About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 8:1-4    ch. 8:5-13    ch. 8:14-17    ch. 8:18-22

ch. 8:23-27    ch. 8:28-34

The Man With Leprosy (ch. 8:1 - 4)


It is interesting to note that the first three healings that Matthew records, which might well be Jesus’ first healings, were performed on people of lesser estimation in the eyes of the Jewish leadership.  They were, a leper, a Gentile, and a woman.


The first miracle was performed on a man with leprosy.   There’s a few things we should note about those with leprosy in relation to the Law of Moses.  Lev. 13:45 says that the one who has leprosy must dress in a certain way and yell out to others the fact that he has leprosy.  Num. 5:2 says that the leper must not live among the rest of the people of Israel .  Lev. 13:3 says that a man with leprosy is unclean.  You might want to read more of the laws concerning leprosy.  They are found in Lev. 13 and 14.


In verse 1 we see a man with leprosy who came to Jesus and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”.


There’s much to be said in this one verse.  First of all, this leper came to Jesus and knelt before Him.  He should not have done that according to the Law of Moses.  He should have screamed out “leper, leper” so everyone could scatter.  But he did just the opposite.


Then he called Jesus “Lord”.  He was acknowledging who Jesus was.  I don’t know if this man heard the sermon on the mount, but whatever the case, He knew that Jesus was Lord, meaning, he in the least associated Jesus with God.  There was only one Lord in the eyes of Jews and that was the Lord God of Israel . 


I would assume this man knew the Mosaic Laws that prohibited him from coming to Jesus, but he must have understood who Jesus was enough to ignore that Law.  We do know that Christ is the end of the Law according to Rom. 10:4.  Surely this man didn’t understand this concept with clarity, but maybe intuitively he did.    


Then he asks Jesus in all humility that if He was willing Jesus could make him clean.   This leper did not demand.  He simply asks Jesus to be clean if it was His will.  This should be an example of how we come to the Lord.  We come in humility.  We do not come in pride, demanding what we want from Jesus. 


This man uses the word “clean”.  This is a Hebrew word associated with the Law of Moses.  Certain things were clean and certain other things were unclean.  According to the Law of Moses, this man was unclean.  He had been defiled by his sickness.


I don’t know for sure what this man had in mind.  Was he asking Jesus to heal him of his sickness or was he simply asking that Jesus make him ceremonially clean, something only priests could do?  I tend to think that this man wanted to be healed, and in the healing process would become ceremonially clean. 


Whatever the case, in verse 3 Jesus reaches out his hand and touches this man.  This was against the Law of Moses.  There’s a question that comes to my mind as I see Jesus touching this man.  I understand that Jesus had compassion on him, but in his compassion Jesus broke the Law of Moses by touching him.  We’ve often heard it said that Jesus never broke the Law.  Yet the Law of love seems to supersede the Law of Moses, and that’s what Jesus was doing here. 


Jesus told the man that He was willing to make him clean.  Jesus more than ceremonially made the man clean. He healed him of his leprosy.


If Jesus indeed did break the Law of Moses by touching this man, then He obeyed the Law of Moses by telling him to go to the priest and go through the proper ceremonial cleaning procedures.


This was the first healing that Jesus performed, or at least the first one that Matthew tells us about, and it was to a man the Jews understood, and rightly understood, to be unclean, someone no one should come near to.  But Jesus had compassion on this man. As it says in other places, Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath. He was also Lord of the leprosy laws.


The Faith Of A Centurion (ch. 8:5 - 13)


Please refer to the last part of this section for notes on the doctrine of "submission and authority".  This passage of Scripture is always used to support this doctrine.  


Verse 8 tells us that Jesus came to Capernaum . This is a town at the north end of the Sea of Galilee .  It was a fishing town where Jesus moved to after His baptism.  It was also where Peter lived, along with some other of Jesus’ disciples. 


Also in verse 8 we see that Jesus met a centurion  looking for help.  A centurion is an official in the Roman army. He would have at least 100 men under his authority.  This is the second unusual person that Jesus helps in this chapter, which as I said in the last section, could well be the first three healings that Jesus performed.


The reason for the unusual nature of this event is because this man was a Gentile, as well as a soldier who ruled over the Jews.  Jews normally would not have liked this man and would have done their best  to avoid him, but here Jesus accepts him into conversation.


