Psalms 107:29-32 He Calmed the Storm
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 1, 2014
Psalms 107:29-32 NLTse He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. (30) What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! (31) Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. (32) Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.
Using key words storm and waves, we’re led to two events in the gospels describing the fulfillment of this prophecy. This is another in a series of prophecies in the Psalms that’s been recorded in more than one gospel. Once we compare the three chapters, we’ll learn how each adds a piece of information. This is God’s way of communicating, showing us it takes more than a light regard of His Word to understand. This prophecy also shows how important it is to stay within God’s Word and not allow ourselves to wander off on our own to form a private interpretation. The first texts to examine Is of course the fulfillment of the prophecy which shows how consistent God’s Word is.
Matthew 8:23-27 NLTse Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. (24) Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. (25) The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (26) Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm. (27) The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
Luke 8:22-25 NLTse One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. (23) As they sailed across,Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. (24) The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! (25) Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”
Comparing the three texts, we see how carefully they’ve been arranged. Hundreds of years separated the prophecy from the fulfillment, but God’s Spirit guided each author to the proper key words allowing us to make the connection generations later. We see a distinct difference in writing style between Matthew and Luke while the main theme still remains. The records of the fulfillment may be consistent, but when we follow another Bible Study rule telling us to look back at previous texts, we see a surprise. Matthew and Luke do not agree on what happened before Jesus ushered His disciples into the boat.
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:18-22 NLTse).
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.” One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. (Luke 8:19-22 NLTse).
Before we begin dissecting these texts, let’s look at some of the details each author brought out about Jesus calming the storm. Another Important rule of Bible Study is to pay attention when God repeats Himself. One of the details each author included is Jesus sleeping in the boat. To understand why we have to examine what happened before the event and what the reaction to the lesson was. Matthew tells us about another disciple that told Jesus, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” Two details we need to pay attention two are, he was called another disciple and had an excuse not to follow Jesus. This seems like a minor detail until we compare it to details Luke recorded which tells us how Jesus viewed the people in His ministry. Each of us are viewed as part of Jesus’ family. This shows how the disciple with an excuse not to follow Jesus represents Christians with better things to do then join the disciples and follow Jesus.
Looking ahead we see Jesus crossed the lake to the Gentile side of the lake. This would have been unacceptable to almost every Jew, especially leaders. Matthew covered that point when he wrote about, “one of the teachers of religious law,” in his gospel. Small details like this come out only through close examination and much prayer.
Matthew recorded the disciple’s fear while both authors recorded their lack of faith which is the main reason most Christians refuse to follow Jesus’ example and reach out to people because their different. Let’s be honest, most Christians are happy fighting among one another rather than doing what their supposed to do. Comparing these chapters shows us why – they are afraid. Let’s face the facts – Christians today are controlled by fear. Their afraid their going to fail. Preachers and administrators are afraid of loosing members. Christians also have another fear hiding in the closet they don’t want to talk about. Their afraid of being wrong. Still their greatest fear has been and always will be, their afraid to love.
Jesus slept in the boat to symbolize His disciples lack of involvement. Jesus showed His disciples how they were spiritually asleep. These events were early in Jesus’ ministry. This was one of a series of crossing Jesus took His disciples on from the Jewish side of the lake to the Gentile and back again. The series of crossings taught a series of lessons. One of the first lessons Jesus had to teach His disciples was how they were spiritually sleeping. This is the first lessons many Christians need to learn. Many Christians spend little time in God’s Word or Jesus’ ministry, but think they know everything. They spend little if any time in prayer. Their only method of sharing God’s Word is to direct others to a subject they think they’ve mastered, spout off what they believe is true, and walk away trying to convince themselves they earned a gold star and a couple of brownie points by straightening out some wayward soul. They’ve never been led by God nor learned to listen to His Spirit. No one ever taught them how to read, study, or understand God’s Word. In most cases they have little interest in learning, but the truthful, loyal Christian is praying for them, waiting patiently for an opening, an order from God to advance, a message to deliver and a seed to plant. Jesus’ real followers know the battle against evil is fought with patients and seeds to feed, not verbal clubs and swords to attack and wound.
Jesus also slept to draw attention to His confidence in God’s Spirit. Jesus showed His disciple how close God’s Spirit always is. We see the word disciple and boat repeated an number of times by each author. Why do you think they did that? What is God’s Spirit using these simple details to lead your mind to? I’ll give you a moment to think about it………………………………….. PRAY!!!!
