23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[c] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart,son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
Chaos and Darkness
In the Bible water is evil, quite often. The seas of chaos are the anti-creation. God brings order where chaos rules. This is emphasized when the squall on the Lake of Galilee suddenly subsides and even the water grows calm as the wind dies down. This is not natural, it is supernatural. Jesus is commanding the forces of nature to be peaceful and calm. This is what happened after the Spirit of God descended upon the waters of chaos at creation. Jesus is exhibiting that power.
Jesus also exhibits power over the chaotic demonic. A legion of demons terrorizing a man throw pigs to their deaths. Since two men are recorded in Matthew and one man in the other gospels, we can say that there were two and there is no contradiction. If you have two, you already have one.
Finally Jesus deals with the evil that is done in the name of organised religion. He commands a man to be healed on a day that the religious zealots had decreed a no-healing day. The crowds watch on in awe.
What do we see in all of this? We see that Jesus is God. He commands the authority that God commands over nature, demons, and sickness. If Jesus has such authority it affirms the choice to leave the crowds and become disciples who willingly place themselves under his authority.
- What miracles does Jesus perform in this passage?
- What do the miracles show?
- What were the reactions of those in the three groups Matthew has established (Jewish leaders/crowds/disciples)?
- What is your reaction to reports that Jesus can speak to nature, demons, and sickness and command them as he wills?
- How can you be a deeper disciple knowing Jesus’ authority better?