In verse 6 we note that this centurion calls Jesus “Lord”.    This Gentile most likely did not understand the nature of the word “Lord” as we Christians would today.  He was used to calling people “lord”, with a small “l” and not a capital “L”.  He was a man under authority so he would have called those over him by their proper title and he would have demanded those under him call him by his proper title.  This man recognizes that Jesus in one sense of the word is a “lord”, or is a “master”.  I doubt if he recognized Jesus as the Lord of all there is, as we do..  Still, he had respect for Jesus.


Also in verse 6 we see this man had a sick servant that he was concerned about.  He must have been a kind hearted person to seek Jesus out on behalf of his paralyzed servant. 


In verse 7, without delay or any questions, Jesus simply said that He’d go and heal the servant. Sometimes we see Jesus asking questions before He heals someone.  He might have the sick person do something.  Jesus has no set formula for the way He heals people.  This is important to know. There is no Biblical formula for healing, other than it’s done in the name of Jesus.


In verse 8 we see more of the nature of this centurion.  He was humble.  He tells Jesus that he doesn’t deserve to have Jesus under the roof of his house.  This is true humility, and this is how Christians are to approach their Lord.  We don’t come demanding.  We don’t come arrogantly, although we can come boldly. 


Another thing we learn of this man is that even though he did not likely understand the true nature of the Lordship of Jesus, we do know that he had great respect for Jesus, something we need as well.


The next thing we learn of this man is that he believed that Jesus could make his servant better, and Jesus didn’t even have to come to his house to heal his servant.  This is real faith.  This is trust. This man trusted that Jesus’ words alone would heal his servant.


In verse 9 the centurion explains to Jesus that he understands authority because he has people that he has authority over.  He tells them to do certain things, to go certain places and they respond to his words.  It’s all about the centurions authority and the words he speaks.  He likens this to Jesus.  He sees Jesus as a man who has authority and therefore when Jesus speaks, He speaks with authority and things happen.


Some over the years have taken this verse to suggest that this kind of authority should be implement in the Kingdom of God .  It’s like the authority that this man knew of in the Roman army should be in the Kingdom of God , but that’s not right. There’s no hint that the type of authority this man was used to should be implemented in the Kingdom of God , or the church. As a matter of fact Jesus told His followers that the Kings of the world exercise authority over others, but this should not be so in the Kingdom of God .  That makes it very clear.  Authority in God’s Kingdom comes from a position of servanthood, not domination.   


The only things that is similar between the two worlds is the idea that when a man speaks from a position of authority, things get done.  Jesus did speak from a place of authority and the servant was subsequently healed.


In verse 10 we see that Jesus is astonished at this man.  He was exhibiting great faith, so much faith that Jesus hadn’t even seen such faith in all Israel , and Israel was to the religious people, the people who were God’s people.


This whole incident should be seen as a prelude to what the cross is all about, and that’s the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God .  John 1:1 to 12 clearly says that Jesus’ main purpose of ministry was directed to the Jews, but this was not to the exclusion of Gentiles altogether, as seen here. 


In verse 11 Jesus speaks of a feast where Abraham, Jacob and Isaac will be eating.  I understand this feast to be the Marriage Feast of the Lamb as seen in the Book of Revelation.  Jesus says that there will be many from the east and from the west to be at this feast. The reason why Jesus says this is because of the Gentile centurion.  People from the east and west means that all peoples of the world will be seated at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, not just Jews. Although I do believe that the Jewish Christians like Abraham, Jacob and Isaac may well have a special place at the feast.  Jesus might well be implying this by mentioning these three men.


The words “the subjects of the Kingdom” is a Jewish idiom, and unless you know this, you will not understand what Jesus is saying here.  Jews felt that they were entitled to be the heirs of the future Kingdom of God and that Gentiles would be their subjects.  Jesus uses these words to denote those who would be thrown into outer darkness, or the Lake of Fire .


The words “outer darkness” means really far out into the darkness, as far as you could go away from the light of God. 


Jesus says that in this place of outer darkness there will be great anguish as seen in people weeping and gnashing, or grinding of their teeth. There’s a movement these days that says that this place of outer darkness is only temporary punishment for the unbeliever and that’s why Jesus doesn’t say this is eternal punishment.  Yet there are sufficient Scriptures that tell us that this is in fact eternal punishment.  I understand eternal punishment to be “always in the process of dyeing but never being able to die, even thought you want to die”. 


