Jim Maxim

And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man… —Mark 5:2

Jesus and His disciples have one more challenge to face on this extraordinary day! As the boat approaches the opposite shore of the lake, the disciples are pretty shaken. Even after the storm passes, they are still frightened and now wondering, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41). They just begin to settle down, thinking they can’t wait to get out of the boat on the other side. They have no idea what Jesus has prepared just ahead of them. What could possibly happen next?

Jesus wasn’t finished with the lessons for that day. Remember, the whole point of the soil and the seed was that Jesus wanted to take the boys over to the battlefield. It was time to personally experience the importance of the Word being firmly planted in the soil of their hearts. They needed to face two powerful battles; the first one was the storm and now it was time to meet the most demon-possessed man in Bible history!

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.… Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.    (Mark 5:1–15)

The men who tended those pigs had just witnessed the supernat- ural power of Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man transformed right before their eyes! It was too much for them to handle, so in fear, they ran and brought some other people back to beg Jesus to just go away! (See Mark 5:16–17.)

What about the disciples during all this time? Can you imagine what they are thinking? Can you picture their faces? After almost cap- sizing in a violent storm, they are totally drenched. The peaceful day with the Master is a dim memory. They arrived on the safe shore only to wit- ness this demon-possessed guy who is naked, breaking chains, running among tombstones, and screaming for Jesus to leave him alone. They must have been looking at each other and wondering, Why did we get in the boat with Jesus anyway?

That is an important question we all need to ask ourselves. Do I still want to go deeper with God? Am I sure I want to have my life planted in the best soil that will reap an abundant harvest? Do I really want to go to the other side and see what God wants me to do for the kingdom in Jesus’s name? As we grow closer to God in prayer, our answer will always be a resounding yes because serving God is the most fulfilling thing we will ever do! God will never take you anywhere He has not equipped you, just like He was equipping His disciples on that extraordinary day.

Jesus’s heart’s desire is always to do the will of the Father. He told His disciples, “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30). The trip across the lake was a targeted activity for Him to accomplish the Father’s will. I believe that in His spirit, Jesus heard the demon-possessed man’s desperate cry from the other side of the lake. The lesson about the soil was designed so the disciples would under- stand the truth: if you really want to get in the boat with Jesus, your life will be about bringing God’s love to those who are the neediest.

The violent storm was a designed spiritual attack from the enemy to get the boat off course so they would miss the landing spot where this man was in captivity.

Jesus demonstrated to His disciples that the violent storm on the Sea of Galilee was not a coincidence. It was not just a random storm. It was a designed spiritual attack from the enemy to get the boat off

course so they would miss the landing spot where this man was in cap- tivity. As an amateur boat captain, I can assure you that if your instru- ments are only 5 degrees off, you will not go where you want to go. You could miss the land completely. Showing up at this precise spot on the other side of the shore was due to the heavenly minded GPS inside of Jesus.

That day, Jesus was demonstrating that you can expect storms in life, especially when you believe you have God’s direction to accom- plish something for His kingdom. Don’t quit! These storms are just trying to derail you from embracing the most exciting life possible.

Right now, let’s go to the throne room together and pray that our understanding of God’s purposes would be revealed to our hearts.

Excerpted from “21 Days of Deeper Prayer: Discover an Extraordinary Life in God” by Jim Maxim with Daniel Henderson, © 2020 by Jim Maxim. Published by Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.whitakerhouse.com.

Free audio prayers found here: www.acts413.net/deeperprayer