What Manner of Man is This (Mark 4:36-41)

What Manner of Man is This? (Mark 4:35-41)


Mark 4:35-41

Last week we completed Mark’s account of Jesus’ parabolic teachings on the kingdom of God. This morning we come to a truly amazing portion demonstrating the awesomeness of Christ. As we gear up to look at this account remember the purpose of the written gospels are so:

4…that you might know the exact truth…”[1]

31…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”[2]

Let us not forget the very clear intention of Mark is to present the good news of the Son of God, Christ.[3]

The text before us today emphasizes one very clear truth about the Person of Jesus Christ. To rest in this truth will provide believers with the hope of eternal life and security in Christ alone. To reject this truth will ensure eternal destruction.

The text forces the question:

What manner of Man is this?

The recorded event here implies a simply profound answer: The God Man! He is more than a carpenter; He is God in flesh! Though we do not see it literally spelled out on the page, the text unashamedly declares Jesus is God.

Let’s first briefly take into consideration several Old Testament portions of Scripture the disciples would have been well aware of:

Psalm 65:5-7

5 By awesome deeds Thou dost answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, Thou who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; 6 Who dost establish the mountains by His strength, being girded with might; 7 Who dost still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the people.”

Psalm 89:6-9

8 O LORD God of hosts, who is like Thee, O mighty LORD? Thy faithfulness also surrounds Thee. 9 Thou dost rule the swelling of the sea; when its waves rise, Thou dost still them.

Psalm 107:23-29

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; 24 they have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. 25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in misery. 27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits end. 28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. 29 He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.”

There are also four other clear portions demonstrating God’s omnipotence over nature; in particular water:

1.) He controlled water to flood the entire earth.[4]

2.) He manipulated the Red Sea to save Israel.[5]

3.) He parted the Jordan River in order to give the Promised Land to Israel.[6]

4.) He both brought about, and silenced, a storm at sea when a boat housed a sleeping Jonah.[7]

Old Testament 101 clearly shows that God alone is sovereign over nature. By the way, Scripture says He will not give His glory to another.[8]

With this in mind let’s go to the beginning of the text and work our way back to this point.

The text starts:

Mark 4:35-36

35 And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ 36 And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was, in the boat; and other boats were with Him.”

We see right away this is taking place immediately following Jesus’ kingdom parables as it says:

35 And on that day…”

You may recall Jesus got into the boat in order to teach the vast multitude on the land.[9] It is now getting late and He declares they are going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Luke records that after the disciples set out Jesus falls asleep.[10]

Take a moment now to consider:

What does Jesus’ sleeping emphasize? His humanity.

He is exhausted from ministering, so He sleeps. Something serious occurs after they set out:

Mark 4:37-38

37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’”

Understand these men are not exaggerating. There are seasoned fishermen upon this boat, and they realize they are hopeless among the waves. They are most likely in a small fishing boat that is:

37…already filling up.”

The only thing that can save these men is intervention from the Divine. There is nothing they can do to save themselves.

Luke even records they were “in danger”.[11]

What do they do? They actually rebuke Christ.

They awake the Christ and accuse Him of not caring about them. Jesus awakes with several rebukes. The first is a demonstration of His power:

Mark 4:39

39 And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”

What did creation do when Christ spoke? It obeyed Him!

How was Jesus able to do this? He is God!

We will come back to this.

The second rebuke addresses a failure of the disciple’s faithfulness to Jesus’ word:

Mark 4:40

40 And He said to them, ‘Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?’”

What did Jesus say before they set out? “Let us go over to the other side.”

Jesus had already indicated they were going to get to the other side of the sea. In fact He was so confident about that He slept! Rather than acknowledging His word, and seeing His confidence, they accuse Him of being apathetic. Jesus, however, does care that they are perishing and immediately saves them.

Notice what takes place:

Mark 4:41

41 And they became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’”

Realize the disciples fear never goes away. In fact, it intensifies once the storm is calmed.

Why? Only God can do that!

