Sisters and brothers,
Good morning, church, and happy Lord’s Day. Here are links to a few songs Pete sent me to help you as you worship individually and as families:
Our Only Hope is You (Acoustic) https://youtu.be/iHHovnxFprA
Spirit of God (Acoustic) https://youtu.be/SV5h3Cce1_o
Judge of the Secrets (acoustic) https://youtu.be/nrW90vO9gIA
Look in Luke 8:22-56 as we think about Jesus power to calm all our fears. This is a time when fear can overtake even God’s people. Even though things like the coronavirus happen from time to time in history, most of us have never had to deal with anything like it. In Luke 8, Jesus revealed His power over the things we fear most. Whatever it is we fear today, I want to tell you that there is Someone greater than the things you fear. There is no fear that we have that He cannot help us continually overcome. He is more powerful! In Luke 8, Jesus shows His power over nature, demons, disease and death. For those who are His children, realizing this can help us when we are afraid. Realize also this, that to be a believer does not mean that you do not fear. It means you can take your fears, every single one of them, to the Lord. And there are times when we have to do that multiple times as day, especially in this crisis. I hope you will grab hold of the truth that we find in Luke 8: Jesus Christ’s omnipotent power helps us overcomes our every fear.
Look how Christ Jesus’ omnipotent power can calm our fears.
Nature itself submits to the commands of Jesus (Vs. 22-25)
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
When God moved Israel out of Egyptian bondage, he showed his power over nature. He turned the Nile into blood, brought frogs, lice, and flies upon the Egyptians, parted the Red Sea, made water come out of rocks, made the sun stand still. God showed His power over nature. Jesus, God the Son, showing He was the originator of true freedom and the new covenant, and showing He was God in the flesh in this chapter, shows His omnipotent power over nature by speaking to the wind and the waves and immediately calming them. Nature is subject to His command now and always.
Are you afraid of things you have absolutely no control over like nature? Jesus’ disciples were afraid they were going to drown and cried out to him. When He spoke and calmed the sea and the waves, they discovered another fear, a reverent fear of the One whom they were getting to know better and better. Even the wind and the waves obey Him. Nature itself submits to the commands of Jesus.
See a second reason Christ’s omnipotent power can calm our fears.
Demons themselves must obey Jesus (Vss. 26-39)
26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
Jesus has power over all the forces of hell. Remember what He told Peter when Peter confessed faith in Jesus, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” When God was delivering the Israelites, most people don’t understand that the ten plagues were all a challenge to the false Egyptian deities. God was showing that His power was greater than every other spiritual force in the universe. In this most severe challenge by demons (the multiple legion of demons), Jesus commands them, and they must leave! Jesus shows His power over the demons of hell and shows His power over all the forces of evil.
We have become preoccupied with the forces of hell in our time. People talk about things like Zombie apocalypse. They flirt with these evil themes and elevate unknowingly the powers of evil, even when they claim to not believe in evil. But evil is real, and the forces of evil are real. However, believers must always remember that demons must submit to Jesus Christ. Remember 1 John 4:4 tells us this truth: “Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.” Demons themselves must obey Jesus.
Thirdly, Jesus overcomes are fears in this.
Disease is overcome by Jesus (Vss.40-48)
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
We read about this woman who had spent all her resources on physicians, and none were able to help her. For twelve years she had a continual discharge of blood and had found no relief. Because of this continual flow of blood, she would have been considered continually religiously unclean. She would not have been able to worship with God’s people because anyone she touched would have been considered unclean. Her disease had not only affected her physically but spiritually, socially and emotionally as well. Disease sometimes does that. It cuts you off from people and can make you feel like you are cut off from God.
