It was such a peaceful drive to our destination with three kids in the back of the van—until it wasn’t. About an hour into the drive sarcasm escalated to little physical jabs at each other until the words of authority came from the front seat, “CALM DOWN”! “Be quiet. Be still. Don’t make me come back there!” I heard the same words from my parents when my brother and I amused ourselves by fighting in the back seat. “He crossed my line!” “She’s breathing in my space!” How silly, right? We amuse ourselves with doing evil when good escapes our thinking.
Sometimes in the midst of ministry, a sudden, unexpected storm of doubt seeps into our being. Anxiety blossoms into full-on stress mode. We begin to blame others for doing well as we struggle with our part of what God gave us to do. We begin to sarcastically make fun of each other, jab at each other’s abilities, which leads to a storm of broken relationships. These storms are presented by evil and we fall for it and run with it! I can hear God, our Father in heaven calling out to all of us, “CALM DOWN!” “Don’t make me come down there again!”
These are just some of the thoughts that are flooding into my mind as we read a very short, familiar passage that reveals the glory and power of Jesus, Son of God. Jesus says to God’s creation, “Be still!” Jesus not only commanded the sudden lake storm to be quiet, he REBUKED it according to this passage of God’s Word! The meaning of the word rebuke is; to express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions. Mm…
Wait, was Jesus rebuking the devil himself so calm waters would resume on their journey to the “other side”?
Matthew—The Law Fulfilled
Matthew 8:23-27, NLT
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
This sudden storm could have been the work of the enemy to stop the ministry on “the other side of the lake”. The other side of the lake was known as godless territory. Did the evil one launch his limited supernatural power to stop Jesus and his team from going there? Did he stir the waters and provide the winds to rock the boat of Jesus and his ministry team? Why not? He does that to us often!! Right?
Remember, always remember: Satan acts in violence. Jesus operates in peace.
We learn that Jesus, alpha and omega, Lord of all and over all, will always have the upper hand in with the enemy. Jesus was, is and always will be the final say and the Victor over our enemy. Jesus wins every time. The disciples run to Jesus and Jesus responds with “Calm down”. He rebukes nature that was stirred to delay their trip and nature calms down. The mission of Jesus proceeds in victory.
Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men
28 When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They came out of the tombs and were so violent that no one could go through that area.
29 They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”
30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”
32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
MINISTRY ON THE BEACH…
Jesus and his crew get to the other side of the lake and are met on the beach by men filled with legions of demons! Beth Moore, renowned Bible scholar, writes, “Our God is even God over the godless. Christ steps foot on their “turf” on the other side of the lake. The demons knew He carried His authority with Him. You see, as hard as the demonic world tries to keep Him out, no one can keep Christ out of any place He is determined to go. The one place He will not force His presence is the human heart. The demons that met Christ at the shore that day were far more wicked than ignorant.”
Moore goes on to say, “This idea is considered in most commentaries that the storm which occurred on the way “to the other side” could have been an attempt by the kingdom of darkness to discourage Christ’s arrival! We see a hint toward the possibility of this idea in the way Christ REBUKED the wind and waters almost as if they were disobedient. Could they (demons) have been temporarily acting under the instruction of the god of the air while the overruling Son of God was sleeping? Just food for thought, but it would help to explain why the demonic literally met Christ on the sore, knowing for certain who He was.”
The demonic filled men bowed to the new authority of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Jesus healed them.
“Who is this man?”, said the disciples. This man is Jesus, Son of God, who came to save the lost and rescue the perishing. If you need healing from the storms that are blowing through your life right now. Invite Jesus to enter into the stirred waters of your heart, mind and soul with the same prayer of the disciples, “Lord, save us!” He will rebuke what is dark and reveal the calm assurance of His glorious Light of Life. He will calm your heart in the storm with His everlasting, supreme peace. This is His gift to us for believing in Him. Believe and be saved.
Abba, Father in Heaven,
By Your Word we know you created all, you are in all and you control all on earth as it is in heaven. You overrule the darkness with your Light. You are the Victor over our consistent enemy. You fight the battles with us and for us. Yes, you are God and we are not. Thank you, Jesus for saving our souls so that we can be in holy relationship with you forever! Continue to grow us in and through the storms of life, helping us get to the other side!
In Jesus Name, Amen