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When Jesus heals the demoniacs, we learn Jesus has God-given authority over the powers of darkness and evil. In the last podcast, we saw that Jesus has God-given authority over the power of nature. Together they build the case that Jesus is the Messiah.
When Jesus heals miraculously, several things happen at once:
- An individual exercises faith in Jesus by seeking him for healing before the miracle.
- The miracle testifies that God has given Jesus His authority.
- The miracle confronts watchers and listeners with the need to respond in faith.
- The miracle is a specific act of mercy and compassion for an individual.
- The miracle symbolically reminds us why Jesus, the Messiah, came.
In the previous story, the disciples faced threatening external circumstances. The issue today concerns terrifying internal conditions as Jesus heals two men possessed by demons.
28And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. – Matthew 8:28-34
- This event appears to take place the next morning after the Jesus calms the storm (Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39).
- Mark 5 & Luke 8 say there was one demon-possessed man. Matthew says there were two men. When authors pick and choose which details to include, they are not lying or making things up. They choose what to include to make their point.
- Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many men were involved, so much as it matters what kind of book we think the Bible is.
- If Matthew is right (and I think he is), Mark and Luke were not wrong. They are just not as precise. Matthew was an eye-witness. Mark and Luke wrote their accounts after interviewing eye-witnesses.
- Demons exists despite our modern denials. God has limited their power and influence since Pentecost.
- The demons face Jesus with the certain knowledge that they stand condemned.
- The demons make visible on the outside the destructive power of sin that all of us have inside.
- “Legion” presents a picture of an enemy too numerous to count. This new enemy also falls under the authority of Jesus.
- Healing the men made clear that they were free from their inward evil. Drowning the pigs made it clear this place was no longer inhabited by demons.
- When he calmed the storm, we saw that Jesus has God-given authority over the power of nature. This story tells us Jesus has God-given authority over the powers of darkness and evil. Together they build the case that Jesus is the deliverer sent from God.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
Next: 47 Matthew 9:1-8 Jesus heals the paralytic
Previous: 45 Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus calms the storm
Series: Gospel of Matthew 8-13 Behold the King, Part 2
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Podcast season 20, episode 5