Calming of the StormPosted August 15th, 2012
by Richard Clark Jr.
The soothing lap of water against the side of the fishing boat and the rustle of the sail are the only sounds as Jesus and His disciples cross Lake Galilee, belying that it had been an unbelievable night.
The disciples had just come out of the worst storm they had ever been in. And several of the disciples were experienced fishermen, used to what Lake Galilee could throw at them. Now, as Jesus had just commanded, a great calm settled over the lake and peace enveloped the racing hearts of the disciples. And the Twelve are quiet, each man lost in thought. The contrast between the fierce storm and the calm is indescribable.
Jesus and His disciples aren’t the only ones out on the lake this night. Other little boats are following Jesus to the far side of the lake and their passengers are also wrapped in awed, quiet reverence. And soon the warm blush of early morning reveals the welcome approach of the lakeshore.
“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes” (Mark 5:1, NKJV).
Peter and John may have jumped off first to drag the boat up onto the edge of the beach, Andrew and James following to help secure the boat. Then the rest of the weary disciples eagerly leap ashore, thanking God to touch land again.
But as Jesus jumps off the boat, the peace shatters.
“And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit” (Mark 5:2). The man was “exceedingly fierce,” and no one could pass that way because of him (Matthew 8:28).
The lake is still calm, the light from the rising sun still warm and soothing, but again, a storm rages.
The mad man seems to fly at the group on the shore. A paralyzing horror holds them momentarily before the disciples flee. But Jesus does not move. Controlled by an unseen power the man lunges toward Jesus. The man’s emaciated frame is covered in fresh wounds from where he has cut himself with jagged rocks. But instead of attacking Jesus, the demon-possessed man falls down and worships Him! And in that instant, Jesus commands, “Come out of the man, unclean sprit!” (Mark 5:8).
At the sound of Jesus’ voice, the disciples turn and realize He didn’t follow their desperate flight. They listen, aghast, as Jesus speaks to the evil spirits who have held this man captive. Then, and only at Jesus’ permission, the demons are gone. Jesus’ supernatural peace returns and fills each person on the lakeshore.
A group of distant pig herders, who are straining to catch the action down by the water’s edge, suddenly experience the fury of the evil one. The demons enter and seize control of the herders’ prized possessions and the pigs fling themselves down the steep slopes from where they have been feeding and out into the placid lake.
“So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened” (Mark 5:14).
The herders flee in terror, telling everyone they meet about the astonishing events of that morning. Then the people flock out to the lake bluffs to see for themselves what exactly has taken place. As they arrive at the slopes where the pigs had been feeding, the people spot the unfamiliar boats on the beach and hurry to join the group encircling Jesus on the shore.
“Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine” (Mark 5:15-16).
The newcomers see and immediately recognize the man who was long the terror of that part of the country. He is sitting quietly at Jesus feet listening to Him. The Savior’s gentle, yet all-commanding voice bathes the man with words of life. The rescued man’s own face, voice, and bearing show a new dignity and intelligence, reflecting his Maker’s image.
The residents of the area know they are in the presence of a mighty power. But instead of welcoming Jesus to the region of Decapolis and asking Him to stay and help them, the people beg Jesus to leave their territory. For who knew what other calamities might befall them with this Man around, they reasoned. Though the miracle was surely not lost on the people of Decapolis, material gain had blinded them to what mattered most.
So, with a humble nod to their request, the One who had liberated the terror of the region, steps into the boat and the disciples prepare to cross the lake once more. The people in the other boats, who have followed Jesus, ready themselves to leave as well.
But the man whom Jesus set free can’t bear to have Jesus go.
“And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you’” (Mark 5:18-19).
What a heartbreaking scene at the water’s edge. The man who had been controlled by Satan now is being separated from the One who had freed him. But in God’s providence, the man’s pleas must go unanswered at this time. The Decapolitans are not ready to accept Jesus and Jesus does not stay where He is uninvited. But the people who ignorantly banish their Creator are not left without a witness.
The man who had been demon-possessed is now sent on a mission. Jesus tells him to go back to his home and friends and share the great things God did for him.
“And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled” (Mark 5:20).
No more was this man the terror of the region. Instead of running away in fear for their lives, people now undoubtedly sought him out. They wanted to hear from him the miraculous testimony of how God delivered him from the powers of evil that controlled him for so long.
Jesus’ disciples experienced two storms on that trip across Lake Galilee. And both were stopped at Jesus’ word.
Today, if a storm surrounds you or rages within you, remember–and claim–the promise Jesus gives us: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
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“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).