THE LIFE OF CHRIST
As we continue on in our series on the Life of Christ, I want to mention one more time that I am doing my best to present these lessons in chronological order. After Jesus presented the parables in Matthew 13, we find Him casting out across the Sea. The events I about to cover are found in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Mark gives us more details, so I will mainly use Mark’s account, but I will add additional information found in the other accounts to give us a complete picture.
Mark 4:35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.
Jesus had a full day, and it was late. The word evening can mean 3 to 6 p.m. or it can mean 6 p.m. till dark. One of Lexicons I looked at believed this event fell in the 6 p.m. to dark time. The reason I am pointing this out is because the events that are about take place probably happened at night time or close to it.
When Mark says they took Jesus as He was, is simply saying that they made no provision for the trip. So, Jesus never left the boat after He taught the multitudes and they sailed away that evening. Mark also gives some details the other accounts do not because we learn that other boats were with Him as well on this trip. They will also witness the miracle Jesus is about to perform. Before I move on, I want to share with you My Coffman tells us about about the Sea of Galilee.
Christ here proposed a crossing to the eastern side of Lake Galilee. This beautiful lake was surrounded by at least a dozen towns in the time of Christ and was the most densely populated area of Palestine. It is thirteen miles long, six miles wide, pear-shaped; and the surface lies 700 feet below sea level. Steep mountains rise along both the western and eastern shores. It is fed by the Jordan river which enters at the north end and exits at the south where it resumes its course to the Dead Sea. The water is fresh and sweet, abounds with fish, and is edged with sparkling pebbly beaches. Due to its depression below sea level and the bordering mountains, it is subject to very severe and sudden storms, such as the one related here.
Mark 4:37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
As Mr Coffman explained, it was not uncommon for a strong storm to develop over the Sea of Galilee. These fishing boats they used back then were not designed for heavy waves. So, it would be easy for these kind of boats to fill water and potential sink under these kind of conditions. Imagine yourself being there on that boat most likely in the dark. You can feel and hear the strong winds blowing. The waves are beating the boat time after time. Every time the waves hit more water is filling the boat as you and the crew frantically try to hang on and work on getting the water out of the boat. This would no doubt be a scary place to be, but in their fear, they seemed to have forgotten that Jesus was with them.
Where was Jesus during all of this? He was asleep. No doubt He was tired after His full day of teaching. We have all experienced that deep sleep that come from a hard day of work, but Jesus managed to stay asleep even though the great storm was happening. Could you imagine being one the disciples who nerves were frayed and then finally decided to go to Jesus and found Him sleeping?
They wake Him up. I can just imagine how much fear that had their voices as they asked Him if He cared that they were perishing or as Luke’s account says, they were in jeopardy. Jesus gets up and rebukes the wind and says “peace be still!” The wind stopped and the water became calm.
Again, I ask you to put yourself on that boat and think about how you would feel about Jesus who had the power to rebuke the wind and cause everything to be calm. Think about the other boats there were with them. Unless they were close enough to hear Jesus rebuke the wind, they would have been perplexed at how the storm would have come to a sudden stop. No doubt they found out why it happened later on.
This great miracle shows that even the wind obeyed Jesus. So, don’t you think that if nature will listen to what He has to say that we should too? This miracle was just one of many that proved that Jesus is the Son of God and that everything He was teaching was coming from the Father.
Notice what Jesus says next:
Mark 4:40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"
The disciples were constantly struggling with their faith in Jesus even though they saw Him do many miracles. As soon a new circumstance would come up, such as this storm, they would forget all about how powerful Jesus was. Though the disciples a lack of faith in the situation, I can still see a positive message from this because when they found themselves in trouble from this storm, they went to Jesus. Mathew’s account has them telling Jesus, “Lord save us.” So, they thought that Jesus would be able to save them, but they had no idea how.
We can take from this that when we find ourselves struggling with our faith and we are fearful of our situation, the first place we should go is to God our Father in prayer because He is the source of all comfort.
However, one the main problems Jesus’ disciples had at this time was their lack of faith that God was in control. Sometimes we have this same problem in our lives. We over analyze situations, which causes us to worry when we should not. We need to learn to put more trust in God and His ability to handle the storms in our lives. As Paul said:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Even if death is knocking at our door, we can still trust that God will take care of us because even if we die, we will still be with the Lord. We must learn to have the same attitude and confidence that Paul had at the end of his life. He wrote:
2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Hopefully, we can all get the point in our lives where we stop being fearful of everything and worrying about everything in our lives by putting our faith and trust in God.
