Monday, June 6, 2011

My 2011 Assignment...Pilgrimage Begins #4...

I'm still pondering the Luke 8 passage which is found in verses 26 - 39.  I have posted thoughts about the demon possessed man from whom Jesus cast a legion of demons, the people of the region who begged Jesus to leave their area and now I want to focus on another group of people who were involved as observers of this miracle.

Verse 26 begins with the word "they".
They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes which is across the lake from Galilee.
Who are "they"?  We answer that question by reading the preceding paragraph as follows:
Luke 8:  22 - 25
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.  24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
   He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
   In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
 So the "they" is Jesus and his disciples.  They have just been part of Jesus' teaching ministry involving large crowds of people.  No wonder Jesus was so physically exhausted that he was able to stay asleep during a squall which threatened the swamping of their boat.  But he placed his trust in his heavenly father and slept without fear.  

Fear, however, visited his followers and they turned to him with a shouted prayer cry!  
"Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

And before he questioned their faith, he calmed the storm.  He spoke to the wind and water and the storm that was raging and it obeyed him - it was stilled.  Perhaps Jesus went back to his "bed" to continue sleeping.  But his disciples were so wide awake and amazed that they could only wonder at what they had just witnessed!  It was one thing when humans obeyed his voice, but it was truly amazing when the wind and waves obeyed!    And their question was, "Who is this?"

They are about to get an answer to their perhaps theoretical question.
They follow Jesus as he steps on shore in the region of the Gerasenes.  As the homeless, naked demonic approaches, a voice from within that man cries out - 
"What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?"
The demons know who Jesus is and the disciples are witnesses to their proclamation.  Jesus is the Son of God!  And they are about to observe that demons also obey him because he is going to perform a miracle.  He will cast 2000 demons from this tortured man and free him from their control.  Another act of Jesus which amazes his fearful disciples.  

And until the community comes together and asks Jesus to leave them because of the fear they have, Jesus teaches the newly healed man a portion of his life changing and nourishing truth.  The disciples witness this.  

As Jesus got into the boat to leave, the demonic begs to be able to leave with him but is told,
"Return home and tell how much God has done for you."
I have been thinking about that command since early January.  I have been thinking that those words were not only given to the demonic but they were also given to me centuries later.  And today I believe that this message was for the disciples also.

That is why I wanted to explore those who witnessed these words Jesus spoke and to ponder what their answer would be if they were to "...tell how much God has done for you."  

Here are some of the things they would probably tell just from what they have seen so recently:
  • Jesus awakened from sound sleep when I cried to him during a life threatening storm
  • Before Jesus challenged my faith, he calmed the storm creating my fear
  •  The wind, waves and storm obeyed Jesus' command so that my life was spared
  • Jesus was proclaimed to be God by demons and Jesus did not refute that claim
  • Demons are powerless when Jesus speaks to them
  • Jesus took what caused my fear and brought calm
If these disciples tell these things as they walk amongst their friends, family and the crowds that gather around them, they will be powerful witnesses of Jesus' life changing, truthful words which provide freedom from fear and from the control of danger and demons. Those things are powerless when we cry for release and Jesus acts on our behalf.  
I, too, am amazed and released from fear and powerlessness.  I must join these Jesus followers and  
"...tell how much God has done for you."