TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

Matthew 8

Matthew 8

After the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes, Jesus and the disciples came down from the mount. 

A leper then came to them in faith deeply moved and convicted to repentance and faith by this Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Here Christ commanded this man to keep the law and go to the priests, as a witness of his healing by Christ. 

Then a centurion [likely a Roman Gentile] hearing of Jesus, came to request a healing for his servant.

8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

This soldier understood that Jesus had authority over sickness, as he had authority over men.  This understanding became Real Faith, and the Faith became the works of faith in  exalting Christ.

8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

This man had a good understanding of authority and recognized that Jesus had authority over all things; in effect he acknowledged Christ as the Messiah, and was the salvation of BOTH Israel and the Gentiles. This man was filled with Faith in Christ as the Deliverer of the world. And he trusted and acted on that faith!

The following is a reference to the centurion as a Gentile; with Jesus saying that many Gentiles will enter the resurrection to spirit because of their FAITH, while many of the children of the kingdom [Israel] will not enter in because of unbelief.

8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west [many Gentiles shall be called and will enter the resurrection to spirit from around the earth because of their  great FAITH], and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 8:12 But the children of the kingdom {the faithless of the called out, who lack the faith to keep the Word of God will not have a part in the early resurrection to spirit]  shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Those who have the faith of Abraham, married to the works of Abraham; will enter the Kingdom of God: While the faithless compromisers shall be kept out.

This is a clear warning that there are many of faith who diligently serve God, who shall be chosen for God’s Kingdom. While faithless compromises and preachers of a false corporate Gospel [wolves and false brethren] will not be among the chosen [even if they achieve great heights of authority within some corporate organization today] and will NOT be in the resurrection of the chosen first fruits.

8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

It is our FAITH in Christ, married to DOING what he has instructed; that shall make us spiritually whole!

8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

As the physical is a reflection of the spiritual, so Christ can heal the spirit as he did the flesh.

Someone has said that because Christ healed Peter’s mother in law on a Sabbath and she rose up to serve him, that means that she cooked on the Sabbath.

Of course to “minister” could have been as simple as offering them some wine or a glass of water, or a bit of food that had already been prepared on the preparation day; therefore this idea that she cooked on Sabbath is a tremendous stretch.

The scripture and its companion

Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Mark 1:21 and they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. . . . .

Mark 1:29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 1:30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. 1:31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Luke 4:31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. . . .

Luke 4:38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 4:39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

We can see in all three versions that Peter’s mother in law was healed of a fever in the privacy of their home with a few disciples present. This was AFTER he had finished teaching on the Sabbath; had walked to the house, had healed the lady, and she would have rested for a short space.  It is a gross assumption to say  that she had served them by cooking on the Sabbath day before the sun had set! 

The issue is the jumping to a false conclusion that “ministering” meant cooking, or a false conclusion that with the healing late in the day, the sun had not set on that Sabbath when she began serving them.

Since Christ would not have permitted her “ministering” to him unlawfully; there are three issues: 1) Was it still the Sabbath;  2) did she cook, 3) is cooking on God’s Sabbath unlawful?

let me start by saying that Christ does not change and that he was the God of Israel who gave them the commandments in the first place. Since he does not change and he declared that not so much a punctuation point of the law would be done away; we must obey the same law that he gave to Israel.

Jesus Christ kept the law without compromise and fully in every point, for he gave it and he first received it from the Father.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Now the commandment

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

We are not to do any work on the Sabbath or annual High Days. Except that we may perform acts of mercy; respond to major crisis; and do those things specifically commanded by God for the Sabbath and Holy Days.

We are not to require any other who is within our gates [under our authority, power or responsibility] to work, no not even our animals.

20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The Sabbath day is a memorial of the physical creation, and as such is an acknowledgment of the Creator and our obligation to obey him in all things as our Creator Father. This day is HIS, the time belongs to HIM and is to be used as HE instructs. This is HIS time which we are to spend with HIM to learn of HIM.

This day was created for Adam and Eve and ALL their descendants; that is ALL humanity. Therefore it is a sin to cause or encourage others to break the Sabbath. It is also a prophecy of a spiritual creation in six thousand years followed by a one thousand year millennial rest in his presence.

To buy anything, including food and drink, on Sabbath or High Days; is to encourage others to work on Sabbath or Holy Days, it is to partake of, encourage and participate in the sins of others.  It is setting a bad example for others, it is a sin because buying is causing others to work, and it is the sin of hypocrisy by paying others to do work that we would not lift a finger to do on Sabbath or High Days ourselves!

