Jesus' Healing Ministry
Comments for Study 13
Memory Verse: 17
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I. The Man With Leprosy (1-4)
>1. What had Jesus been doing on the mountain? Who greeted Jesus on the way down? Why was leprosy a cause of such fatalism and despair for this man (Leviticus 13:45-46)
Matthew 8:1 "When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him."
* "When he came down from the mountainside" -Jesus had been teaching the famous Sermon on the Mount which is recorded in the previous chapters.
* "large crowds followed him" -Jesus was very popular at this time. Jesus' words moved the people's hearts. Why did these people follow Jesus. One could say, "They were like sheep without a shepherd." Indeed, most had their reason for following and staying with Jesus at this time. Many had problems, as many do today. And many were physically in need of healing. How many requested for help from Jesus? How many stayed with him? Few did as will be found out in following chapters. Most people returned to their homes. Not that this was wrong or right. But what would have been best was to come to Jesus and followed him throughout his journeys.
Matthew 8:2 "A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
* "leprosy" -The word used here is a Greek word used for various diseases affecting the skin—not necessarily leprosy. The religious leaders of Jesus' days saw leprosy as a curse of God because of some sin that was committed. Leprosy was seen as the wrath of God. Here, Jesus heals leprosy, thus he came to turn away the wrath of God from man.
* "leprosy" -Lev. 13:45-46 says, "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone, he must live outside the camp." With leprosy being so contagious and deadly this law of God was important. However, it also made the leper very unpopular. Thus this man was separated from people and society. He lived a lonely life.
Not only was his social life non-existent (except for company of other lepers), this man (like all lepers) had no purpose in life. He had no occupation. He had nothing to do. He had no chance of a family. All he could look forward to is to die someday
* "came" -If this man was a leper, how did he hear about Jesus? Most likely he listened to Jesus Sermon on the Mount from a distance. Also, I am sure that somehow this man heard that Jesus was healing people. Perhaps his parents, brother, or sister told him of Jesus, "a prophet from Nazareth who heals the sick."
* "knelt before him" -This man showed respect and honor to Jesus. He was humble before the Lord
* "and said," -Jesus had taught during the Sermon on the Mount, "'Ask an it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.'" (Matthew 7:7,8) If this miracle happened after the Sermon on the Mount, than this man would have heard Jesus teach this, thus might have put faith in Jesus based on this word.
* "if you are willing you can make me clean" -The man knew Jesus could heal him. He had faith that Jesus had the power of healing. However, he did not know if Jesus would do it. Throughout his life this man must have been emotionally scared by people's rejection of him. Even when he needed help most people would turn their backs on him. So even though he knew Jesus had the power to heal; he did not know if Jesus would heal him. Thus he had faith in Jesus' power, but not Jesus' resolve.
* "you can make me clean" -The concenssis of the time said that only God could cure leprosy. In 2 Kings 5:7 the king of Israel said, "'Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!'"
>2. What did the man ask Jesus? What inspired him? (Matthew 7:7-8) What was Jesus' reply? (3) What does this say about Jesus' attitude toward our problems? What was the result (3)
Matthew 8:3 "Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."
* "Jesus reached out his hand" -Jesus' attitude toward our problems is not passive. He is willing to help us. He is concerned about us.
* "and touched the man" - Leprosy is transmitted by physical contact. But this did not stop Jesus from touching a man with leprosy.
From the man's point of view, no one had touched him for a long time. Only another leper would have touched him, or someone beating him to keep him away from them. But Jesus touched him with compassion. A compassionate touch is often a healing touch.
* "I am willing" - Whenever we are sick or someone that is close to us is sick we come to Jesus for healing. Like this man we wait for Jesus to say, "I am willing." We can never be sure if he is willing. Matthew Henry writes on this, "As to temporal mercies, we can not be so sure of God's will to bestow them, as we may of his power, for his power in them is unlimited, but his promise of them is limited by a regard to his glory and our good; when we can not be sure of this will, we may be sure of his wisdom and mercy, to which we may cheerfully refer ourselves."
