3-10-19 Works in Progress – The Faith Reality

kthomasCommunity Study

Overarching theme:  Living a year in God’s presence through the practice of Lent.

Core Point: Lent is a good way to form a new habit, or Godly discipline, which helps an individual to live and love as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Scripture

Mark 4:35-41 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

 

Commentary

Jesus has just finished preaching and teaching to a multitude of people.  In his tired state, he calls his disciples to go across the Sea of Galilee by boat to the other side.  While on the journey, a storm blows over the water making the sea extremely rough. Water pours into the boat nearly filling it.

Jesus is asleep and the disciples are terrified for their lives. This type of storm is very typical for the Sea of Galilee.

“Such storms result from differences in temperatures between the seacoast and the mountains beyond. The Sea of Galilee lies 680 feet below sea level. It is bounded by hills, especially on the east side where they reach 2000 feet high. These heights are a source of cool, dry air. In contrast, directly around the sea, the climate is semi-tropical with warm, moist air. The large difference in height between surrounding land and the sea causes large temperature and pressure changes. This results in strong winds dropping to the sea, funneling through the hills.  The Sea of Galilee is small, and these winds may descend directly to the center of the lake with violent results. When the contrasting air masses meet, a storm can arise quickly and without warning. Small boats caught out on the sea are in immediate danger. The Sea of Galilee is relatively shallow, just 200 feet at its greatest depth. A shallow lake is “whipped up” by wind more rapidly than deep water, where energy is more readily absorbed.”

– Author: Dr. Donald B. DeYoung of Creation Research Society. Copyright ©1992, 2003, Donald B. DeYoung. (ChristianAnswers.Net team member). First published in Weather & the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992).

The Combination of the storm, the water in the boat, and Jesus sleeping through it makes the disciples fearful and bewildered. Maybe it is like us when we believe that if we are with Jesus, nothing bad is going to happen in life. Like the disciples, even though they are with Jesus, bad things can happen. The disciples fear for their lives and they just do not get it – the power of Jesus in their lives. This story is about Faith. The lack of faith on behalf of the disciples.

 

Questions to Ponder

How are you like the disciples?

What does Jesus do in response to the disciples’ fear of the storm?

What does it mean to have “no faith” or to have faith?

Are you a person of faith, so that when the times are tough you believe Jesus will help?  Please give an example.

Application: Developing a discipline of faith requires a belief and an activity that is comforted by knowing that God is going to help calm the storm or help you through the storms of life. The Old Testament is filled with how God helped the Israelites, while the New Testament shows how God used Christ Jesus through the challenges of life. Don’t you think that God can help you as you call out for help? Sometimes you have to look for the help. Let’s look at this scripture for the practical application:

1 Corinthians 10:13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

 

Commentary

This scripture helps a person to have faith that God is going to help in the challenges and storms of life.  You will not be tested more than you can bear because God will show you a way through the difficulty, or temptation. Having faith in God, in relation to the Mark passage, means to realize who Christ is and that the power of God will help you in the situation. In Faith, look to God for the pathway through your difficulty and never stop believing that God will show you the way. Keep praying and looking. Have Faith!

 

Concluding Questions

What does “to have faith” mean in this passage? Is it that God is going to just take way the challenge or temptation, or help you through?

Who do you know that practices the discipline of faith and how do you see it?

How could you strengthen the discipline of faith in your life?

 

Practice a discipline for the week, or the rest of your life, your choice

1. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 each morning and reflect for a moment on how you can incorporate that Faith reality into your daily life.

2. Choose Faith, that God in Christ will guide you through, as you encounter challenges and temptations.