But she had faith. She thought, if I can only touch Jesus, I will be healed. When she did touch him, she was healed. She did not want anyone to know what she had done. Maybe she knew that if she touched someone, they would be considered unclean. However, if an unclean person touches Jesus, the unclean person becomes clean! Jesus wanted her to come forward because He ultimately has no secret followers. Jesus did not force her out for Himself, but for her own sake. Jesus wanted to do more than heal her. Jesus wanted her to know Him.
There is no disease that Jesus is not able to conquer. That does not mean He will, but He can. You can come to Him and ask Him to work, and He always will. There are times that He will heal physically. There are times that He will not heal physically. There is never a time that He will not help, strengthen and sustain. Disease will be and is overcome by Jesus.
But there is one final fear that all of us will face that Jesus is able to overcome.
Death itself is conquered by Jesus (Vss. 49-56)
49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
This was Jairus’ only daughter, his only child. Jesus could not go to her rapidly enough to suit the anxiety of Jairus. But in the middle of this urgent journey Jesus stops to help the woman in the crowd, and he heals her. But as soon as the woman was pronounced saved and whole, word came to Jairus that his daughter had died. R.C.H. Lenski wrote:
“A woman just this minute Jesus omnipotently healed. Jesus on the way to the child, but all too late, too late! Death outran Jairus, and death had won the race…The matter of going to Jesus as a last report had, most likely, been discussed before Jairus left home. All had agreed that Jesus should be called. All, too, in a way at least, believed Jesus could restore the girl if he could reach her before she passed away. But none of them even for a moment entertained the thought that Jesus could restore the child after she had died.”
Jesus then helped Jairus in the moment his faith might be crushed. “Have no fear; only go on believing and she shall be saved.” And Jesus stepped in and told the crowd that the child was only sleeping. To any other person, she was dead. But to God the Son she was only asleep. He stepped into the room where her dead body lay and was laughed at by those who knew she was dead. Peter, James, and John, and the girl’s parents witnessed Jesus saying to the girl, “Little girl, arise” and saw her sit up perfectly healthy. The One who said about Himself, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die,” [John 11:25-26 (NIV)] raised her from the dead on that very day showing Himself to be greater than death itself. Death itself is conquered by Jesus. The One who came out of the tomb never to die again is able to conquer the fear of death for all who will trust in Him.
Jesus has conquered death for us. He rose from the grave, and all who believe in Him will be with Him forever. Death will not conquer us because Jesus has conquered death! Believe in Jesus and trust and live life for Him.
As fear surrounds us even right now, know that Jesus is greater than your fears. Jesus has the power to overcome every fear you will ever face. Jesus’ power is greater than nature, demons, disease and death. Jesus Christ’s omnipotent power overcomes our every fear. Continually take all your fears to Him today and every day.
I hope these thoughts will strengthen and comfort you on this Lord’s Day as we worship our God and Savior.
Love you and praying with and for you,
Pastor Bob Ray, East Madison Baptist Church
Various scripture passages
Thoughts from Mary and Joseph between the time Gabriel visited Mary and the shepherds came to see the Babe in the manger.
John 1:14; Luke 2:15-17, 29-30; Matthew 2:11; John 1:29; Luke 23:42-43; Luke 23:42-43; 1 John 1:1-3; 1 John 3:1-2
Believers will see the One they have yearned to see since they have received the forgiveness Jesus purchased for them with His blood. Believers will see the One they have trusted with their lives, the One who saved them and made them His children!
Luke 2:41-52, John 6:38-40, John 8:38-44
How did Jesus relate to his earthly and heavenly fathers, and what can we learn from His comments on fathers?
The story of Christmas forever remains the story of the greatness of the only One providing salvation to the world, Jesus Christ
God often works in, for and through the outcast of the world to glorify His name.
Oftentimes because many of us are so familiar with the Christmas story, and it can feel sentimental and nostalgic. We need fresh eyes to see it anew with all of its shock value.
Christ Jesus’ bodily resurrection establishes that He will rule and reign forever.
Continually seek to understand God as He really is and His Word as it really is instead of what you want it to be.