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Matthew 8:28-34: Jesus Heals the Demonics

Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 29, 2011


Matthew 8:28-34 MKJV And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, two demon-possessed ones met Him, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one might pass by that way. (29) And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time? (30) And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine, feeding. (31) And the demons begged Him, saying, If You cast us out, allow us to go away into the herd of swine. (32) And He said to them, Go! And when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters. (33) And those who fed them fled. And going into the city, they told everything, and what had happened to the ones who had been possessed of demons. (34) And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged that He would depart out of their borders.

 

Little was discussed during the remainder of the night as the disciples contemplated the events of the storm, and how Jesus vanquished the powers of darkness with His word. John and James continued their slow steady pace through the clam waters until they heard the sandy shore slide along the bottom of the ship. After securing the oars, they jumped out into the shallow water, pulling the ship onto the shore. One by one the disciples climbed onto solid ground waiting for Jesus’ next instructions.

They arrived on shore just as the sun was coming up over the horizon where shouts and cries of anguish were heard. It was difficult to determine the origin of the sound. It was neither man, nor animal, at least not any the disciples had encountered before. Holding their hands to their foreheads to shade them from the rising sun, they made out a pair of human images on the horizon.

As the two men moved closer the disciples could make out the bent and twisted images a pair of humans figures covered with open wounds and covered in blood. Shackles and chain links hung from each arm clanking away as they wildly waved their arms is a show of defiance. When the figures approached close enough to show their matted hair, and twisted agony on their faces, fear filled the hearts of the disciples as they darted behind Jesus. With the memory of the storm still fresh in their minds instinct moved them to safety.

Huddled together between the ship and Jesus the disciples watched in horror as Jesus stepped closer to engage the demented men, who let out a series of howls and screams in an attempt to discourage the Son of God. Finally one of the demons spoke. “What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?

Jesus knew the demons could not harm Him. As long as He was obedient to God and carrying out His work, He was under God’s supreme protection. The demon asked, “what have we to do with You?” Implying they were in control. The demons viewed the world as their domain, and all it’s souls their possessions. Little more than toys to play with and occupy their time. This was the greater understanding they believed Satan promised to deliver.

The demons addressed Jesus as the Son of God. They knew who He was, and they knew the power at His command. They also indicated they knew their reign would one day come to an end. On one hand the demons tried to believe, because Jesus was now in their world, He was under their control. In reality the demons knew they were no match for Jesus. They may have put on a display of superiority for a time, but in the end they knew their time had come. God’s perfect plan of salvation was in motion, and the demons hope for victory was quickly disappearing. Thousands of years of preparation had thus far failed. They could not defeat Him as an infant, nor a little boy. Jesus passed the trials of a teenager and a young adult. Now He stood before the demons as a man. In Him the demons could see His glory. Not the same shining glory they remembered when Jesus sat upon His throne in Heaven, but the glory of His heart, forever one with His Father still remained.

The demons knew they were no match for Jesus’ power and glory. They knew Jesus was about to heal the poor men held against their will. Even though it appeared the demons had total control of the two men, Jesus still heard a faint cry for help. Looking for an acceptable way out they looked around and saw a herd of swine grazing in a nearby field. The demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, allow us to go away into the herd of swine.” Jesus studied the anguish on the faces of the two men as he felt their inward cries for help. Jesus knew the freedom they were seeking. Jesus looked over at the swine, then back at the men, and said, “go!”

In an instant the faces of the two men changed. Below the blood, under the wounds, a look of peace now replaced anguish. Their entire bodies relaxed. They no longer showed signs of involuntary twitches. They looked down at their bodies as if seeing them for the first time. Finally they looked at Jesus, dropped to their knees thanking Him over and over again for their release until a commotion in the field caught their attention.

The herd of swine began to act wrestles. At first they showed signs of irritation, then anger toward one another. The larger hogs began demonstrating dominance over the smaller, then against each other. The battles became more and more violent until the smallest began to run for safety. This began a chain reaction as one after another began to give chase. It was as if they could smell fear and were determined to find pleasure in exploiting it. The frightened mass followed by the stronger vengeful swine raced up, over, and down a steep hill, straight into the sea with no regard for life. As the swine crashed head long into the rocks at the bottom, devilish shrills could be heard over the pounding of battered bodies, and thrashing swine in the water. Soon they all lay motionless, dead. The demons had gained a victory, small, but in their eyes decisive.

The men watching the herd of swine stood helpless as the event unfolded before them. They had no power to change the outcome, no hope of saving a single pig. Their hearts sank as they watched their livelihood, income, security, their entire lives first controlled and then destroyed before their eyes.

The herdsman ran up the hill, stood at the top and surveyed the damages. All was lost. Not a single swine remained. They turned, looked at Jesus, then ran into town to report the entire matter.

Arriving in town they shouted to gather every person. They began to relate the story in their own words. “All of our swine are dead. We do not even have a pair for breeding. We are finished, we have lost our income, our living. What are we going to do?” One of the village elders asked, “how did his happen?” The lead herdsman answered, “a group of men came by ship in the early morning. They landed right where the crazy men live, by the tombs. The crazy men came out to scare them away, like they always do. Instead of just getting back in their ship and leaving, one of them begins talking to the crazies. The next thing we know is, the entire herd runs up over the hill and plunges into the sea.” The elder questions, “do you think these new visitors had anything to do with it?” The herdsman answers, “I think the one that talked with the crazies gave them the idea.” The elder asked, “an idea for what? How did they force the herd to run into the sea and kill themselves?” The herdsman thought for a moment, turned to confer with the other workers, then answered the elder, “we don’t know, but it happened.” The elder turned to the crowd and announced, “we have a stranger among us, I do not understand the powers he has, but they are not for our good. We must make certain they leave, and leave now.”

The entire town followed the elders and herdsmen as they made their way to the beach. On the way they met Jesus followed by His disciples, and the two men released from the demons. Sensing their anger Jesus stopped when He saw the crowd. The entire village stopped then they surrounded Jesus on three sides. Only the head elder spoke. “We’ve been told what you did to our swine. Do you realize what you did? How are we supposed to eat, and support our families? You brought this curse on us. We want nothing to do with you. Please leave now before you bring more destruction on us.”

One of the men Jesus healed was about to speak up when Jesus reached back to silence him. Jesus did not answer a word, but turned around. His disciples opened a path for Him as He headed back for the ship.

When they arrived at the ship, one of the men freed from the demons begged Jesus to let Him go with Him. Jesus told the man, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and has had mercy on you..” Jesus entered into the ship followed by his disciples. John and James pushed the ship back into the sea, and they headed to Decapolis.

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