Luke 8 has some wonderful sections in it. So much so that we are going to talk about lots of the people in this chapter. If you haven't read Luke 8, yet, please don't miss out the all of Jesus' words written in this chapter.
One of the things I like about reading passages in larger chunks is that you see the bigger picture of Jesus life. As I read the stories of Jesus calming the storm, the demon-possessed man, Jarius' daughter and the bleeding woman I saw vividly the different reactions people had to Jesus.
As Jesus and his disciples were crossing over the Jordan, they encountered a storm. In a panic they woke up Jesus and told him that they were “going to die.” Jesus, of course, knew that they were not going to die and spoke to the storm and the waves; and they obeyed him. Then the disciples were amazed, and they got one more glimpse into the authority given to the man they were following. Here's what I find interesting, the disciples knew they were following the Christ, but up to this point, they hadn't seen him demonstrate his power and authority to personally & physically save their lives. They had personal encounters with him, but hadn't “needed” him to the extent that they needed him in this moment. And so they didn't have faith in him to this extent.
Next we read about the demon-possessed man. Here, again, we see Jesus' authority demonstrated as he cast out a legion of demons from a tortured man. After this miraculous event we read two very different reactions. First the man from whom the demons were cast out wants to follow Jesus and become a disciple, but Jesus tells him to stay where he is and tell the people in his town about all that God has done for him. The witnesses of this event and those hearing second-hand about this event have a completely different reaction. These people, rather than seeing the authority of Jesus and wanting to submit to it, want him to leave them alone. His power is just a little to scary for their lives. They have just seen a demon-possessed man healed, pigs throwing themselves off a cliff and then the possessed man get dressed and sit down and talk “in his right mind.” This is just a little too much drama for their town, and so they ask Jesus to leave.
Next, we meet up with Jesus on his way to heal Jarius' daughter. Along the road, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touched his cloak. She doesn't ask anything of Jesus. She tried to be discrete, but in her need and deep desire for healing, she touches his cloak knowing that just one touch will have the power to heal her. Jesus, stops knowing what has happened and tells this woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”
Finally, we get to Jarius' house where the little girl has now gone from sick to dead. Jesus tells the people in the house that the girl is not dead, but just sleeping. Not understanding, the family laughs at him, knowing the girl is actually dead. Then they watch in amazement as Jesus grabs the little girl by the hand and says, “My child, get up!” AND SHE DOES!!!
So here is my question to you and to me today. Who are you most like in these stories?
1. The disciples: who although they followed Jesus and had witnessed miracles in others' lives they were doubtful of the power and authority he would display in their personal lives.
2. The crowd of the demon-possessed man: these folks weren't ready for Jesus' power and authority in their lives. They saw him as a bit too powerful for their lives. Rather than be amazed at Jesus healing power, they were a little freaked out and asked him to leave.
3. The woman with the bleeding power: this woman had enough faith in Jesus that all she wanted was to touch his cloak. She didn't need to bother him, she just needed his healing power. She had faith enough to trust that he could heal her.
4. The family and friends of Jarius: these men and women also underestimated the power of Jesus and even laughed at him when he said he could heal the dying daughter. They had given up hope that Jesus had enough power to heal this little girl.
Who are you? Do you acknowledge Jesus power in other people's lives, but are doubtful that he is able to take care of the need you have in your life? Do you recognize the power Jesus has, but you're just not ready for that kind of power and authority to take over your life? Do you trust him to be all that he says he is and you know that the smallest encounter with Jesus can heal your heart and soul? Or finally, are you like the family and friends of Jarius, and you think your situation is too far gone for Jesus to turn it back around?
I pray today, that Jesus will increase our faith so that we can accept him for who he is. I pray that he will fill us with the faith to believe that what he has done for others he can do for us and that our situation is not too big of a mess for him to handle. He is able! Have faith!