Family Bible Study lesson for March 18: Knowing Jesus Cares
March 2 2001 by William (Mac) McElrath , Mark 4:35-39; 5:6-9, 15-20

Family Bible Study lesson for March 18: Knowing Jesus Cares | Friday, March 2, 2001

Friday, March 2, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for March 18: Knowing Jesus Cares

By William (Mac) McElrath Mark 4:35-39; 5:6-9, 15-20 Here's something Betty and I (like many others who minister in a Muslim setting) have observed when people from an Islamic background first come to a personal acquaintance with Jesus Christ: Formerly they knew God only as an all-powerful deity far away. But in Jesus they joyfully come to know God as the One who is with them in the midst of everything they are facing, the One who really cares what happens to them.

Meet several people who made that great discovery for themselves. Their stories are told in Mark's Gospel, chapters 4 and 5.

A storm stilled (Mark 4:35-39) One group of those discoverers consisted of Jesus' twelve special disciples. Notice the specific details in these verses: We're told when and how the storm came up, how it affected the disciples' small boat, and where Jesus was resting on board after an exhausting day of teaching beside Lake Galilee.

Waking Jesus up, the disciples cried out the same question that many of His followers have cried out to Him through these two thousand years of Christian history: "Master, don't you care?"

Of course Jesus cared for the physical welfare of His disciples. Immediately He got up and quieted the storm.

A need identified (Mark 5:6-9) After Jesus and His disciples had crossed the lake, they met a man in the throes of demon possession. Some of his symptoms (see Mark 5:2-5) may have resembled those that might be diagnosed today as severe mental illness, yet there was more to it than that. Note that according to verse 7, the demoniac knew who Jesus was. (If you have any doubts about the reality of demon possession, let me suggest that you go on a mission trip to Asia sometime.)

People of many cultures believe that in order to control a spirit, you must know that spirit's true name. Notice that Jesus asked the demented man's name (v. 9). In replying "Legion," the poor fellow seemed to be saying that the demons tormenting him were as numerous as the thousands of soldiers in a Roman regiment.

Notice also (vv. 7-8) that the situation almost seems reversed from that of the disciples in the storm-tossed boat: In this case, the needy person really didn't want Jesus to care about him.

But Jesus cared about him anyway. He still cares today about our spiritual, mental, social, and physical needs.

A miracle observed (Mark 5:15-17) What was the reaction of those who observed Jesus' healing miracle? Were they happy? Relieved? Grateful?

No, they were afraid. They were more concerned about the tumultuous aftermath of the healing, when Jesus allowed the evil spirits to stampede a herd of pigs down a steep cliff into the lake (Mark 5:13). They were afraid that if Jesus stayed around, the local economy might suffer even greater reverses.

Which do we care more about today - needy people or the bottom line?

A miracle proclaimed (Mark 5:18-20) The healed demoniac then begged to board the boat along with Jesus and the disciples. Why did Jesus say no?

On the negative side, perhaps Jesus felt that the newly cured man was hardly stable enough yet for "appointment as a foreign missionary." On the positive side, Jesus' loving care extended to the man's family, to his neighbors and his friends. The hostile response of local people who had observed the miracle kept Jesus from ministering further to them in person. But the man who lived in that area could stay right there and tell everyone how the Lord "had mercy on him" (v. 19).

The man obeyed Jesus' command. Mark 5:20 says that he proclaimed "how much Jesus had done for him" not only in his own home community but also "in the Decapolis," or the 10 Greek towns nearby. Mark 7:31 tells us that Jesus Himself later toured the Decapolis. Who knows what preparation for His coming the healed demoniac may have accomplished?

Does Jesus care?

It seems a long time since I've heard an old gospel song that begins with those three words. We sang it often at church during my childhood.

Maybe we need to revive that song - especially its refrain that begins, "Oh yes, He cares! I know He cares!"

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3/2/2001 12:00:00 AM by William (Mac) McElrath , Mark 4:35-39; 5:6-9, 15-20 | with 0 comments
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