The Sleeping Son Of God  

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a stress induced illness known as stomatitis.

The doctors informed me that this condition had been brought on by prolonged periods of too much work, too much stress, and not enough sleep.

I remember one of the first manifestations of this illness: I was visiting with a sweet lady from church named sister Lonzie. My friend Barb was with me, and as we were all talking, I dozed off right there on the sofa! I was extremely embarrassed but Lonzie just told me that I needed more sleep. 🙂

Today, I have been studying the Gospel of Mark in preparation for my Sunday sermon, and I came across a verse that struck me.

Listen to what Mark said about Jesus:

Mark 4:38-But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  

This little passage of Scripture spoke so powerfully to me this afternoon.

Embedded in this text are some grand themes about my Lord that teach me so many wonderful truths. Please think with me about how Jesus’ weariness can speak to us wherever we are or in whatever state we find ourselves.

Jesus knows about weariness:

In Temptations.

In Mark 1:12-13, we read about how the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted for forty days.

I have never gone forty days without food, but Jesus did. And during that time, Satan tried to lead Him into temptation! I try to imagine what it would be like, with Jesus being tempted in every way.

Do you know what you need to have in order to be tempted? You need to have desire to sin (James 1:13-15). Since Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15), He had in His heart the desire present for every possible sin.

That helps me!!

As John Piper has written:

“But it gets even better. On the way to the cross for thirty years, Christ was tempted like every human is tempted. True, he never sinned. But wise people have pointed out that this means his temptations were stronger than ours, not weaker. If a person gives in to temptation, it never reaches its fullest and longest assault. We capitulate while the pressure is still building. But Jesus never did. So he endured the full pressure to the end and never caved. He knows what it is to be tempted with fullest force. A lifetime of temptation climaxing in spectacular abuse and abandonment gave Jesus an unparalleled ability to sympathize with tempted and suffering people. No one has ever suffered more. No one has ever endured more abuse. And no one ever deserved it less or had a greater right to fight back. But the apostle Peter said, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:22-23). Therefore, the Bible says he is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). This is amazing. The risen Son of God in heaven at God’s right hand with all authority over the universe feels what we feel when we come to him in sorrow or pain—or cornered with the promises of sinful pleasure. What difference does this make? The Bible answers by making a connection between Jesus’ sympathy and our confidence in prayer. It says that since he is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses… [therefore we should] with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). Evidently the thought goes like this: We are likely to feel unwelcome in the presence of God if we come with struggles. We feel God’s purity and perfection so keenly that everything about us seems unsuitable in his presence. But then we remember that Jesus is “sympathetic.” He feels with us, not against us. This awareness of Christ’s sympathy makes us bold to come. He knows our cry. He tasted our struggle. He bids us come with confidence when we feel our need.” (John Piper, Fifty Reasons Jesus Came To Die, 72-73 (Kindle Edition): Wheaten, Illinois; Crossway Books)

When I am tired from temptation, I can take solace in knowing that Jesus is right there with me. He understands my temptations, my failures, and (because of what He experienced on the Cross) He understands my guilt.

In Spiritual Warfare.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus was constantly involved in spiritual warfare, fighting against Satan, fallen angels, and demons.

In fact, when you study the Gospel of Mark, you find out that Jesus confronts these forces and powers throughout at least 1/4th of His ministry!

There have been times I have seen Satan and his forces at war in my life.

I have felt his fiery darts and their keen strikes.

I have seen the forces of darkness work through sin (1 John 3:4).

I have seen them work through various false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

I have seen them work through deceived people who are pawns of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-12).

I have experienced their work through the government and through people high in authority (1 John 5:19).

There are times (like Jesus) that I am weary of these attacks.

He understands!!

In Emotional Suffering.

Throughout the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus’ strong emotions powerfully displayed.

I know about guilt, anger, anxiety, loneliness, and sorrow.

I know the exaltation of joy, and the depths of grief.

How incredible it is to find that my Jesus understands!

Years ago, famous author Philip Yancey described his amazement at the picture of Jesus shown from the New Testament:

“In contrast, the Gospels present a man who has such charisma that people will sit three days straight, without food, just to hear his riveting words. He seems excitable, impulsively “moved with compassion” or “filled with pity.” The Gospels reveal a range of Jesus” emotional responses: sudden sympathy for a person with leprosy, exuberance over his disciples’ successes, a blast of anger at coldhearted legalists, grief over an unreceptive city, and then those awful cries of anguish in Gethsemane and on the cross. He had nearly inexhaustible patience with individuals but no patience at all with institutions and injustice…I realized that Jesus lived out an ideal for masculine fulfillment that nineteen centuries later still eludes most men. Three times, at least, he cried in front of his disciples. He did not hide his fears or hesitate to ask for help: “My soul is103 overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he told them in Gethsemane; “Stay here and keep watch with me.”How many strong leaders today would make themselves so vulnerable? Unlike most men I know, Jesus also loved to praise other people…The Gospels show that Jesus quickly established intimacy with the people he met. Whether talking with a woman at a well, a religious leader in a garden, or a fisherman by a lake, he cut instantly to the heart of the matter, and after a few brief lines of conversation these people revealed to Jesus their innermost secrets. People of his day tended to keep rabbis and “holy men” at a respectful distance, but Jesus drew out something else, a hunger so deep that people crowded around him just to touch his clothes.” (Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, 88-89 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)

Yes, Jesus fully understands any emotional struggle that we face.

Does The Lord Jesus understand the worry of a lost family member who is living apart from God?

Indeed, He does.

Does He know what it is like to experience loneliness and abandonment from those closest to Him?

His own brothers rejected Him, His people wanted nothing to do with Him, and His closest friends forsook Him and abandoned Him.

Does Jesus know the joy of Divine and human love?

Ask the woman taken in adultery, the guilty woman at the well, the burdened tax-collector, and the restored prodigal son.

Does the Nazarene know the pain that we feel when the dearest on Earth are torn from us by sickness and death? Remember: Jesus wept!

Does He know the terrible abyss of doubt that we experience at times in life?

He cried out: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

He knows what it is like to be tired from any kind of emotional despair or sorrow that we can face.

From Physical Exertion.

Finally, Jesus knows what it is to be exhausted from physical exertion. He is not the weakling often portrayed in so many artistic renditions and Hollywood movie events.

Throughout the Book of Mark, we read especially about Jesus’ energetic and driving mission.

The keyword of this Book is “immediately.” It occurs 36 times, and emphasizes the strength and moral energy of Jesus in accomplishing His God-given purpose on Earth.

He is referred to by Mark as the “Carpenter” (Mark 6:3).

Of this word, we are told:

“The word used for carpenter is tektōn. Now tektōn does mean a worker in wood, but it means more than merely a joiner. It means a craftsman. In Homer, the tektōn is said to build ships and houses and temples. In the past, there could be found in little towns and villages a craftsman who would build you anything from a chicken-coop to a house; the kind of man who could build a wall, mend a roof, repair a gate; the craftsman, the handyman, who with few or no instruments and with the simplest tools could turn his hand to any job. That is what Jesus was like.” (William Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel Of Mark, 159 (Kindle Edition);l Edinburgh, England; Saint Andrews Press)

There is even an ancient tradition that Jesus owned a business before He began preaching that specialized in selling huge ox yokes that were especially well-designed to suit oxen.

Jesus is strong, and He is a worker! Does He understand the pleasure from a job well done?

Definitely.

Does He know the exhaustion from a full days’ work? You can bet on it. In every way, He understands.

Every day, I learn something new about my Jesus from His Word. I am so thankful for the Sleeping Son of God.

The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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