Going Over to the Other Side
“Where is Your Faith?”
I. Scripture Reading
Mark 4:35-36 (TNIV) – "That day when evening came, He said to His disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him." Then Read Following Scripture: Mark 4:37-41.
II. A Reflection on Dr Martin Luther King Jr
- A. In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Monday, January 18, 2016
One of His Quotes: “We May All Have Come in Different Ships, but We’re in the Same Boat Now.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a well-known Christian minister, a civil rights leader and activist who had a great deal of influence on American society in the 1950s and 1960s. He had a strong belief in non-violent protest, which helped set the tone for peaceful movement going forward. Boycotts, protests, and marches were eventually effective, and much legislation was passed against racial discrimination. Assassinated in 1968, King’s brief life was filled with many great accomplishments, in which he worked to promote the equal treatment of all races; his non-violent approach to protesting, his legions of followers, and his true belief in the ability of mankind to live in peace went a long way toward advancement of civil rights during a troubled time in our history.
(Slide) “I’ve Been on the Mountaintop” Speech Excerpts (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Mason Temple, Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968) … started with these words:
(Slide) “I'm delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning.”
“As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, ‘Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?’ — I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn't stop there.”
[He then continues on to say that he would have liked to visit the Greek and Roman empires during their time. Then he would live on in to the Renaissance and the time of Martin Luther (after whom he was named).] His speech continues…
“But I wouldn't stop there. Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy." Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And … the cry is always the same — "We want to be free."
(Slide) The next day– April 4, 1968 – after giving this speech, Dr King was assassinated. His lifetime dream as He expressed in his “I Have a Dream” speech was cut brutally short:
“When this (the Freedom that he was fighting peacefully for) happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
- B. Compare “I’ve Been on the Mountaintop” Speech to the Death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:1-5,7,10-11 NIV)
“1 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord [Yahweh] showed him the whole (promised) land (the land flowing with milk and honey) — from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the Lord [Yahweh] said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it. ’ 5 And Moses the servant of the Lord [Yahweh] died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. ” 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord [Yahweh] knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord [Yahweh] sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.”
Dr King, like Moses, would not realize his dream in his lifetime on earth … but he will realize it in the Promise Land aross the sea, on the other side.
III. Going Over to the Other Side
- A. Story from Scripture
Mark 4:35-41 NIV – 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”
- B. Take Away Points from The Boat Ride to “the Other Side”
- 1. Our Jesus (our Yeshua) said “Let us go over to the other side.” It was His will that His disciples, and ALL that were with Him in the other boats would make it over to the other side along with Himself.” He did not say “Let us go over to the other side just as along as a furious squall doesn’t come up” or “Let us go over to the other side and I will be with you, but only remain with you if your faith remains strong throughout the entire trip.” When we read Yeshua’s word, when He talks to you in your life, you can know absolutely that He does NOT lie, and that He is 100% faithful in doing what He says. In Numbers 23:19 (NIV) we are assured that “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act?”
- 2. “Leaving the crowd behind, they (Jesus’s Disciples) took Him (Yeshua) along (with them), just as He was, in the boat.” Jesus had just finished giving a sermon from a boat to a large crowd on shore, and was in search of some rest. In our lives, we need to take Him – our Jesus, our Yeshua, our Savior – along with us on our boat ride to the other side of our life’s journey. We must take Him with us each and every day as we pick up our own cross and yoke ourselves together with Him on our life’s journey. We DO this DESPITE how He appears to be with us in our relationship with Him. Many times it will appear to us as if He is asleep in our lives when our storms come; it will appear that He is asleep when we are facing trials and temptations in our lives, when we are facing sickness, when we have financial worries, when we are grieving over the loss or experiencing the pain of our loved ones, when we suffer betrayal by friends and family, when we are weary with our life’s journey. We often pray and we pray often, but many times it appears that our Savior is asleep and He doesn’t hear our pleas for help. During these times, we are screaming out as His disciples did, “Teacher! Master! Don’t you care if we drown?” During these times when we are terrified, we can rest assured that IF we take Him along with us each day of our lives, we can know for a certainty that the One who commands the winds and the waves in our lives is with us, he has already promised and intended that we are going to make it to our final destination.
- 3. Keep Our Faith! If we are like His disciples and can’t bear our fear any longer, and we shouted out the same question “Don’t you care if we drown?”, then our Savior is going to respond to us in the same way that He responded to them: “Why are you so afraid?” (Mark 4:40 NIV); “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25 NIV). We can count on the promises He has given to us. As the bible says, we can know for a certainty “28 … that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30 NIV) It is often the trials and temptations that we face in our lives that transform us into His image.
- C. Taking Faith and Courage from the Examples of Great Christian Men
- 1. Moses’s Example
We can follow Moses’s example: “1 Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: 2 “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ 3 The Lord your God Himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. 4 And the Lord will do to them what he did to … the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. 5 The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you.6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:1-6 NIV)
Again, Moses knew in advance that he would not make it into the Promised Land, yet with faith and courage “7 [he] summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8 NIV)
- 2. Dr King’s Example
The day before his assassination, Dr King had a good idea that there were people who wanted him dead. We can find some of Faith and Courage of our own in some of his last words of Faith and Courage. In following Dr King’s example, we can say…
“Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Following Dr Luther King’s, we can say
- 3. Joseph’s Example (a story that was covered the last 2 Sabbaths)
(Slide) Joseph came from a Dysfunctional Family, spoiled by His Father Jacob, a product of the sin of his father who cheated his older brother Esau out of his birthright … who deceived his blind dad Isaac’s into blessing him instead of his brother. Joseph was “hated”, “betrayed” and “sold into slavery” by his family, his brothers. YET, the bible says during that time (Genesis 39:2 NIV)
(Slide) Joseph was “falsely accused” by his master’s wife and “put into a foreign prison.” Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison. Yet the bible says during that time that “the Lord [Yahweh] was with him …” And, “… while Joseph was there in the prison, “The Lord [Yahweh] was with Joseph …” (Genesis 39:21 NIV) and that “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord [Yahweh] was with Joseph ...” (Genesis 39: 23 NIV)
(Slide) Joseph was “forgotten.” For 2 years, Joseph waited for the Cupbearer to keep his promise to tell his story. Yet while he waited for those 2 years, “the Lord [Yahweh] was with him.”
Joseph is 30 years old before being made “Ruler of Egypt.” So for 13 years Joseph endured his life as Potipher’s Slave and a Prisoner in a Foreign Jail. Although his life condition would greatly improve, he still remained a “slave” until his death at 120 years old. Even in death, he would be entombed in Egypt. Yet when he entered the service of Pharaoh, the Bible tells us that “YAHUAH [God] was with him and … gave Joseph success in everything he did,” although in human terms it probably didn’t seem like that was so.
We can take courage in the faith of Joseph’s and how he looked at his own slavery and life’s difficulty when he said to his brothers who had betrayed him, “19 … ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:19-21 NIV)
IV. Musical Meditation – “Somewhere in Heaven”
V. Benediction (Excerpts from Psalm 18)
I love you, Lord, my strength. You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; you the Rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to you, my Lord, you are worthy of my praise. In my distress I called to you my Lord; I cried to you for help. From Your temple You heard my voice; my cry came before you. You reached down from on high and took hold of me; you drew me out of deep waters. You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; you turn my darkness into light. For who is God beside You? And who is my Rock except You my God? It is you who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. You make your saving help my shield, and Your right hand sustains me. Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. Amen.