Sunday School Lessons


Commentary by Walter Albritton


March 16


Jesus Reveals His Power

Mark 4:355:20

Key Verse: What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

 – Mark 4:41


            I can never forget that moment when I saw for the first time the Sea of Galilee. Our little group was riding in a bus. As we came around a curve and over a hill, there stretched out before us was the beautiful sea that was so prominent in the stories of Jesus. The sight was breathtaking, lovelier than I had anticipated.

            The sea was much larger than I had supposed. I discovered that it is, in fact, about 14 miles long and six miles across. There was a strong wind the day we went for a short boat ride. An experienced seaman told us that squalls sometimes develop quickly, without warning, when the winds come up.

            Mark describes such a furious squall as a great storm that threatened to sink the boat, causing the disciples to fear for their lives. They were afraid and frustrated to find that Jesus was asleep in the rear of ship. Weary of ministering for hours to others, Jesus was getting much needed rest.

            Complaining that Jesus seemed not to care about their plight, the disciples woke Jesus in the hope that he could save them. Jesus arises and rebukes the wind and the sea, commanding them to become peaceful and be still. Immediately, the wind and the waves obeyed his voice.

            This demonstration of Jesus’ power should not surprise us. After all, since Jesus is the Creator, should he not have power over his own creation? Mark wants us to understand that Jesus is the Son of God and his power and authority have no limit. Indeed, the disciples have no need to be afraid as long as Jesus is with them.

            The real issue here is not about Jesus’ power over nature but the need of the disciples to replace their fear with faith. Jesus confronts them about their lack of faith, which allows them to be handcuffed by fear. Fear paralyzes. Faith liberates. Faith in God is the antidote to fear.

            Mark uses another incident to demonstrate the power of Jesus, our Lord’s encounter with the demon-possessed man living among the tombs. So not only does Jesus have power over the natural world, he also has power over the demonic.

            Some people cannot embrace the reality of demon possession. They believe that belief in demons was the result of first century ignorance and superstition. Personally, I have no trouble believing in the existence of the demonic, both then and in our present world.

            There are hideous examples of evil committed all the time for which demon possession seems the most plausible explanation. To explain incidents of violent evil as “mental illness” leaves unanswered the question of what produces mental illness.

            I am content to accept what Jesus believed – that the Evil One is responsible for the demonic power that seeks to destroy life and separate people from life in God.

            In a world like ours, where fear threatens to engulf the human race and the demonic forces of evil seek constantly to bind us in the chains of sin, what good news it is that we can turn to Jesus for help!

            He is the Son of God, the Creator, and our Redeemer. He alone can heal the disharmony of our souls and give us peace with God.

            With the hymn writer we can affirm, “When the storms of life are raging,” Jesus, precious Jesus, stand beside us. Calm our fears, and break the demonic chains that bind us, that we may become free to live to the fullest a life that honors you!

            Receiving such help from our Savior, we cannot afford to sit and enjoy it. We must seek the grace we need to overcome our fear and share this good news with our neighbors and friends. + + + +