Did you know that rest is a weapon?
In our last blog we discussed Jesus’ commission to the disciples in Mark 4:35. It begins this way: “On that day, when evening came, He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him” (Mark 4:35-36). We have the luxury of knowing what was on the other side of the lake; one demon-possessed man who was transformed by Jesus. This man became the central vocal piece for the mercies of the Lord in Decapolis, an area that was steeped in sin, immorality, and humanism. That area was so “anti-Christ” that Jesus was all but forced out of their region when He first landed in the country of Gerasenes, in spite of the fact that a demon-possessed man was delivered. Yet, as we learned, this redeemed man told people of Jesus and they were amazed to the point that that next time Jesus traveled to the region, four thousand people were ministered to (see Mark 8:1-9). Quite possibly one man’s deliverance touched over four thousand people. So when Jesus said, “let’s go over to the other side,” citywide transformation was about to take place. You may never know what is on the other side of Jesus’ call for your life until you obey Him. The challenge for you and me is to get to the other side!
After Jesus commissioned His disciples to go, they got in a boat and set sail for the other side. And then it happened; a fierce blast of wind kicked up the waves, and they continuously beat the boat and it began to fill with water. The Bible says that this mega-storm suddenly “arose” (Mark 4:37). This verb carries with it the idea of something suddenly happening without any warning. I believe that it was a preemptive strike by the enemy to hinder the fulfillment of the commission of Jesus. Most scholars believe that this storm was not a natural one, but a supernatural storm; something that was conjured up by the enemy. They call this a “demonic distraction” for the purpose of getting the disciples off course so that they wouldn’t arrive on the other side.
Jesus’ disciples were not the only ones commissioned however. Every single person reading this blog has been commissioned by Jesus. Moreover, I believe that part of our call is to deliver people from demonic bondage (see Mark 16:17). Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost (see Luke 19:10), and He has commissioned us to do the same. Our call is to bring deliverance, hope, redemption, healing, and salvation to a lost and broken world. We are ministers of reconciliation who bring people to Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:18-20). Think about this: every person that we touch, like the former demon-possessed man in Mark 5, is a potential candidate to bring citywide transformation. Our assignment from God is enormous…if we don’t fall prey to the distractions that are sent to sink us.
This passage in Mark doesn’t exactly describe what the disciples were doing when the storm started, but we know that they reacted in total fear (see Mark 4:40). Their attention was drawn away from their commission and it was captured by the enemy’s tactics. They lost sight of Jesus’ Word—let’s go over to the other side—and they became focused on the demonic activity. It’s no different when Jesus gives you an assignment and hell is stirred up against you in opposition. Will you lose sight of your call and become fearful? What was Jesus doing during that demonic activity? The Bible says, “Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on a cushion” (Mark 4:38). Jesus was resting in the storm because He trusted the Word spoken to Him by the Father; the Word indicated that they were going to the other side. Jesus had confidence in what heaven declared; therefore, He rested in the Word rather than reacting to the enemy. The realm in which Jesus’ mind was dwelling in possessed no storms. He was demonstrating what Paul later wrote, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2).
The truth is that we can generally count on the fact that Jesus’ Word to us will be tested (see Matthew 13:21). The Word of the Lord to Joseph was tested for thirteen years before it was fulfilled, yet he never lost sight of God’s dream for him. What about you? If you’ve died to yourself, then “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). Actually, your redeemed position is to be seated in Him, in heavenly places (see Eph. 2:6). Don’t become impressed with the enemy. Don’t lose sight of your assignment to bring transformation to a world around you regardless of what the enemy stirs up. Learn to rest in your storms because in Christ you have the authority to speak “peace” over what threatens you. Your posture of rest next to Jesus is a threat to the kingdom of darkness because you’re poised to move at the impulse of His voice. Rest actually becomes a weapon that Jesus can use to bring redemption to those in bondage.
So find your cushion the next time the enemy strikes. Keep your faith in the Word and fulfill your commission on the other side of the call. Let’s bring the gospel of salvation to those in bondage without being distracted.
Jesus, you’ve called us to go and bring the good news to those in our communities. Don’t let me become distracted when the enemy strikes. Help me to remain focused on things above and not on things of the earth, in your name, amen.