I want to take the next two sections of Luke and combine them. They are familiar passages as Matthew and Mark also shared these stories. I want to look at the chain of events and what impact it had on history.
The story starts out on the shore of the Sea of Galilee on the side near Capernaum. Jesus decides to go to the other side of the lake. Matthew and Mark both mention that Jesus had been teaching a great multitude before setting off on this trip. Jesus didn’t tell His disciples where exactly they were going, just to set sail to the other side of the lake. He didn’t even give them directions on the way. Instead He went and took a nap.
This had been a long day for Jesus. He had ministered to many people throughout the day and it was taxing on His physical body. He needed sleep.
When Jesus stepped into the boat He didn’t say, “Let’s set out on the lake and see what will happen”, but said, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake” (verse22). His intention was to complete this journey. It wasn’t to stop in the middle of the lake for a lesson. But that is what happened anyway.
When the waves got too much for these experienced fishermen they came running to Jesus. They were aghast that He was sleeping at a time like this. They were about to drown! How could He be so uncaring?! “Jesus! Get up and help us!!”
Jesus does exactly that, but not how they expected. They were expecting Him to grab a pail or an oar to either bail or help row them to safety. Instead He did the unthinkable. He STOPPED the storm in its tracks. He didn’t calm it down to a mild storm or even a gentle breeze. The wind stood still and the waves died completely. Not in a matter of an hour or even over several minutes but IMMEDIATELY.
Dumfounded and afraid, His disciples looked on. Jesus commented on their lack of faith. Didn’t they know they were safe with Him, even when He was asleep? He already told them they were going to the other side. If He said it, it would happen.
As soon as Jesus and His disciples arrive at the other side of the lake they were met by a VERY scary man. Jesus immediately dealt with this man’s issue. He was overrun with demons. So many that they named themselves “legion.” Jesus took care of his needs right away and in such a dramatic way that He was asked to leave their region.
There are a few things that strike me about these two stories. First of all is the storm. The Sea of Galilee is famous for its storms and how fast they can come up. So Jesus and His disciples encountering a storm wasn’t too unusual, but I’m wondering if Satan didn’t send that storm himself. Jesus was on His way to do battle with a legion of his demons. Was Satan afraid and trying to stop this encounter? He missed again.
The second thing is that the man seemed to know Jesus was coming and Jesus knew he would be there. Jesus could have had His disciples land the boat anywhere, but He chose to come ashore right where this man was. And the man came running to Him as soon as He landed. Almost like he was waiting for Him. Maybe he was. Satan knew He was coming. Stands to reason his demons would too.
The third thing is Jesus letting the demons go into the pigs. That one I will have to ask Him about when I get there. I’m sure He knew what would happen when He said “yes” to the demon’s request. Did Jesus have a reason for allowing the destruction of that herd of pigs? Were some of them diseased? Why didn’t He simply send the demons straight back to Hell? I KNOW He had the power to do just that, but He chose not to.
The fourth is the town’s reaction. This was an obvious miracle, yet they wanted Him gone! I’m pretty certain it was because of the pig incident and not the healing. Were they afraid He would impact their other livestock? Were they looking at dollar signs instead of the freedom Jesus bestowed on this famous man? They ALL knew the man. He had spent years in this state. Seeing him dressed and in his right mind should have knocked their socks off. They apparently cared more about their pigs than the man.
The last thing in the story is that Jesus tells the man to stay there and share his story with the town. The town’s people didn’t want to hear about the miracle when it first happened. They were too worked up about their pigs. But as time went on and the man’s healing continued, they couldn’t dismiss the miracle. Did the man stand up and proclaim his healing in the market place or did he simply share his story during his daily life? If he was shouting in the market place they might have accused him of being a fanatic. Another way of saying he was crazy.
The final thing I thought about when looking at these stories is how this one trip impacted history. Jesus, (I firmly believe) out of love, crossed the Sea of Galilee to minister to one man. He took the time to sit with the man afterward and dress him from Jesus and His disciples’ own clothing stores. Jesus ends their interaction by telling the man to stay in his home country and share his story.
If Jesus hadn’t come, the man’s miracle testimony would never have been written. He would not have been sharing Jesus’ words or works with anyone who would listen. What would the climate have been like when Paul approached these people later? Jesus paved the way for many with His visit to the one. I wonder how many lives were actually changed because Jesus took the time to go on a mission of mercy for one man.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You still embark on personal missions in our lives. You care about each and every one of us. You also use us in unimaginable ways. You reach people through our simple testimony that would never listen otherwise. Thank You that You chose me and allow me to be and instrument for You to reach others. Not through some great feat of my own but simply by sharing what it is You did in my life. Help me listen to You when You prompt me to share what You have done in my life. Thank You for every mission of mercy You have undertaken in my life. The BIGGEST mission of all being adopting me as Your own.