Starting in Mark 4:35 and going through the end of Chapter 5, Mark relates four stories. Though brief, they paint an amazing picture of incredible things that Jesus is doing. In the first story, Mark shares the question that his disciples were asking:
“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41
By the end of Chapter 5, that question is even more relevant. Below is the quick tour; see what you’re asking by the end.
Jesus Calms the Storm
Jesus and his disciples are crossing the lake in a boat, and a “furious squall” comes up. Waves are coming over the side of the boat, and the disciples fear for their lives. Jesus, though, is asleep. The disciples have to wake him, looking for help. He rebukes the waves: “Quiet! Be still!”. The wind dies, the see grow calm, and he asks the disciples why they were afraid and have no faith. They were afraid of the sea; now they’re terrified in his presence, asking the question above: “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Casting Out Legion
If the storm was bad enough, when they get across the lake and climb out of the boat, a demon-possessed man comes out to meet them. He lives in tombs, runs around crying out and cutting himself, and is insanely strong – the people have tried to chain him up before and he just breaks the chains. When he sees Jesus, he runs up, and drops to his knees, and shouts at him. The demons know who Jesus is and beg him not to send them away. They must obey him, though, so they beg him to send them into two thousand pigs (!) instead. He does so, and the pigs drown. The man returns to his right mind, the people of the area are afraid, and they ask him to leave.
Healing a Woman with Bleeding
As Jesus walks through a crowd, a woman touches his clothes. That would seem to be no big deal, but this woman is ceremonially unclean – really, really unclean, and she’s touching a rabbi and in the process making him unclean. She’s been bleeding for 12 years, and has spent everything she has trying to get someone to heal her. She’s desperate, and has faith that Jesus can make her well – that just the touch of his clothes could make her well. Jesus can tell that his power has gone out through his clothes, and looks to find who touched him. He finds her, trembling with fear for what he might do. When he does, Jesus doesn’t chastise her - instead, calling her “daughter”, he tells her that her faith has healed her, she’s free of her suffering, and sends her off in peace.
Jairus’ Daughter Raised From the Dead
Jairus is an important man – a synagogue ruler. As this story begins, however, he falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him for help. His daughter is dying, he wants Jesus to heal her; he believes that Jesus can. She dies, though, before Jesus can get there. Jesus tells him not to be afraid, but to just believe. When they arrive, Jesus calls her name and with a word raises her from the dead.
All four involve fear. The disciples fear the storm, and then they’re terrified of what he’s able to do. Evil spirits are afraid of what Jesus will do to them, and the people who see what he does are afraid enough to ask Jesus to leave. The woman healed by Jesus is afraid of Jesus’ reaction to her unclean touch. Jairus is afraid about the loss of his daughter.
All four involve belief and/or faith. The disciples lacked faith as they faced the storm, and Jesus chastised them for it – yet he took care of them. The woman had enough faith to trust that just touching his cloak would heal, and Jesus told her that it was her faith that healed her. Jesus had to encourage Jairus to keep his faith in the face of death. The people at Jairus home had none, as they laughed at Jesus’ suggestion that the girl was “sleeping”. Even with the demons there is an element of belief – though belief is different that putting faith in Jesus, they did believe in who he was.
All four involve great power. Power over the natural world, as Jesus calms the storm. Power over the spiritual world, as he commands the demons and they obey. Power over illness, as he heals the woman. Even power over death, as he restores life to Jairus’ daughter.
In the face of Jesus’ power, the disciples ask a question. Mark repeats it for us to consider. Everyone who encounters Jesus’ power must answer it. Who is this man, who can command the storms, command the demons, remove sickness, and defeat even death? In fear, will I run from him, will I fear what he will do with me? Or will I come in faith to the one who has the power to give me what I really need – peace, spiritual healing, physical healing, and life?