Bible Study Lessons

Fear or Faith

Introduction

A construction worker was several stories up when he lost his balance and fell into the night. Frantically reaching for something to hold him, his fingers grasped a ledge. As he held on, he realized his cries for help were completely muffled by the tools being used all around him. His only hope was that some light would shine on him and reveal his plight to the others. His hopes faded as his arms grew numb. Finally his fingers refused to hold any longer. With a cry of terror he fell – nearly three inches onto a scaffold. All his fears and his efforts, couldn't have saved him if it wasn't for the platform which had been there the whole time. In Mark 4:35-41 we read about a storm on the sea of Galilee. As you study the passage, you’ll see how much it tells us about the Lord Jesus and how to find peace and respond to life with faith instead of fear.

Observation

Pray

Ask the Lord to explain His Word to you as you study it so that you can understand, believe, and live it.

Read Focus Verses

Read Mark 4:35-41 and notice how it builds to the final statement.

Keyword - Jesus Christ

Start out by marking the names of and references to Jesus Christ so you can easily see Him as the main character in these verses.

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Mark all of the names of and references to Jesus in Mark 4:35-41.

Context 1

Today's passage opens by telling us we're still talking about the same day we've been reading about earlier in the chapter. The first verses, Mark 4:1-2, tell us where Jesus has been and what He's been doing.

Where?

Where has Jesus been all day?

What?

What has Jesus been doing?

Context 2

Look at the verses right before today's passage, Mark 4:26-34, for a sample of the teaching Jesus did that day by the seaside where the crowds were so big He had to teach from a boat.

Type of Teaching

What kind of teaching tool was Jesus using all day according to verses 33-34?

Time of Day

What time of day is it now when we get to today's passage?

Moving On

What does Jesus tell His disciples He wants them all to do in verse 35?

The Crowd

What did they have to do in the first part of verse 36 before they could leave?

Little Boats

What does verse 36 say about the boats?

The Storm

How does verse 37 describe the storm?

Fisherman's Response

Some of these disciples were seasoned fishermen. What does their response tell us about what kind of storm this was?

Asleep

Where was Jesus and what was He doing as the storm was raging?

Accusation

What do the disciples say in verse 38?

Jesus' Response

How does Jesus respond in verse 39?

The Wind's Response

How does the wind respond to Jesus' command?

The Rebuke

What does Jesus say to the disciples in verse 40?

Disciples' Response

How did the disciples respond to seeing Jesus stop the storm according to the first part of verse 41?

Who Is This?

What do the disciples say in verse 41?

Interpretation

Galilee

You can see the sea of Galilee where this story takes place in this image.

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Parallel

Read the parallel account of this story in Luke 8:22-25 and notice how vividly it adds to the description of how serious the storm was.

Man

This account of Jesus sleeping through a storm on a pillow gives us a reminder of what Philippians 2:5-11 says about the co-equal Son of God becoming man.

Not an Angel

The truth of Hebrews 2:14-18 is also illustrated by today's story.

Just Like Us

It makes the promise in Hebrews 4:14-16 seem even more real.

Humanity

How does today's account help us better understand how real Jesus' humanity was?

Sleeping in Faith

Psalm 4:8 tells us something interesting about sleep that we see in Jesus' nap in today's passage.

God Never Sleeps

In Psalm 121:2-4 we see how God's people can sleep in safety.

A Gift

Psalm 127:2 tells us more.

From God

Who gives sleep to God's people?

Safety

Who keeps God's people safe whether they are awake or asleep?

No Sleep

Who never sleeps?

Faith

How is Jesus a good example of accepting God's gift of safety and sleep in today's story? (Hint: Remember, He wasn't sailing on a beautiful day.)

I Can't Sleep

How could you use these verses next time you feel too worried or fearful to sleep?

Contrast

How does Jesus sleeping, which shows His humanity, highlight the wonder of what He did after He woke up?

Making the Storm a Calm

Psalm 107:21-31 tells us who can calm storms like Jesus did.

Ruling the Raging Sea

Psalm 89:8-9 gives the same answer.

Who?

Who can calm the raging storm at sea?

Identity Check

What does the miracle in today's passage tell us about Jesus Christ's identity based on these verses?

Creator

Job 38:1-11 magnificently reminds us why God can control the oceans and seas.

All Things

John 1:1-3 reveals the identity of the Creator.

By Him

We see this again in Colossians 1:16-17.

Authority

Why does Jesus have authority over the oceans and seas?

What Else?

If Jesus has authority over the oceans and seas because He created them, what else does He have authority over according to the verses you just looked at? Is there anything that isn't under His authority?

Two Natures

From what you've seen about Jesus in the Bible, which two natures did He have? He was man and what?

God and Man

This verse of the Christmas hymn "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" written by Charles Wesley rejoices in the wonderful truth that the Son of God became a man and lives forever as God and man for us: Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of the Virgin's womb: Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th'incarnate Deity, Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.