I know of one young pastor who three year old daughter had a brain tumor. He and his wife was convinced that their faith in Jesus would heal their daughter. He told everyone, "She will be healed." They were confident in Jesus' healing power, and confident that he would heal her. They were bold in telling everyone, "My daughter will be healed." But Jesus was not willing to heal her. Even though they held on to faith until the end she died. Faith is important, but if Jesus is not willing to heal, if it is not in his plans, no one will be healed. We can only seek his mercy.
* "Immediately" -The man was not cured over a long period of time. God can do anything immediately. This is the essence of a miracle. A miracle is God's intervention that overrides the laws of nature and science that he had set up. Today, many believe in science and believe that everything follows the law of science. Therefore they believe that everything can be explained away by science. But what they are not aware, or refuse to be aware of is that God intervenes and overrides the laws of nature and science. They do not believe and/or understand in miracles.
* "he was cured" -Jesus did not ask anything in return for this healing, nor did Jesus give this man a task to do to be cured. Prophets of the Old Testament often asked those who came to be cured to do something like wash in a river or look at a snake on a pole. But Jesus just cured him.
Matthew 8:4 "Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
* Jesus helped this man practically after he healed him through a miracle. He sent him to the priest so he could enter society legally.
* "offer the gift Moses commanded" -Jesus had the man obeyed the law of Moses. Jesus did not come to tear down the law, but to fulfill it.
* "as a testimony to them" -"Them" refer to the priests. Jesus instructed the man not to tell anyone, but he did wish the healing to be a testimony to them.
II. The Faith of the Centurion (5-17)
>3. What is a centurion? Why did he come to Jesus (6) Why might this be unusual? What was Jesus' response? (7) What moved Jesus' heart?
Matthew 8:5-6 "When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him. 'Lord,' he said, 'my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
* "Capernaum" -Capernaum was a fishing village on the north western corner of the Sea of Galilee. (See map.) The population was a mixture of Gentile's and Jews. Most of the Jews had moved (or their parents or grandparents had moved) from Judea and resettled in Galilee.
Jesus often went to Capernaum. In fact Mark called it "Jesus' home" (2:1). Matthew called it "his own city" (9:1). So after Jesus left Nazareth, which was a small town in Galilee, he relocated to Capernaum. There he conducted his earthly ministry (Mark 1:21) Holman's dictionary says, "The populace apparently did not accept His messianic role because they fell under the same condemnation as Chorazin and Bethsaida for failing to repent (Matthew 11:20-24)".
* "centurion" -A centurion is a Roman soldier who is a commander of a hundred men. They were usually career soldiers, and they formed the real backbone of the Roman military force.
Being soldiers many would have gain cold hearts to suffering because they engage in a lot of battles. This man would have be no different. However, he didn't have a cold heart to suffering. He not only had a warm heart towards others, he had a warm heart toward his servant. In Jesus' days most saw their servants as possessions. But not so with this soldier. He cared for his servants.
Romans were Gentiles who believed of many gods. Most from the Roman culture despised the Jews because of many reasons. Yet, in spit of his upbringings, this man was moved by Jesus who was a Jewish prophet. More than that this man knew Jesus had spiritual authority.
* "Lord" -In the text this Greek word is "kurios" and is from the root word "kuros". It means: "controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title): God, Lord, master, Sir."
Therefore, even though this man was a Roman centurion he had respect for Jesus who was a Jew.
* "my servant lies at home" -The Roman's oppressed the people they ruled over. But this man cared for his servant. He wanted his servant healed.
This man believed in Jesus healing power. This man had faith in Jesus.
* "servant' -Servants were considered possessions that could be replaced if lost. But this centurion wanted to help his servant.
Matthew 8:7 "Jesus said to him, 'I will go and heal him.'"
* "I will go" -Jesus was moved by this man's concern for his servant and his faith in Jesus. Throughput the Bible this is a recurring theme. God wants me to have love and active concern for my neighbor and faith in him.
* "and heal him" -Jesus gave this man a promise.
>4. What does verse 8 show about his attitude toward Jesus? What practical life experience helped him to have faith? (9) Why is important to have simple faith life the centurion?
Matthew 8:8 "The centurion replied, 'Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.'"
* "Lord" -Again the centurion called Jesus Lord. He considered Jesus Lord, even though he was a Roman centurion. Thus, he was humble before Jesus.