Next we read:
Mark 5:1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
This account is also found in Matthew 8 and Luke 8. While Mark’s account gives us the most details, there is some important information found in the other accounts as well. For example, Mark’s account only mentions there being one man, but we learn from Matthew’s account there are actually two men that are demon possessed. This is not a contradiction because Mark’s account, nor the Luke’s account says that there was only one man. They simply focus on one of the men, but Matthew lets us know there were two.
Since I am mainly using Mark’s account, I will also focus on the same man. Jesus has just made it to land when this man who demon possessed came to him. We learn that he had been living in the tombs. Luke tells us that the man had been possessed for a long time and that he was running around naked. Matthew tells us that he was fierce and says that no one could go by his way, which means that he would attack anyone getting close to him.
The people there tried to tame this man, but not even chains or shackles could hold him because when the demons took over, they made him have the strength to break the chains and the shackles. As Mark indicates, this poor man did not get much rest because he cried out day and night and was cutting himself with stones. I am so thankful that demon possession does not happen today because it would be horrible to have to deal with the things they could make people do that they would not normally do.
Mark 5:6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me." 8 For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" 9 Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
This demon possessed man runs toward Jesus and falls down before Him because the demons knew who Jesus was. They knew that He was superior to them and had control over them. Then the demons begin to beg Jesus not to torment them. In Matthew account they asked:
Matthew 8:29 Have You come here to torment us before the time?"
Luke’s account has them begging Jesus not to cast them into the Abyss, which is a reference to the abode of the dead. These demons knew that would be a time coming where they would be tormented along with the devil, but they knew that time was not at that moment.
Jesus asked what the demon’s name was, and He said Legion, which means many. This same word meant 6826 men during Augustus time, but most believe that the demon was not referring to a specific number, but was just saying there were many demons in this man.
Mark 5:11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
As the demons begged not to be cast into the abyss or out of the country, they asked permission to enter the 2000 swine. This area that Jesus was in had lots of Gentiles in it. One thing that confirms this is that they had swine there, which was an unclean animal that the Jews would not mess with. However, it also believed there was a Jewish population there as well. We learn that Jesus allowed these demons to posses these pigs, but once they entered them, they all ran down a cliff and drowned in the sea.
Mark 5:14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
Imagine being one of those pig feeders who saw the huge herd of pigs go nuts all of a sudden and run into the sea. They did not waste any time telling people what happened. So people came out and saw this man who they could not tame sitting there in his right mind with clothes on.
Now think about that just for a second. Those in their right mind do not go around naked or even half naked. Many in our society could learn a great lesson from this because as you look around, especially in the summer time, we have a lot of people that are not right in their minds.
As the people considered all that happened, Luke tells us that they were seized with great fear. Instead of praising Jesus and wanting to know more about Him, they were begging Him to leave.
Mark 5:18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you."
As you could imagine, this man was very thankful for being freed from all those demons, and he wanted to stay with Jesus. However, Jesus had different work for him. He wanted him to go home and tell people what great things the Lord had done for him. Most of the time Jesus would tell people not tell others about what He did, but this time he told this man to spread the good news. We are not given the specific reason Jesus would occasionally tell people like this man to tell their story, but some speculate the reason He did this was because this was mainly a Gentile population and would not hinder Jesus from moving about like the problems He faced in the other areas when others told about what He did. Others think He did this because the people asked Him to leave and so this man would serve as an example to those people that Jesus is the Son of God. Whatever the reason, we can know that Jesus knew exactly what He was doing.
The next event we will examine is Jesus raising a young girl from the dead. This event can be found in Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; and Luke 8:40-56. Once again, I will mainly use Mark’s account because it has the most details.
