Wednesday, January 14, 2015

He Gave Them Permission

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” 

Luke 8:22-25 ESV

When Jesus had 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 had not lived 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 beg 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 shackles, but he would break the bonds and be 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 pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.

Luke 8:27-32 ESV

In my time in the word today I was hit by the power that Jesus displayed while on earth. In chapter 8 of Luke there are two stories back to back that present Jesus as more powerful than nature and spirit. In the first story, He stands in a boat and calms a storm. In the second, He stands before a legion of evil spirits in complete power. 

I am blown away by five words that are said of Jesus. "So he gave them permission."

These spirits knew who Jesus was. They did not challenge him as a teacher, or as a healer. Their first words to Jesus confess him as "Son of the Most High God." In the text you can see their submissive nature to Jesus. They did not fight Jesus, they only "begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss." So, they chose to enter some pigs nearby and the commentator (Luke) says "So he gave them permission."

This is a testament to who God is. The supreme ruler over all things. Physical and spiritual. He commands the waves and evil spirits beg him to not destroy them.

Do you understand, the weight of that sentence? He didn't destroy them, he didn't cast them away, he didn't argue with them. He simply gave them permission to continue existing. I imagine he simply gave them a nod. The power displayed here is incredible. 

So, for us, what shall we do about this? How shall we respond? Simple, worship. I cannot react to this supreme being in any way other than to acknowledge his as supreme and, in my heart, fall before his throne as beg for mercy. Then, live my life in light of the fact he has not only granted mercy, but he has graciously given me a life that I do not deserve. He has made me an heir of his kingdom, that I would someday have ownership of his Heaven. Now, knowing this. Am I to go on wasting away in front of the TV or on my lap top or with my eyes glued to my cell phone. I cannot. For he has called me to greater things than to be a person who merely reacts to life. I am one of his children and his kingdom is worth dying for.

We should live accordingly.

“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 8:39 ESV)

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