Believing For The Miraculous (Part 1)

Posted on December 14, 2020

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Believing For The Miraculous (Part 1)

What do you do when you are faced with the uncertainty of tomorrow? What happens when your world is rocked, you lose your job, suffer a financial loss, get news of a physical problem? How have you handled the storms of life? When you encounter an obstacle or face some difficulty in life, do you exhaust all your power and skills and resources attempting to fix the problem before turning to the Lord? Usually we only succeed in making matters worse when we do this; and then when we reach the end of our rope – when we are undeniably in over our heads – we turn to Him to bail us out. He becomes our last resort rather than our first resort. If you can relate to this, you are not alone. This same attitude was clearly present in Jesus’ disciples in Mark 4:35-41.

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 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 4:35-41

The vivid details in this passage were an eyewitness account based on Peter’s testimony to Mark, and it is an account of the miraculous. First point to each of us is to believe for and expect the miraculous

What we see in this text is a miracle. The Jews of our Lord’s days did not challenge the actual events, but rather the power by which these miracles were performed (cf. Mark 3:22ff.) While sceptics and critics of God’s Word can’t believe in the miraculous, sincere students of Scripture have no doubt that Jesus performed many miracles. The miracles of our Lord had a purpose and we will reveal them so that you can position yourself to be a recipient of the same!

The miraculous works of our Lord Jesus were communicated using three primary terms, each of which accentuated one facet of the supernatural activity of Christ. These three terms are found together in several passages but let’s take the following Scriptures:

Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a Man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves knowActs 2:22 (NASB),

The distinguishing marks of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs, wonders, and miracles. 2 Corinthians 12:12 (NASB).

The term “miracle” is the Greek word dunamis, which means: “power, might, strength, force.” The English word dynamite comes from this word, but dunamis is not an explosive kind of power like of a dynamite. It speaks of inherent ability that carries the potential to perform or accomplish a taskDunamis emphasizes the mighty work that has been done, and, in particular, the power by which it was accomplished. The event is described in terms of the power of God in action. If “miracle” emphasizes the cause of the miraculous event, “wonder,” which is from the Greek word teras, underscores its effect on those who are witnesses. On many occasions, the crowds (even the disciples) were amazed and astonished by the works of our Lord. We see this in the passage in Mark 4:35-41.

The most pregnant term used with reference to the miracles of our Lord is “sign,” from the Greek word semeion, which focuses upon the deeper meaning of the miracle. A sign is a miracle that conveys a truth about our Lord Jesus. A miracle is usually a sign, but a sign need not always be a miracle (cf. Luke 2:12).

Please note that I am going through this, fully aware that there is sorcery in the land that people are wondering at (Acts 8:9-20), just as there are signs and miracles the Lord will do which are discerned to the extent, they fulfil this: The miracles of our Lord are a visible manifestation of divine power (miracle), an awe-inspiring spectacle (wonder), and an instructive revelation about God (sign).

Several purposes emerge from the Scriptures for the exercise of miracles by our Lord. I want to focus on just a couple of them.

1. They accredited Jesus. It was expected that when the Messiah came He would be accredited by miracles (John 7:31). When our Lord presented Himself at the synagogue in Nazareth, He quoted a passage from Isaiah 61 as recorded in Luke 4:17-19. The people expected the Messiah to present Himself by signs. By reason of His work alone, men should receive Him as Messiah (John 5:36-6:13; John 10:25).

2. They reveal God. The miracles of Jesus were not merely deeds to authenticate the message of Messiah, but a vital part of that message. The miracles not only revealed the power of God, but His person. In the miracles of Jesus, we see the sympathy and compassion of God. Jesus was deeply moved by human suffering and need (Luke 7:12-14). People’s needs prompted Jesus to action. The miracles reveal Jesus to be the Redeemer and Restorer of a fallen universe. He came to save.

With this in mind, let’s break down this passage and view its parts:

Mark 4:35-36

Jesus had spent the entire day teaching by the use of parables. No doubt, He was completely exhausted, as any preacher can testify. The external narrative put in the context indicated in Mark 4:1 Jesus in the boat talking to the crowd on the lakeshore. Apparently without even getting out of the boat, they pushed away from shore and set out for the other side of the lake, leaving the multitudes behind clearly unpremeditated on Jesus’ part: “They took Him along with them, just as He was.” He made no preparation for this journey. Mark alone tells us that there were other disciples in other boats that accompanied Him.