What do the disciples and boat have in common? Some of Jesus’ disciples were what? Fishermen! They knew everything about a boat. They were the experts. Jesus taught them one of the most valuable lessons in an environment they considered themselves experts at. Who were the most boastful disciples? The fishermen. Jesus knew this and went out of His way to teach them a little humility. Notice how patient Jesus was? Jesus didn’t verbally abuse His disciples they first time they didn’t get the lesson. No! Jesus waited for God’s Spirit to create the next opportunity to teach. In all of those events, Jesus was able to use each of Satan’s attacks to teach a spiritual lesson. Jesus not only lived a sinless life but batted 1000% when it came to turning Satan’s trials into blessings. How are you doing? What’s your batting average following your own plan?
The disciple’s first reaction was to fight the storm on their own. Their pride was at stake. Can you imagine how bad that storm had to be for them to give up and turn to Jesus? A tax collector and physician described it as a fierce storm. I wonder how the fishermen would have described it. This shows how severe our trials will be before we listen. Are you sleeping soundly through your trials or are you busy trying to fight your way through them? Notice the connection? Christians who fight their own way through a trial continue fighting while claiming to share God’s Word. Fight, fight, fight! That’s all they know ….. Where will it end? Christians who know Jesus and live a personal relationship with Him know it takes a lot of prayer to reach Christians who feel they were born to fight.
There are so many lessons in the small details found in the stories about Jesus crossing that lake. Each time you read them you’ll see something you missed the last time. That’s how God’s Word works. Now it’s time to move onto the next phase of our study, the introductions.
Psalms 107:1-3 NLTse Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (2) Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. (3) For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Matthew 8:1-4 NLTse Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. (2) Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” (3) Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (4) Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
Luke 8:1-3 NLTse Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, (2) along with some women he had healed and from whom he had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; (3) Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
The prophecy David recorded tells us how the LORD loves us and will redeem us. “Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.” Matthew and Luke tells us a small part of how this was accomplished. When we combine the three chapters we understand where this plan came from, how Jesus followed that plan, and how He taught others about God’s plan of redemption. With all the faith and confidence in the world, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
We see a sort of contrast in these two stories. A leper goes to Jesus. He traveled hundreds of miles and shouted, “unclean, unclean,” for weeks. Finally he saw Jesus and said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus was not only willing, but knew this leper was part of God’s plan.
Leprosy is a disease that attacks the nerves as well as flesh. Many look at the outside physical effects of the disease, and some try to look at the emotional scaring they really can’t understand unless they experience it. Few look at the spiritual effects of leprosy. It separated people from society. Not only on the physical, but emotional and spiritual sense. Few people would choose to become a leper, but in their spiritual life they welcome and covet the effects of leprosy by clinging to a religion that teaches them to separate from the world. The only thing that seems to be missing is their cry of, “unclean – unclean.” But the shout is there. It’s in their traditions and doctrines designed to separate themselves from the world. Like leprosy attacking the nervous system, their pride and pious attitude dull their senses of right and wrong, not only separating themselves from the world but from God.
This is why Jesus followed this event by gathering His disciples into a boat and crossing over the lake to minister to Gentiles, in this case pig farmers. It was a simple lesson made up of a series of events designed to teach His disciples the true meaning of His ministry. Luke not only confirmed the lesson, he expanded on it by showing us how Jesus reached out and touched the lives and hearts of so many people.
Jesus seems to contradict this point when He told the leper; “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” Actually this reveals another important lesson in Jesus’ ministry. Luke also confirmed this lesson by recording the individual names of people Jesus healed. Jesus knew each of those people required an individual message as well as His personal healing touch. Jesus also knew the priests needed a custom made message. Why a leper? The leper represented not only the priest’s spiritual condition, he also was a reminder of the priest’s role as servant. “Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. In this year of the special tithe you must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns. Then you must declare in the presence of the LORD your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. (Deuteronomy 26:12-13 NLTse).
God worded His command in Deuteronomy 26 in such a way it not only spelled out the Levite’s and priest’s responsibility to care for less fortunate people, God also listed the Levites in the same group as outcasts of society. Jesus wanted them to remember their obligations as priests as well as their deteriorated state without a Savior. When we combine Deuteronomy 26 with Leviticus chapters 8 and 14, we see more of the message Jesus sent them. The strange ceremony that consisted of placing blood on the right ear, hand, and big toe is used for only two people, priests and lepers who have been healed. If the priests would have studied scripture the way they claimed they did, why didn’t they see this connection? Come on now. I don’t have a degree in Bible Study or formal education in religion, still God’s Spirit was able to lead me to these texts and see the message. I’m sure there’s much more God wants to share with anyone willing to spend time to look and listen. Can that be you?