If you would not take a job in a restaurant on Sabbath or High Day; then paying others to do so is hypocrisy: And if you would take such a job, it is the sin of Sabbath or High Day breaking.

What about cooking on the Sabbath?

First cooking is either our own pleasure or it is work and in either case it is forbidden. We are not to work on Sabbath and neither are we to do our own pleasure.

Isaiah 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

It is because we take pleasure in our own ways and not in the things and commandments of God, that we are obviously under a curse in this latter day. And it is because of Sabbath pollution that Israel went into captivity and will do so again.

The law says: you shall not work nor cause others to work!

God commands through his prophets that we are not to do our own pleasures on HIS Sabbath and Holy Days. That should be enough, but now we come to cooking being specifically singled out.

Exodus 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; [on Friday in preparation for the Sabbath day]  and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

Here God tells Moses very plainly that they are to seethe [simmer or boil] or to bake [as in any dry cooking] on Friday as a preparation day for the Sabbath.

16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

1 Corinthians 10 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

And what happened? The people would not do as God had commanded, even as they try to grasp at any pathetic vain straw to justifying disobeying God today; in an attempt to do their own thing, instead of obeying their God, to this very day.

Exodus 16:27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. 16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

How long will we, who call ourselves spiritual Israel and God’s people; sin like physical Israel did? Let us rest from our gathering [seeking food and goods] and our cooking on the Sabbath, devoting our time to our Great God; instead of to our own pleasures.

16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

Later first Israel and then Judah were sent into captivity for polluting the Sabbath.

After Judah was sent into the Babylonian captivity for Sabbath breaking and idolatry some of Judah were repentant in Babylon and allowed back into the land; and then they quickly fell back into sinfully buying food and goods on the Sabbath, so that Nehemiah had to take a stand for God and HIS Sabbath against the people; commanding them to commit themselves to refuse to buy anything on the Sabbath! 

Rather than STOP profaning the Sabbath and Holy days many in the Ekklesia reject Nehemiah; claiming that that was just for his day!  What arrogant pride to reject the clear command of Almighty God not to do their own pleasures on HIS Sabbath Day.  This is not just for those folks in Nehemiah’s day!  It has been recorded and preserved for us today. 

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 

God’s Word to us by Nehemiah

Nehemiah 10:31 And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day:

Yet these people then quickly reverted to polluting the Sabbath once again.

Nehemiah 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals [FOOD] .

So Nehemiah corrected the Jews once again.

3:16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 3:17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 3:18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.

Nehemiah rebukes the people in very strong words reminding them that they had gone into captivity for polluting the Sabbath. Now surely those who went into captivity had many other sins as well; but the root sin was Sabbath pollution! That is cooking and buying FOOD on the Sabbath and Holy Days! 

Why? Because Sabbath pollution shows a root LACK OF RESPECT, for the Creator and his ways; and a desire to exalt our own pleasures over HIS commandments! 

The Sabbath is a test commandment in that it is based on pure obedience out of RESPECT for God and HIS commandments, because there is no natural explanation for that law. All of the other basic ten commandments have natural explanations and good reasons: The Sabbath is a matter of pure RESPECT for the desires of our Lord!

Compromising with and polluting the Sabbath is a symptom and a sign: of a lack of respect for God; a willingness to put our own pleasures BEFORE the will of our God!

It came to the point that Nehemiah had to FORCE the people to respect the Sabbath by locking the city gates on the Sabbath!

What a great shame! What a great shame, a disgrace and an execration; that the various groups of those calling themselves God’s people today, pollute God’s Holy Sabbath Day which is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset; in the same fashion that was sternly rebuked by Nehemiah and by Almighty God throughout the scriptures!

3:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. 3:20 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.

3:21 Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath. 3:22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates [of the city], to sanctify the sabbath day.

I echo the prayer of Nehemiah: Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

We are NOT to do any cooking or buying of food or drink, or any other work;  on a weekly Sabbath or a Holy day!  and we are NOT to do our own pleasures on GOD’S Sabbath, or on HIS Holy Days!

We are to make the things of GOD our pleasure on HIS time!

High Holy Days

Exodus 12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

Exodus 12 is a history of the coming out of Egypt; as they marched out of Egypt after burning what was leftover of the Passover that morning; Israel was in a unique “ox in a ditch” situation on that very first Feast of Unleavened Bread.

We are told not to build any doctrine in one scripture and yet men have taken this ONE scripture and used it to not only justify cooking on the High Holy Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; but on ALL High Days!

