Monday, February 22
Week Three of 42 Days through Good News according to Luke
Luke 8:22-39 — Storms and Demons
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.”
26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Points of Interest:
- (v.25) “In fear and amazement”—Jesus calms the storm, but not the disciples. They start out afraid of the storm, and they end up even more afraid of Jesus. Through this incident they gain a new level of respect for Jesus: the storm was powerful enough to kill them, and Jesus is powerful enough to kill the storm. That’s impressive, and a bit scary.
- (v.27) “had lived in the tombs”—an evocative, if creepy, image. It simultaneously communicates loneliness—cemeteries were placed outside of the city limits—and a sort of living death.
- (v.30) “Legion”—a Roman military division.
- (v.31) “they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss”—these demons are surprisingly frantic at Jesus’ arrival. Maybe they’ve heard stories of Jesus’ confrontations with evil spirits on the other side of the lake, but they didn’t expect Him to come into this non-Jewish area. The Abyss is apparently some kind of prison for demons.
- (v.35) “and they were afraid”—they respond just like the disciples did when the storm was calmed. They start out afraid of the demon-possessed man, and end up even more afraid of Jesus—so afraid of Him that they ask him to leave. It’s seeing the man in his right mind that they can’t handle. They’d grown used to the idea that the man’s situation was hopeless, and it’s unsettling to them to see that reality change.
- (v.39) “tell how much God has done for you”—all the man knows about God is that He rescued him when he seemed beyond help, but that’s enough. In fact, in this regard the man has an advantage over many of Jesus’ Jewish listeners, whose centuries’ worth of history with God and prophecies about the Messiah give them a lot more knowledge about God.
Taking it home:
- For you: Even a small word from God can make a big difference for our lives. Ask God to help you notice today when He is speaking to you. Ask him for the faith to hold on to those words. If listening to God is a new thing for you, consider giving it a try. Say something to God or ask him a question; then listen for an answer. You probably won’t hear an audible voice, but you might get an impression that feels sort of like when you mentally form a sentence before saying it. Remember that anything destructive to yourself or others is against the nature of God, so you can rule that out as not from Him. If you are still confused, find someone that you think hears from God regularly and share your experience with them.
- For your Six: Have any of your Six had a good experience with God recently? If so, consider suggesting that they share their story. It’s a great way to move forward in their relationship with God, and it could be very helpful to the people they tell as well. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know much about God. If all they know is the good thing God has done for them, it’s enough—in fact, it might be better that way.
- For our church/ILTJ: Pray for any “storm moments” that our church will go through this year. Pray for those individuals in our church who are experiencing a storm right now. Pray for the power of Jesus to overcome these storms and that His presence will be thick around us in any moments of fear.