In verse 13 we see that Jesus did not go to the centurions house.  He just spoke the word of healing and the servant was made better.   Jesus said that He healed the servant because of this man’s faith.  We need to understand what faith means here.  Faith was not something this Gentile had to muster up. Faith is simple trust.  He simply took Jesus at His word and Jesus blessed him for it. The idea that the more faith  one has the more results you get, as some take from this verse, is not New Testament thinking.  Other than the divine gift of faith which is one of the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Cor.12, faith is not a commodity that you can get more of.  You don’t get more faith.  You just trust Jesus more than you presently do.  Faith is more passive than active.  Activity that is done is more of the result of your trust, it’s not the faith itself.    


Now to "submission and authority".  Many people use this text to support their thinking on what is called "submission and authority".   "Submission and authority" teaching states that Christians must align themselves under, and submit to,  the authority of one man in their local church group who is over them in the Lord.  There are variations from place to place to what submission means, but that's it in its simplest form. 


I can't address all aspects of this subject here.  I could right chapters on the topic.  I'll only comment on Matthew 8:5 to 13.  Invariably, those who teach "submission to one man who is over you in the Lord" will use this passage in their defense.  It was the first Scripture used in the message I recently heard.  This passage has been used in every teaching I've heard on this subject, and it's always been misinterpreted.


In Matthew 8:6 we see a centurion who has a sick servant.  A centurion was a Roman military officer who had a hundred men under his authority.  It is important to understand that this man understood "submission and authority" in a Roman dictatorial context, because that was the nature of the society in which he lived and worked.  


One day this centurion sees Jesus and says, "Lord, my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."  This military officer called Jesus "Lord".  This doesn't mean he understood Jesus to be God in a human body.  The word "lord" was commonly used in those days as a term to show respect.  This man respected Jesus as being someone important.  He thought Jesus was a man of authority like himself.   


In verse 7 Jesus replies by saying that He would go to the centurion's home to heal his servant. 


Verses 8 and 9 are the key verses that "submission and authority" teachers use to support their position.  The centurion replies to Jesus by saying, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority and have soldiers under me.  I tell this one, 'go', and he goes, and that one, 'come', and he comes.  I say to my servant, 'do this', and he does it." 


This man worked and lived in an authoritative system.  He submitted to a man over him, and those under him submitted to him.  Obedience was key in his world.  He also had slaves that submitted to him in obedience.  Because of the chain of authority this man lived in, he just had to speak a command and it would be obeyed without question by those under his authority.  It's important to know that this is how the man understood submission to authority.   


The obedience to commands based on the centurions place in the chain of authority is the point he is making to Jesus.  He saw Jesus as having authority as he himself had.  He felt that Jesus could just command the sickness to leave and his servant would be healed.             


In verse 10 we see that Jesus is amazed at what this Gentile Roman soldier said.  Why was Jesus so amazed?  Was He amazed that the Roman system of submission to authority was the same system of  submission to authority that was to be found among God's people?   Did Jesus believe in submission and authority in the same way this military officer believed in?  Submission and authority teachers will tell us that this is exactly why Jesus was amazed.  They state that Jesus was amazed because this military commander understood the authoritative system he lived in was the same system that should be seen among God's people.  Submission and authority teachers actually use the term "chain of command" as I recently heard from my brother in the Lord's message. 


I see things differently. The above understanding to why Jesus was amazed clearly misrepresents the text.  It totally ignores Jesus' own statement that tells us why He was amazed at the Roman commander. 


The centurion understood Jesus to be important, being one in authority over others, as he himself was.  Jesus did have authority, but not the same kind of authority this man had.  We need to be clear on one point here.  It is poor Biblical interpretation to say that this man's thinking on submission to authority is Biblical truth.  His frame of reference concerning this subject was the Roman dictatorial system, not the Bible.  This Roman officer was not a student of the Bible.  He didn't know the Biblical perspective on these things.  We will see later that Jesus has a different frame of reference on this subject which looks nothing like this officers thinking.    


Verse 10 makes it clear why Jesus was amazed at this man.  Jesus said that he had not seen "such faith in all of Israel ."  Israel was to be a people of faith, but this Gentile man had more faith than most Israelis.  Jesus makes no comment on submission and authority in this passage.  He says nothing about the centurion's place of authority over men in the Roman army, or over his slaves.  He says nothing about a chain of command in the church.  Jesus only commented on one thing, and that was the centurion's faith.  This passage is about faith, not submission and authority.


