What did you expect?

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out… And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them… On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him… So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

Luke 8:11, 37, 40, 9:6 (NLT)

Isn’t it rather amazing that on one side of the lake, Jesus was feared? He performed one miracle and it terrified the villagers so much, they asked him to leave. It had been an unscheduled stop, so I don’t think that Jesus and his disciples were too put out by the request.

While on the other side of the lake, the villagers had been expecting Jesus. They were waiting. Anticipating. Jesus and his crew were able to travel to the surrounding towns performing miracle after miracle.

What was the difference?

Expectation. Where there was anticipation of Jesus’ arrival, great things were bound to happen. Where he hadn’t been previously announced, he was able to do nothing.

When you go to church, is it just another day? Another thing to check off your schedule? Or do you show up expecting to meet Jesus? Do you arrive in anticipation of what he is able to do?

I tell my teams of church volunteers all the time to come expecting every Sunday. I can’t tell you what you need to expect, only you can decide that. The woman who had been bleeding for more than a decade expected healing when she simply touched something that was touching Jesus. Jairus expected that his daughter would be healed if Jesus could only come home with him. Even the demons who had held a man captive in his own body expected something of Jesus. They all expected and they all received.

If we expect nothing of Jesus, we don’t have the right to be disappointed when nothing happens. Whether you need healing, breakthrough, or simple affirmation, expect it. Never once did Jesus turn someone down when they needed something, but they key is that they all approached him with a request. He never pontificated about how his great power and grace healed, but proclaimed that their own faith made them well.

What do you expect from Jesus today?

Daily Bible reading: Judges 8-9, Luke 8:22-56

Arrival

Imagine you’ve been expecting someone. You’ve been waiting for a long time. You’ve never actually met this person, but you think you know what to expect. So you wait. And you keep waiting.

What if this person isn’t quite what you expected? What if, because they’re not what you were waiting for, you ignore all the signs that point to their arrival? What if someone you don’t trust points that person out to you? Do you believe them?

Jesus’ arrival was long-expected. The people of Israel had been waiting centuries for Him to show up. You’d think that they’d all be watching for the signs that would point to Him. You’d think that they’d know it when He showed up in their towns. You’d think that people would go on ahead shouting that the Messiah had finally come!

The last thing you’d expect would be that the demons would be the one proclaiming His power. But that’s exactly what happened.

Once when he as in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon began shouting at Jesus, “Go away! Why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One sent from God.”

Luke 4:33-34 (NLT)

Some were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But because they knew he was the Messiah, he stopped them and told them to be silent.

Luke 4:41 (NLT)

The people of Israel had become complacent. They’d ignored the signs of the coming Messiah. They were thrilled that there was a man who could heal and cast out demons, but they didn’t recognise Jesus for who He truly was. It was the demons who knew exactly who Jesus was and why He had come. They’d had the run of the place for centuries, but that was all about to stop.

Jesus had arrived. He had the power to cast them down and they knew it.

Now we have the same power. Our King has come. He has put His power in us. Demons should hear the power of Christ in our words and flee. Unlike the Jews, we don’t have to wait. Sickness, disease, demons, death should all flee because we have arrived.

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 14-15, Luke 4:33-44

Know

Sometimes I forget that even the demons know Jesus. His presence is such that, he doesn’t need to announce himself. They know. I wonder sometimes if the demons would know Jesus in me. Is his presence in me so strong that they would tremble and shriek?

Not only do the demons know Jesus, but they answer to him. So great is the power of the Christ, that in his presence, even the demons must obey his word.

“Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

So Jesus gave them permission.

Mark 5:12-13a (NLT)

The spirits did not leave the man they were possessing until Jesus gave them permission to do so. Even they knew that, at Jesus’ word, they would have to obey. Remember this: the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in us. The same power that caused demons to flee is in us.

When we know whom we believe (2 Timothy 1:12), we can speak with authority and know that every power of darkness must obey. There is no maybe or if. God promised it, He will perform it. End of story.

Daily Bible reading: Numbers 8-10, Mark 5:1-20

Nothing and No One

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Did you know that the word nothing means nothing? Non-existent. Not anything. It denies the existence of any thing or entity.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

John 10:27-30 (ESV)

We talked yesterday about following the voice of the shepherd. Listen to the voice that leads you beside still waters and restores your soul (Psalm 23:2). Listen to the voice that tells you to come near to God and He will come near to you (James 4:8). Listen to the voice that tells you that you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). Listen to the voice that says He has good plans for you, a hope and a good future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Whether you can tangibly feel the presence of God in your life or not, if you’ve invited Him to be there, He’s there. Nothing and no one can ever take that away from you. Ever. You are His and He is yours. Walk today knowing that the God of all creation holds you in His hand and He will never let go.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 20-22; John 10:22-42