WHATEVER THE CRISIS, FAITH IN THE PERSON AND POWER AND AUTHORITY OF JESUS IS THE ANSWER
Maybe you are facing some crisis in life today. Maybe you know someone who is under intense pressure. These 4 quick stories presented in a row by Luke are intended to cover all of life’s possible dangers and threats. No matter what we might face, we need to be confident in the Power and Authority of Jesus to deliver and protect us according to His good purposes.
Donald Miller: Luke has earlier illustrated Jesus’ Lordship over all the realms here presented (4:31 – 5:26; 7:11-17). Here these play a special role. The earlier part of this chapter has dealt with teaching about right hearing. The events here illustrate right hearing. In three of them, faith is mentioned as the right responses (vss. 25, 48, 50). To hear Jesus’ word aright is to connect it with his Person, and to believe it because one believes him. The response of the Gerasene people is an example of how not to hear (vs. 37).
J. Ligon Duncan: You need to know that the life you are living now is a life filled with tribulations and those tribulations are not the exception, they are the rule. Each of these miracles that are recorded in Luke in this section deal with trials and tribulations that plague the human experience and they remind us that those tribulations are not the exception, they are the rule. . .
the purpose in every trial of every Christian who has ever lived is that you might know the Living God.
I. (:22-25) POWER OVER NATURE
A. (:22-23) Crisis Situation – Danger of Drowning
1. (:22) Ordinary Boat Trip
“Now it came about on one of those days, that He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ And they launched out.”
Jesus is the one who had commanded them to take this boat trip to the other side of the lake.
They got into the boat and launched out at His direction.
Seemed sensible course of action to all at the time.
2. (:23) Fierce Storm Puts Them in Danger
“But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.”
Jesus in a state of exhaustion. Had no problem sleeping – even in the midst of such a fierce storm.
Water was coming into the boat.
Reality of the danger – they did not imagine or invent this crisis. This was a legitimate crisis.
Steven Cole: STORMS OFTEN EXPOSE HOW WE ARE NOT TRUSTING IN THE LORD.
We all can fake it in calm waters. We can impress others with how together we seem to be. And, the disciples could cope with normal storms quite well. They had been in storms on this lake many other times. They were experts at handling their boat in rough waters. At first they probably thought, “No problem, we can handle it.” But this storm brought them to the end of themselves and showed them how they were trusting in themselves. Often, a crisis shows us a side of ourselves we were blind to. The Lord uses it to reveal new areas where we need to learn to trust Him. We all must come to know our weakness so that we will rely on the Lord’s strength. Storms often show us things that we don’t see in calmer times:
B. (:24) Confrontation – Disciples vs. Master
1. Terrified Disciples
“And they came to Him and woke Him up, saying,
‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’”
We are quick to jump to negative conclusions; not as quick to assume that the Lord has everything under control and that He is watching over us for our good.
Steven Cole: So what should we do if we trust in the Lord, but the boat sinks? The miracle doesn’t come.
The answer is, “We trust in the Lord Jesus as we go under. We go down singing the doxology.” John Hus was burned at the stake for his faith, but he went out singing. Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were burned at the stake together. As the fires were lit, Latimer cried out, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!” Hudson Taylor lost his beloved wife Maria as they both sought to take the gospel to inland China. But he stood at her grave and sang, “Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.”
2. Totally In Charge Master
“And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves,
and they stopped, and it became calm.”
Instant miracle – the Creator just spoke the word of command and nature obeyed.
Morris: Jesus rebuked the wind (cf. Ps. 106:9). His verb may imply that there was an evil force behind the storm.
Jesus brings about peace and calm in the roughest of the seas of life.
C. (:25) Critical Lesson to be Learned – Trust the One Who Has All Power Over Nature
1. Probing Question
“And He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’”
Jesus was right to expect greater faith on the part of His disciples. Why should they imagine that Jesus would allow them to just drown as if He did not deeply care for them or was not powerful enough to protect them?
Jesus was not limited in His care for them despite the circumstance that at present He was sleeping.
J. Ligon Duncan: Where is your faith when the unexpected, the shocking diagnosis comes? Where is your faith? How do you react? What do you think? Where is your faith when a family issue that’s entirely unexpected, in fact you’ve lived with it for years, royals with heats until it bubbles over with boiling? And though you’ve lived with it for so long you’re overwhelmed and you wonder to yourself, “Lord, what in the world are You doing in my life? I don’t want this. I’ve never wanted this. Why is this here? What is going on? What is the message? Is there going to be any relief?” Where is your faith? Or maybe it’s right now in this economy and you’re saying, “Lord, I’m an honest worker. I’m a hard worker. I even work smart every once in a while, but everything I do right now is going wrong and I don’t see a way out and I don’t know what You’re doing to me.” Where is your faith? To these and a thousand other questions that are in the hearts of the people sitting before me this morning, Jesus has a question for you — “Where is your faith?” – because in this passage, in this miracle, in this circumstance, He is teaching His disciples something very, very important about two things. First about Himself, second about how they’re supposed to live the Christian life in just the kinds of situations I’ve just described, and in so many more that I haven’t because this is a passage that is designed at its culminating point both to show us who Jesus really is and also to teach us how to live the Christian life in the midst of the trials and tribulations that populate our lives. . .
