by Tad Lindley
It was evening, and Jesus told his disciples to get in the boat and head across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus went to sleep, and the disciples did the sailing. Mark includes the detail that Jesus was sleeping back at the transom on a pillow.
What I find so odd about the pillow is that before too long, as they were sailing, a monstrous storm overtook them and the waves were breaking over the gunwales of the boat, and yet somehow, Jesus was there asleep on a pillow. At this point it had to be an extremely soggy pillow. And while he is sleeping, the men are frantically bailing the water out of the boat. Mentally they recognize that they might not live to see the sun rise in the morning.
Don’t you care, Jesus?
And so it was that they took stock of the great danger they were in and they realized that the 13th man on the boat was still fast asleep on his pillow. They woke him up saying, “Jesus, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
Of course he cares
Well, of course Jesus cares. In fact, I think during the whole storm, the Lord might have been pulling a stunt, laying there on that sopping wet pillow and pretending to be asleep waiting to see how long before the men would quit trusting in their own skills and ask for help. Finally he woke up. And he arose and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased and there was great calm, and he said unto them, “Why are you fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40)
First choice or last resort?
Notice that the disciples were at the brink of death before they called on Jesus. Instead of seeking him early on in their ordeal, they used Jesus as the last resort. How often do we do that? We wait until things are falling apart around us before we ask God to help. We need to start with Jesus. He needs to be our first choice.
Row, row, row your boat
Now if you read carefully you see that after the storm quit, the disciples found themselves somewhere out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in a flat calm. If you understand boats, you know that this means they had to row the rest of the way across to the other side. I bring this point up, because I want you to understand that when the disciples hit the beach on the other side, they had not slept all night, and they were exhausted.
Naked guy sprinting down the beach
So here they are, early in the morning pulling their boat up on the beach at Gadera and they look up the hillside and they see a wild, naked man running toward them. This is the last thing that they needed to deal with at this point. The maniac falls down at the feet of Jesus and begins to worship him. But then the demons within him regain control before Jesus casts them into a herd of pigs nearby.
The demoniacs bio
The Bible describes him as a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5:2-5) By the time Jesus was done with him, the Bible tells us that he was completely healed of the storm that had torn through his life. People who had known him before came and saw him sitting calmly with clothes on and in his right mind (Mark 5:15).
Prince of Peace
What fascinates me about the events of this evening and morning after, is that on one hand Jesus pacifies a massive storm that threatened to sink a whole fleet of boats, and then the next morning he casts the demonic storm out of a single man’s mind bringing him into a place of perfect peace. Jesus really is the storm chaser. Nobody can quell the storms of life like Jesus! If you are hungry for a greater peace in your life, I urge you to draw near to the Prince of Peace. Through repentance, water baptism in Jesus’ name, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can know a greater peace than you have ever known!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.