Luke wrote a different account of events before Jesus gathered His disciples in that boat. Some far left wingers claim this is a mistake that discredits the Bible. This shows how far removed they are from God’s Spirit because they can’t see any of the spiritual messages. A force they know nothing about is driving them on to keep other people from seeing the spiritual messages. So what is that message? Like I said before, we can’t hope to cover them all here. I’m certain many of you have a lot of details to add. Go for it!
Luke concentrated on Jesus’ ministry in nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. Luke felt this was a good opportunity to introduce the term Good News. Luke concentrated on Jesus’ personal ministry by recording a few names. This shows how small the beginning of Jesus’ ministry was and how people support it. This was another lesson the priests should have noticed and learned from. It’s amazing how Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene, an army of demons from a man on the Gentile side of the lake, but couldn’t do anything with the priests. Look at the trouble Jesus had in the synagogues. He cast demons out of people in synagogues, healed people in synagogues, and was thrown out of synagogues. The priests show – people have to feel a need and have faith to be healed and released from demons. Luke’s story brings much more out of Matthew’s stories than what most people can see. Are you ready to learn these stories, make them a part of yourself and teach them? What we’ve learned so far should make you eager to look at the summations to see what they’ll reveal.
Psalms 107:38-43 NLTse How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase. (39) When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, (40) the LORD pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands. (41) But he rescues the poor from trouble and increases their families like flocks of sheep. (42) The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. (43) Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.
Matthew 8:28-34 NLTse When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. (29) They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” (30) There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. (31) So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” (32) “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. (33) The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to thedemon-possessed men. (34) Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
Luke 8:49-56 NLTse While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter isdead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” (50) But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will behealed.” (51) When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. (52) The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” (53) But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. (54) Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” (55) And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. (56) Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.
You may be asking yourself what, “raising large families there, and their herds of livestock increase,” has to do with a herd of drowning pigs. Once again we have to look at the spiritual side of the prophecy and let God’s Word answer the question. But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. (Mark 5:19-20 NLTse).
One man testified to his family and ten towns. How much have you done? Now we see how comparing prophecies to their fulfillments brings out details most people miss. We see a lot more when we look at the connecting stories as a whole. We see how God’s Spirit leads our minds to consider facts that led into the events and how they’re related. Since we’ve seen the relationship between the leper and priests our minds should be led to search out similar connections to the demon possessed man and the message Jesus delivered on the Gentile side of the lake.
Pigs show us Jesus is ministering on the Gentile side of the lake. This is the region occupied by pagans Israel was told to eliminate. “But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live.” (Numbers 33:55 NLTse). Those pagans worshiped a number of gods. They had a god of the sun, moon, stars, water, sky, lightening, thunder, seed, crops, trees, grass, one for the right foot, another for the left. They had a god for every item of imagination anyone calling themselves a priest could come up with. If something went wrong and they found out you weren’t following one of their gods, they’d sacrifice you or one of your sons or daughters. If things were going fine they’d sacrifice one of their own sons or daughters. The legion of demons represented the hundreds of gods those people worshiped. Each demon demanded worship of their own. Jesus had another plan for them. He cast them into pigs because that’s the only sacrifice and worship they were worthy of – an unclean form of worship from a dumb animal. How dumb were those pigs?
All the pagans walked around with demons controlling their lives. It took the pigs a few seconds to realize what happened and make up their minds. To the pig death was better than being controlled by a demon. What about people? Do they have a choice? The demon possessed man was separated from society much like the leper. People tried to chain him, but he was able to break those chains. This allowed the man to do what he really wanted to do – go to Jesus for relief and release. Out of thousands of people only one man – held back by thousands of demons – went to Jesus. The others asked Jesus to go away. The man stayed on his side of the lake and with the help of God’s Spirit was able to help his family and people in ten towns find God. How have you been doing?
