Sometimes God’s greatest gifts are the abilities He gives others. These books have enriched my life. I hope you enjoy.
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Jesus encounters two demon-possessed men in the region of Gadarenes or Gergesenes. They would not let anyone pass. The demons recognized Jesus and asked him why he has come.
They then asked Jesus if he would drive them out into the herd of pigs. Jesus granted their request. The herd of pigs then rushed off a bank into a lake and drowned. This scene scared the shepherds. They ran off to tell everyone what they had seen. The whole town became scared. They told Jesus to leave their region.
13a) They two demonized men recognized Jesus and asked him why he has come and if he would torture them before the appointed time. They then asked Jesus if he would drive them out into the herd of pigs, which Jesus did.
b) They recognized that Jesus was the Son of God. James 2:19 tells us that even demons know that there is only One God — and they are afraid. They know they are doomed.
14) He took pity on the men.
15) Jesus’s actions scared the townspeople. Perhaps they thought he’d do the same to them. Jesus left because he knew they would not listen to him (Matthew 10:14).
16) It’s truly awe-inspiring and hard to put into words. It gives me hope to trudge along each and every day as I continually seek His purpose for my life.
I love how Matthew throws in so many varied stories. We go from Jesus healing many people to him rebuking a storm and helping those who are demon-possessed. Great stuff.
I love Tomie de Paola!
The exact location of the region of Gergesenes (or Gadarenes) is unknown. Bible scholars believe it is located on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galiee and was a small town where the larger city of Gadara was lcoated. Here, many Gentiles lived.
Do note the other Gospels tell this story, but only mention one of the demon-possessed men.
Any contact with dead bodies made Jews unclean. So these men who were coming out of tombs (presumably they were living there) were terrifying to the Jewish people.
Seeing Jesus, the demons knew their time was up. They knew they would be cast out and would suffer in hell forever.
Pigs are unclean to the Jewish people. Why they were there, no one knows. But it is the perfect place to cast out demons at that time. The demons wanted to possess the pigs rather than be left without something to terrorize. Note they had to get permission from Jesus in order to take over the bodies of swines.
Note that this is the only example of casting out demons into the bodies of animals. This may be where stories have come from of humans possessing animal bodies.
The demons were bent on killing, which is why they killed the pigs immediately. This proved, too, that the demons were now inside the pigs and not the men. Jesus wanted to ensure everyone knew this miracle had occurred.
One could say that the people could easily have been pleased that Jesus had driven the demons out of the men. Truthfully, it could have gone either way here. However, fear ruled, so the townspeople asked Jesus to leave. Plus, the destruction of the pigs cast doubt into the minds of those who saw. Would Jesus destroy them, too? This is exactly what Satan wants you to think. This is a message to us to be wary always.
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Jesus gets in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee when a storm arises. Jesus is sleeping, so his disciples go to wake him. The waves are crashing. The disciples think they will drown. Jesus tells them they have little faith. Jesus calmed the sea, amazing his disciples.
10) He calms the storm so his disciples won’t be afraid. As noted by the disciples, the fact that he can command the waves and the wind shows his deity. We also see Jesus needs sleep, too, just like humans.
11a) That they had no faith in him because they were afraid.
b) That he cared for them enough to allay their fears.
12a) Unsure about storm. I’m trying to find a new day job. I’m also looking to maybe move again in the future.
b) I need to have faith in Jesus to calm the storms and sort them all out, sheltering me the entire way.
This is one of the best stories about Jesus. Jesus calms the storm for his disciples’ sake, and he shows his power. Plus, I love the whole idea of Jesus calming my storms. Fabulous!
Cool little video that mimics what it would have looked like: https://youtu.be/yyzwCpofQSA
The Sea of Galilee frequently has heavy storms. Capernaum lies on its coast.
Jesus slept through the storm. This shows what rest we can have when we have complete faith in the Father to provide us with what we need and to protect us from the world’s evils.
When you have complete trust in the Father, there is no room for fear. This is why Jesus rebukes his disciples, not for having woken him. If you have the Savior of the World in your boat, you should feel secure. Plus, they had just seen Jesus heal people miraculously. Where was their faith?
Rebuke is stronger than calm. Rebuke means, “to express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone or someone’s behaviors.” Thus, some Bible scholars think Satan may have sent the storm to drown Jesus and his disciples.
Here, the disciples see Jesus as fully man and fully God for the first time. This is why they marveled. Powerful stuff!
Jesus crossed over the lake (Sea of Galilee) in order to escape the crowds. A teacher of the law told Jesus he would follow him wherever he went. Another said he would follow him after he buried his father. Jesus said to follow him and bury your dead later.
7) The first follower may be in a honeymoon stage, so Jesus tells him it’s not all fun and games. The second follower loves Jesus, but puts his human father first. He is a reluctant follower.
8a) The cost for the first man is giving up everything and living a very simple life with no real home.
b) The cost for the second man is putting him first above his human family and giving his whole heart to Jesus.
9a) People only follow Jesus when it’s convenient for them. The second it gets hard or they have to sacrifice, they bail.
b) You have to do what God wants you to do, not what others want you to do. You have to put God first always, and sometimes that can cause friction between family members. I’ve had to end some relationships with friends over following Jesus’s path for my life.
I love how simple Jesus is so that we simple humans can grasp his meaning. It’s simple: follow him completely and totally above all others.
Cool art decor here.
Jesus needed a break from the crowds. He did not seek notarity. Many were attracted to following Jesus because they were mesmerized by his miracles. But these two did not have the heart Jesus was seeking.