Mark 4:37

The words describing the “fierce gale of wind” are the Greek words seismos megas from which we get the word seismic, which is used to describe the tumultuous upheaval of the plates of the earth causing earthquakes.

The Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Gennesaret, was nearly 700 feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea. It was surrounded by rugged terrain that slopped to the Sea creating something of a vacuum effect. It was only about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, so it was not a large body of water. But when the winds swooped down from the mountains and across the plains upon the Sea, it could churn with great agitation. The interesting thing about this particular storm of seismic proportions was that it scared even the experienced fishermen in the boat. This was no ordinary storm! See Matthew 8:24 and Luke 8:23.

In such a situation, the disciples, no doubt, were trying to bail water out of the ship with whatever implements they had available to them. They would also have been fighting to keep the boat afloat, attempting to keep it on as even a keel as possible. These were not ignorant men who knew nothing about the Sea of Galilee and of how to man and sail a vessel such as this. Four of them, at least, were fishermen. Peter, Andrew, James, and John had probably known the sea of Galilee and its storms from their youth. They were skilled fishermen who made their livelihood on the Lake and who knew, if anyone did, how to combat the forces of nature when such storms as this descended on them.

The waves were lashing at the ship, filling it faster than the men could bail it out. Even these seasoned sailors were terrified. Higher and higher the water rose within the ship as well as without. How incongruous it must have seemed to the disciples for Jesus to be resting peacefully while they were floundering helplessly.

Where did this storm come from? Was it just some indiscriminate force of nature? Was it the work of Satan? Or was it personal sin or sin of the land? These are the usual presumptuous questions that fill our minds; but I do not believe that it was sin as that would not stand in the presence of the Lord and learning from the life of Job, and 2 Chronicles 18:21, 1 Kings 22:22 and the declarations in Scroll 246 World Conditions, it is God who controls the weather (Job 37:6, 10-13; Psalm 147:16-18).

God uses the weather for correction or for blessing. The weather brings judgment on some people by ruining their crops, flooding their possessions, and drowning them. Other times the storm clouds water the soil and thus demonstrate His love but whatever the reason the Scriptures teach us that all weather– good and bad– is under the direct control of God. Whether it is a devastating hurricane that kills hundreds or a gentle spring rain, it is an act of God. The Bible teaches us that God controls all the forces of nature, both destructive and productive, on a continuous, moment-by-moment basis. That should answer our question: Where did this storm come from? It came from God; it was under His control and for His purpose and so it is for any or all storms in your life.

Mark 4:38

During this storm, Jesus is “asleep on the cushion.” This is the only reference in the Gospels to our Lord sleeping. Jesus had a busy day of ministry, and He was tired; this was the slumber of fatigue. Here we see the humanity of our Lord Jesus. This is a good picture of the theanthropic man. Theanthropic comes from theos, which means: “God,” and anthropos, which means: “man.” Jesus Christ is the God-Man. He is one person with two natures. God chose to become united to true humanity. The incarnation came about through the miracle of the virgin birth (Matthew 1:23). At the incarnation, God, was forever joined to true humanity. So the doctrine of the hypostatic union is the doctrine of the personal union of the two natures, the divine and the human, of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% man.

Now many of the disciples were experienced sailors, and they had tried everything their profession had taught them to bring the ship under control, but nothing had worked so they turned to Jesus. But notice what they said to Him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Matthew 8:25 recorded it slightly differently. They asked the Lord to save them, because they knew He could. They knew that Jesus Christ had power! They had seen Him heal the sick, deliver the demon possessed, and raise the dead. The real problem of the disciples is precisely that of all of us today; we never rebuke Jesus for His inability, but rather for His indifference. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” They never contemplated that the miraculous could happen or be called for!

What irked these men was not that Jesus was helpless in the face of the storm, but heedless of it. They were sinking, and He was sleeping! Didn’t He care that they were all about to drown? Didn’t He care? Let’s reconsider, the God who showed compassion to all, would He be indifferent to His closest associates? Have you ever felt like that? These incidents in Scripture are not merely to tell us what happened two thousand years ago; they are parables for us, designed to illustrate exactly what happens to us in the spiritual realm of our lives.

Who of us has not felt this way at times? Here we are in trouble, and God does not seem to care. There is no answer to our prayers. He seems indifferent. Nothing seems to happen when we go to Him troubled and distraught and panicky. We cry out, and there is no answer. This was the trouble with these disciples. Could we start seeing that there might be something He was trying to teach us, no matter how life threatening our situation might be? This is the big question I want you to answer for yourself.

