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Can Peace be found in Chaos?

December 9, 2018 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series: Luke

Topic: Peace Verse: Luke 8:22–8:25

“Can Peace Be Found in Chaos?”

Luke 8:22-25

Theme: Jesus’ display of divine authority astonishes everyone who turns to Him in their need.

Introduction: When sin entered the world, creation itself became corrupted and cursed. The peace that once characterized the world was thereafter lost with a host of dire, immediate consequences including disease, depravity and natural disasters. The restoration of the peace – with peace with God as its prerequisite – is the mission of redemption. Creation itself groans awaiting the glory of God in redemption – cp. Romans 8:19-21

Of course, this peace would only be made available through the Promised One who would come and restore peace. He is called the Prince of Peace in the prophetic Scriptures – Isaiah 9:6. When this Promised One came, the angelic host announced that because of the glory of God coming to dwell among men, peace was being offered to men who please God through faith – Luke 2:14. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus displayed His desire to bring peace among men, but constantly encountered a lack of faith and thus peace remained elusive. Only when a person truly believes in Jesus Christ to save them is peace with God provided resulting in the peace of God in our circumstances – cp. Romans 5:1

This portion of Luke provides us with three exhibitions of God’s glory and its ability to bring peace to the corruption that sin produces: First, is this exhibition of the glory of God over creation to still a storm threatening the life of the disciples – vv. 22-25; Second, the exhibition of power over demonic torture and the deliverance of a man under great bondage – vv. 26-39; and, Third, the glory of God displayed in the raising of the dead daughter of Jairus – vv. 40-56.

In our text for today, the ability of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to bring peace is illustrated in the calming of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. As we will see, Jesus’ display of diving authority astonishes everyone who turns to Him in the hour of need.

I. God’s Purposes Are Not Always Predictable – 8:22

A. The Occupation with Life – v. 22

  • As this story picks up, we are taken to the evening hours after a completely full day – and due to Luke’s more “loose” arrangement of material, he merely states: “Now on one of those days Jesus …”
  • Mark informs us that it was actually on the evening that Jesus had been teaching various parables – including the parable of the sower – cp. Mark 4:35.
  • Matthew adds the further detail that they had dinner in Capernaum before Jesus proposes that they sail to the other side of the sea – cp. Matthew 8:5, 14, 18, 23
  • Here, Luke simply states that “Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they launched out.”
  • It appears that the day was like many days that the disciples had spent with Christ – busy with miracles, teaching, crowd control, meals, and a variety of duties to maintain the ministry of the Lord.
  • Their expectation was that their trip “to the other side of the lake” would be like every other that they had taken.
  • There was no anticipation, no indication that there would be the kind of dangers that they were about to face.
  • Mark adds the detail that there were other boats sailing with them – cp. Mark 4:36.

B. The Oblivion to Upcoming Challenges – v. 23

  • Interestingly, God typically does not allow us to see what is on the next page of our story – we walk by faith in Him … in His providence, compassion, loving-kindness, and faithfulness.
  • It seems that they were having a typical journey – “But as they were sailing along He fell asleep …”
  • Nothing extraordinary was happening, life seemed typical.
  • This is when we can be “blind-sided” by some trial that merely pops up – “… and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake …”
  1. This “fierce gale” [λαῖλαψ] – is a word used to describe a whirlwind or even hurricane force winds.
  2. This storm is described as having “descended  [κατέβη] on the lake” – a term that gives us a current meteorological term – “katabatic” or winds created by air flowing downhill due to temperature variations.
  • This storm is no ordinary squall – but a tempest so powerful that Matthew adds the detail that it caused the Sea of Galilee to appear to be shaking like an earthquake – Matthew 8:24 [σεισμὸς].
  • This became so “fierce” that “they began to be swamped and to be in danger” - their conclusion was that they were going to die – quite a conclusion for a group of men led by those who had grown up on this Lake as fisherman.
  • They went from a peaceful cruise across a lake to believing they were going to die – overwhelmed by their circumstances.

Application:

  • Reflect on you most recent major crisis – was it anticipated or a surprise?
  • What do you think can be done by believers to prepare to handle crises that pop up unanticipated?
  • Have you ever “blamed” God for circumstances that have tried you and your faith? What benefit or detriment did that produce in your trial?

II. God’s “Passivity” Exposes Our Dependency – 8:23-24a

A. The Assumption of God’s Disinterest – v. 23a

  • In the midst of their peril, they were incredulous that Jesus had “fallen asleep” and was completely oblivious to their distress.
  • We are told that “they came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!”
  • Some of them called Him “Master,” others called Him “Lord,” (Matthew 8:25) and in the chaos others called Him as “Teacher” (Mark 4:38) – none of them listening to each other, but each seeking to get Jesus to respond to their emergency out of His sleep.
  • In fact, in their approach to Him, their immediate conclusion was that Jesus didn’t care – cp. Mark 4:38
  • Their distress is caused by circumstances that had surfaced and their conclusion was that theirs was a “fait accompli” – that Jesus indication of going to the other side of the lake was impossible for them to complete.
  • This was an expression of a lack of confidence in God’s expressed purpose – Jesus intentions were being irreversibly countermanded by their circumstances.
  • Meanwhile, Jesus is exhausted yet untroubled by their circumstances.