* "I do not deserve to have you come under my roof" - This statement shows this man humility. He did not consider himself, a Roman leader of men, greater than Jesus, a Jewish country preacher. To add to this humility, this centurion also had respect towards Jesus and the Jewish law. He must have known the Jewish law that a Jew could not enter a Gentile home. This law is stated in Acts 10:28. It says, "He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean."
This man's humility is quit impressive. True humility is hard to gain and live by. This man was a leader. Leaders give orders; thus they often gain proud hearts. But this man shown great humility and respect toward Jesus. I need to practice humility. I am a proud man, far from what it should be.
* "But just say the word, and my servant will be healed" -This man's faith in Jesus is astounding. How did this man come to this kind of faith? If Luke 7:3 is about the same centurion, then it gives me some clues. It says that this man had heard of Jesus. Perhaps he had gained faith in Jesus through what he heard of Jesus. That passage also says that he "sent some elders of the Jews". So perhaps he had gained faith in the God of the Jews while being stationed there. Thus he would have known of the teaching in the Bible. This faith might have helped him come to believe in Jesus being the Messiah or at least a prophet who heals people.
Matthew 8:9 "For I myself am a man under authority, with 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."
* Being a man under authority this man knew how kingdoms were organized. He knew that Jesus was in God's kingdom. He knew that God's kingdom is organized. He knew that Jesus had authority in God's kingdom.
This man believed and understood all this from his view point in life. Thus he had simple faith. But it is important to have simple faith like the centurion because it is what God's wants. It moves Jesus' heart.
>5. What astonished Jesus? (10) Why? What crucial role does our personal faith play in our lives regardless of our background? (11-12)
Matthew 8:10 "When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, 'I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.'"
* "astonished" -The Bible often records that people were astonished by Jesus. But this is the only place were it records that Jesus was astonished by someone.
* "said to those following him" -Jesus was teaching them using this man's faith in him
* "I tell you the truth" -A phrase meaning, "Stand up and take notice in what I am about to say."
* "I have not found faith" -Being God, Jesus knew everyone's heart. Jesus, of course was speaking of the people alive at that time, not referring to the past or future.
* "in Israel" -The people of Israel were suppose to be God's people. They were suppose to have great faith in God. They waited for the Messiah. They knew of his works to be. However, they did not have faith in the Messiah, Jesus when he came. But this Gentile did. Jesus said this as a rebuke to the Israelites.
* "such great faith" -Jesus was astonished because the centurion had great faith.
Matthew 8:11-12 "'I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
* "from the east and the west" -From this Roman centurians' faith Jesus saw many Gentiles coming to God.
This man's faith was a faith that would save him. His faith would grow as seen in Jesus' words of prophecy, "from the east and the west."
* "feast" -God had established for the Israelites religious holidays which is often translated "feasts" in English Bibles. The Greek here refers to "leaning back". Taking these two things in mind I can get a glimpse of the celebrations that will take place in heaven and especially at Jesus' second coming at the marriage feast of the Lamb.
* "Subjects of the kingdom" -The King James version says, "Children of the kingdom". The NIV translation is more fitting for this phrase refers to the Jews who were called by God, but rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
>6. What did Jesus say? What was the result? What role does our faith play in helping others be healed by Jesus?
Matthew 8:13 "Then Jesus said to the centurion, 'Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.' And his servant was healed at the very hour."
* "It will be done just as you believed it would" -Like in this centurion's case, Jesus hears our plead for help for others and he blesses faith.
* And his servant was healed at the very hour" - Thus implying that the servant's healing was not a natural act of heal, but an unnatural act (a miracle).
>7. Who else did Jesus heal? (14-15) What was her attitude toward Jesus after she was healed? What kind of people came to Jesus after sunset? According to verse 17, why did Jesus heal the people?
Matthew 8:14-15 "When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her and she got up and began to wait on him."
* "When Jesus came..." -Jesus went his disciples homes. He did not think that he was so important that he couldn't go into their homes.
Why did Jesus go to Peter's house? Was it because Peter wasn't with him for awhile? Was is because of this absence that Jesus had to get him? Perhaps Peter was with Jesus, or perhaps Jesus went to visit Peter. This passage does not say for sure. If Peter wasn't with Jesus then Jesus coming to his house means that Jesus didn't give up on Peter or shrug him off just because he wasn't with "God's people" for awhile.
