Sermon: Barry McWilliams Christ Church 94/05/15

"Through rough waters" from Luke 8:22-9:2

Faith casts out Fear

Luke's teaching miracles: These four miracles [Luke 8:22-56] happened in one day (much to learn in the contrasts) Purpose of these miracles: These committed disciples are about to be sent (9:1,2) - and needed lessons in faith (trust, not fear) when encountering afflictions - encountering the world!


Jesus is "steering their course" - Vs. 1; He needed to get away - The night after Jesus began his teaching in Parables -Mark 4:35 Now evening - Jesus is tired after a long day of teaching - fell asleep quickly on a cushion.


The sleeping savior and the sudden wind squall (whirlwind - Mk & Lk Sea quake Mt) Sea of Galilee 13 x 7.5 600' below sealevel in a depression surrounded by hills especially steep cliffs to the east. Of nearby Mt Hermon (9,200) cool air currents rush through narrow passages colliding with warm air over lake - creating furious waves (12') easily swamping a boat.

"Master! Master!" - the panic of the disciples - [Squalls like this common on Galilee - However these experienced fisherman terrified - it must have been bad!!] - yet Jesus is sleeping through it - they were compelled to wake Him.

Three Gospels:

What were they afraid of? - Natural forces beyond their control - Jesus asleep
Caught off guard ?- a test from the Lord - Why did they hesitate while trying to deal with the storm themselves? Had they lost sight of being with Jesus? Accusing Jesus of not caring! Of being unaware of their needs! The sea is often in Scripture representative of the restless and sinful world - prevailing against the church - but unable to sink it beause Christ is in it. Jesus Rebuked the wind and water - and there was an incredible instantaneous calm!! Not even a ripple!

FEAR 2: THE LORD in their midst:

Jesus questions their faith both before and after He stilled the storm

[what is Jesus getting at here? Their recent fear (of the storm) - is now their present fear (of the Lord) Who is this? What kind of man is this? (sleeping too human??) - One fear gives way to a new fear - The fear that our weak faith might be insufficient in the presence of God. This new fear not inconsistent with faith - Perfect love drives out fear - with Jesus in the same boat.

Who is in control? Jesus steering the course - with Him in the boat (rough waters) : evils (tribulations) of life inevitable. The power of Jesus to bring us through them - place and role of faith.


The howling tempest and hysterical desciples; the screaming demoniac, clamoring demons, terrified pigs, frightened populance contrasted with the calm Savior whose very words are POWER!!

[Luke - A man with three hopeless situations. Hopelessly possessed; Hopelessly ill, hopelessly bereaved.]

[Probably still dark as they arrived. A second "storm" about to break even as they reached the shore. (It appears that they returned later to the other side of the lake and two more miracles would take place before the day was over),

FEAR 3: THE DEMONS Fearing God's judgement

Gerasene - the Gentile borderlands - a narrow beach, steep clifts, tombs - and an immediate confrontation with the demonic [they escaped the sea only to face their "worst nightmare"!!] - a hopelessly possessed man (Matt indicates another as well) Naked, violent, living in the tombs, all attempts to restrain insufficient - travellers feared him (Matt) he was violently self destructive (Mk) Vss 28; 31- a army of demons within - and they fear Jesus too - but because they know who he is. (cf 25)

The nature of demonic possession - a key passage [Satan's counterfeit incarnation??] Disharmonies in the inner life - Sometimes, but not always mental illness - demon possession rampant in Jesus day (dark age) - What of today? Myth or reality? Letting Satan control.

The "demonic realm" enountered in the obsession with violence in our world - not just in the Bosnia's & Rwanda's - but everywhere we look in our cultures. The insanity of drugs, promiscuity. the painful inner world of men's psyches seen through the eyes of the artist - the metallica T-shirts; the screams of alternative music and rap; the vicarious chills of Freddy Krueger and the Terminator. The desperate self destruction of Curt Cobain.

A supernatural "storm" breaks in confrontation with the Lord - "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg of you, don't torture me!" Resisting Jesus' efforts to cast him out--- They begged Him repeatedly not to order them into the Abyss. They begged Jesus to let them go into the large herd of pigs, and he gave them permission - they went into them and they rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. (cf above the disciples feared drowning) a LARGE drowned herd of pigs - Mark says there were 2,000 - Why did Jesus allow it? The self-destructive nature of the demonic - But they can't escape Jesus - This is a part of Gospel mission ---Acts 26:18


The pig's keepers were in trouble now - rushed off to tell what happened - people came quickly to see - and what did they find? A substantial loss of property. A hopeless maniac delivered, in his right mind, clothed, and they were afraid?!?.

Another reaction of fear - the countrymen - at seeing the maniac sane, dressed Vs 35-37 They too feared - A power over which they have no control. Superstitious fear. Things they didn't understand. That they might have to give up practices or possessions. Fear that Jesus may actually change hearts and lives. (contrast vs 25)

So they asked Jesus to leave the country - However Jesus left them a missionary - the one set free!! He begged to go with Jesus. Vs 38, 39 (cf Mark 5:20) (He was Turned down by the Savior - cf the demons vs 32 who weren't)

The Lord, calm in the midst of these tempests - whether natural or supernatural
His church in the boat with him - trusting in his power alone to overcome -
being set into the world (9:1,2)
Faith in His power should overcome all our dispair and fears.

Some Notes: Four miracles all in one day - (Matt & Mark rearranged the events - Luke doesn't usually arrange things chronologically - but here he does!!) - focused on disciples - the necessity of tribulation

From Wilcock: 3 periods of miracles -

  1. For the crowds, Striking examples of the power of Jesus over the power of evil, whether in the minds, bodies or circumstances of men
  2. Blessings to concerned enquirers - those prepared to receive, listen and obey.
  3. Challenges to commited followers - in the same boat - his disciples.

All concern the evil in the world, especially as it affects the ordinary life of men. (aka tribulation) Its necessity. not free from normal ills of life (cf 9:22-23, acts 14:22. Jesus was in control of the whole chain of events in this passage - Jesus forces them to confront the storm, the madman, an invalid, a corpse. cf 1 Peter 4:12

Christians must learn to confront trouble. the conquest - who overcomes? All the disciples did was cry for help. How? be with Jesus we need to know he is present with us - here and now! He also knows our past and future. He knows we should come here. and how good will come out of the evil that befalls. Jesus may not give the kind of victory we expect - but He will overcome trouble if we ask him.

The purpose 9:1-2; 10:1 preparation "the miracle that the church should both embody and proclaim is the power to cope with the evils of life. - neither free from tribulation, nor helpless in tribulation, but victorious over tribulation." 2 Cor 1:3-4

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