The centurion wasn't making a statement about submission and authority anyway.  Notice how the text reads.  Verse 8 says, "… just say the word and my servant will be healed, for I myself am a man under authority…"   The word "for" is important because what comes after it supports the main point to the soldier's statement.  The centurion's main point was that Jesus could heal his servant "because", or, "for", Jesus  had authority over sickness.  The idea that Jesus could heal with a simple command was the main point the centurion was making.  The submission and authority phrase was only said to support the soldiers main point.  The centurion wasn't suggesting that Roman authoritarianism was something God's people should adhere to.  It's poor hermeneutics to suggest that we should follow a Roman soldier's way of thinking.  It's also poor hermeneutics to suggest that Jesus agreed with this man's thinking about submission and authority.  He says nothing to suggest such a thing.    


Besides all of this, we know Jesus wasn't excited about the Roman government and her military.  In Luke 22:25 Jesus said, "the kings of the Gentiles 'lord it over them', and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors."  That means the system this Roman soldier lived under was a dictatorship, and the dictators benefited from those who were compelled to submit to them.  Jesus goes on to say, "…you are not to be like that…"  The Roman system wasn't, and still isn't, the example for God's people to follow.  Jesus wasn't impressed with the centurion's authority.  He was impressed with his faith.


This passage of Scripture has nothing to do with Christians submitting their lives to one man who claims to be over them in the Lord.  This passage is all about the faith of one Gentile man.  We cannot use this passage of Scripture to support a doctrine of submission and authority, but we can use it to show how important it is to trust Jesus.    



Jesus Heals Many (ch. 8:14 - 17)


Verse 14 tells us something about Peter.  Remember Jesus is in Capernaum , and this is where Peter lived.  Peter also has a “mother-in-law”.  This clearly means that Peter had a wife, something we also know from Paul.  For those who say Peter was not married, this is not Scriptural truth. 


Peter’s mother-in-law was sick.  Here’s the third person to be healed in this chapter.  So far we’ve seen a leper and a Gentile healed, and now we will see a woman healed.  All three people were sub-class people as seen by the Jewish leadership.


In verse 15 we see that Jesus simply touched the woman’s hand and she was healed.  We don’t know for sure if Jesus said anything like, “be healed”.  We can’t argue from silence.  Yet there is a good chance that Jesus said nothing. The touch said it all.  We see here once again that there is no formula for healing, and since there is no formula for healing, we shouldn’t try to make formulas.


Also in verse 15 we see that Peter’s mother-in-law’s first response to Jesus healing her was to get up and attend to His needs.  This should always be the case with us when we experience the grace of God.  So often we take advantage of God’s grace.  Peter’s mother-in-law understood that she was a servant of the Lord Jesus.   The Greek word “diakonos” is translated as “wait” in this verse. It’s translated as “minister” in the King James.  Again, “diakonos” means “to serve”. 


In verse 16 we see that “many” people afflicted by demons were healed with “a word”.  Unlike some modern day deliverance ministries, Jesus did not normally carry on conversations with demons.  The mere presence of Jesus literally would scare demons away.


We also note that Jesus healed “all the sick”. It is pretty clear that Jesus did not turn away anyone who trusted Him for healing.  He healed everyone. Some people thus say that it is our right today to be healed by Jesus.   Yet in my thinking, we’re in a different situation now.  Jesus is not here in person, and there’s many issues involved in healing that we see in Scripture.  There are things that get in the way between us and Jesus that prevent our healing at times.  1 Peter 3:7 says that a husband’s prayers can be hindered if he doesn’t treat his wife respectfully.  So there are other things to deal with in this age when it comes to healing.


There’s been much debate over the centuries concerning what is expressed in verse 17. Matthew says that Jesus casting demons out of people and healing them fulfills what was written in Isaiah.  The exact verse is Is. 53:4.  The quote from the NIV “he took up our infirmities, and carried away our diseases”. 


The controversy has been over whether healing is part of the work of the atonement.  Those who believe that healing is part of the atonement say that Jesus’ death on the cross was more than just about sin.  Jesus died to heal our sick bodies as well as pay for forgiveness of our sins.  I tend to believe this. The other side of the argument is that Jesus died because of our sin, not because of our sicknesses.  Jesus heals people because He has the power to do so, not because He paid for it on the cross by becoming sick with our sicknesses as the other side believes. 


