Jesus Calms the Storm
The Healing of Two Demon-possessed Men
In his sermon, Jesus, Power over the Natural, MacArthur says....
The miracles were foretastes of kingdom power. When He healed the sick He was giving a preview of a glorious kingdom where there would be no sickness. When He raised the dead He was giving a preview of a glorious kingdom where there would be no dying. When he calmed the waves on the sea He was previewing a glorious kingdom where natural elements would never be out of control. When He cast out demons He was previewing a kingdom where there would be no demonic activity at all. When He spoke the truth He was previewing a kingdom where there would be no lies, but only truth. When He manifested His holiness He was previewing a kingdom where there would be righteousness and that's all. You see everything He did was to say to man, "I am the one who can reverse the curse. I am the one who can bring back sovereignty to man in a glorified eternal kingdom."
One point MacArthur makes in this sermon is that in this case, the word disciples, does not mean specifically the twelve. In fact, it does not even necessarily mean believers. It means learners who were sitting under His teaching. And they were likely made up of some who believed, some who were intrigued and curious, and some who did not believe. And they all witnessed the miracle of Jesus calming the storm.
And the storm that came was a violent one, far above the ordinary and the people were panicked. But Jesus was not. Jesus, in His humanity, was extremely weary and He was sleeping - peacefully with full trust in the Father's care no matter His earthly circumstances. And out of desperation, the men wake Him, hoping He can do something about the storm.
Doesn't it sometimes takes us reaching a point of desperation before we reach out to God? But often, even then, we accuse Him of a lack of love.
In Mark 4 we see this response... “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Such a question truly shows a lack of faith and a misunderstanding of the love of God.
And Jesus' reply? “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
If you believe in God's love and God's power you can weather any storm. Number one you know God cares about you and number two you know He can handle the situation, right? That's all you need to know. God loves me and God has the power to deliver me. That's it! And they were questioning whether He cared, and they were questioning whether He was able, and He says, "Oh ye of little faith."
What else does Jesus have to do to prove His love and prove His power? He's just done miracle after miracle out of love and compassion!
We do the same thing. We marvel at the amazing things God has done - both in biblical times and even for those around us - but when it comes down to our own personal situation, suddenly we doubt God's love and we doubt His power. And that results in worry, anxiety and fear.
But despite their lack of faith, He speaks. That's it. He speaks. And at His voice the furious storm stills instantly and the sea becomes as glass. Amazing, supernatural power. Complete and utter control over nature. This is the God we serve. This is the God who lives in your life.
And what was the people's response? They marveled and were amazed. In fact, Mark says they. were. terrified. Terrified! They were even more afraid than they had been of the storm. What's more terrifying than a storm? Realizing that you are standing in the presence of One who is so powerful He can control that storm. Realizing that you are standing in the presence of the living God.
you would be so overwhelmed with holiness if you were to stand in His presence. These disciples knew that God was there and the awesomeness of it was terrifying. They were unmasked. The omniscient one could read every thought, knew everything in them. They were in the presence of God....
Same Jesus Christ that stilled the sea is the one that keeps all those atoms moving in your body, the one that keeps this earth whirling in space, the one that keeps this universe in balance. That same Jesus Christ will one day come and set up His eternal kingdom. The question is will you be a part of that kingdom by faith?
Then we come to the miracle of Jesus healing the demon possessed men.
Angels, both heavenly angels and fallen angels (demons) are incredibly strong. Man does not have the capacity to deal with them easily. But Jesus does.
When the demons see Him coming they know exactly who He is and (according to the Mark passage), they fall on their knees in front of Jesus. They worshiped Him! Even though they hate Him, they know exactly who He is and they are forced to worship Him because of His power. They even know some of the redemptive plan - they know the timing is wrong, that it is not yet time for them to be chained for a thousand years before being cast into the abyss. They know that He is Jesus, the Son of God. And they knew He would cast them out of the men, it was inevitable.
And, once again, Jesus speaks. Simply speaks. And deals with those powerful demons with absolute power, authority and ease. That's what's so amazing - He does it easily. Instantly. Totally. Easily. And He allows the demons to go into the pigs, likely as proof of the miracle. So everyone can see that He cast out the demons and where they went. So it would be indisputable.
And how did the people react?
MacArthur says... When unholy men face a holy God they are in terror.....They couldn't tolerate Jesus because of His perfection. They couldn't tolerate Him because of His absolute holiness. He was so far beyond them that He unmasked them, that He showed the stupidity of their own lives....They saw Him, they saw the power, they were absolutely panicked in awe of God. Instead of falling at His feel in worship they said, "Get out. Go away. We don't want you." People say, Oh if you could just see the miracles you'd believe. Listen, the people who saw the miracles didn't believe. They nailed Him to a cross and they'd seen miracle after miracle after miracle after miracle. They still didn't believe. That just made them hate Him more and more and more and more. People think today that if they can just show everybody a pile of miracles everybody will believe. No, because some people when exposed in the presence of the awesomeness of holy God will literally run because they love their darkness.
They were terrified and demanded that He leave. But God was gracious to them. Both the Mark and Luke passage tell us that the healed man wanted to go with Jesus but Jesus wouldn't let him. Instead Jesus left the people one lone missionary as living proof of His mighty power in their midst. Isn't it amazing how God extends grace even to those who don't want it?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Matthew 9:1-13