The words, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” make me wonder if this is perhaps Peter asking the question (after all, he was the more bold and vocal). If this was Peter, perhaps he had this in mind when he later wrote, “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” Peter had learned from this incident that our Lord does care.

Mark 4:39

Now, the miracle lies not in the stilling of the storm, for even nature would do that eventually, but in the suddenness with which it happened. All of a sudden the wind, which had been roaring and beating about their ears, stopped, and there was absolute stillness. And the waves, which had been dashing over the bow, filling the boat, threatening them, mounting up higher on every side, were suddenly stilled, as though a giant hand pressed them down, and there was a great calm.

Today we can miss the significance of this, but the Jews of Jesus’ day understood from the Old Testament Scriptures that it is God who controls the sea (Psalms 89:9, Psalms 107:29, Isaiah 50:2) and even now. Hear me in saying believe for the miraculous, I am not looking at things following their natural cause. I am speaking to instant changes in situations!

Mark’s testimony was to show these Jews who Jesus is? That He is God! Jesus speaks and the storm is gone! Wouldn’t it be nice to have this power? To say to your problems, “Be still,” and they’re gone. It is not the intention of the kingdom of God to remove material difficulties, but to learn to trust and not blame nor judge God in them. This was the life lesson of Job.

If you had the power to remove all difficulties, would you need faith? No! But the writer of Hebrews tells us that faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). So then what is faith? Rather than repeat to you what we commonly know as from Hebrews 11:1, I want to illustrate it.  Consider a blind man with a guide dog, he ‘walks by faith’ in his dog. He believes that what the dog sees will be translated into a signal that tells him when it’s time to go, stop, turn right or left. And he picks up on those signals by holding the harness that connects him with the dog.  Why does he trust the dog?  Because it has something he doesn’t have – sight.  And it’s the same with each of us and God.  Today it might be unclear where God is taking you; and believe me in these days of Hebrews 12:27, Haggai 2:21, that’s why you and I need to trust Him.  That’s why the blind man must hold the harness and stay connected to the dog.  He may wonder, ‘Why am I stopping at this corner for so long?’  Because there’s traffic coming, and he’s being protected from unseen danger.

But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way,
    who can’t see where they’re going.
I’ll be a personal guide to them,
    directing them through unknown country.
I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take,
    make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.
These are the things I’ll be doing for them—
    sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.
Isaiah 42: 16 MSG

Isaiah 42:16 speaks. God has your tomorrow already planned out, even though you haven’t been there yet.  He works outside of time, so He’s not held back by the limitations we labour with.  In the example we are using, had He told them there’d be such a storm, would they have had the confidence to go?

Still illustrating what faith is, listen to the following:

  • F. B. Mayer said, “unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God.  But faith puts God between us and our circumstances.’  Who would not like to have the Creator of the Universe helping them;
  • John Bisagno says, ‘Faith is at the heart of life.  You go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce, he gives you a prescription you cannot read, you take it to a pharmacist you do not know, he gives you medication you do not understand and you take it.’  That is faith;
  • D.L. Moody said, ‘I prayed for faith and thought that someday it would come down and strike me like lightning, but faith did not seem to come.  Then one day I read the tenth chapter of Romans, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’  I closed my Bible and prayed for faith.  Then I opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.
  • S.G. Holland, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, said, ‘Faith draws the poison from every grief, takes the sting from every loss, and quenches the fire of every pain; and only faith can do it;’
  • Henry Nouwen says that our greatest challenge as disciples is, ‘to recognize and believe that unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions … but the way in which God moulds our hearts and prepares us.’  The deeper your faith in God, the greater its potential to carry you through the rough times; and
  • Rabbi Abraham Heschel said, ‘Faith like Job’s cannot be shaken, because it is the result of having been shaken.’

As I conclude, the takeaway is:

now is the time of believing and expecting the miraculous; this is the anti-dote for the turbulence of the times as God starts the process of shaking across the whole world and each of us as believers will feel and experience it, so that we can trust and call upon Him knowing He is compassionate, no wonder He spoke the parable of Luke 18:1-8 AMPC, the anti-dote for oppressive and self-centred rulers we have.


I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can see something of the future he has called you to share. I want you to realize that God has been made rich because we who are Christ’s have been given to him! I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in heaven (Ephesians 1:18-20 TLB).

Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash

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