If you take this quote from Isa. 53:4 in Matthew’s context you might say that it backs up the second view point.  There is no mention of the cross here in Matt 8.  The contest is that Jesus healed people, something He did before the cross, and this healing fulfilled Isa. 54:3.  Therefore healing has nothing to do with the cross.  .


The verb “took up”, as in “Jesus took up our infirmities” can be translated many ways, which doesn’t help solve the debate.  The verb “took up” can rightfully be thought of as “took up in one’s hand to throw away”, which would support theory number two.  The words can also be translated as “bore in one’s body”, as in “Jesus bore or became sick” for us, which would support theory one.  So there are good arguments to both  view points.  I tend to believe that Jesus had the power to heal before the cross, which is obvious, yet at the same time became sick with our sickness on the cross. I see this because Isaiah 53 appears to be mostly about the cross of Christ, and not His life. Besides, sickness is a result of original sin. It’s not necessarily a result of any individual sin, but due to Adam’s original sin we get sick


The Cost Of Following Jesus (ch.8:18 - 22)


In verse 18 we see that Jesus saw a great crowd beginning to gathering around Him, as a result He ordered those close to him to take Him across the lake.  The Lake would have been the Sea of Galilee . 


Some people might wonder why Jesus wanted to avoid this crowd.  The simple answer would be that the crowds were beginning to constantly follow Him.  He was fast becoming a moving healing hospital.  He needed to take the time for quietness and rest. 


In verse 19 Jesus meets up with “a teacher of the Law”.  We now assume that Jesus and some of His disciples have now crossed the lake.  Within the Jewish elite were teachers of the Law. They were somewhat like lawyers.  They’d interpret the Law of Moses to the masses. 


This teacher calls Jesus a teacher. We have two uses of the word teacher here as I see it.  The man who came to Jesus was an official, or a recognized teacher of the Law.  He recognized Jesus as being somewhat of a teacher as well, although we don’t really know the motives of this man. Many saw Jesus as a teacher because He taught, but many did not accept His teaching. To place Jesus as a teacher in the Jewish tradition, on par with this teacher of the Law is a mistake in my opinion.


This teacher of the Law told Jesus that he wanted to follow Jesus,  implying that he wanted to be Jesus’ disciple.  It’s my thinking, along with many others, especially because of Jesus’ answer, is that this man didn’t really know what he was asking.  He was probably like many others who were impressed with the miracles and the healings, and for this reason he wanted to follow Jesus.  Jesus in fact at this time was beginning to become a superstar in the eyes of the common people. This man could have easily wanted to be close to the superstar.


In verse 20 Jesus calls Himself the “Son of Man” as He often does.  He calls Himself the Son of Man more than the Son of God, especially in the first part of His ministry.  This changed a bit when He got closer to the end of His ministry. 


The “Son of Man” should be understood as a somewhat disguised Messianic term. Jesus didn’t really want to come right out and say that He was the Messiah, at least not in these early days. Son of man implies that He was born  into humanity as a man.  It’s also seen as a term of humiliation.  Jesus was totally divine and totally human at the same time.  The term “Son of Man” speaks to His humanity.


It’s quite possible that this teacher of the Law might have understood what Jesus was telling him when He used the words “Son of Man”.   If this man really wanted to follow Jesus this term would not have turned him off, yet if he had wrong motives in mind, the term “Son of Man” might have greatly upset him, as it did with most of the Jewish leadership.


Jesus tells the teacher that foxes have holes to live in, and the birds have nests to live in, but He has no place to lay His head.  Jesus is thus telling this man that if he wants to follow Him, he’d have to leave his life of luxury. 


Does this mean that Jesus never had a place to lay his head, as in a nice place?  This isn’t really so.  It’s just that Jesus seldom slept in the same place for more than one night at a time. 


We don’t have any written response from the teacher of the Law.  We don’t know what he said or how he felt.  There’s a good chance that he just walked away.


In verse 21 another disciple told Jesus that he had to go and bury his father.  We should note the word “disciple” here.  When we see this word in the New Testament we often think of the “Twelve”, but the word disciple is applied to many people.  Many people found in the crowds were called disciples because they followed Jesus from place to place.  This doesn’t mean that they were real committed to Jesus because many left Jesus when things got tough.  Those on the “band wagon” so to speak were called disciples as also was the “Twelve”.


