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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jesus Calms the Storm and Casts out Demons

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 8:22 - 39
  • Psalm 70:1 - 5
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Luke 8:22 - 39
This short reading in Luke tells two stories that have previously been detailed in other gospels.  The first of the two is the story of how Jesus calmed the storm on the lake.  Jesus and his disciples were on a boat, crossing a lake (my study bible says the Sea of Galilee but I don't know how they determined that) while Jesus napped below deck.

A fierce storm arrived and the boat was quickly filling with water.  All this time Jesus slept.  Eventually the disciples wakened Jesus to tell him they were all about to drown.  Jesus got up and instantly rebuked the waves and the wind.

The disciples were amazed.  Jesus had been performing miracles all along -- healing the sick, feeding the hungry, casting out demons -- but now they had seen him control the very forces of nature itself.  At this point I don't think Jesus had revealed his true nature to the disciples, but they were certainly wondering who Jesus was and how he could command even the sea.

 The second story was an account of how Jesus cast out many demons from a man named Legion.  This man was so possessed that he could break free of any chains placed upon him.  He ran around stark naked and the people of the town were scared of him. 

These demons called out the true nature of Jesus -- that he was the son of God.  I think it's amazing how the demons knew who Jesus was before Jesus actually revealed himself.  All of these spirits, all of these demons, all of these things we don't see -- they follow a very natural order, and Jesus is the authority above all of them. 

Authority.  That seems to be the topic of today.  The authority of Jesus above all.  The authority of Jesus to heal people, to cast out demons, to perform miracles, to feed the hungry and to calm storms.  I know that Jesus allows us to use his authority, but I'm unsure yet as to what that entails.  But I do know that, as a Christian, I should learn these things, because Jesus expected his students to learn and grow -- not learn and stand still. 

When Jesus calmed the storm he asked his disciples where their faith was.  Had they had faith, they could have calmed the storm.  With the proper faith, they could cast out any demon.  With the proper faith, they could heal people.  So, the question I am left with for today is: What is proper faith?

Psalm 70:1 - 5
This quick Psalm combined the basic elements of the Psalms of David.  There was a plea for help and vengeance, as well as praise and worship of the Lord.  If we look at these Psalms as a template for how to pray, then it is clear that we should be praising the Lord in our prayers, no matter how dire our situation at the moment.  We should certainly bring our troubles before the Lord, but at the same time never forget to praise Him. 

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