Another four (4) years have passed and another new President, the 45th in our history, will be sworn in this coming January. But, like every other Presidential election since the dawning of our United States of America, the perpetual, cyclical storm of change has once again visited us. It was the same with George Washington (the Father of our Country), John Adams (Old Sink or Swim), Thomas Jefferson (the Apostle of Democracy), and the rest of our Founding Fathers. It was the same with Abraham Lincoln (Honest Abe). It was the same with the Roosevelt Boys (Teddy & FDR), Ike, Ronald Reagan (the Gipper), and our current Commander in Chief, Barack Obama (No Drama Obama). While the nicknames in parentheses are a bit funny, the reality of the transitional storm of new leadership goes without saying. Whether it’s a new President of the U.S., a new CEO at a Corporation, or a new Pastor at a Church, changes are coming. It was no different with Jesus. While Barack Obama and Donald Trump both won elections based on “change”, Jesus wrote the “concept” of change 2,000+ years ago. He brought the “Storm of Storms” and the winds of change were His-story altering. Like Honest Abe, we need to weather the storms of this world and remember that God has it all under control. Abraham Lincoln trusted in God’s plan and eventually ascended beyond the storms into the U.S. Presidency; where more storms were waiting for him. We need to remember who’s in control. Below are a few examples of the storms and victories that Honest Abe endured:
1832: Lost job & defeated for state legislature, but elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
1833: Failed in business, but appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois & deputy surveyor of Sangamon County
1834: Elected to Illinois state legislature
1835: Sweetheart died
1836: Had nervous breakdown, but re-elected to Illinois state legislature (running first in his district) & received license to practice law in Illinois state courts
1837: Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield & became law partner of John T. Stuart
1838: Defeated for Speaker, but nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus, re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district), & served as Whig floor leader
1839: Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention & admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
1840: Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court & re-elected to Illinois state legislature
1841: Established new law practice with Stephen T. Logan
1842: Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
1843: Defeated for nomination for Congress
1844: Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
1846: Elected to Congress
1848: Lost re-nomination (chose not to run for Congress; abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs)
1849: Rejected for land officer, but admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court (declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory)
1854: Defeated for U.S. Senate, but elected to Illinois state legislature (but, declined seat to run for U.S. Senate)
1856: Defeated for nomination for Vice President
1858: Again defeated for U.S. Senate
1860: Elected President
Luke 8 (NRSV)
Some Women Accompany Jesus
8 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
The Parable of the Sower
4 When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7 Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
The Purpose of the Parables
9 Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’
The Parable of the Sower Explained
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14 As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
A Lamp under a Jar
16 “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. 18 Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.”
The True Kindred of Jesus
19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 21 But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
Jesus Calms a Storm
22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23 and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24 They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac
26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29 for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31 They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.
As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. 43 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47 When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
49 While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 50 When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” 51 When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.