Read thru New Testament Devotional – April 2, 2017

April 2

 

Luke 8:22-56

Luke 8:22-25-Jesus and the disciples cross the Sea of Galilee in a boat and encounter a fierce storm along the way. The disciples were professional fisherman…they were accustomed to dealing with storms. And yet, this one was proving to be too much for them and the boat was about to be sunk. In the meantime, Jesus was calmly sleeping…so the disciples woke Him and told him that they were all about to die. Jesus spoke with authority (:24-“rebuked”) to the elements of nature, the wind and the waves, and calmed the storm. They were fearful and amazed.  He asked, "Where is your faith?"  What is interesting is that Jesus had told them, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake."  If Jesus says He is going to the other side...no storm on earth can stop Him.  Since they were in the boat with Him...they should have known that they too, were safe.

 

In order to rebuke something there must be the authority to do so. Notice how the rebukes of Jesus demonstrated His authority…

Rebuke (Verb and Noun):

primarily, "to put honor upon," then, "to adjudge," hence signifies "to rebuke." Except for 2Ti 4:2; Jud 1:9, it is confined in the NT to the Synoptic Gospels, where it is frequently used of the Lord's rebukes to

(a) evil spirits, e.g., Mat 17:18; Mar 1:25; 9:25; Luk 4:35, 41; 9:42;

(b) winds, Mat 8:26; Mar 4:39; Luk 8:24;

(c) fever, Luk 4:39;

(d) disciples, Mar 8:33; Luk 9:55; contrast Luk 19:39.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2008&t=NASB

 

Luke 8:26-39-(for a fuller explanation of this encounter see February 23, Mark 5:1-20) Jesus encounters a man possessed by demons (a Legion of them) in Gerasene (on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee). The man is so controlled by the demons that when Jesus asks him his name, he responds by saying that his name is “Legion”, signifying the number of demons that are in him. The demons knew that Jesus had authority over them and requested that they be allowed to enter a herd of pigs that were nearby. He allowed them to do so. They then charged the entire herd over a cliff and they died. The people who saw it happen reported it to the local inhabitants (who owned the pigs). Instead of recognizing Who Jesus was (even the demons had done this), they were upset over the death of their pigs and told Him to leave. The man who had formerly been possessed by the demons asked if He could follow along with Jesus. Jesus told him to go home and tell them "what great things God has done for you."...and he did so.

Luke 8:40-56-A man named Jairus approaches Jesus and requests that He come to his home. The only child that he had was his daughter…and now, she was dying. He is a “synagogue official”. As Jesus is going to his home the crowd became so impenetrable that He was having a difficult time making progress. Suddenly, a woman who had been sick with a hemorrhage for 12 years snuck up behind Him and touched His coat. Instantly, she was healed. Jesus knew that healing power had gone from Him and asked who it was that had touched Him. Peter seemed a little surprised that He would even ask such a question since the crowd was pressing in on them so tightly. Finally, the woman admitted it was her and Jesus told her, “your faith has made you well; go in peace”. While He is speaking with the woman, people arrive from Jairus’ home and tell them that his daughter has died. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” He arrived and told the people to stop crying because the little girl was not dead, only asleep. The people laughed (to scorn, to deride) at Him. He took Peter, John, James and the parents with Him and went to the girl. He brought her back to life…and told her parents to tell no one what had happened. It was still early in His ministry and He knew that the more word got out about what He was doing…the more of a target He would become for the religious rulers (they would feel threatened by Him).

If we aren’t careful we can easily miss an extremely important principle, here. Jairus, because of his position in the synagogue, was a very prominent person in the community. No one would be surprised that when he sent for Jesus that He quickly responded to his request. And after all, his daughter who was only 12 years old, was dying. Surely this would touch the hearts of every person that lived there. In fact, Peter seemed a little irritated (:45) that Jesus was slowing down on His way to the home of Jairus. Could anything, or anyone, be more important than this appointment? After all, this would be good for public relations: “Miracle Worker Heals Child of Local Leader”. On the other hand, there is this woman. She’s lost in the throng of people. No one even notices her. It isn’t until Jesus presses the crowd for the identification of who had touched Him that they are even aware that she is among them. On top of that…she has had a “hemorrhage” (an issue of blood) for 12 years. This would have made her ceremonially unclean and she would not have been allowed to even enter the synagogue for all of those years. In addition, by now, she would have become alienated from everyone else in the community because if they touched her they too would become ceremonially unclean. No one would want to risk that. So, it’s better to just stay away from her. Leave her alone. Leave her to her own. She’s a nobody. But notice, Jesus calls her “daughter”…the same tender word used of Jairus’ child. Why? Why did Jesus refer to her with this most loving of terms? I think that He was making a point. This woman was as important to Him as the daughter of Jairus. Their position in the community did not determine their significance to Him. Someone has said that God doesn’t play favorites. I disagree. I think that everyone of us is God’s favorite. Jesus is showing us that this woman, who was a nobody in the eyes of the community she lived in, was just as important to Him as anyone else…even the daughter of one of the most significant people who lived there (cf. Matthew 5:40,45).

Do you ever feel insignificant, lost in the crowd? Have you ever wondered if Jesus is even aware of what is going on in your life? Does He even know my name? Well, just ask this woman. Probably, for the rest of her life, she told the story of how one day, when she was at her wit’s end she took a chance. She took a chance on Jesus. She didn’t intend for Him to even know. She just believed. She had heard how He had healed others and she had enough faith in Him that if she could touch just the “fringe of His cloak” (Ryrie-8:44-“A tassel which a rabbi wore on his outer garment. The garment was draped over the back so that the tassel of one corner hung between the shoulder blades.”)…it didn’t even have to be Him, just the fringe…that she would be healed. But He knew when it happened. He knew about…her. It scared her at first…”she came trembling (terrified, afraid) and fell down”. Would He be angry? Would He take back her miracle! But the first word out of His mouth dispelled her fear…”Daughter…” Perhaps, no one had called her that for years. Perhaps, no one had called her at all for years. And now, Jesus stops everything that is going on just for her.

Take a chance on Jesus, today. Whatever it is that is troubling you…He knows. He is passing your way. Don’t let the crowds or business or fear stop you. Reach out and touch the hem of His garment. He will stop whatever is going on just for you. Your miracle is just an act of faith away.

Prayer: Lord, Your power is so evident here.  Please allow me to experience Your power in my life...and please let Your power move through me in the ministry that You have called me to.  I don't want to operate in my own strength, or ability, or knowledge.  God...I would rather have Your power move through one word from me, than no power and 10,000 words from me.  I must have Your power, or else all is in vain.  It is so senseless to try to do Your work...on my own. Please, Lord, help me to have complete faith in You; but still, help me to always marvel at You as the disciples did…”Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

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