Jesus is blunt by saying that he truly did not have a home. He lived a very simple life, and by telling the man this, he hoped to not lead him astray about what his ministry was really all about. This is a great lesson for pastors of today.
Fun Fact: “The Son of Man” is used 81 times in the gospels. Jesus referred to himself as this many times, or you’ll see it when someone in the Bible quotes him. It evokes power and glory as seen here (Daniel 7:13-14) and the humility (Psalm 8:4).
What modern readers miss here is that the father of the second man is not dead; if he was, the man would have said something along the lines of digging a grave. Thus, the man wanted to care for his ailing father, which could have been years for all we know. This man was a disciple, but not with the heart of the 12 disciples who were all in. Jesus wants those who are all in for him.
Jesus clearly states that although family is important, he is more so. He is very forthright and honest in his ministry as we should be.
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After the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus came down from the mountain. His teaching amazed everyone. A man with leprosy approached Jesus and asked him to make him clean. Jesus healed the man and told him to not tell others but instead to go to the priests and offer a gift that Moses commanded as a testimony instead.
In Capernaum, a Roman centurion (an elite soldier) came to Jesus to ask him to heal one of his servants who is paralyzed. Jesus agreed to come. However, the centurion did not think he was worthy to have Jesus under his roof, so he asked Jesus to heal the man from afar. Jesus admired his faith and did so.
Jesus arrived at Peter’s house. His mother-in-law was sick. When he touched her, he healed her.
Jesus healed many more and cast out many demons.
3) He asked Jesus in a humble way (kneeling and worshipping him) to heal him and Jesus did. He had faith Jesus could heal him; it was only a matter of if Jesus was willing. Leviticus 13:2-3 tells us that priests declared those with an infectious skin disease unceremoniously. Verses 44-46 tell us that those who continue to have an infectious skin disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, and cry out, “Unclean!” They must live alone and outside of camp. Here, Jesus touches the man without hesitation despite his unclean status.
4a) The centurion asked Jesus to heal one of his servants who is paralyzed. Jesus agreed to come.
b) However, the centurion did not think he was worthy to have Jesus under his roof, so he asked Jesus to heal the man from afar. Jesus admired his faith and did so.
5) Healing people showed Jesus’s compassion, his authority, and his power. It also showed he fulfilled prophecy, as we read in Isaiah about how their savior will heal the deaf, the blind, the lame, to free captives from prison, and to release those in the dark. It revealed he was God’s chosen one.
6) It’s encouraging that Jesus has the power to change lives.
I love these stories of Jesus’s healing ministry. It gives me hope that Jesus will heal others, and I love to imagine what it would have been like to see Jesus do so.
We will not see 10 miracles that Jesus performs after the Sermon on the Mount. This served to further establish his authority. Matthew puts these in no particular order, and they differ considerably from the order in Mark and Luke. These chapters will focus on Jesus’s power and authority over all things. Here, we’ll see three people who normally would have been ignored in the Jewish culture.
Leprosy was akin to COVID-19 except you had no hope of a cure. You had to stay in isolation, away from friends and family. You had to stay 6 feet away from lepers (sound familiar?), so you wouldn’t be unclean. Those with leprosy were essentially dead. This man wanted cleansing — cleansing of his life, of the treatment he had to endure, of the mental anguish he suffered.
NOTE: This is the first place in the Bible where Jesus is called Lord. And note it’s by a leper, an outcast in society. It’s also Jesus’s first recorded healing in the Gospels.
You could not touch a leper, but Jesus did. He didn’t have to, but the leper needed to be touched. Mark 1:41 Jesus has compassion. He shows this to us each and every day.
We see Jesus carefully controlling his reputation when he tells the leper not to shout to the world what happened. Instead, he tells the leper to go quietly to the priest so he could be declared clean and enter society again. He did not want the crowds to get excited. Instead, he meets us where we are at. However, we see in Mark that the leper proclaimed his healing anyway. (Mark 1:44-45).
Jesus lived in Capernaum Matthew 4:13 , so he was going home here.
The Centurion was a man of substance, stature, and wealth. He must have cared a great deal about his servant to come to a Jewish leader on his behalf. Under Roman law, if a slave became ill, the owner could kill him. This would have been the normal reaction, not going to a rabbi.
FUN FACT: There are at least 7 centurions mentioned in the New Testament, and they are all good-hearted.
Jews were not allowed to enter Gentiles’ homes because they would become unclean. The centurion knew this so was looking out for Jesus.
The centurion understood that Jesus did not need to be present to heal. He had faith in Jesus’s powers.
You could say that this centurion understood who Jesus was much more than 99% of the Jewish people at this time, and more than most of the spiritual leaders/Pharisees, too.
Jesus praised this faith, going further by saying that Gentiles will share in God’s kingdom, too. He says that Jews are not guaranteed entry just because of their identity, either.
Heaven will have people sitting and people from everywhere.
FUN FACT: Jesus spoke of hell more so than any other in the Bible.
This makes it clear that Peter was married, making it clear you did not have to be celibate to be a priest. Again, Jesus uses a touch to heal; he cares for the big hurts and the small hurts alike. She rises and serves.
Matthew shows Jesus as the true Messiah and the one Isaiah speaks of. Jesus takes our sicknesses and carries them himself. This is how we can be with God.
There were many possessed of demons at this time, and the reasoning for it is unclear. Bible scholars say it was just a dark time and magic was prevalent.
God heals physically in many ways as we see here — with a touch, words, and other ways. Jesus heals those who ask, those who others ask for, and those who don’t ask. God is sovereign in His healing powers.