Lesson Info:

Lesson 10 Summer Quarter
Lesson Text: Matthew 8:23-34
Golden Text: Matthew 8:29

Listen to Today’s Lesson


This week’s lesson is going to be the second lesson in the last unit of lesson for this quarter which is, again, titled:  Faithful to Heal.  Do you believe that Jesus is able to heal you?  In our lesson last week, we saw that a Roman centurion believed that Jesus was able to heal his servant.  Our lesson this week will take a look at the spiritual healing of two men possessed by demons.  This week’s lesson is being taught from Matthew 8:23-34.

Jesus’ Authority Over Nature

Something we saw in our lesson last week was the respect that the centurion had for Jesus’ power and authority – His sovereignty.  When speaking of Jesus’ sovereignty, the centurion said, “Say the word and my servant will be healed.  I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it (Luke 7:8).

Our lesson opens with Jesus, again, demonstrating His power and authority.  Jesus and the disciples were out on the sea traveling to the country of the Gergesenes (or Gadarenes in the other gospels) (Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26).  As they were making their way across the sea, we are told that suddenly a great tempest (storm) arose on the sea (vss.23-24).  The storm was so great that the boat that Jesus and the disciples were traveling on was being covered and tossed around by the waves.

Scripture tells us that Jesus was sleeping through this storm and the disciples had to rush and wake Him up.  When I teach about this story, I always like to point out that though Jesus was God in the flesh (divine), we have to remember that He was living in the flesh.  So, I point out the humanity in Jesus that He was likely very tired to be sleeping through such a mighty storm.

The disciples, I believe, were in a full on panic as there was nothing that they could do.  We will see that they expressed to Jesus, when they woke Him up, that they needed saving as they believed they were about to die (v.25).  Jesus was as calm as can be; He looked and asked, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith (v.26)?”

This was a question about their faith.  At the first sight of trouble, I would suggest to you that we cannot be so overcome with fear.  Now, I understand very well that it is in our nature to be fearful and concerned for our life, especially in times of great trouble.  However, we must always be filled with hope and faith that the Lord will bring us through any troubles.

Jesus, we are told, arose from where He was sleeping and rebuked the winds.  At the sound of His voice, the storm stopped and there was great calm.  The disciples marveled and wondered who could Jesus be that even the winds obeyed Him (v.27).  As we saw last week, and as you have heard me say a lot in the past, Jesus is the sovereign ruler; everything is under Him and obedient to His voice.

Nature bows at the command of God!  As we saw last week, the servant that was sick, I believe was naturally sick – not by a spiritual infirmity or affliction.  Jesus, without even going in to see the servant or even uttering a word, made the servant well.  In our lesson, we see Jesus rebuke the wind, nature again, and in an instance, the wind ceased.

Jesus’ Authority Over the Spiritual

Not only does the Lord have authority over physical nature, we will see that He has authority over the spiritual as well.

As they stepped onto the shore of the country of the Gadarenes, we are told that waiting for Him were two demon-possessed men who fiercely came out of the tombs; the tombs was where they dwelt as they were not allowed to live in the city (v.28).  Now, in the gospels of Mark and Luke, only one demon-possessed man is mentioned (Mark 5:2-3; Luke 8:27).

Demons recognize Jesus

This could lead to questions as to whether or not these are two separate events, and if not, is one telling right and the other wrong.  This event did not happen on two separate occasions.  What likely happened with the recording of this event is that there were two demon possessed men living in the tombs.  I believe Mark and Luke focused more so on the demon possessed man that spoke and may have been more possessed.

When they came to Jesus, one spoke out and said, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God (v.29)?”  The demons that were within these two men knew exactly who Jesus was!  Many of the people that lived during the days of Jesus did not recognize His true nature but the demons knew right away that they were speaking to their Lord.

I want you to notice something else about what they had asked Jesus.  They asked, “Have You come here to torment us before the time?”  So, the demons even knew that there would be a day of judgment where they would be judged of their wickedness!  How could they know this information?

