For some time now, I have devotionally “camped out” in Luke 8. The chapter begins with stories of mission — the women who support Jesus’ ministry, the parable of the sower and the harvest, the parable of the lamp, and the story of the family ties that result from Jesus’ mission.
Then Luke tells four miracle stories that happened one right after the other — the storm Jesus calms with a word, the healing of a demoniac that eliminates a herd of pigs, the woman cured by touching Jesus’ robe, and the daughter raised from the dead. Many insights and lessons can be gleaned from these stories.
What struck me yesterday, however, is the response Luke records to each of the miracle stories. After Jesus calmed the wind and the water, Luke tells us that the disciples “were afraid” (v. 25). After the demoniac was healed, the Gerasenes “were seized with great fear” (v. 37).
When Jesus asked who in the crowd had touched him, the healed woman “came trembling” (v. 47). When the father hears of his daughter’s death, Jesus tells him, “Do not fear” (v. 50). Fear seems to be a normal response to demonstrations of God’s power.
How often have I responded to God’s work in my life with fear? When problems pile up like raging waves, or my expectations are not met, or my anonymity is stripped away, or loss threatens to overwhelm me, I am afraid.
The stories in Luke 8 suggest that I am not alone in my response. Yet in each story, Jesus is there, restoring life, health, mental stability, and calm. In just one chapter, Luke has combined mission and miracle, fear and peace. If your life, like mine, seems fearfully stormy, hear Jesus saying, “Do not fear. Only believe” (v. 50). Because along with mission come miracles, and in the midst of fear, Jesus brings peace.
By Cheryl Doss
Cheryl Doss is the director of the Institute of World Mission at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist.