crippling. And the fear of death is one of the greatest fears across the board of humanity. But when we, in our vulnerable humanity, come face to face with one who DOES have power over disaster, demons, disease, and death, it can be infinitely more terrifying!
Finally, notice one of the greatest similarities of these four stories:
4:39 With a word, Jesus stops the storm dead in its tracks
5:13 With a word, Jesus drives this army of demons out of the man and into a heard of pigs which then run into the Sea, thus destroying the demons
5:29 Without even knowing it, Jesus healed the woman’s incurable disease
5:42 With a gentle touch and a caring word, Jesus raised the little girl back from the dead
Jesus demonstrates complete control over the uncontrollable storm. Jesus tames the demon that nobody could bind. Jesus instantly heals the disease that couldn’t be cured. Jesus calmly stares death in the face and treats it simply as sleep.
What man can do these things?
The answer is implied in the question. No human has the power within himself to do these things. The key to understanding Mark’s purpose in telling these four stories like this can be found right in between the first two and the last two. When Jesus is giving final instruction to the man who just had the demon cast out, he says: “Go…and tell them how much the Lord has done for you…” (5:19)
Who did these things for him? The Lord.
The Lord was Israel’s word for God. Since they couldn’t say his name, YHWH, for fear of blasphemy, they would say Adonai, which is Hebrew for Lord.
So the man when back to his hometown and told people about what Jesus had done for him. This is crucial! If Mark did not want us to associate Jesus with Lord, he would have said, “So the man went away and began to tell…how much the Lord had done for him.” But he says the guy went and told how much Jesus had done for him.
The only explanation of this man’s proclamation, and indeed the only explanation for these miracles, is that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God. Jesus is YHWH in the flesh. Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us.
Who can control the oceans but God alone? Exactly.
Who can have this kind of authority over demons but God? You’re right.
What can man do about incurable disease? Yes.
What can man do about death itself? Right on.
The answer is in the question. Jesus is Lord. He is Lord over disaster. He is Lord over demonic forces. He is Lord over disease. Indeed, He is Lord over death itself.
Jesus is Lord.