This particular disciple needed to go and bury his dead father.  In verse 22 Jesus gives a somewhat surprising response and for some a response that was not so loving.


It’s important here to understand that Jesus is speaking to one particular person.  He might well say something altogether different to someone else.  I don’t think that Jesus was so unloving that he did not care about grieving people.  We know He grieved Himself when Lazarus died.  But for some reason this man needed to hear what Jesus said.  He needed to understand the importance of following Jesus, something that most of His disciples didn’t understand.  Following Jesus was more important than burying your dead father.


Jesus said, “let the dead bury their own dead’.  Or, “let the spiritually dead, bury the own physically dead”.  While showing this disciple the importance of following Him, Jesus was also showing His disgust with the spiritually dead found in Israel , the nation that was to be the light for all nations.


Jesus Calms The Storm (ch. 8:23 - 28)  


In verse 23 we see Jesus getting into a boat and some of His disciples following Him. If you pay attention as you read through the gospels you will note that Jesus spent a good amount time in boats, crossing back and forth across the Sea of Galilee .


Verse 24 tells us that a “furious storm came up” as they were in the boat, and all the while Jesus was asleep.  Now either Jesus was a deep sleeper or else He was at total peace with His surroundings.  The storm did not wake Him.  There is the possibility that Jesus purposely kept sleeping to test the trust of His disciples.  


This was a bad storm because Matthew tells us that the waves “swept over” the sides of the boat.  Water was getting into the boat and most likely people were getting wet.  How could Jesus possibly sleep through this storm other than He had no fear and He wanted to test His disciples.


Verse 25 tells us the seriousness of this storm.  We don’t know who was in the boat with Jesus, but it could have well been some of the fishermen that Jesus called to be His disciples.  If this is the case, these men understood the sea and knew about bad storms.  They woke Jesus and begged for help or else they would be drowned, as they put it.  These sea worthy men felt that they’d drown if Jesus couldn’t help them.  That shows how bad this storm was. 


We note that they call Jesus “Lord”.  They understood Jesus to be Lord, that is, someone far above them, but did they understand Jesus as being Lord of all there is?  Did they understand that Jesus should be Lord of their personal lives?  I am sure they were in the process of both understanding the Lordship of Jesus and making Him Lord of their lives, and thus we have the reason for this test of trust.     


This is the nature of the Lordship of Christ concerning Christians.  Upon coming to Jesus in salvation, we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, and we tell Him that we want Him to be Lord of our lives.  This is what salvation is all about.  But making Jesus Lord of our lives is a process.  The process involves tests of trust.  As we trust Jesus in one area of our lives, He becomes our Lord in that area, and then He moves on to test us in another area of our lives. 


We have Jesus’ response to their request in verse 26.  He says, “you of little faith, why are you so afraid”.  The word “faith” is one of the most misunderstood words in the Christian vocabulary even though it is one of the most used words and one of the most important words.  What Jesus was saying here was, “you of little trust”, or “can’t you trust me”.   Faith is trust.  Fear entered the disciples hearts because they did not trust that Jesus could pull them through this storm. 


You might say then that the more we trust Jesus, the less we fear.  This is the case in any relationship.  The more we trust someone, the less we will fear him, or fear what he might do. 


This test is all about trusting Jesus.  It’s all about making Jesus Lord over such situations.  This is the nature of most of the tests our Lord puts us through.  The test is to cause us to trust Him more.  We shouldn’t look at tests as a means to get “more faith”, because for the most part, faith is not something you can get more of.  Faith is trust, and the tests come our way to help us trust more than we presently do.


Jesus then gets up and rebukes the wind and the waves and everything becomes calm again. I don’t see Jesus as in a big hurry to rebuke the storm, or else He would have woken earlier than He did.  He would not have needed the disciples to wake Him.  Even after He woke I don’t see Him as being in a big hurry.  He did not fear the storm.  I see Him slowly getting up, rubbing the sleep from His eyes, and after a few moments rebuking the storm from a posture of peace and not anxiety.