B. The Awareness of Personal Inadequacy – v. 23b

  • As the storm began, they used their experiences as fisherman to “handle it” – but at some point, the severity of the storm grew so great that “they began to be swamped” [συμπληρόω] – a reference “to becoming full” – they were taking on water too quickly to bail and they were going to sink – cp. Mark 4:27.
  • Their sense of “danger” became hopelessness in their ability to navigate through this ferocious storm and they were “perishing!”
  • Their best efforts, nautical experience, and their sheer willpower to survive were inadequate and they faced that they were incapable of surviving given their circumstances.
  • So often, we encounter trials that we endeavor to handle on our own and soon become overwhelmed by the severity of our circumstances, inability to control outcomes, or properly avoid further complications to where we feel completely hopeless.

C. The Appeal for God’s Grace – v. 24a

  • Instead of concluding that all is lost, or that God doesn’t care, we ought to fall before the Lord with humility.
  • Here, the disciples decide that they have no alternative and they turn to Jesus and appeal to Him – “They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!”
  • As we already noted, their conclusion was that there was no way that they could overcome this situation and that it was a foregone conclusion that they were going to die.
  • Even as they approached Jesus, they didn’t believe that He could do anything, and they were doomed – they seemed to not want Jesus to drown while asleep.
  • But they appealed to Him to do something – they had seen Him do incredible things – healing, raising the dead, rebuking demons, and feeding thousands and perhaps he could pull something “out of His hat” to deliver them.

Application:

  • Most of us are disturbingly self-reliant … how does pride influence your struggle in trials?
  • Why do you believe that God waits for us to turn to Him before He provides deliverance in trials?
  • Have you ever accused God of absenteeism in the problems you face? How did you reconcile this misunderstanding?  
  • God’s Providence Provides Peace in Any Trial – 8:24b

A. The Exercise of Divine Authority 

  • With great simplicity, Luke describes what happened – “And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves …”
  • The word “rebuked” [ἐπετίμησεν] – conveys the idea of “expressing strong disapproval” with action or behavior.
  • Mark tells us that the actual words He spoke were “Hush, be still!” – cp. Mark 4:39
  • He called upon His creation to conduct itself in the manner that it ought – instead of displaying the rage of a fallen creation that groans under the influences of the presence of sin, it is to return to a state of peace and calm.

B. The Evidence of Divine Authority

  • To everyone’s absolute shock there was an immediate submission of the winds and the sea to His command – “the wind and the surging waves, … they stopped, and it became calm.”
  • “they stopped” [ἐπαύσαντο] is a simple Aorist tense, indicating that it was all done in one act – simultaneously the “wind … stopped”  blowing and the “waves … stopped” surging.
  • Someone might argue that it died down slowly and that it wasn’t really that much of a miracle, but the text goes on to say that Sea of Galilee “became calm.”  [γαλήνη] – “un unruffled surface on a body of water” – placid.
  • The astonishing, awe-inspiring result of Jesus command indicates that this was an unmissable miraculous result.
  • Jesus was able to take what the disciples through was an unsurmountable peril and exercise complete authority over it to His own glory.

Application:

  • Sometimes God answers our appeals for His power immediately and at other times He seems to delay – can you recall definitive answers to prayer when you have called out to God for His grace?
  • What does Jesus’ power over the wind and waves tell you about His authority over matters you encounter?
  • Are there situations in your life right now that create such anxiety that it would take a miracle to “work out?” Do you believe that God can bring peace to you in them or will He have to remove you from them?

IV. God’s Power Stirs the Fear of the Lord – 8:25

A. The Reproach for Faithlessness

  • Jesus “said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’”
  • Can you imagine the deafening silence on the water with no one able to muster an answer?
  • Their accusation levied toward Jesus that He didn’t care and that their situation was hopeless was completely inexcusable given all that they had seen Jesus do.
  • Jesus confrontation of their lack of faith was designed to teach them that they needed to trust Jesus for things – not only when it involved other people, but when they themselves were imperiled.
  • Even in the most severe and “hopeless” of circumstances the disciples were to trust Jesus and they hadn’t.

B. The Realization of the Presence of God’s Glory

  • As they realized their own sin of faithlessness and the profound glory that Christ possessed – outstripping anything that they had previously been willing to recognize, they were distressed.
  • They were in the presence of God Himself!
  • The only person that could do what Jesus had done was God Himself – even as numerous Old Testament passages demonstrated – cp. Psalm 65:7; 89:9; 104:5-7; 107:29-31
  • “They were fearful [φοβηθέντες] and amazed”  [θαυμάζω] – “the only thing they found more terrifying than the storm outside their boat was having the Creator and controller of the storm in it.”[2]
  • Yet, Jesus had delivered them –not only had He displayed His awesome power, but also His intimate compassion for them.
  • Even so, as we turn to Christ in our hours of need – the greatest of which is the tumultuous consequences that our sin brings – we find not only the power to deliver us from the peril of our sin, but the compassion to deliver us from the peril of our sin!
  • Jesus’ display of divine authority astonishes everyone who turns to Him in their need.

Application:

  • What causes people who encounter power of God to become frightened?
  • How is the fear of the Lord helpful in your life?
  • If you are not already, what would it take for you to be “impressed” with the divine authority of Jesus Christ?

 

 

[2] MacArthur, p. 213.

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