|Peace, Be Still|
I love these chapters. They have a dynamic, cinematic quality. We watch the man Jesus, a man with authority, walk through this day, dealing with people with kindness, brevity and authority.
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
This is an absolutely vital element of discipleship. Obey what you hear God say when you hear him say it. “Later” too often becomes never.
I rapidly read the autobiography of David Pytches a few years ago. He had saved money for university, and then, as a young man in the army was lovingly mentored and discipled by a older couple who lived in an abandoned railway carriage, and poured themselves into the young servicemen. He hears God tell him to give all the money he had saved to the older Christian. He does so, potentially giving up his opportunity to go to university.
Wow, I thought. How scary. What if he had refused? What if he had procrastinated? What if he let himself believe he had imagined it? Then the next time he heard God speak, he could again have told himself that he imagined it, dreamed it, that obeying God in such things was something impulsive hotheads did.
He would have left sad so many times that he would no longer know God’s voice and accent, no longer be able to pick up the still whisper from the noise around him.
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
So a furious storm arises, waves sweep over the boat. Experienced professional fisherman believe that they are going to drown.
Where is the Lord? Asleep.
What does he say? “Oh you of little faith. Oligopistos. Why are you afraid?”
(ESV, Oligopistos, does not mean no faith, which is apistos, but ineffective, defective or deficient faith.)
And when we go through turbulence, and there is a furious storm around us, and the waves sweep over our boat, and it appears as if we are going to drown, he says to us, “You, of little faith. Why are you so afraid?”
And at his word, it is completely calm.
In future, Lord, in the time of furious storms, help us to remember that you are in our boat, and that when you chose to rebuke the winds and waves, it will be completely calm.
Jesus controls the wind and the waves. And the thing which most troubles us now. What is that for you?
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Wow! This is an astonishing passage. The way I’ve read it to my children is that it shows what Dallas Willard calls, “the power of the request.” The request of the demons not to be tormented. Jesus granted that request. How much more….
Interestingly, the Gadarenes, pleaded with Jesus to leave. They put their economic well-being, and the status quo above their desire for a divine encounter.