This is where we get our term “the storms of life”.  Storms will come our way as seen in the last chapter when Jesus taught about building our house on a rock and not on the sand.  Some storms come as a result of Jesus testing us, meaning, He might create the storm.  Other storms come because we live in a fallen world.  Then at times, we create our own storms.  No matter how or why the storms come, they test our trust in Jesus and they require a response from us.


In verse 27 we see that the men in the boat were “amazed” because even the storm obeyed Jesus.  One lesson to learn from this test is that Jesus is indeed Lord, and when we say He is Lord, that means He is Lord over all things, both physical and spiritual.  There is absolutely nothing He isn’t Lord over.


The Healing Of Two Demon Possessed Men  (ch. 8:28 - 34)


Matthew tells us  that Jesus and the others come to the area called the Gadarenes.  Mark and Luke call it the area of the Garasens.  It has been discovered that there was actually a village called Gadara , making Matthew’s version more accurate, although it’s likely that both names were used by people back then, as is often the case with any area or region.  When I use the words “more accurate”, I’m not implying that the other gospel writers are wrong in their naming of this area.  Often places have more than one name, yet only one name is official while the other names aren’t.  


We also want to note that Matthew speaks of two demon possessed men while Mark and Luke speak of one.  There doesn’t have to be a discrepancy here.  Mark and Luke most likely only refer to the man who does the talking.  The other man probably remained silent. 


These men lived in tombs and were very violent.  No one was able to go through this area without being hurt by these men.


Tombs were mostly built into the sides of hills.  Many were pre-existing caves.  Along the shore line here there were cliffs of limestone where caves would have been found.  These caves were often used as burial places. 


Verse 29 sheds some light on some things. We are not told that Jesus said anything to these men.  My guess, and it is a guess, is that He said nothing.  The demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God. So we know that demons know who Jesus is. One demon spoke through one of the men on behalf of the other demons because it appears there is a chain of authority with demons.  This demon may well have been the demon in charge. 


The demons were afraid of Jesus.  They shouted at Jesus asking if He’d come to punish them “before the appointed times”.  This also tells us something.  It tells us that demons know they will be punished, and they know there is an appointed time.  And that is so.  Throughout Scripture it is clear that there are appointed times.  This means that God has pre-set certain things to happen at certain times.  They just don’t happen whenever God feels like it.  They don’t happen spontaneously.  There is a specific time.  One specific time is for demons to be punished, and these demons knew better than the disciples about these things.  They knew it was not time for them to be punished.  That will come at the end of the thousand years of peace as seen in the book of Revelation.  It thus appears to me that the angelic world, which demons are a part of, know more than we know sometimes.   


In verses 30 and 31 we note that there is a herd of pigs and that the demons requested that “if” Jesus was going to cast them out of these men that He’d send them into the pigs.


In verse 32 Jesus simply said one word, and that was, “go”.  They left the two men and went into the pigs.  Jesus doesn’t have to say much.  He doesn’t have to say anything.  He could have simply pointed to the pigs and they would have left.  These demons had no other choice than to do what Jesus wanted them to do.


We also see that the pigs immediately went crazy and ran over the cliff and killed the pigs as a result of the demons entering them.  Demons are destructive by nature.  They are like the one they follow.  The devil comes to kill, steel and destroy as Jesus says in John 10.


In verse 33 we see  that there were men tending these  pigs.  They immediately ran into town and reported what happened.  I’m sure they were terrified. 


The question is often raised, “why did Jesus let these demons go into these pigs”?  His actions caused someone’s lively-hood to be destroyed.  We don’t know the answer to this for sure.  It’s possible that these pigs were owned by Jews and that would have been in contradiction to the Law of Moses and so Jesus wouldn’t have had any trouble with killing the pigs.


Verse 34 is a little ironic and even humorous to me.  The whole village came out to meet Jesus.  Most people were so over taken with Jesus that they followed Him all around.  It was mostly because of the miracle of healings He performed.  But this miracle was different.  It destroyed someone’s living and the town’s people were probably not very happy about that so “they pleaded” with Jesus to leave their region and go somewhere else. 


We often see the love of Jesus and the love and comfort that comes to people from meeting Jesus.  But here’s another side of Jesus.  He is someone to be feared, which we all will see at the end of this age.  It also shows us that Jesus is not only Lord over storms as seen in the last section, but Lord over demons, and Lord over people’s occupations.  He’s simply Lord.  These people saw Jesus’ Lordship over their occupations and wanted nothing to do with Him.

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