The Ministry of Building Faith.
1. It's doubtful that He even studied under one of the renowned rabbis of His day.
2. Yet, He was the greatest teacher who ever lived.
3. He established a relationship with His students, identified with them, and shared Himself with them.
4. He taught them:
a. About God's covenant plan and the kingdom of God.
b. He told them of His hopes, dreams, sorrows, and disappointments.
c. He used illustrations, object lessons, questions and answers.
d. He gave His disciples problems to solve, made assignments, tested and evaluated them.
e. He lived among them as a model of the kind of person He wanted His students to become.
f. That was the goal of His teaching ministry, and it should be our goal as well--to be like Jesus.
I. The First Test. v35-41
A. The meaning of 'Fear'.
1. Some form of the verb "fear" is found over five hundred times in our Bible.
2. Sometimes the word means "reverence."
a. This is the kind of fear that we should have for our God.
b. When pharaoh of Egypt ordered the midwives to kill baby boys, they "feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them" (Exodus 1:17).
c. God honored the midwives for their response to Him and gave them children of their own.
d. Later, the Israelites "saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord" (Exodus 14:31).
e. The prophet Samuel taught his people "to fear the Lord and serve him in truth" (I Samuel 12:24).
f. And King David prayed, "Unite my heart to fear Your name" (Psalm 86:11).
3. But "fear" is most often used to mean "terror."
a. In this sense it is a negative response.
b. Today many people live in fear.
1) They are afraid to fly, to drive, to walk after dark.
2) They fear strangers, the military, the government.
3) They are terrified of illness, old age, and death.
c. But Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to us, and to show us His power over all these things.
d. He said, "Do not fear."
e. And He taught His disciples--and us--that fear is the opposite of faith.
4. Jesus wanted His disciples to have faith in Him, to trust Him, and to believe His words.
5. In the Bible, the sea is often a place of testing; it was there that the disciples' faith would be tested.
B. The Actual Test.
1. All day Jesus had been teaching the multitudes from a boat on the Sea of Galilee.
a. Through parables he taught them about the kingdom of God, and when He was alone with the disciples at the close of the day, He answered their questions.
b. Then He said, "Let us cross over to the other side" (Mark 4:35).
2. Had the disciples understood the Parable of the Sower?
a. Did they understand that Jesus had the power to plant His kingdom in the hearts of men?
b. Did they believe that it could grow beyond any kingdom on earth--just as Jesus said?
c. If Jesus could do all this, could He care for them?
d. How great was their faith in this Man of Galilee?
3. On the Sea, a great storm arose and the disciples were fearful.
a. They woke Jesus, sleeping in the stern of the boat, and asked, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?"
b. Jesus ignored the question about His love.
c. He was more concerned about their fear.
4. He rose, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Peace, be still".
a. When the sea was calm He asked His disciples, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"
b. At this point the disciples' fear shifted from the sea to Jesus.
c. They were terrified.
d. Who was this Jesus? Never had they seen such power.
"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 4:41)
e. Seeing Jesus heal a leper or a paralytic was one thing--but calming a stormy sea by command was something quite different.
C. The Test Results.
1. The disciples responded in the wrong way--in fear rather than in faith.
2. Had we been there we might have responded in much the same way.
3. The disciples failed the test.
II. The Teaching Ministry. Mk. 5:1 - 6:6
A. Jesus healed a demon-possessed man.
1. They arrived at the other side of the sea, in the region of the Gerasenes.
2. As far as we know this was the only time Jesus visited this particular area.
3. As they got out of the boat, they were met by a man with an unclean spirit who lived among the tombs.
4. The man had a whole series of demonic powers and possessed an uncanny knowledge of who Jesus was.
5. He ran to Jesus, fell on his knees, and shouted, "... 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." v:7
6. Jesus' response, "... Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit." v8
7. When Jesus asked the demon's name, he replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many" v9
a. In ancient Rome a legion consisted of three to six thousand men.
b. This was a serious case of demon possession.
c. But the Word of Jesus is powerful.
8. He spoke and the demons were driven into a herd of two thousand pigs.
a. The pigs rushed down a steep bank and were drowned in the lake.
b. The herdsmen who witnessed the healing of the man and the destruction of the pigs rushed off to tell the people in the town nearby.
c. Soon they gathered to see the man who was now dressed and in his right mind.
d. It's important to note the reaction of the people and the reaction of the man who was healed.
e. They reacted with fear.
1) This was Gentile territory, and pigs were not only used for food but also raised for market.
2) It's doubtful if the people valued the life of the man more than they did the large herd of pigs.
3) Not knowing what he would do next, the people "... began to pray him to depart out of their coasts."
4) Jesus honored their request.
f. The man from the tombs reacted quite differently.
1) He didn't fear Jesus.
2) He knew the compassion, the love, and the power of the One who had freed him from bond- age, healing him physically, mentally, and spiritually.
3) He was whole, and he wanted to be with Jesus.- He begged to go with Him.
4) But Jesus had work for him to do.