The presence and power of Christ terrifies them, for His divine omnipotence is displayed. It is interesting to note that Jesus does not correct them for fearing Him. One of the fishermen in the boat will later write:

18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (Jesus Christ), Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

With intensified fear they ask:

Who then is this? This is the God Man! This is the Eternal Son Who emptied Himself by becoming a Man:

Philippians 2:6-7

6…although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men.”

Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity. He never ceased to be God! In humility He added humanity to Himself. The Infinite One takes on the finite. The Eternal One clothes Himself in the temporal. There are certainly times in the gospel accounts when Jesus chooses not to exploit His divinity, but He never laid it aside.

John shows this addition in his gospel account where you will see Christ never ceases to be God:

John 1:1,14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

He is fully God and fully Man! Jesus has just demonstrated that to us here.

It is critical we understand this text is not about Jesus helping us through various storms of life. Quite frankly you do not want this text to be about your personal “storms” through life. As has been shown this text is an unquestionable demonstration of the deity of Christ. There is, however, another aspect of this text; and that is the event perfectly parallels salvation.

In this portion we see:

1.) The depravity of mankind.

2.) The ineffectiveness of good works.

3.) The exclusivity of Christ in salvation.

Let’s see the demonstration of man’s depravity:

1.) Just as these men are destined to perish at sea, so is all of humanity destined to perish under God’s wrath, because of our sin.

Remember, since mankind is all born of Adam, we are both sinners by nature and by choice.[12] This means the only good and just thing we ever deserve is eternal death and God’s just wrath.

Jesus Himself says:

John 3:16-18

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John the Baptist says:

John 3:36

36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

It is because of sin all of humanity is condemned already and deserving of God’s wrath.

There is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

This brings us to the second area revealing the ineffectiveness of good works.

2.) Just as these men are incapable of saving themselves from perishing at sea, so is humanity incapable of saving themselves from perishing under God’s wrath.

The only payment for sin is death and wrath. There is no amount of good works capable of saving a person from that penalty. God is just, and He cannot be bought. Works will never appease His wrath towards us. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

As has been taught before, God must always enact justice, but He never has to extend mercy or grace. This always leads to the paradox:

How can a Holy God, Who is good and just, save humanity from sin’s penalty and power without perverting His very nature that demands justice? In love He provides a Substitute.

1.) This Substitute was born of a virgin, meaning He is not from Adam, which makes Him sinless.

2.) This Substitute lived a life of perfect obedience to God without ever sinning against Him.

3.) This Substitute was betrayed and nailed to a cross by the predetermined plan of God.

4.) This Substitute was laden with humanities sins upon that cross, though He knew no sin.

5.) This Substitute received the penalty mankind deserves when their sins were placed upon Him.

6.) This Substitute died in the place of the guilty, and poured out His blood to appease sin’s penalty.

The Innocent Substitute is the God Man, Christ!

This brings up the third aspect:

3.) Just as God was the only One able to save these men from perishing at sea, only God is able to save humanity from the penalty and power of sin.

In order for God to save man He had to be One. Jesus emptied Himself by becoming a Man obedient to death on the cross. God bore the penalty for sin we deserve! God the Father gave His only Son, and God the Son willing laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin. It is because of this act God is therefore “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”[13]

Jesus calmed the storm at sea with His words, but He calmed the penalty of sin with His blood.

I would like to close with a portion from Romans that sums up beautifully what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

If you are among us today and not trusting Christ as your Savior know this:

1.) Just as these men were destined to perish at sea apart from Christ, you are already perishing under the wrath of God.

2.) Just as these men were incapable of saving themselves, so are you.

Realize it is not too late to trust in Christ! He died for helpless, ungodly sinners. Repent and believe the gospel. He will hear you because He lives, and He will save you because He is willing.

Romans 5:6-10

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”


[1] Luke 1:4

[2] John 20:31

[3] Mark 1:1

[4] Genesis 6-9

[5] Exodus 14:13-31

[6] Joshua 3

[7] Jonah 1

[8] Isaiah 42:8

[9] Mark 4:1

[10] Luke 8:23

[11] Luke 8:23b

[12] Romans 5:12-18

[13] Romans 3:26

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