* "Peter's house" -Peter lived in Capernaum. He came from Bethsaida according to John 1:44. But he must have moved to Capernaum because Mark 1:22 and 29 say so. Peter's residence in Capernaum would coincide with the fact that he was a fisherman (John 21:3)
* "Peter's mother-in-law" -Thus Peter was married.
* "lying in bed with a fever" -From this phrase it appears that this fever was not a life threatening fever.
* "He touched her and the fever left her" -The passage does not say whether or not Peter's mother-in-law was a believer or not. However, Peter was a believer (a disciple, one of the twelve) thus it might be that Jesus healed her because of Peter's faith in Jesus.
* "she got up" -The healing was complete.
* "began to wait on him" -Peter's mother-in-law showed thanks to Jesus by waiting on him. Christians show thanks to Jesus by doing his work, serving Jesus and the church.
Matthew 8:16 "When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick."
* "When evening came" -In Greek this means night fall. In Jesus' day this was the time to go to bed and sleep. Today, because of the electric light people go to bed late.
* "many who were demon-possessed were brought to him" -Perhaps the reason why they were brought to him at night was because those who brought them (family or friends) were ashamed of their condition.
* "and he drove out...healed" -Even though it was bed time Jesus did not drive these people away. He must have been tired after a long hard days work. But he served the people anyway. I can learn from Jesus to be open to serve. But I have often been weak in my flesh. When I get tired, I get grumpy.
>8. How does sin make us infirm? (Psalm 38:3-4) How is sin like a disease? (Romans 5:4, 6:23) How does Jesus offer hope to those who suffer from sin-sickness? (Job 36:15; Psalm 30:2; Isaiah 53:5)
Matthew 8:17 "This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.'"
* This quote is from Isaiah 53:4. This quote was fulfilled in the physical healing as well as the spiritual "demon possession" healing.
Sin is a type of sickness. Jesus offers hope to those who suffer from sin sickness. Job 36:15 says, "But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction." Psalm 30:2 says, "O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me." Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."
* Jesus did not heal all the time. However, when he did heal, it was to fulfill prophecy.
III. Consider the Cost of Following Jesus (18-27)
For questions on this section see Luke 19 study section IV.
Matthew 8:18 "When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake."
* "When Jesus saw the crowd around him" -Jesus was aware of his popularity. He was aware of his surroundings and/or his impact on people at any given moment.
* "he gave orders" -Jesus lead his disciples with authority, not consensus.
* "to cross" -Jesus crossed the lake by boat, which was the easiest way to lose the crowds because of the lack of boats for all of them and because of the need to be sailors to cross the lake, such as the disciples of Jesus were.
The fact that Jesus wanted to lose the crowds says a lot about Jesus. His main goal was not be popular with the masses. Rather, he wanted to spend time with his disciples.
* "the other side of the lake" - According to verse 28 this was Gergesenes. The NIV note says, "Some manuscripts Gergesenes; others Gerasenes." Holman's dictionary says, "The textual tradition in the Greek manuscripts of each of these passages shows confusion among Gadarenes, Gerasenes, and GERGESENES (Ger’ ge seenes) (KJV reading in Matthew 8:28). Textual evidence appears to favor Gadarenes in Matthew, Gerasenes in Mark and Luke. Origen, an early church father, apparently introduced Gergesenes into the tradition. Gadarene, in the context, would have to refer to the larger area, not just the city of Gadara. Gergasenes points to the modern city of Kersa on the lake’s edge. Gerasene comes from the city of Gerasa about 30 miles south-east of the lake. Early tradition may have confused the Hebrew or Aramaic spelling of Gedara and Gerasa or may have seen Gerasa as the dominant town in the area. Whatever the original name, Gentiles and their pigs dominated the area. It has been identified with modern Um Keis, approximately five miles south-east of the Sea of Galilee. The designation country of the Gadarenes” evidently applied to an area that extended as far as the shore of Galilee. "
Matthew 8:19-20 "Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
* "Then" -Thus the following event took place immediately after Jesus told his disciples that they were going to cross the lake into Gentile territory. Therefore, crossing the lake not only lost the crowds who came to him (for whatever reason), it also "weeded out" those who wanted to follow Jesus with strings attach. However, I believe Jesus didn't want to "weed" these people out as much as he wanted to stress the cost of following him. Jesus was on the move during his earthly ministry. Those who wanted to follow him had to leave in a moments notice. All who followed him needed to see that they must get up and go.