Now understand what Jesus is not doing. He is not rebuking them for being frightened in the midst of a life threatening situation. These men could have died. It would have been very easy for this boat to capsize and for them to sink to the bottom. But what Jesus is asking them to consider is if they have adequately understood who is it who is with them on the boat and if they have factored that reality into their life threatening situation and if they have put their faith in Him adequately for the living of the Christian life. “Where is your faith? Is it in Me? If it is, I’m right here. I didn’t go anywhere. I was right there with you. Where is your faith?”
2. Power and Authority of Christ to Calm the Storms of Life Should be the Focus
“And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’”
It always gets back to Who Jesus really is. That is where our focus needs to be.
II. (:26-39) POWER OVER DEMONS
A. (:26-29) Crisis Situation – Distress of the Demon Possessed Man
1. (:26-27) Description of the Weird Behavior of the Demon Possessed Man
“And they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He had come out onto the land, He was met by a certain man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.”
Brian Bell: alliterative title and outline of Lk 8:26-39 – Cleansed, Clothed and Commissioned
– Cleansed – Lk 8:26-34
– Clothed – Lk 8:35-37
– Commissioned – Lk 8:38-39
C. S. Lewis: There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist and magician with the same delight.
2. (:28) Description of the Fear of the Demon When Confronted by Jesus
“And seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, ‘What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.’”
3. (:29) Description of the Danger Posed by the Demon
“For He had been commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard; and yet he would burst his fetters and be driven by the demon into the desert.”
B. (:30-33) Confrontation – Jesus Grants the Entreaty of the Demons
1. (:30) Identification of the Demons
“And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him.”
2. (:31) Entreaty of the Demons
“And they were entreating Him not to command them to depart into the abyss.”
Morris: This is a place of confinement for spirits, even Satan (Rev. 20:1ff.).
3. (:32-33) Permission Granted by Jesus
“Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons entreated Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out from the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned.”
J. Ligon Duncan: Many of you have seen, maybe fewer of you have read, a book by the famous British philosopher and skeptic, Bertrand Russell. It’s entitled, Why I Am Not A Christian. Now it’s not a very profound book. I could have come up with better arguments against Christianity than Bertrand Russell, but in the course of this book in one of the chapters, he says it is this story that led him to the conclusion that Jesus was neither the best nor the most virtuous of men. It deeply disturbed Bertrand Russell that Jesus allowed a herd of two thousand pigs to be destroyed. And he said that a good and virtuous man could not have allowed something like that to happen and therefore, Jesus was not the best and most virtuous of men and therefore Christianity was disproven. Well this is a taste of the profound arguments that you will find in that book. But it struck me as interesting that Bertrand Russell had the exact same reaction to this miracle that the people of the Gerasenes had. They had the exact same reaction to Jesus that Bertrand Russell would manifest two thousand years later. . .
So you not only see the power of Christ over Satan in this passage in the miracle that He performs in casting these demons out of this man, but you also see Jesus’ compassion towards sinners. . .
This story is a technicolor picture of Luke 8:18, and my friends, there don’t have to be demons around for us to be facing the same challenge. Are we with a man, liberated, who trusted Jesus, who begged to be with Jesus and sought to be a disciple at His feet? Or are we with those who love what we want and what we have more than we love the Word of life from the only One who can give life?
C. (:34-39) Critical Lesson to be Learned – Testify to the One Who Has Power Over the Strongest Demons
1. (:34-36) Report of the Exorcism Resulting in Complete Healing
“And when the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. And the people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. And those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.”
2. (:37) Rejection of Jesus by the Gerasene People Leading to His Departure
“And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to depart from them; for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat, and returned.”
Morris: Their fear may have been a superstitious reaction to the supernatural power that had so evidently been in operation. It may also have been associated with the material loss involved in the destruction of the pigs. If so, they saw Jesus as a disturbing person, more interested in saving men than in material prosperity. It was more comfortable to ask Him to go.
Anyabwile: Whatever you do, do not reject God’s word. That’s what the people do after Jesus heals the man with the many demons. Do you remember that in verses 34-39? They see the miracle. They see the man clothed and sane after he’d been running around naked and crazed for years. They hear how it had been done (v. 36). But they do not receive Christ or his word. Instead, they “asked him to leave” (v. 37).
