When Jesus Steps Ashore
When Jesus Steps Ashore
Words of Faith 6-8-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.  When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!"  For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"
"Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.  And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission.  When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside,  and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.  Those who had seen it told the people how the demon possessed man had been cured.  Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,  "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Jesus came to the other side of the lake and when He did, authority arrived there. Jesus and the disciples had just come through a storm. Now they were finally on the other side of the lake, essentially in enemy territory.
This was not a place that a Jew would frequent or even travel to because it was considered unclean and pagan. If you can think of the most pagan place in the world this was it. So far, Jesus had been working on "God's turf" the west side of the Sea. Even on that side there had been a few demons hanging around. Jesus now chose to sail straight into the arena of the devil. This was a bad part of town and then some! The disciples were probably wondering why they had come this way at all. Jesus no sooner set foot on the shore but that He was met by a man who was in great need.
I love the phrase in the NIV, "When Jesus stepped ashore..." This was not the president of the company making a visit. Rather, the God of the whole universe-- the Word that spoke creation into being, now made flesh-- set foot on this shore. And with that holy footprint came an authority that confronted the forces of evil and demanded unconditional surrender.
Jesus was immediately met by the forces of the enemy. Luke tells us that this man had no clothes, lived outdoors, and had broken any restraints when he was bound. Jesus apparently commanded the evil spirit to come out either silently or just by his presence and the man fell at His feet begging for mercy! Real authority had arrived.
We actually can learn a lot from how this man addresses Jesus. Son of "the Most High God" is the way that an Orthodox Jew would speak of God. It is an address that is right out of the Old Testament. We do not know for sure, but many scholars believe that this man was Jewish because demonic forces will often speak and manifest through the culture and language of the person involved. If that is true, then we now know exactly why Jesus came across the lake. This was a search and rescue mission! Jesus was coming to rescue a Prisoner of War. We know precisely why this plan had to unfold. We know that this encounter is not coincidental. This is intentional. Jesus came for one of His own.
I believe it is likely that Jesus had been hearing the cry of this man's tortured soul for some time. Perhaps Jesus had heard the earnest prayer this man's mother or family. We now know why Jesus set out to cross the lake. It was not by chance that he came to this place. We also can now see the purpose of the storm.
The storm provided a circumstance for the disciples to grow in their faith. Often, when we are allowed to go through a storm in our lives, it is so that our faith will grow and we will be prepared for the work that is ahead. In order to face the battle that was ahead, Jesus used the storm in the lives of the disciples so that they would remember and know that He had authority even over the forces of nature.
Lord God, help me to understand, as much as I am permitted, the meaning and purpose of the storms in my life. Help me to see the ones that I have caused and can correct. Help me to see the ones from which I am to grow. Help me to see the ones that you would have me declare victory over. In Jesus’ Name.