Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out.
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. (Luke 8:22, 26 NASB)
In today's focus verse, we see Jesus getting in the boat, His disciples climbing in right along with Him. If Jesus was going somewhere, they were going, too. He said, "Let's go," and they did. Only Jesus knew where they were headed and the plans He had.
It turned out that they were heading toward the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, to the country of the Gerasenes. This area was predominantly Gentile, as indicated by the pigs they kept there. Gentiles were considered unclean, as were those pigs. Close contact with either would render the disciples ceremonially unclean, would limit their interaction in the body of faith, and would require ritual cleansing to restore them to their "clean" state. Who wanted all that trouble? No one. No one but Jesus.
Jesus was headed to the land of unclean people with unclean animals. He had an appointment with an unclean demoniac who needed to be set free. If Jesus had said, "Let's go to the Gentile area to see a naked, demon-possessed man who is ceremonially unclean," how many of His disciples would have embraced that plan? Who would have thought it was a good idea and jumped at the opportunity? None of them.
Of course Jesus knew that. He also knew that, if they went, they would experience the life-changing power of God in a new and unique way and be changed themselves. He knew the news of the experience would be so amazing that it would be retold for centuries to come. He knew, so He kept quiet about the destination and allowed the disciples to travel with Him by faith. He knew that, after experiencing the coming storm, the naked demoniac would seem like child's play.
It's an interesting thing about following Jesus. He knows the plan and we don't. If we knew the plan in advance, we would likely balk and refuse to go forward. If we walk by faith, however, He will use the storms we encounter along the way to prepare us for whatever lies ahead.
How willing are we to get in the boat and go, regardless of the destination Jesus has planned? Are there areas or people that would be off limits if we knew Jesus was sending us there?
Today, pray that we and our loved ones would be willing to go anywhere, embrace anyone to whom Jesus leads us, fearlessly loving the unlovely and those in need
Link to last night's post on supporting the persecuted church is here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/07/sharing-in-their-suffering-helping-in.html
Our terrorist prayer focus this week is Abubakar Shekau. He is the leader of Boku Haram, a radical terrorist organization operating in northeastern Nigeria. He is particularly fond of kidnapping and murder, having kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls (many who are still in captivity). Earlier this week, his forces captured a civilian-controlled town, murdered at least 100 people, and made the town his new headquarters. More than 22,000 have been killed in battle between his forces and the Nigerian military in the last few years. Please pray for an end to his reign of terror and for salvation for him and his men.