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Surprised by His Power

What makes you fearful? Spiders? Lightning storms? The dark? Fear can stop us in our tracks and make our heart beat faster. But not all fear is bad. The Bible describes a different type of fear, one that implies an attitude of awe and respect. Proverbs 9:10 calls the fear of the Lord “the beginning of wisdom.”

Today’s passage describes two different instances of fear. In one, the disciples are afraid of a storm and cry out to Jesus to save them. This storm was both real and dangerous. Matthew labeled it a “furious” storm in verse 24, using a word that elsewhere describes the shaking of an earthquake. The storm was so fierce the boat was in danger of being swamped. But in the face of this emergency, Jesus chided them for their fear. He calmed the storm, and their fear turned to puzzled amazement.

The other instance describes the fear felt by the townspeople after Jesus restored two demon-possessed men to their right mind. Jesus cast the demons into a herd of pigs who promptly drowned in a lake. The townspeople, who were probably Gentiles, were more afraid of Jesus than the demons and pleaded with Him to leave their region. Their reaction and the befuddlement of the disciples reveal problems of faith.

For the disciples it was a case of incomplete faith. And, while they had some faith, the inhabitants of the Gadarene village seem to have had none at all. The message? Those who have a little faith can increase in faith. Those who have no faith have no hope. It is not fear that is our problem, but faithlessness. The remedy for the paralyzing fear is the empowerment that comes through faith in Christ.

>> You may have good reasons for feeling afraid today. Fear is what we feel when we face problems that are beyond our control. Jesus has power over the natural and supernatural realms. Even if you only have a little faith, entrust yourself and your situation to Christ today.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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