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. v19
5) The man obeyed, and the people were amazed.
B. Jesus raised a dead girl and healed a woman.
1. Returning to the other side of the lake, Jesus was met by Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue.
a. Jairus fell at Jesus' feet and pleaded with Him to come to his home and heal his little daughter who was dying.
b. Jesus was pleased with the man's faith and started moving through a large crowd to go with him.
c. Along the way, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, and who had heard that Jesus healed people, worked her way through the crowd and touched the hem of His garment.
2. This woman was responding to Jesus with faith: she 'heard," "came," and "touched." (v28) and she was.
a. But Jesus knew that the woman needed more than a physical healing.
b. He sensed her fear. v33
c. In His compassion, Jesus wouldn't allow the woman to go away without facing Him.
d. Had He done so, she might have lived in fear of the power of Jesus and never have known His love for her.
e. Commending her faith, Jesus took away her fear, and gave her His peace.
3. As Jesus was talking with the woman, a messenger arrived, with the news that Jairus' daughter was dead.
a. But Jesus ignored the message and said to the ruler of the synagogue, "... Be not afraid, only believe." v36
b. When they arrived at Jarius' house, Jesus took Peter, James, and John, along with the child's parents, into the room where the little girl lay.
c. Those waiting outside had laughed when Jesus said the child wasn't dead--only sleeping.
d. Note the Outside/Inside theme.
4. Taking the little girl by the hand, Jesus raised her up and they "... were astonished with a great astonishment." v42
5. Perhaps they had more to learn before their faith could become all that Jesus wanted it to be ... But isn't that true for us as well?
C. Jesus taught in Nazareth.
1. Jesus and His disciples went on to Nazareth.
2. This was Jesus' hometown, and He must have been eager to minister those He loved so much.
3. On the Sabbath day He began to teach in the synagogue.
a. His friends, those who had known Him from His youth, were gathered about Him listening.
b. They were amazed at His wisdom, yet wasn't He Mary's son, village carpenter?
c. They knew His brothers and His sisters.
d. Rather than believe what Jesus was telling them, they were annoyed with Him.
e. They hindered the work of the kingdom, and Jesus was only able to heal a few sick people.
f. Jesus was saddened that His close friends didn't believe Him.
Mark 6:6, "And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching."
III. The Second Test. Mk. 6:7-13
A. Some time had passed since the disciples had failed their first test.
1. Reacting in fear rather than faith, they had failed to understand who Jesus was and to understand the kingdom He had come to establish.
2. Then Jesus had begun to teach them that fear wasn't an acceptable response.
3. He wanted them to have faith in Him.
4. He showed them His power, His love, and is compassion by healing the demon-possessed man, the woman suffering from bleeding, and He raised Jairus' daughter from death and gave her life.
5. When He took the disciples to Nazareth, they saw that the ministry of the kingdom was hindered by the people's lack of faith.
B. Now it as time for a second test.
1. Remember that Jesus had called the disciples for a three-fold purpose:
a. To be with Him
b. To go out to preach
c. And to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons. (See Mark 3:14-15.)
2. They had been with Jesus for some time.
3. Now He sent them out "two by two and gave them power over unclean spirits" (Mark 6:7).
a. In Judaism, two witnesses were necessary to establish the truth.
b. To test their obedience and their dependence on the power He gave them, Jesus gave the disciples specific instructions:
"And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:" Mark 6:7-8
c. They were to stay in only one place in each village.
d. If they were not well received, they were to shake the dust off their feet and leave.
4. With what faith they had, they obeyed.
5. This was the beginning of the disciples' ministry, and their faith was growing.
IV. The Interlude. (Mark 6:14-29)
A. Mark breaks his Gospel at this point with more detailed story of John the Baptist.
B. We were told earlier only that he was in prison. (Mark 1:14)
1. The King Herod who imprisoned John was Antipas.
a. He was ruler of Galilee and Perea from 4 B.C. to A D. 39.
b. Antipas married Herodius, the wife of his half brother Philip who lived in Rome.
c. When John the Baptist told Antipas that this was wrong, Herodius wanted the prophet killed.
d. Instead, Antipas put him in prison both to protect him and to silence him.
3. We get the impression that Herod liked John, or admired him.
a. Because he acknowledged the Jewish religion, Herod listened to John and puzzled over his teaching.
b. He knew the prophet was righteous, and he feared him.
c. But the time came for a final decision about John, and Herod allowed Herodius to deceive him.
d. He made a rash vow to give Herodius' daughter anything she chose...
e. And she asked for the head of John the Baptist.
4. Herod feared breaking his vow before his dinner guests and his wife.
a. He sent an executioner to behead John in the prison.
b. Within a few short years Herod Antipas would be faced with another decision--Jesus would be brought before him for trial.
c. Many people today face the same decision which Herod Antipas faced.
d. They listen, become concerned about the message of Jesus Christ, but fear of what others may think, fear for their jobs, fear of losing control of their lives--all these and more can keep them from placing their faith in Christ.