3. (:38-39) Released Testimony to the Power of Jesus Over the Forces of Satan by then Healed Man
“But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.’ And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”
1) To what extent am I experiencing the transforming power of Christ? What is there in my life that is explainable only by the spiritual power of Jesus Christ? It may not be as instantaneous and dramatic as the changes in Legion. But even so, there ought to be some obvious changes due to my experience with Jesus Christ.
2) To what extent am I proclaiming the transforming power of Christ?
There are two very normal parts to proclaiming the message that every one of us can do:
a. Exhibit a Transformed Life
b. Return Home and Describe What Great Things God Has Done For You.
• How do you go? You go with obedience and zeal.
• To whom do you go? Go to your house.
• What do you say? Tell them your story and the gospel of God’s grace.
– Explain the gospel
– Emphasize grace
J. C. Ryle: Our Lord Jesus Christ’s dominion over the devil should be a cheering thought to all true Christians. Without it, indeed, we might well despair of salvation. To feel that we have ever near us an invisible spiritual enemy, laboring night and day to compass our destruction, would be enough to crush out every hope, if we did not know a Friend and Protector. Blessed be God! The Gospel reveals such a One. The Lord Jesus is stronger than that “strong man armed,” who is ever warring against our souls. The Lord Jesus is able to deliver us from the devil. He proved his power over him frequently when upon earth. He triumphed over him gloriously on the cross. He will never let him pluck any of His sheep out of His hand. He will one day bruise him under our feet, and bind him in the prison of hell. (Rom. 16:20; Rev. 20:1, 2.) Happy are they who hear Christ’s voice and follow Him! Satan may vex them, but he cannot really hurt them! He may bruise their heel, but he cannot destroy their souls. They shall be “more than conquerors” through Him who loved them. (Rom. 8:37.)
III. (:40-48) POWER OVER SICKNESS
A. (:40-44) 2 Crisis Situations —
1. (:40-42a) First Crisis = Jairus’ Daughter
“And as Jesus returned, the multitude welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to entreat Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.”
MacArthur: He stepped off the boat and there they were and that’s the way it was pretty much every day. And it tells us of His accessibility. He was unlike many religious leaders. He didn’t seclude Himself in some ivory tower, protected from people. His entire ministry was spent in public with the people in the streets, in the fields, in their homes, in the synagogues, on the road, by the sea, in the boats, wherever it was. Only occasionally did He retreat to isolate Himself for the purpose of giving further insight and instruction to those who believed in Him. Even on some occasion He got away just for the replenishment, the rest, the need to restore His energy. And sometimes He got away all by Himself because He needed time alone with His Father. But always when the morning came, He was back and the crowd was waiting. That was all right because it was to them He had come. It was to them He had to prove who He was. It was to them He had to preach the message that God would forgive their sins if they would cry out in humility for that forgiveness. And even though the crowd hounded Him, and even though the crowd dogged Him and even though the crowd crushed Him and even though the crowd endangered Him and even though sometimes the crowd tried to kill Him, He was accessible to them. So when He came back, they were all there.
2. (:42b-44) Second Crisis = Woman With Hemorrhage
“But as He went, the multitudes were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him, and touched the fringe of His cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.”
MacArthur: Jesus was very used to being interrupted. I mean, He’d be preaching a sermon and all of a sudden the roof would come apart and down would come somebody in a bed. Right? We learned that already in the Luke…the gospel of Luke. I mean, He was used to being interrupted. Everybody who wanted something interrupted Him. Interruptibility was a virtue of Jesus. It’s amazing, no matter what He was doing, He literally would turn to help. He’s preaching in the 12th chapter of Luke, He’s preaching and it says in verse 13, “Someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.'” Whoa! Can you imagine some guy standing up in the middle of my sermon and say, “Hey, pastor, tell my brother to give me half of the money I’m owed.” What? He was interrupted all the time. I don’t know if I could handle that. But Jesus never had a problem with His train of thought, you understand that? So don’t be standing up and saying things when I’m trying to concentrate. But Jesus was interruptible.
B. (:45-47) Confrontation – Between Jesus and the Woman with the Hemorrhage
“And Jesus said, ‘Who is the one who touched Me?’ And while they were all denying it, Peter said, ‘Master, the multitudes are crowding and pressing upon You.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.’ And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.”
Geldenhuys: If her cure had taken place without the Saviour making it known publicly, she would have had the utmost difficulty in removing from the inhabitants of the town the prejudice and scorn that she had met with for years. For this reason the Saviour, who knew her in all her need and sorrows, and understood her circumstances, makes her appear before the whole multitude to testify publicly that she has been healed.
