We continue our Breakthrough series with a voyage to “the other side” of our experience with Jesus.
Rewind to Mark 4:35-41. Jesus’ request to go to “the other side” was more than a reference to location. Following Jesus is never to be a static experience. It is a dynamic relationship that is constantly changing. That’s why you see Jesus constantly on the move. He bucks the tendency to settle into a rut.
The truth is, we can’t breakthrough spiritually with God if we are content to stay on one side of our experience with Him —the side we’re comfortable with. There’s another “side” of our relationship that Jesus wants us to experience.
At this moment, the disciples know the healer side and the teacher side of Jesus; And that’s pretty impressive. You could be content with that. But there’s another side yet to be discovered and you can’t get from here to there without going to the “other side.”
“Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.” [Vs. 36] To breakthrough to a better understanding of who God is, you often have to leave the crowd behind. Crowds are distracting. There are times you have to set aside worldly wisdom, popular theories and methods, and things that others are doing, and get alone with Jesus as He is.
The disciples took Jesus “just as he was,”—as they knew and understood Him. Their understanding was limited but the important thing is they took Him. You may not know everything there is to know about Jesus, but the important thing is that you know enough to take Him into your life. However limited your understanding, take Him just as He is because He takes you just as you are.
Sometimes when we make the attempt to focus on just Jesus and leave the crowd behind, a storm comes up. But the important part to focus on is not the storm on the lake, but on Jesus in the boat. Breakthrough depends on who you have with you in your “boat.” If you’ve taken Jesus just as He is according to your faith and understanding, you can’t go down with the ship. (See Isa. 43:2.)
But the disciples forgot who was in their boat, and they panicked. Suddenly, they remember Jesus is with them. The disciples, only knowing Him as a teacher and healer, wake Him and address him the only way they know… “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (vs. 38) This was a new situation they had not been in before. Their faith couldn’t go any farther than a past experience. Here’s the point, don’t limit God! You can’t come up with a circumstance that is too big for Him to handle. The deliverance of yesterday is given to increase our faith for the deliverance of today and tomorrow.
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (vs. 39, 40) Remember it’s not the storm that matters, it’s who’s in your boat that matters. In addition to Jesus, the disciples had a crowd of other “companions” with them—their own efforts, their fears, limited experience, anxiety, doubt, and weak faith were all aboard with them that night. No wonder they were sinking! And if that was all they had, they would have perished. But despite all that other company, they had Jesus on board. They had taken Him just as He was, and that made all the difference. “To voyage with Jesus was to voyage in peace even in a storm.”—Barclay
Mark says that after Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples were “terrified.” They were more in awe of Jesus than they were afraid of the storm. To breakthrough to the other side in your relationship with Jesus, be more in awe of Him than the storms in your life. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!” (vs. 41) The new revelation was beginning.
But even when we get a new picture of who God is, there’s always more. Rewind to John 13:3-5. The God, before whom demons, disease, and storms bowed, bowed before his disciples to serve them. Jesus summed up a theology of leadership in a simple phrase: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
This is the other side of God that no one expected. A God who creates, Yes. A God who opens the Red Sea or causes water to flow from a rock? Yes. A God who heals the sick, raises the dead, casts out demons and calms the sea, Ok. But a God who serves sinners? Who is this?
The cross is the ultimate picture of God’s leadership expressed in absolute other-centeredness and selflessness. It was always servant leadership. He served others by laying down His life. He couldn’t serve Himself and others. If others were to be saved, Jesus must serve them to the death–even death on a cross.
And yet, leadership implies followers. So how does the cross work then? We see the service part, but what of the leadership part? How does a dying man lead? Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). The mind-blowing love of God, revealed in the humility and servant-leadership of Jesus on the cross, would draw followers as vast as the stars in the sky to Himself.
Who is this? This is our God. This is our leader. And we’ve been called to follow Him—to the other side in humility. In service. In love. Won’t you follow Him to the “other side” today?
Pastor Randy Maxwell