The outbreak of COVID-19 has put a lot of families under a lot of stress. With all the social distancing and quarantines, combined with illness and uncertainty with jobs, many people are very worried. We all should take as many precautions as we possibly can by heeding the advice of the Centers for Disease Control. At the same time, we need to remember that Jesus calmed storms.
Luke records a succession of powerful stories, full of Jesus’ compassion and forgiveness. Jesus forgave the sinful woman who washed his feet with her tears and hair in chapter 7. Then Luke highlights the women who accompanied Jesus, including “some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities” (Luke 8:2 ESV). Jesus had compassion on these women by healing them, and they gladly followed and provided for Jesus. Then Jesus talks about the importance of sowing seed to others, so that they hear and obey the word of God. He continues by telling a parable about putting a lamp on the stand instead of hiding it under a bed.
Immediately following, Luke tells the story of Jesus’ mother and brothers who came looking for him. “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it,” Jesus replied. He’s driving the point home that doing the word of God is far superior to only hearing it. As God’s people, we are commanded to care for one another; to treat them with dignity and to rescue and nurture those who are suffering.
It’s no coincidence that the very next story Luke records is the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Clearly they were worn out, and Jesus himself fell asleep. Then a “windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger” (Luke 8:23). The disciples rightfully cried out to Jesus, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” (Luke 8:24). In dramatic fashion, Jesus rebuked the storm and there was a calm. Jesus only asked one question of them: “Where is your faith?”
This succession in Luke should remind us of many things. First, Jesus’ whole life is about reaching into the lives of the oppressed, the poor, the widows, and those who are outcasts. Second, he calls us to follow and do the same. Planting seeds is great, but doing the word of God is better than only hearing it. And finally, following Jesus–and even being with Jesus–doesn’t prevent major storms from cropping up. They will happen. They will likely happen often. And this is all the more reason we need to put our faith in Jesus. It’s OK to cry out when we feel like we are perishing. Jesus doesn’t create storms; he calms them!