Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20130109.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XIII: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Authority, Matthew 8:1-11:1
F. Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Authority Over Demons
(Matthew 8:28-34 et al.)
Lesson: Jesus as God and Messiah demonstrated sovereignty over the power and wiles of demons.
- If Jesus is God's Messiah Who will rule a kingdom of peace and blessing, and that when Revelation 20:1-3, 4-6 claims Satan is bound in the bottomless pit, then Jesus should have power over the demons over whom Satan rules, cf. Revelation 12:4a; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matthew 12:4.
- Christ's power over demonic entities is evidenced in Matthew 8:28-34 with Mark 7:31; 8:1-9 as follows:
- Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Authority Over Demons, Matthew 8:28-34 et al.
- Having crossed the Sea of Galilee by boat with His disciples to the eastern shore, the country of the Gergesenes (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matt. 8:28), Jesus was met by two men with such a severe case of demonic possession that no other humans were able to pass by there, Matthew 8:28. The severity of their case is clarified in Mark 5:13 where Mark's account of this case reveals about 2,000 swine later became possessed by the demons that had first been in these men, meaning each man would have been possessed by nearly 1,000 demons!
- The demons in these men cried, saying, "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?", meaning the end time of Revelation 20:10; Matt. 8:29 KJV.
- In the same region was a large herd of swine feeding, so the demons asked Jesus that if He were to cast them out of the men, if they could be allowed to enter the herd of swine, Matthew 8:30-31.
- This request initially seems reasonable, but it was actually meant to entrap Jesus into hurting His ministry:
- The Mosaic Law forbade the eating of swine's flesh (Leviticus 11:7), so there was no Biblical reason for the people of Israel in any part of the Holy Land to be keeping a herd of swine for their livelihood!
- However, the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee known also as "Decapolis" with its grouping of ten sizable cities, had a large Gentile population that would have kept such swine (Douglas, ed., The New Bible Dict., 1973, p. 304-305), and were the demons to be allowed to enter the swine and kill them, it would cause the people there to think Jesus was threatening their economy, so they would resist Him!
- Accordingly, the demons sought to corner Jesus into either disobeying the Law by having Him prohibit them from entering the swine herd, as Jesus would then be charged with supporting the raising and thus the eating of swine, or to allow them to enter the swine so as to lead the area people to resist Him!
- Jesus would not sin, so He gave the demons permission to enter the swine, doing what was Biblically correct in obedience to the Mosaic Law even if He would be misrepresented in doing so, Matthew 8:32a.
- The demons thus left the men and entered the swine, causing nearly 2,000 of them to die, Matthew 8:32b.
- When the keepers of the swine herd fled and reported to the nearby city what had happened, the whole city came out to meet Jesus and pleaded with Him to leave their country, Matthew 8:33-34.
- However, Jesus overcame this hurdle to His ministry that had been set up by the cunning of the demons:
- The account of this incident in Mark 5:18 reveals that when one of the demon possessed men had been delivered of his possession, he asked if he might go with Jesus in His ministry.
- Jesus instead directed the man to return home to his friends and declare the great things God had done for him, and how God had had compassion on him, Mark 5:19.
- The man obeyed, and began to proclaim throughout the region of Decapolis east of the Sea of Galilee the great things Jesus had done for him so that all who heard his testimony marveled, Mark 5:20.
- This man's witness was so effective, we learn from Mark 7:31 with 8:1-9 that the feeding of the 4,000 later took place in that very area of Decapolis. The delivered man's words so changed the negative attitude of the people toward Jesus in that area that thousands of them later followed Him to hear His teaching and be fed by Him in the great miracle of the feeding of the four thousand!
Application: May we trust in Christ as Savior (John 3:16) to be saved from hell and Satan's kingdom (Colossians 1:13), and rely on Him for victory in the angelic conflict as believers. (Ephesians 6:10-19)