This statement about preparing food is NEVER again repeated for these Feast of Unleavened Bread High Days and is NEVER applied to ANY other High Day! See the Biblical Festivals studies at our website theshininglight.info. Indeed, on subsequent High Days the command not to work is doubled, making these Annual High Days even more special. The command for the High Days is to do NO SERVILE [work of any kind] Work [labour}, a double emphasis!

The very first Feast of Unleavened Bread was a special situation, just like the very first Passover was a unique occasion; BOTH requiring unique instructions. Later, Christ and his disciples and indeed the Jews went out of their homes on Passover night, and they used Passover as a PREPARATION DAY for the Feast of Unleavened Bread High Holy Day!

They prepared on Passover, and did not work including cooking on the first High Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Luke 23:53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 23:54 And that day [Passover] was the preparation [day for the Holy Day], and the sabbath drew on.

John 19:30  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [Passover was a preparation day for the Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread] , that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,

Since that first Holy Day of being driven out of Egypt and after the next Holy Day of the Exodus as they had just crossed the sea were very special true “ox in the ditch” situations; they were permitted to prepare food on those two special High Day occasions; however food preparation was forbidden on all subsequent Holy Days!  Including subsequent High Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread as is plainly shown by the scriptures.

In conclusion;

To say that someone “ministering” to Christ meant cooking on the Sabbath, is an assumption; since the sun could have already set, and serving can have nothing to do with cooking.

This is nothing more than a shallow attempt to justify polluting the Sabbath by claiming something that is just NOT there. Ministering is serving yes, yet she was most likely serving them AFTER the sun had set; and could easily have served their needs completely and entirely WITHOUT cooking, being faithful and therefore having properly prepared the previous day. For all we know, all they needed was a little water!

To pollute the Sabbath based on a personal assumption, is indicative of a desire to justify doing what one wants to do, contrary to the scriptures; and it reveals that the person does NOT want to please God, but wants to seek their own pleasures on God’s time.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; the scriptures are filled with admonitions to keep the Sabbath Holy and condemnations for polluting it.

We are clearly told NOT to buy food and drink, or to work, or to do our own pleasures on God’s Sabbaths and Holy Days.

As Israel went into captivity for their lack of respect for the laws of God and for polluting the Sabbath and doing their own thing; WE are also at the very point of going into captivity for the same reasons. We have the record of the past for our instruction, we are supposed to have God’s Spirit: WE ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW BETTER!

Please do study the word Sabbath in the Major Prophets; to learn of the great anger of God against those who pollute his Sabbaths; and of the great blessings that come from faithfully and zealously keeping God’s Holy Sabbath Day! 

Then in Capernaum many people heard Jesus teach in the Synagogue on the Sabbath. 

After teaching the people, Jesus then healed the Centurion’s servant and subsequently went to Peter’s house and healed Peter’s mother on the evening near the end of the Sabbath, and those who had heard Jesus’ Sabbath preaching found the house and began to gather there to here more of Jesus’ doctrine and to be healed. 

It is self evident from the throngs who sought Jesus out; that it is highly probable that the people detained Jesus until very late on the Sabbath; before, being weary he healed the Centurion’s servant and then went to Peter’s house to rest.  Great multitudes thronged the house in Capernaum the next morning and the weary Jesus decided to escape by boat to find a little rest. 

This is evidenced by Jesus’ answer to the scribe who wanted to become his disciple, that he had no place to hide from the crowds.  Jesus’ statement was a warning to the scribe of the cost in hard work and weariness for those who would follow him at that time.

Matthew 8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

This is not about Christ having a home as some have supposed.

Jesus is here, on the spiritual plane; warning this man that those who follow him will have no place in, or part with this world. This is a reference to the dwelling in tents at the Feast of Tabernacles which is to teach that those of faith have no place in this society and are strangers and travelers in this world, seeking a better world and citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of heaven

Matthew 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

This is also not as it seems; Christ was not saying that it is wrong to bury the dead; he is saying that the absolute priority for any converted person is his obligation to follow God the Father through following Christ. We are to let NOTHING come between us and God; EVER!   

A lesson in faith 

One must also look at the lesson in this for us today.  It is so very, very easy to be upset and discouraged by all the trials and temptations, and storms of life that beset us! 

As the disciples were afraid of the fierce storm in their small boat; we also often fear for the storms of life that come upon us, often very unexpectedly.  At such times we must remember what these disciple did!  They turned to and called on the Captain of their Salvation, to save them!  They did not turn to the other men in the boat; they turned to their Savior and Deliverer!  Let us remember them and turn to our Mighty One for our deliverance in all life’s trials, and when our faith is weak call upon Almighty God to heal our unbelief and fill us with HIS faith!

