How many gospels are there? 4? Yes and no. There are four books in the New Testament called ‘gospels’ but there is really only one gospel. THE GOSPEL ….. according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
What is the main question answered by the gospels? Who is Jesus?
I recently taught from Mark 6:45-56 at Forward Baptist Church, Toronto on this subject. The outline for my sermon…
1. Jesus sends His followers.
2. Jesus sees His followers.
3. Jesus stabilizes His followers.
Jesus SENDS His followers.
Notice how He made them get into the boat. He compelled them. He directed them. Knowing what lay ahead for them, He put them into ‘harm’s way’ that He might teach them further who He was.
Am I a disciple? Are you a disciple? If Jesus Christ is our Master, we have surrendered the ‘rights’ to live our lives as we choose. We press forward in obedience and say to Him, “Here am I. Send me.”
He dismissed the crowd. The 5,000 men plus women and children have just been fed. John’s account notes the ‘forceful’ desire in the group to make Jesus King. They wanted to command Him. He wanted to command them. They wanted to make Him King. He already was King.
Jesus SEES His followers.
Jesus, alone on the land, after spending intimate time with His Father sees the disciples straining at the oars. They have been out on this water before. In chapter 4, He has calmed the storm after being awakened from His place of rest in the lower part of the boat.
Check out Job 9:8,10,11 “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. ….He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. When he passes me, I cannot see him, when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.”
This Old Testament text may well have been in the mind of Mark. The miracle-working God walks on water. Though He is close and passing by, my limited vision keeps me from seeing Him. Nevertheless He sees me. He knows the ‘oar strain’ I’m tackling today!
Jesus STABLIZES His followers.
Instead of passing by them, in response to their cry, he speaks. He calms their fears. He declares His divinity. In unmistakeable language He cries out, “I AM.” Do you recall the encounter Moses had with God in Exodus? There by the burning bush, Moses met the great “I AM.” Here, a greater than Moses, a Shepherd who has fed His people now stabilizes the troubled hearts of twelve men with three short sentences. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
How do His words and His presence stabilize their hearts? Mark records, “They were completely amazed.” They had missed the point of the feeding of the 5,000+ crowd. Their hearts, like the hearts of the crowds, were hardened. They must be softened by the Saviour’s touch if they are to grow as His followers.
Think through some applications. Where is Jesus sending you? What does He see you straining at today? How does He stabilize you through His words and his presence? O come, let us adore Him!