This story of a miracle, like many others recorded in the Bible, holds relevance for our lives. It begins with Jesus leading his disciples to cross the lake, eventually reaching the land of Gerasa, a Gentile territory mentioned in verse 26. This marks a pivotal moment in Jesus’ outreach to the Gentiles. The evangelism was thriving, with a multitude already following Jesus. Typically, in such situations, we might be inclined to stay put, but even though there still were countless deceased and demon-possessed seeking Jesus, he chose to move on. Jesus harbored a burning desire to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, a passion that he lived out and wished for his disciples to carry forward.
While reaching out to so many, what fueled Jesus’ dedication to expanding the territory of the mission? What was his driving force to keep moving forward?
In Luke 15, there are three parables – the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, the parable of the prodigal son – and they all culminate in joy, the joy of God, as Jesus says, “…there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.,” “…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” respectively in verse 7 and 10.
God finds joy when a lost sinner repents and returns to Him. This brings us to the purpose of a believer’s life – to please God, to be in His favor. What brings God the greatest joy? It is when one lost sheep is found. Jesus lived with this profound understanding. If we look across all the Gospels, we find that this was the central goal of Jesus’ life. Although the Jewish culture of the time wasn’t generalized for evangelizing or reaching out to others, Jesus’ life was a stark departure, as he grasped the true joy of God. He shattered the frame of prevailing thought and religion. The commission bestowed upon us is the great commission on this earth. While there may be numerous methodologies, the revival of our love for God must be the foremost.
As the disciples sailed, Jesus fell asleep on the boat. Suddenly, a violent storm descended upon the lake, threatening to capsize the boat and putting them in grave peril. The disciples promptly woke him up. This episode mirrors the challenge we encounter in our mission endeavors. When we embark on missions and seek to expand our reach, we inevitably face storms. The sea and its tumultuous waters symbolize the secular world.
Amidst this turbulence, we must keep our focus on Jesus. He was unafraid. We may consider this as quite natural, for he was the Son of God, to have the authority to calm the storm. However, Jesus’ word that comes afterward is worthy to note. Jesus speaks about the faith of the disciples. Luke even notes that they were in great danger, indicating that the storm was likely fierce enough to instill fear. Nevertheless, Jesus asserts that it’s a matter of faith. With faith, God empowers us to overcome all manner of dangers, no matter how dire. The astounding authority and power with which Jesus performed miracles are equally accessible to us. We, too, are capable of carrying out and experiencing these miraculous works of the Lord, in the Lord.