C. (:48) Critical Lesson to be Learned – Trust in the One Who Has Power Over Sickness to Cleanse You From All Defilement
“And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”
Steven Cole: Because Jesus is the sufficient Savior, you can know that He has adequate power to cleanse your sin. Because He is the sympathetic Savior, He will treat you with gentleness and understanding. You can know for sure that if you come to Him in faith, He will instantly forgive all of your sins, because He has promised it. You will be cleansed of all defilement if you lay hold of Jesus by faith.
IV. (:49-56) POWER OVER DEATH
A. (:49) Critical Situation – Jairus’ Daughter Reported as Dead
“While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’”
Already introduced in vs. 40-42 before the interruption; now after the delay we receive the most disturbing news possible
B. (:50) Confrontation – Between Jesus and Jairus – Faith Replaces Fear With Hope
“But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, ‘Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she shall be made well.’”
Steven Cole: In fearful situations we must overcome hindrances to faith.
When Jairus came to Jesus, he believed that Jesus could heal his daughter. But there were several hindrances or hurdles that Jairus had to overcome. I’ve already mentioned the hindrance of public opinion. What would the rabbis and others think of this synagogue ruler bowing before Jesus? There was also the hindrance of his own pride and reputation, which he would have felt the need to protect.
He also had to overcome the hindrance of interruptions, as this woman interrupted Jesus on His way to Jairus’ house. Jairus must have thought, “Why did this woman have to touch Jesus now, of all times? Let her touch Him tomorrow! My daughter is dying! Every second matters!”
Then his worst fears were realized as his friends came to tell him that his daughter had already died. That’s another hindrance to faith: Well-meaning, but misguided doomsayers who discourage us from clinging to the only source of hope. What they say may be true—Jairus’ daughter was dead. But they never add the mighty power of Jesus into their calculations. With Him there is hope even when human hope is lost!
C. (:51-56) Critical Lesson to be Learned – Trust in the One Who Has Power Over Death
1. (:51) Limiting the Participants
“And when He had come to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother.”
2. (:52) Shutting Down the Grief
“Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her;
but He said, ‘Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.’”
MacArthur: Of all the fears and all the phobias and all the elements of dread in human life, the ultimate fear is the fear of death. Death is the most certain fact of life. People naturally have an intense dread of death and do everything they can to push it as far away as possible. If you are looking for a religion and a religious leader, you would be wise to find one who has power over that great enemy, power over death. The tombs of the world’s religious leaders are occupied with one exception, and that is the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ which has been empty since three days after He was placed there. The ultimate distinguishing mark of Jesus Christ, the ultimate proof that He is God, the true Messiah and Savior of the world, is His power over death, which power was demonstrated not only in His own resurrection with unmistakable, inarguable finality, but a power which was demonstrated in His ability to raise others from the dead.
3. (:53-54) Commanding Life
“And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.
He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Child, arise!’”
4. (:55) Restoring Her to Full Functioning
“And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately;
and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.”
MacArthur: Here is the great power of Jesus, just astonishing power to create life. And here at the same time is the tender touch of Jesus. And here at the same time is the instruction of Jesus about the normalcy of life. This is the magnificent reality of Jesus’ miracles. There’s nothing bizarre, fantastic, over the top, out of the ordinary in what is being done here. This is just the power of Jesus expressed with the most dramatic supernatural results to produce the most normal kind of life. Just as His great creative power began it all in the original creation, He has power to raise dead people.
5. (:56) Limiting the Report
“And her parents were amazed;
but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.”
But what if Jesus does not choose to deliver us from our crisis situation in the manner in which we are requesting? Despite the fact that we know that He cares for us; and we know that He has all power and authority.
Then our testimony must be that of Jeremy Camp: I Still Believe!
“I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
even when I don’t see, I still believe!”
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
G. Campbell Morgan: The great Bible teacher, G. Campbell Morgan, lost his firstborn daughter. Forty years later, preaching on the story of Jairus, he said,
I can hardly speak of this matter without becoming personal and reminiscent, remembering a time forty years ago when my own first lassie lay at the point of death, dying. I called for Him then, and He came, and surely said to our troubled hearts, “Fear not, believe only.” He did not say, “She shall be made whole.” She was not made whole on the earthly plane. She passed away into the life beyond. He did say to her, “Talitha, cumi,” “little lamb, arise”; but in her case, that did not mean, stay on the earth level. It meant that He needed her, and He took her to be with Himself. She has been with Him for all those years, as we measure time here, and I have missed her every day; but His word, “Believe only,” has been the strength of the passing years. (Jill Morgan, A Man of the Word [Baker], pp. 82-83.)
Paul expresses our guaranteed victory in Jesus Christ in these terms in Romans 8:31-39
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”