This is a very full chapter and we take up the account in Luke 8 v 22 where Jesus and the disciples are in the boat on Galilee when the storm of wind comes down on the lake. Jesus is asleep, the boat begins to fill with water, the disciples wake him ‘Master, master we perish,’ (Mark 4v38 tells us they said ‘don’t you care that we perish?’) ‘Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, he commanded them and they ceased’ (Mark says ‘there was a great calm’) and we hear the disciples question (Luke 8:25) ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
The answer to their question was and still is, a unique man, the like of which had not been seen before and hasn’t been seen since: for he was then, and is now, the only born Son of God.
Family and neighbours didn’t know that Jesus was the Son of God:
Think about it, in Israel, in their land, in their midst was the Son of God and he was for the most part unknown. Among them was a man 30-33 years old who had never sinned. His own family, his 4 half-brothers and his half-sisters (Mark 6v3), didn’t know who his Father was. Mary and Joseph knew, but they could not let their other children know, it would cause a pressure for them to know. So Jesus grew up among them and they didn’t know who his real Father was, nor did anyone in the village of Nazareth. After he was baptised and began his ministry his family said he was beside himself, and were offended by him (Mark 3v21). The people of Nazareth tried to kill him (Luke 4v29) they had never known or realised who he really was, and still didn’t.
All the time, day-by-day he had been treading that seemingly lonely road: a road of self-denial that no other had succeeded in. But he was not alone, the Father he loved and wanted to please, whose will he put first, was always with him, and that was surely the key to his success, his love of his Father and awareness of His presence. If only we could always remember God’s presence and that of Jesus, how much closer to them would we be.
So few knew Jesus was the Son of God:
John Baptist now in prison knew who Jesus was, he had been given the sign of the spirit descending in the form of a dove and bare witness to it, and those who were there when he baptized Jesus should have known, for the voice came from heaven ‘Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.
Some of the early disciples had confessed it of him, in tomorrow’s reading where Jesus asks his disciples ‘Who do men say that I the Son of man am?’ and then to the disciples ‘who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answers ‘Thou art the Christ of God’ (Luke 9v20) ‘the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16v16), but so few knew.
Yet the evidence was there for all to see:
For God gave not the spirit to him by measure, He had given all things into his hand (John 3v34) and the works that he did were witness to the identity of his Father. (John 5v36). Here in our chapter in Luke there is one who knew, he is typical of many who were mentally ill, somehow they knew, they understood his presence, they confessed him openly. Mark’s gospel says when the man saw Jesus he ran to him. He ran and Luke tells us he fell down before him and cried out, and with a loud voice said, ‘what have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not’. Yes, Legion knew. Jesus asked him ‘What is thy name?’ and he said ‘Legion for we are many’ because many devils were entered into him. Jesus had been sent to cure him and to calm his troubled mind and he commanded, he commanded them to come out of the man, and when they asked to be sent into the swine he suffered (allowed) them to enter.
It left Legion clothed and in his right mind (Luke 8:35). Only when we allow Jesus to remove our demons, to remove the guilt of our sins by our faith in him and his sacrifice, by our running to him, by our confession of him, thou Son of God most high, only then will we be clothed and in our right mind. How blessed we are to know that our faith in him, and our baptism into his saving name, these are the things that God sees and accounts to us for righteousness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1v9). We are clothed with his righteousness.
Next we meet Jairus, the ruler of the Synagogue. His important position was the last thing in his mind now, because his ‘one only daughter’ was ill and at the point of death. It says in Luke 8v40 they were all waiting for Jesus, and Jairus, in particular, would be. He came and fell down at Jesus’ feet and besought him to come and lay his hand upon her that she may live, for she was at the point of death. How anxious he would be, and (Matthew 9v19) Jesus arose and followed him.
We read what follows, there is a crowd and all are following Jesus and Jairus when Jesus stops, someone had touched him. How could he tell, how did he distinguish between the crowd and a woman with faith. Well the truth is that Jesus and his Father can always distinguish faith, it’s what they are all about, it’s the purpose of life, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11v6).
At his baptism Jesus had been empowered by God with His Spirit, he had wrestled with its possession in the wilderness to be sure he would use it only as His Father wanted, and now he was using it in that way. The woman had suffered 12 years; she had spent all her living on physicians, and was no better. She heard of Jesus and thought ‘if I may but touch his garment I shall be made whole’. So she came to Jesus and touched him and was healed immediately. Immediately she felt in herself that the blood was stopped and Jesus felt in himself that virtue (power) was gone forth from him. Faith in the Son of God for healing is recognised, we know that too don’t we? And how glad we are he can remove sin. ‘Daughter be of good comfort: thy faith has made thee whole, go in peace’.
Jesus would also know the thoughts going through the troubled mind of Jairus, which were made worse by the news that his daughter had died (Mark 5v35), and Jesus immediately says to him ‘Fear not, believe only, and thy daughter shall be made whole’. Another one with a troubled mind, coming to Jesus, believing he could heal and now being asked to believe he could raise the dead. These words of Jesus would be his only comfort. And so they came to the house and to those weeping Jesus says ‘Weep not she is not dead but sleeps’ and they laughed at him with scorn. They knew she was dead but the one there ‘working the works of God’ knew that the days are coming when ‘all that are in the graves will hear his voice’ and here was to be the proof of it. He took the parents and his three close disciples into the room and took the maid by the hand and said ‘maid arise’ and she arose straight away. She was dead but there was no resisting the voice of command of the Son of God, she rose and they gave her to eat. We know of those we have loved in the faith who are fallen asleep (are dead) but we know also that the day will come when they will be commanded by the same voice to come forth, and they shall.
Jesus the Son of God:
He commanded the wind and sea and they obeyed, he commanded the unclean spirits and they left Legion, he commanded the dead girl’s body and she came to life.
Week by week we remember his life and the sacrifice of that life of the Son of God, we remember, we bring him into our minds as we think about our own lives and circumstances. It brings peace to our troubled situations, it brings calm to our troubled minds, it brings comfort to know that God’s will, shown through His Son is to calm, heal, comfort and finally to raise us because we recognise that he has the answer to all life’s problems, in him is life eternal.