Today, following Jesus means that we to must be ready to get up and go when Jesus wants us too. Even Abraham had to be ready to get up and go; no matter that he had a family to bring with him. As the hymn goes, "Ready to go, ready to stay, ready to go your way..." Or something close to that.
* "a teacher of the law" -A teacher of the law was suppose to be a descendant of Aaron according to the Law given through Moses. Leviticus 10:8-11 says, "Then the Lord said to Aaron, "You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses."
* "Teacher" -Even though the man was a teacher of the Law, he saw that Jesus was his teacher.
* "I will follow you wherever you go." -Great words, with such words one would think that Jesus would have accepted his noble decision with the word, "Great man." However, Jesus didn't say those words.
* "Jesus replied..." - With Jesus' words one might say that Jesus was being too harsh. However, knowing that Jesus is love, this is not the case. In fact this was said out of love. Then what did he mean by it? Much has been written on these verses, with a variety of interpretations. The following is my interpretation of it.
Being a teach of the law, most likely this man had some money. He may, or may not have been upper class, but he wasn't definitely low society. This is because in the Jewish society of Jesus' day those who were considered men of God were well respected. This lead to wealth in the Jewish society. Along with this wealth came a "comfortable life"; nothing like the life that Jesus and his disciples lead as they traveled on the road. To make this teacher of the law aware of this Jesus told him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Today, as it was then, being a follower of Jesus is often not a easy life. There is much ministry to conduct in the church of Jesus Christ. Thus there is work and effort required of each of the body of Christ. Some contribute physical labor, some mental, some musical, some patience and care, and there is many other ways to serve Christ and his church.
Matthew 8:21-22 "Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
* "Another disciple" -This man like the previous was a disciple of Jesus. Each learned to cost of following Jesus in their own way.
* "Lord" -The original Greek here is "Kyrios". This man spoke to Jesus with respect and honor.
* "First let me go and bury my father" -The disciples request has been interpreted several ways. One being that the man's father was about to die, perhaps in a few days or weeks. Thus the man wanted to keep to Jewish custom and be with his dying father till the end to take care of him. Although this seems to make Jesus' words less harsh, most likely this is not the right interpretation.
I believe that since Jesus had told his disciples that they were leaving immediately, then this man would not have asked Jesus to wait one or two (or even more) days for him. Rather, I believe that this man's father was expected to die that very same day. He just wanted Jesus to wait a few more hours for this to happen. Then they could all go together. From the man's point of view this might have seem quite logical for several reasons. First, to him (or anyone else) they were not working on a tight schedule (none of them could have known of God's schedule). Second, once the boats left the area the man would have to walk around the lake (by himself) and then try to find Jesus (who was always on the go) on the other side. This would have been hard and dangerous.
* This disciples was asking God to change his plan and schedule rather than he change his schedule for God. A disciples must follow his master, not the other way around.
* "Let the dead" -Spiritually dead.
* "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead" -Jesus was saying, "Let others who do not have spiritual desire and life do it." Jesus would not change his schedule for the man. The man would need to change his schedule and priorities. I need to follow God. God does not follow me.
* Luke 9:60 adds, "but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Only Jesus' disciples can do this. This is the mission Jesus gave his disciples after his resurrection.
Matthew 8:23-25 "Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
* Most of the disciples were expert fisherman, from a line of fisherman. They knew boats. They knew this lake.
* "Jesus was sleeping" -not at all concerned. Tired from the days work.
* I worry when Jesus never worries.
Matthew 8:26-27 "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. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
* "faith" -Which is greater? Faith to calm one's nerves, or faith to calm the waves?
* "afraid" -fear is the lack of faith.
* "completely calm" -In my college days I took a Bible class. The professor tried to explain that Jesus didn't calm the storm, rather the disciples became at ease because Jesus was confident. The man was a fool and a thief. He ignored this statement, "it was completely calm."
* The disciples saw Jesus heal, change water to wine, and cast out demons. However, this was a new kind of miracle.
