Calming the Internal Storm

As they reach the shore, the disciples have just witnessed the most remarkable demonstration of power they have ever seen – Jesus calming the storm. With his words – “Quiet! Be still!” – he not only calmed the wind but the undercurrents that kept them in motion. Little do the disciples realize that they are traveling headlong into yet another storm. In this sequel to that lesson, they will learn that Jesus is also Lord over the supernatural realm. And they will observe firsthand that he can calm a tormented soul as easily as he calmed a tempestuous sea.

These two stories have a few things in common:

  • Both stories are concerned with Jesus in the context of the mystery and symbolism of baptism. The marveling Apostles raise the question of Jesus’ identity when he calms the storm. And the demons address Him as the “Son of God.” The question they raise, “Who is this that the wind and the waves obey him?” is followed in the next story with the answer, “The Son of Man.”
  • Both stories suggest an analogy between the outer physical storm on the lake and the inner spiritual storm afflicting our souls
  • The first story begins and ends like this: “A great wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat” and then, “the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
  • Of the second internal storm we are told: “he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” And then, “they saw the one who had been demon possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.”

In both cases, it is the encounter with Jesus that produces the calm.

Then they arrived at the country of the Ger’asenes, which is opposite Galilee. And as he stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them leave. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Ger’asenes asked him to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but he sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:26-39

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Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Scripture Rumination

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