On that day, when evening came, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side."Mark 4:35(NASB)
Multitudes followed the Lord Jesus and hung on to His every word, for He had become famous throughout the land. He healed all that were sick and cast out many unclean spirits, and people began to wonder if He was the promised Messiah. However, the scribes and Pharisees were jealous of His enormous popularity and accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. They considered the only way to be rid of Him was to smear His character, through lies and deceit and so they labelled Him as 'insane'.
This blasphemous accusation was the turning point in His ministry when Jesus started to teach His disciples and all who trusted Him.. in parables. Mark lists a series of moral stories that taught the truth of Who He was and why He came. And He authenticated each of His spiritual teachings with a series of physical healings... to illustrate an important truth.
Each of His kingdom parables expresses a particular reality. The parable of the sower shows the need to hear the Word and respond to His call while the teaching of the lamp, demonstrates the need to enlighten those around us whose minds are closed to the truth and remain darkened.
Although there is much that the Church can learn from the kingdom parables, it is always important to remember that the focus of Christ's pre-Cross ministry was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and that He is really speaking about a future generation of Jews whose blinded eyes will be opened and deaf ears will be unblocked. Jesus is looking forward to the time when they will hear their Messiah's call, respond to His words, proclaim the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world, and become a fruitful fig tree - that brings forth the fruit of righteousness.
A misconception had developed in Israel that when the Messiah came He would immediately conquer their enemies and set up His kingdom on earth. However, before this takes place, as Scripture declares, the nation was to repent of their sin, be restored to God, trust in His anointed Son, and be redeemed as God's chosen people.
And so it was, following this vital teaching and the many miracles designed to validate His Messianic claims, that we read, "On that day, when evening came, He said to them, 'Let us go over to the other side.'" In the midst of all the blasphemous accusations of the leaders, and the thronging multitudes, with their 'frantic' demands for more mighty miracles... Jesus said to His true disciples, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake."
Too often those with deaf ears and blinded eyes consider Christ's earthly ministry to have failed in its cause - for He was crucified - dead and buried. But for as many as believe on Him He is food for the soul, life for the dead, healing for the sick, and the God of our salvation.
Why is a verse like this included in the God-breathed Word? Why did we need to know that on that very day, when Jesus was inundated with requests for healing, the leaders had rejected Him with their blasphemy, the self-centred crowds refused to recognise the truth of Who He was, and Jesus then started to teach His true followers in parables? Why... when evening came, did the Lord Jesus say to them, "Let us go over to the other side."
Well, our dear compassionate Saviour KNEW that on the other side of the lake there was a wild, naked demon-possessed man, who needed to be saved - by grace through faith in Him... and He also knew that He had 12 disciples who needed the coming storm in their lives to be stilled.
Hallelujah! What a Saviour.
Heavenly Father, how astonishing to realise that Jesus also got tired and would have been overwhelmed by life's circumstances if He had not trusted wholly on You to guide Him to do what was right. Thank You that You sent Jesus to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and their rejection of their Messiah has secured my acceptance of Christ and my salvation by grace - through faith in Him. Thank You that they will one day recognise Jesus, repent of their sin, be restored into fellowship with You, and trust Him as their Messiah. Thank You that You gave us the Scriptures to help us understand Who Jesus is and why He came. Thank You that You encourage our faith, when the storms of life seem overwhelming and that no-one - not even a wild, naked, demon-possessed man is beyond redemption - by grace - through faith in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live as Christ lived - in total dependence on YOU. This I ask in His holy name, AMEN.