Now, this point would be speculation from me because we know so little about demons.  For example, these demons could have potentially been fallen angels that fell to earth with Satan when they were cast out (Rev. 12:7-9).  I say that this could be the case because the wicked of this world went to Hades – the place of torments from which there was no escape.

I would suggest to you that the truth is simply known in the spiritual realm.  Angels, fallen or not, certainly know the truth.  Even those of this world, both righteous and wicked, once they cross over into the spiritual realm will come to realize the truth.  I believe this is shown to us through the rich man who, while he lived in this world was wicked towards Lazarus, the beggar.  However, when he crossed beyond this physical realm, the truth was made very clear to him while he lived on in the place of torments (Luke 16:19-31).  (I believe these thoughts would make for a perfect bible study.)

Dealing with demons

Whatever is the case, the demons clearly recognized Jesus and knew they were in trouble.  Something that is not mentioned in Matthew’s gospel but mentioned in the gospels of Mark and Luke is the name of the demon(s) that were possessing one of the men.  In the two other gospels, they tell Jesus that their name is Legion, for they were many (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30).

Knowing what awaited them, we are told about a herd of many swine that were feeding a good way off (v.30).  The demons said to Jesus, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine (v.31).  This has always made me wonder, why would they want to go into the herd of swine and possess them.  The only answer I can ever come up with is that they really wanted to be a part of this physical nature rather than dwell in their own domain.  I suppose it is much easier to be in this domain than the torment awaiting them in the spiritual domain.

Jesus, we will see, permitted the demons to do what they desired.  Jesus said, “Go” and when the demons had come, they went into the herd of swine.  What happened next is remarkable – the swine immediately ran violently down the hill and into the sea and perished (v.32).  What was this all about?  It would seem to me that the swine would rather die than be possessed by a bunch of demons!

That should make you wonder:  why do people not run in such a manner away from wickedness?  As I said in a series of sermons a couple of months ago – wickedness abounds in our world and people seem to rejoice in the world’s wickedness.  Do I believe people can be demon possessed today?  Absolutely.  That said, I believe some people are so corrupted in their soul today that they don’t need to be possessed by a demon!

Jesus’ authority rejected

Our lesson concludes with the owners of the swine running into the city and telling the people what they had witnessed (v.33).  Those in the city, after hearing the story, went out to meet Jesus and upon meeting Him, they begged Him to go away.  Huh?  Why would they beg for Jesus to go away after healing someone that was demon possessed?

Well according to the other gospels, we will see that the people were afraid when they saw the demon possessed man was healed and the man who had healed Him (Mark 5:15-17; Luke 8:37).  I believe the Gadarenes were concerned that the one who showed such authority over the demons must have been an even greater demon, maybe?

Again, I am not so certain about that answer because it is just speculation.  I will suggest that it was hard for the people in the city to understand how the demon possessed man was healed, as shown in scripture.  I am not saying that they desired for the demon possessed men to remain possessed with demons as scripture does show us that before Jesus arrived, the people did all they could to help the man.  Their fear simply held them back from having anything to do with Jesus.

We live in a day where the Lord’s authority is constantly rejected by mankind.  I would not say that fear is the reason for mankind’s rejection of the Lord though it does play a role.  Some people don’t want to be “wrong” about what they put their faith into.  For many of those people, they believe that the Lord does not ‘work’ for them and so having faith in Him would be pointless.  Some simply don’t believe in the Lord because they believe they are wiser than anyone – including God – and they have no need for Him or any other “higher being(s).”

More saddening is that I believe many people recognize the works of God but still reject Him.  Why?  I cannot say – they just refuse to believe.  That said, I do want you to understand that the Lord has power over all things – both physical and spiritual in nature.  Whether you are ailing physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually – the Lord is able to heal you.

Do not let what someone else says hold you back from believing and don’t let your own fear hold you back from believing and being healed.  If you recognize the Lord today and have yet to accept Him, I encourage you to move towards Him and don’t push Him away.  When the people of the city asked Jesus to leave, He left. God will always respect your choice though I hope you would make the choice today to welcome Him in.


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