8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

We are to faithfully follow Christ “withersoever he goeth,” regardless of temptations or trials and the tempests of life that we encounter.  We are not to be enticed into compromise with God’s commandments or the instructions of Christ; at any time or for any reason!

We are to trust in the great power of our LORD to deliver us. Even if we should have to prove our loyalty through poverty, or sufferings, or death; God WILL raise us up if we endure to the very end and overcome through faithfully following Christ and the keeping of the commandments of God.

We are NOT to water down our proclamation of the Gospel into a false business model outreach, nor are we to tolerate sin. We are to march onward like loyal, faithful, passionate children of an Awesome Father!

The Great God has proven over and over; that he CAN and WILL deliver his people who are faithful to him!

Fear not!  For we have BOTH God the Father and Jesus Christ caring for us as long as we are faithful to them. It was nothing for Christ to calm the sea; or to plague Egypt and deliver Israel, or to divide the Red Sea, delivering his people and destroying all the army of the enemy.  Jesus Christ has authority and power over death itself!

We have a Master who is a Mighty Man of War; the Lord of Hosts [armies] is his name!

Before him the Seas turn back, the mountains quake and the enemies of his people are swept aside as small dust!

We have lost sight of the Greatness and the Might of our Deliverer; we have become focused on men, corporate organizations and the things of this society; We mouth the words, but we lack the faith to ACT and PERFORM the DEEDS of Obedience and Faith!

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Now comes a situation where demons are cast out of a man and they are permitted to enter a herd of swine. 

This too teaches us a spiritual lesson; that all wickedness can be removed from the called out by Jesus Christ our Deliverer; BY HIS DELIVERANCE!  This man did not seek Christ!  rather Christ was sent to deliver him!  It teaches that Christ will make a man clean through HIS Word and Power; and that wickedness and uncleanness and will perish; washed away by the water of the Word!

This situation again demonstrates the power of Christ that the demons who hated him were compelled to obey him.

Matthew 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

8:33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 8:34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

These people so feared the power of Christ that they asked him to leave; that is a wrong fear which comes through cognizance of guilt of sin; just as Eve and Adam feared and hid themselves after they had sinned. For surely there could have been a great repentance, if they had been ready to give up their sinful lifestyle; instead they desired to remain in their traditions and sins and refused to repent, rather calling on the teacher of truth to be quiet and leave them. They clung to their sins and would not repent, rejecting the one who by his authority over evil convicted them of their sins.  

As Abraham said to the rich man in his torment; though one rise from the dead, they will not repent. Today things are no different, people will cling to their traditions and sins, even if one rose from the dead to warn them. They will not change until their very fears come upon them and then they will remember the warnings and turn to God. Yet at this time a few will respond, as Ezekiel was told to hide only a few hairs in his garment.

This event had great significance for Mark and he reports this in even more detail.

Mark’s Version

Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Now after demonstrating his power over the elements Jesus was provided an opportunity to demonstrate that he had power over whole legions of demons. This would have helped to increase the faith of the disciples in Christ. Note that a legion typically had about 5,000 members. Whether this was a true full legion, or simply using the word “legion” as a designation of a very large number is not known; but the numbers of the unclean spirits was very large. 

When we have a crisis of faith, remember the power and authority of God:  Who delivers all who enthusiastically FOLLOW God and keep the whole of GOD!

5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man [Matthew says TWO men] with an unclean spirit, 5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

5:9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 5:10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

The incident of the swine

5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

The local people then feared the power of Christ; but instead of repenting they begged him to leave them alone. How like Israel they were; Israel wanted a man to be between them and God; even as we fear and want a man or organization to stand between us and the Eternal; the MIGHTY ONE who calmed the sea and casts out the legions of Satan. 

5:14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

5:16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

The delivered man chose to go with Christ; but was sent to go tell his friends. 

We who have been called out of worldliness and sin are to remember the POWER of our Deliverer and be full of faith in HIS power to deliver his faithful servants. We  have also been tasked with telling others of our salvation; which is the preaching of the Gospel.

5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 5:20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Then Jesus and his disciples came back across to Capernaum. 

Brethren, there are many trials for the zealous and faithful follower of Christ. Remember that God’s power to deliver is unsurpassable; and if we press on and overcome through HIS strength dwelling in us, which is given to those who obey GOD; HE has power over the grave to deliver his faithful from death itself!

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