“Let us go to the other side.”
Jesus stood on the shores of Galilee in Capernaum, pointed across the lake to the region of the Gadarenes, and told his disciples that’s where they had to go.
You could forgive them if they were reluctant that night. Jesus wasn’t. He got in the boat and quickly fell asleep.
The “other side” was only about 3 miles across the top corner of Galilee, but it took these professional fisherman all night to travel 3 miles.
A fierce storm slowed them down. Fearing for their lives, they woke Jesus. He rebuked the wind and spoke to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” The storm stopped.
The word “rebuke” is used in a spiritual context. So what could be “spiritual” about this storm?
Over in the Gadarenes was a demoniac, a crazy man who lived in the tombs, cut himself with sharp rocks, howled through the night and broke any chains people tried to bind him with. The demons who possessed him were called Legion, which is the term for a garrison of 8,000 soldiers.
Could these demons of hell, maybe as many as 8,000 of them, have been responsible for the storm? Did they want to prevent Jesus from reaching the other side?
But even still, all night to travel 3 miles? In my mind, I imagine the disciples paddling their boat in circles, saying to one another, “I’m not going over there. Do you want to go over their?”
They could hear the screams. They knew who, or what, was waiting for them. In the middle of the lake, they could have come up with any number of legitimate excuses for not doing what Jesus asked.
“That’s a Gentile region. Jews aren’t supposed to associate with Gentiles.”
“There are tombs over there. Jews aren’t supposed to come in contact with dead things.”
“There are herds of pigs over there. Jews aren’t supposed to eat or even touch those unclean animals.”
The excuses could go on and on… but Jesus said to go to the other side! Even just for this one man, go to the other side. He is the mission tonight. He must be reached. He must be set free. He will become a walking, talking testimony of the power of God. For him, we cannot not go!
What are my “legitimate excuses” for not doing what Jesus has asked? What amazing opportunities do I miss as I “reason away” the boat ride to the other side?
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