Peace in Jesus’ Presence
I find it fascinating that we know very little about most of the men and women we meet in the pages of the Bible. Rather than an entire history, there are a few brief verses or, at best, a handful of chapters that tell how an encounter with the living God changed their lives and their eternal destinies.
I’ve always wanted to know more, for instance, about the so-called Gadarene demoniac we meet in Mark 5. Jesus and His closest friends encountered this wild man after a stormy nighttime crossing of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ friends were fishermen, experienced in navigating the sudden storms that blew up out of nowhere, but something about that night was particularly disturbing. My theory is that demonic elements were stirring up the sea, for when Jesus stood to calm the sea, He said,
Peace! Be still! — Mark 4:39 ESV
In the Greek, this is the very phrase Jesus used earlier to rebuke a demon (Mark 1:25). I’m convinced that evil itself was trying to keep Jesus away from delivering one poor, tormented man from his demons.
This man’s life was as stormy as the sea Jesus had calmed. The evil spirit within him enabled him to break any chains people used to try to subdue him. The demoniac wandered through the hill country and its burial caves, “howling and cutting himself with sharp stones” (Mark 5:5). But the minute Jesus stepped onto the shore, the demoniac ran to Jesus and fell at His feet. This man had probably never heard of Jesus, but the demons within him immediately recognized “Jesus, Son of the Most High God” (Mark 5:7).
I imagine the man thinking, I don’t know who You are, but those who torment me are afraid of You!
You can read the whole story in Mark 5, but in the end Christ commanded the demons to leave the man and enter the pigs that were feeding on the hillside. The herd immediately ran off the edge of the cliff and into the water. It was a chaotic scene — except for one place. When the local townspeople heard about the uproar, they hurried to go see
the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. — Mark 5:15 NIV
I love that the stories of Jesus calming the storm and Jesus freeing the demoniac are back-to-back. Whether a storm is raging in outside circumstances or inside your heart, when Jesus speaks to it, that storm has to obey. As we see in this pair of stories, Jesus brings peace to storms and chaos, internal as well as external.
The most peaceful place to be is with Jesus.
Five Minutes in the Word
[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. — Mark 4:39 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. — John 16:33 NIV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. — John 15:4 ESV
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. — Psalm 91:1-2 ESV
Excerpted with permission from 5 Minutes with Jesus by Sheila Walsh, copyright Sheila Walsh.
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No matter what storms are raging around you in life, it is Jesus who can bring peace. No matter what tempests are thundering within your own mind and heart, it is Jesus who can calm you deep in your soul. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
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