Only People Die

Take a minute to think about why Jesus had to be both God and man. The Bible says that all of us have sinned and that sin earns a debt of death. Why did a person have to die in our place (instead of an angel, for instance)?

Only God Is Infinite

Think about who we owe that debt to. Can a finite person pay an infinite debt to an infinite God? Why was God the only one who could pay this debt in our place?

God and Man

So, why did Jesus have to be both God and man to die in our place so that He could save us and make us right with God?

Fear vs. Faith

What does Jesus contrast with fear in verse 40 of today's passage?

Faith Defined and Explained

Hebrews 11:1-3 defines and explains faith for us.

Definition

How does Hebrews 11:1 define faith?

A Good Report

What does Hebrews 11:2 explain was the result of faith in the life of these Old Testament believers who are highlighted in the chapter?

Believing in Creation

What is an example of faith in Hebrews 11:3?

Without Faith

Hebrews 11:6 tells us how important faith is.

Please God

What can you not do without faith?

Dead

James 2:17 reveals that true faith is more than words.

Works

What accompanies true faith?

Source

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us the source of true faith.

The Holy Spirit

Who is the source of true faith?

More Faith

In Romans 10:17 we see how to get more faith.

How to Get More

How can you get more faith?

Already

What are some things you've already seen in God's Word today that will increase your faith if you remember them and live in light of them? (Hint: Some of the truths about Jesus that you've read are a good place to start.)

God Is My Refuge

Psalm 46:1-3 tells us truths about God that should keep His people from fear.

God Is My Helper

We find another in Hebrews 13:5-6.

I Won't Fear

What two truths about God do these verses tell us should keep Christians from fear?

Two Kinds of Fear

What two kinds of fear are specifically addressed in these verses?

I'm with You

Perhaps we might be tempted to think fear is more understandable when Jesus isn't physically in the boat with us, but what does Jesus promise His people in Hebrews 13:5?

An Example

We find another example of faith and fear in Matthew 14:22-33.

Faith or Fear

What do we learn about how faith can keep us from fear in this story? When did Peter become fearful? How could faith have prevented that?

Obedience

In Daniel 3, we read the story of three men who would not bow down and worship an idol despite the king's threat that he would cast any non-worshipers into a fiery furnace. When Nebuchadnezzar offers the three men a second opportunity to bow down, we read their faith-filled response in Daniel 3:16-18.

Real Faith

Some people believe that strong faith means demanding that God do what we want. They would have said that these three men didn't have faith because they didn't have confidence that God would spare their lives. How would you use what you've seen about faith to show that their obedience to God even when they didn't know the outcome shows that they had genuine faith?

Don't Worry, Pray

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us how to find peace.

Peace

What instructions does God give in Philippians 4:6-7 which He promises will lead to peace?

His Teaching

Today's passage isn't the first time we've seen people amazed at Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, and it won't be the last. Notice people's reaction to Him in Mark 1:22.

Casting Out Demons

Mark 1:27 records another time the crowds were amazed by what Jesus did.

Forgiveness

We see Jesus had authority over something else that amazed people in Mark 2:1-12.

Amazed

Mark 6:46-51 tells of another of these occasions.

Healing

In Mark 7:37 we see more of what Jesus' works showed about Him that amazed the people around Him.

Wisdom

Find out what amazed them in Mark 12:13-17.

Silent When Falsely Accused

Mark 15:3-5 shows Pilate, the Roman Governor, marveling at Jesus.

Amazing

What amazing things about Jesus do these verses reveal? (Hint: Look for what each of these passages reveals Jesus has authority over.)

Faith

How should these truths about Jesus strengthen your faith?

Answer

How would you answer the disciples' question about what kind of person Jesus is that even the wind and sea obey Him based on what you've seen in God's Word today?

Once More

Read Mark 4:35-41 once more in light of what you've seen in Scripture.

In Your Words

Retell the story in your own words making sure to explain how it should impact our lives.

Application

Jesus Christ

How should one or more of the truths about the Lord Jesus that you've studied impact your life today? Remember that true belief/faith leads to action.

Faith

What is a situation in your life right now that seems out of control - like it might sink you? Instead of responding with fear, how can you respond in faith? What truths about God can help anchor you? What steps of obedience is God calling you to take even if you can't see the outcome? What are you tending to worry about that you need to take to God in prayer?

Peace

How can a lack of peace about something help to serve as a reminder of what you've learned today? How will you respond when you realize you are anxious instead of peaceful about something?

Commitment

Are you willing to let God have full control in your life? He doesn't promise to do things your way, but He does promise to do things the right and best way. Will you find the peace of trusting yourself and your future entirely to Him?

Wrapup

Closing

We hope this study plan has helped you understand more about the Lord Jesus and has challenged you to respond to situations in faith because of who He is instead of in fear.

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