First, raging waters are instantly calmed. Then a demon is cast out. Third, a woman is healed of her chronic hemorrhaging. And finally, a tween is resurrected from the dead. These rapid-fire miracles can all be found in Luke 8, along with the diverse responses of those who experienced it all.
The 12 disciples, in their usual confused fashion, respond with a question, “Who is this guy?” In a twist of irony, the demon answers their question: “Jesus, Son of the Most High God!” It turns out the demons have magnificently a
This underscores the fact that faith is more than good theology. Faith moves far beyond intellectual consent to data about Jesus. The demons cognitively grasped who Jesus was, but this is not faith. Faith is accepting the truth about who Jesus is as the basis for our whole lives. Faith is more than belief; it is trust.
After Jesus cast out the demon from a man who was causing all sorts of havoc, some fairly unpredictable and troubling things happen, threatening the norms local townspeople. Predictably, they asked Jesus to leave. They couldn’t handle Jesus being in town because living with a man who has that much power meant they must lose control.
Again, the townspeople show us that to respond in faith means more than believing Jesus has tremendous power. To respond in faith is to personally accept the presence of Jesus in your life and thus the loss of control that comes with his presence. Jesus’ unpredictable and irresistible presence has a tendency to disrupt the norm.
How about the man freed from the demon? All he desired was to be close to the man who freed him from his demon-possessed prison. He responded to Jesus in faith. He invited Jesus’ presence and influence and control into his life because he had seen that when Jesus is in the driver’s seat, life to the fullest is possible.
And then there’s the woman who had suffered from hemorrhaging for 12 years; no doctor or magician had been able to help. Her faith led her to believe that if she could get close enough to Jesus, if she could simply touch his garment, then she would be healed.
She desired proximity to Jesus… kind of like the man freed from the demon.
After she experienced Jesus’ unpredictable and irresistible power, how does she respond? “Falling down before Jesus, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed” (8:47).
She declared what Jesus had done for her…kind of like the man freed from the demon who “went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him” (8:39).
So the man freed from the demon and the healed woman got it. Not only did they know who Jesus is, they based their whole lives on him. Not only did they recognize and respect Jesus’ power, they invited his continuing presence into their lives. This sets them apart from the demons (whose theology was spot on) and the townspeople (who had no doubts in their minds about Jesus’ power).
The question being begged here is: how will you respond to Jesus? Will you simply cognitively consent to the data? Will you simply recognize and respect the power of Jesus? Or will you respond in 3-D faith that 1) Desires to be with Jesus, 2) Declares what Jesus is doing in your life, and 3) is Desperate for Jesus to do what only Jesus can do – that is, provide restoration, wholeness, freedom and life to the fullest?
Peter Little can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org