Mark 5:21 Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. 22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live." 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
Jesus has crossed back over and is now at Capernum. Luke’s account says the people there were waiting for His return. As you would expect, there were a large number of people there. This man named Jarius was one of the leaders of the synagogue, which means he would have been well respected by his fellow Jews. Most of these the leaders of the various synagogues were out to get Jesus and would not want to have anything to do with Him. We can only wonder if Jarius used to be one them until his daughter got sick. It is certainly possible to have your mind changed when the life of your only daughter is on the line. We know this his only daughter thanks to Luke’s account. To lose your only child was many times looked at as being a punishment from God, which would call into question Jarius’ integrity. While we do not know the background information about Jarius we do know that he came before Jesus at this time and took the most humble approach he could. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come lay his hands on his daughter so that she would be healed. There was a sense of great urgency in his plea because he knew that his daughter did not have long to live. So, Jesus being the compassionate Savior He is, went with the man, and the people were pressing in on Him on all sides.
Mark 5:25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.
This poor woman had suffered for many years with her problem and Luke tells us that she spent all her livelihood trying to get the doctors to fix her problem, but none of them could. In fact, she got worse instead of better. Not only would her problem leave her weak, she would continue to be considered unclean (Lev. 15:19-25), which means she was on her own during that 12 years.
If you were in her place, you would no doubt be just as desperate for a cure as she was. She believed that if she could just touch the edge of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. She had nothing to lose, so she gathered up her strength and somehow made it through the crowd that was pressing Jesus on all sides and she touched the hem of His garment, and according to Luke, she was immediately healed. So, a true miracle happened. While we cannot fully understand the joy this woman must of felt, when she knew she finally had her cure, we can certainly know that she would have been beside herself.
Mark 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?" 31 But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?' " 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
Jesus did not see who touched Him when the power had passed from Him. Luke’s account tells us that when Jesus asked the crowd who touched His clothes, they all denied it. His disciples opinion was that there was no way to find out because there were too many people. Though I cannot prove what I am about to say since our text does not say this, my opinion, for what its worth, is that Jesus knew who touched His clothes, but used this as another opportunity to show the power of God to that crowd. I base my opinion off of other events in which Jesus used moments like these to teach the people and use a person as an example of God’s power.
We are not told why the woman was fearful and trembling. Maybe she was afraid Jesus might reverse the cure since she did not ask, but simply grabbed His clothes. Whatever the reason, Jesus no doubt calmed her nerves when He called her Daughter, spoke of her faith and told her to go in peace. She would get to keep her cure and no longer be plagued by it.
Mark 5:35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not be afraid; only believe." 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, "Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping." 40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.
While Jesus was speaking to this woman, some of those who had been with Jarius’ daughter come and tell Jarius not to waste Jesus’ time because his daughter is dead. Think about Jarius at this moment. He would no doubt be crushed and perhaps become angry about the crowd delaying Jesus from getting there in time. Whatever he was beginning to think or experiencing would not last long because Jesus tells him not be afraid, but to believe. Personally, I would still be full of mixed emotions. Part of me would be thinking there is still hope, while the other part of me would be thinking, who can overcome death?
Luke’s account tells us that only these three disciples and the mother and father go with Him from that point forward. Peter, James and John were privileged to see 3 different events that the other disciple did not. There was this event, the transfiguration, and they were permitted to go further into the Garden of Gehtesemne than the other apostles.
When they get to the house, there were all kinds of noise and loud weeping going on because the girl was dead. However, Jesus tells them differently and questions them about all their weeping because He said the girl is just sleeping. Of course, they started ridiculing Him because they knew that she was dead, but Jesus put them all outside except the 3 and the mom and dad. They went into to where the child was lying.
Mark 5:4 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, "Talitha, cumi," which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.
Whatever doubts Jarius may have had were done away with when Jesus told his 12 year old daughter to arise and she did. In Luke’s account, Jesus commands them to give her something to eat. Once again, we see Jesus working a powerful miracle that brought this dead daughter back to life. Remember, this is Jarius’ only child, so we could imagine the joy he and his wife felt when they say their little daughter rise up and eat. This is another example where Jesus commands them not tell the people what happened. However, word about this would probably spread because those mourners that were put outside would know that this little girl was dead the last time they saw her.
In this lesson, we have looked at four more events that have shown Jesus’ power. He calmed a storm, cast out a legion of demons, healed a woman with a blood issue, and raised a young lady from the dead. All of these things add up to show that Jesus is the Son of God. Of course, these are just a few of the many miracles that we will see Jesus work. I hope you will be able to join us next time as we continue to look at the life of Christ and all the wonderful things He did for us, which ultimately ends with Him dying for us all.