* How many times in life have I been in a storm and thought I would drown? Oh me of little faith. For give my lack of faith Lord.
IV. The Demon Possessed Men (28-34)
>9. Who met Jesus on the other side of the lake? What was their problem? What role do demons play in making us sin-sick? (Ephesians 6:12)
Matthew 8:28 "When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed man coming from the tombs met him."
* This is also in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39 even though Matthew 8:28-32 states that there were two men and Mark and Luke only mention one. John do not record this event.
* The disciples had a ruff, exhausting, and revealing night. Jesus had challenged their faith and revealed his divine power over the elements. They must have been glad to step on shore. What awaited them wasn't a quiet picnic like setting. They would not have been ready for the next event. Life with Jesus is never a dual moment.
* Landing at this spot was no accident. God planned it. In fact, it is highly possible that the storm was meant to blow the boat to where God wanted it to be, on the south east side of the sea near where the Jordan River drains the sea. A direct course would have been the disciples' most likely choice to land. Directly opposite of Capernaum would have been on the north east side.
* "the region of the Gadareness" -The east side of the Sea of Galilee, a territory largely inhabited by Gentiles, as indicated by the presence of the large herd of pigs, animals Jews considered "unclean" and therefore unfit to eat. (Leviticus 11:7-8)
* "Gadarenes" -The area was originally settled by the tribe of Gad. Gadara was the name of one of the ten cities of the Decapolis. Mark and Luke use another name for the same area, "Gerasenes".
* "demon" -The original Greek for "demon" is "daimonizomai", also translated "devil" and "god" meaning a false god. Matthew uses the Greek word "daimonion" that is translated the same as "daimonizomai". Luke uses the Greek phrase that is translated as "evil spirit" or "unclean spirit".
The Old Testament verses Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37 help us understand more about these God created beings, once clean but now unclean. When people reject God's call he may send an evil spirit for purposes of having them repent. (Judges 9:23 and 1 Samuel 16:14-23, 18:10, 19:9, and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, and 1 Timothy 1:19-20). Most of the time they roam the earth as a self-willed spirits looking for people they can enter and control. Yet the demons know there is a God and shudder at this power (James 2:9), as well as God's Son as this passage and many other show.
* "demon possessed" -Demon possession is a reality. Modern medical science doesn't believe this, but it is still true none-the-less.
These men were not born demon possessed. Although I am not sure about this, but I don't believe that is possible. We are born with the sinful nature and therefore born as one who has sinned. But I don't believe it is possible that one can be born demon possess. I'll have to see if that is anywhere in the Bible.
So when and how did these men become demon possessed? The Bible does not say. All I can do is generalize. Sinners can become demon possessed. The more one does not resist temptation, the more he is supseptable to demon possesion. When the image of God is distorted in man's/woman's soul our relationship with God grows farther and father apart. With a gap with God, then demons can come into ones soul. Thus people who are violent and/or commit violent crimes are more supseptable to demon possession because sin (and by their own will) break their relationship with God.
All Christians must realize these things for as Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'"
* "from the tombs" -the only place people would let him live in peace.
* "coming to the tombs met him" -The demon-possessed man went straight for Jesus.
Matthew 8:29 "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"
* "What do you want with us" -defiance and fear of God.
* "Son of God" -the spiritual realm knew of Jesus' miraculous birth.
* "torture us before the appointed time" -there is a time set for the enemies of God to be punished. They know this.
* "shouted" -Fierce in mouth but weak in spirit.
>10. What was the demons request to Jesus? (31) What did Jesus say? (32) What happened? (32) What does this show us about how much Jesus values people? (John 3:16; Romans 5:8) How did the people respond to Jesus? (34-35) Why?
Matthew 8:30-31 "Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs."
* "begged" -they knew Jesus' power and mercy.
* "if" -they did not know the will of God.
* "send us... pigs" -A spirit without a body is not as desirable as a spirit with a body.
Matthew 8:32 "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."
* Jesus values people more than a whole heard of pigs. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son. That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." And Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Matthew 8:33-34 "Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region."
* "ran off" -fear?
* "they pleaded with him to leave their region" -They had no love for the man. They did not think he more important than pigs, their possessions. Today a persons life is considered even less than this.
* People may meet Jesus and see his work and still not be moved.