Many professed Christians are following in the footsteps of the vast majority or pagans. They follow priest who make up doctrines and traditions to replace a true relationship with God. Pagans worshiped all sorts of images and idols. The same is true today. Statues, trinkets, and all sorts of idols in the church, home, and even in cars are used by Christians today. They say these items are to remind them of God or Jesus – but in fact these items are designed for the same purpose as the idols Demetrius the silversmith made in Acts chapter 19 – for profit. NO image can ever be a substitute for a personal relationship with God. If you think you need little reminders, you better reexamine your relationship with God. Jesus never gave His disciples trinkets or images to remember Him by, nor did any of His disciples fabricate, collect, or distribute images in their ministry.
The summation of Luke’s eight chapter adds another event which is repeated in other gospels. This involved a religious leader. Like the other events in these chapters we have to look back to see the personality of the people Jesus was trying to reach so we can understand the message.
Most of the religious leaders didn’t support Jesus. After He sent them a leper to testify about His healing power and to send them back to scripture and God’s Spirit, He was able to touch some of them, to open their hearts to understanding. This teaches the lesson, we can’t judge everyone based on the group they belong to. Where did Jairus get the idea Jesus could heal his daughter? This was early in Jesus’ ministry and at this point religious leaders considered Jesus one of the many who claimed to be the Messiah. The priests didn’t want to give Jesus any extra attention because this would have aroused the attention of the people. They sent spies to follow Jesus, but wanted to avoid any rumors which would arise if people saw any interest from the leading priests to listen to Jesus speak. This also teaches us how far people have to go before they’ll listen. We see this when we look at the beginning of the story. Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. (Luke 8:41 NLTse). Jairus came to Jesus but was very careful not to address Him with any kind of title. This shows how little faith Jairus had. He went to Jesus as a desperate father pleading for his daughter, but he was stuck between two worlds – trusting in Jesus and his status as a religious leader.
We saw how Jesus at the direction of God’s Spirit tried to teach the priests in an orderly manner. First Jesus sent them a leper as a testimony. Now one of the religious leaders comes to Him, but will not acknowledge His status as the Son of God. So far all the priests suspect is Jesus is claiming to be a prophet. Jesus doesn’t instantly try advancing their faith from one point they can’t accept and reveal the full truth. Jesus followed God’s plan that awakened the hearts of some individuals a few at a time. Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from death, but He did it in a private manner. Jesus knew He stood little chance of marching into Jerusalem to announce Himself as the Messiah. Jesus also knew how many people would be saved if He was able to reach the priests and they believed He is the Messiah. Jesus knew the effects one man, a true believer could have on priests when he was working on the inside. Jairus was chosen as a bridge between religious leaders and Christ.
Jesus didn’t try to exceed His suspected role as prophet, the role some of the priests were ready to accept or at least consider. By healing the girl, Jesus was calling minds of the priests back to scripture. Elijah raised the son of a widow form the dead and Elisha raised a woman’s son to life. Jesus was willing to work with those priests where they were on their spiritual walk and hoping they would turn to scripture to discover the spiritual lessons taught in those stories. When Jesus told Jairus and his family not to tell anyone, Jesus was telling them to wait until they formed a real relationship with God and His Spirit before working in His fields. Jesus knew how far they were from the truth and how much they needed to learn. Why did Jesus instantly send a demon possessed pagan to his family, but told a religious leader to wait? Strange as it may seem look at how Jesus was addressed when He faced the demon possessed man. The demons addressed Jesus as the Son of God and the man accepted His position.
It seems strange we can learn more from a demon possessed pagan than a religious leader, but that’s the way it is. When people put their faith in a priest they’re no better off than the pagans who had a list of gods and priests to turn to on any given day. If they didn’t get the answer they were looking for from one priest, they’d go to another and another until they found one they agreed with. Which happens to be a pretty good definition of religion today. People have a preconceived idea about religion and search for a group of people who believe just like them thinking there’s safety in numbers. If something goes wrong it’s time to change priests. Those people don’t want a personal relationship with Jesus any more then the priests who opposed Jesus did. Neither do they want to personally study God’s Word which is where Jesus tried to direct the priests. What about priests today? Do they know how to study God’s Word on their own or are they relying on tradition and doctrines to lead their flock? Are they as stubborn as priests in Jesus’ day and just as difficult to reach? Maybe you’ll have a small role in reaching them – some day. There is a storm out there we have to calm today. But you are as powerless at reaching some of those people as the disciples were against the storm. Sure you can fall back on what you know and struggle against the storm with all your might. What good do you think that’ll do? Where was Jesus during that storm? Where is Jesus in your storm? Are you talking to Him or ignoring Him?