One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then He asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When He gives a command, even the wind and waves obey Him!” So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee.Luke 8:22-26
When you move on to a new section ask yourself questions:
- Does this connect to the pericope before it?
- Is there anything in this section which links it to something in the unit we looked at yesterday.
- Does the opening line of it connect to what went before? Temporally? Logically? Thematically or in any other way?
I think you will agree with me in this case the answer is no. This is a new pericope with a new purpose. Not only that, it is not a parable? There are no quotes linking it to the Old Testament. There is no poetry or difficult lines to understand. There are no word plays or anything that should give us trouble. It is straight narrative. So I could leave it to you to deal it with and move on. But I will comment before I do.
Luke now begins four miracle stories which indicate Jesus’ power over nature, demons and disease.
They are on a body of water which is renowned for experiencing bad weather. Fierce storms come down on the lake when cold winds descend rapidly from snow capped Mt Hermon standing 2,800 metres high. The surface of the lake can get rough and dangerous very quickly. They are going from the eastern side to the western side, passing across the middle of the lake. Jesus was tired from a hectic day of ministry and settles down in the boat and goes to sleep. The boat starts taking on water and is in danger of being swamped. The disciples feel they are in danger of being drowned. It is ironic that Jesus is sleeping in the middle of the fierce storm. Here is Jesus perfectly calm and asleep. The disciples are with Jesus and yet fear for their lives.
When Jesus wakes immediately he rebukes the wind and the waves. Interesting! He addresses nature. He doesn’t rebuke or speak against the storm generally. He speaks to the cause and the effect. The wind is causing the problem and the waves are the result. If the wind suddenly stopped it would still take a while for the waves to die down. Like a ripple effect on a smooth lake, the pulse of the wave would continue for sometime until the wave broke on the shore. Such are the physics of the situation. They are in danger of being swamped. Jesus speaks to the agent causing the problem and rebukes the waves as well. Suddenly both cause and effect stop. Now that is impressive. It must have been an impressive moment.
Jesus doesn’t say to the disciples “you of little faith or no faith”. It seems they have faith but Jesus asks where it is. We have to admit we all have faith at times and then at other times we wonder where it is. It is like I can believe and trust for this thing and yet not that. In this case it doesn’t occur to them that Jesus can do anything about their situation. They appear to think this is outside of Jesus’ control. They have seen him rebuke demons and rebuke sickness but never the natural elements. Are there areas that you doubt Jesus has control over? These guys had trouble believing for Jesus’ intervention this time. In their minds here was a situation that that is out of Jesus’ control.
What do you think is out of Jesus control? Cancer; the Big C. Your marriage; it’s doomed there is no hope? No one can do anything about it now! Your finances? Your kids? What is it that seriously challenges your faith? Do you really think it is beyond His control? Is anything too much for Him to handle. Clearly not ! Where is your faith? Is it enough to cope in this situation? No Ian, my faith is limited to finding me car parking spaces when I am shopping. Mine stops at a ceiling limit of the provision of $1,000 but no more than that. Mine is fine for a cold but not CANCER. What limits do you put on Him? How far does your faith extend? They had faith, just not enough for this latest challenge.
After Jesus has woken and done the deed and everything is calm like a mill pond compared with the raging tempest before they are literally awestruck and amazed. They are the words used. They were in fear for their lives now they are left to wonder about this One who is with them. Who is this man? What kind of person commands the wind and the waves and they respond? Just put yourselves in their position for a minute. “all hell is breaking loose against them and they fear for their lives. All they can see to do is to wake the sleeping Jesus. It doesn’t occur to them that if Jesus is with them they are actually fine. All appearances are contrary to that thought. Jesus free from sleep simply and calmly speaks to the wind and the waves and they obey. Not a moment’s hesitation. Imagine Jesus saying, “No, what are we going to do. I haven’t met this before. Sickness I can deal with, demons I can handle but storms . . .” No way. No – everything, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING is subject to Him. This is the Creator of the Universe!
And they arrive at the region of the Gerasenes. Their next adventure with Jesus. Were they fearful of this place too?
Peace doesn’t come from finding a lake with no storms. It comes from having Jesus in the boat.John Ortberg
Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell your storm how big your God is.Anon
You can be in the storm but don’t allow the storm to get in you.Judah Smith
The Lord will either calm your storm, or allow it to rage while He calms you!Rick Godwin
Don’t let your storm eclipse your view of Jesus.Ian Vail
The star breather became the sin bearer. The universe maker is holding on to you.Joel Osteen
Be a star today and poke a hole in someone’s darkness!Rick Godwin