In Luke 8:22-25, the Jesus’ disciples found themselves in the midst of a fierce storm on the lake, with Jesus asleep in the back of the boat. This was a serious weather event in which the boat was filling with water, they were too far from a coast to swim to safety, and drowning had become a real possibility. They woke Jesus up, perhaps expecting that he either worry with them about their fate or at least help them bail the water out of the boat. They did not expect him to address the storm and tell it to be still. Amazingly, the storm obeyed and all became calm.
In Luke 8:26-39, the disciples and Jesus all arrive safely to shore, only to be met by a crazy man. He was totally out of control, breaking chains, living among the graves and running around with no clothes on. The community had tried to subdue him without success. This crazy man had caused fear among the population for some time because of his unpredictable and bizarre behavior. Jesus got straight to the root of the man’s problem, and within a short while, had him sitting calmly and fully clothed. When the local citizens came to see, the change in this man caused more fear than his previous behavior had. Jesus had done the impossible, and it shook them to the core. They begged him to leave them, and he prepared to go. However, the formerly crazy man was left behind as a witness to the power of God.
The next incident is found in Luke 8:40-48. Jesus is walking along with a large crowd pressing on him. A woman, who had been bleeding for years, slipped up and touched his robe. She was unclean, and thus it was a serious offense to touch a man and thus make him unclean. To touch a noted rabbi was especially offensive. So, when Jesus insisted on exposing her, she was really afraid of what would happen to her. She had performed an illegal act, and technically could lose her life as a result. Jesus affirmed her healing publically and even commended her faith. He accepted her and made her whole.
The final incident in this chapter is found in Luke 8:49-56. Jairus had a daughter that was very ill and about to die. He was urging Jesus to come to his house and heal her before it was too late. In the midst of the incident with the woman above, messengers arrived to tell Jairus that it was already too late; his daughter was dead. Perhaps he had delayed too long to go to Jesus, or these “other people” got in the way and now all was lost. But Jesus only told him to have faith, and went and raised his daughter from the dead.
We fear so many things: the elements, loss of property, events contrary to our expectations, condemnation from others, or the loss of loved ones in death. We are usually in a position of powerlessness and that causes us to fear and often to be overwhelmed. The difference in the stories discussed above is the presence of Jesus. He is the ONLY one who is not helpless, but commands those fear-producing forces. The words he spoke to the people, and to us are: “Where is your faith?” and “Don’t be afraid!”
These words are important for us today, whatever situation we fear. We have access to a power beyond us, beyond the forces that seem to control us. So, when we find ourselves feeling terrified, remember Jesus’ words: “Where is your faith?” and “Don’t be afraid!”