The end of Mark Chapter 4 and the beginning of Mark Chapter 5 contain two of the most remarkable miracles in the ministry of Christ.
The miracle that we find in Chapter 4 is that of the calming of the sea. Jesus had instructed his disciples to get into a boat and to go across the Sea of Galilee to the other side. There are high uplands near the Sea of Galilee where the air is much cooler. The cool air will often rush down onto the warm water, causing a sudden and violent storm.
But to make matters worse, the other side they were heading toward was home from ancient times to a group of people who worship a demonic power that they regarded as the god of storms. And so it is that the storm in Mark Chapter 4, with the combined physical power of nature and demonic power of the spiritual world, was a massive gale that threatened to sink the ship and cause the loss of every life on- board.
The disciples, many of them professional fisherman who were used to storms, were utterly terrified. They cried out to Jesus, “Carest thou not that we perish?” Jesus woke up from sleep and with just a spoken word calmed the storm. At that point the disciples were even more frightened than before, for what Jesus had done was proof of his deity, it was proof that God was walking among men.
The miracle that we find in Chapter 5 is that of the delivery of the demoniac of Gadara. This hopeless, helpless, haunted soul had somehow managed to have thousands of demons possessing his body. Society had tried to tame him, and when that failed, had tried to chain him, and that failed as well. This poor man lived in a graveyard up in the mountains, and was constantly crying and cutting himself with stones.
But by the time Chapter 5 had come to an end, Jesus had delivered him from that demonic possession, the man was set free and was now a follower of Christ.
These two great miracles are normally preached upon separately. But there is a word between the two of them that irrevocably ties them together: Mark 5:2 says that, “When he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.” That word “immediately” is essential.
Mark 5:5-6 says, “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him.” From his perch up in the mountains, this man saw Jesus far off, and managed to meet him the moment that he stepped off the boat. In other words, he did not see Jesus on the land far off, he saw him on the water far off. What he saw happen out on the water convinced him that he needed to get to the shore as quickly as possible.
There is a reason that all of these details are so important. When the disciples were out on the water in the storm, fearful for their lives, things were so bad that they were convinced that Jesus didn’t even care about them. What they did not know was that there was a desperate man in the mountains watching them face their storm. And what he saw Jesus do for them convinced him that he needed Jesus as well. Had they not faced their storm, that man may well have never come to know the Jesus Christ.
You who know the Lord are often going to go through storms while you are in the perfect will of God, doing right and serving others. You will be tempted to wonder if the Lord even cares. What you need to remember above all else is that the storm you are facing may not even be for you. It may be that God is allowing you to endure the rough seas and high winds so that someone else can see him working on your behalf.
I would have loved to have been on the streets of Glory some years later as a smiling individual approached Peter, James, and John, and said “Hey, fellas, I just wanted to tell you thank you. Your storm wasn’t for you, it was for me.”
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C. and the author of several books, which are available at www.wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.