Matthew 8 Pt.3 – Christ’s Authority Over Demons!

As we conclude Matthew 8 today we can look back over it and see Christ’s authority over sickness, disease, the forces of nature (when He calmed the storm), and now His power over demons. We have also seen that the two aspects of Christ’s nature can be seen in this chapter: both His humanity and His deity.

In this last section Matthew reports the story of the freeing of two men who were demon-possessed, whereas in the accounts of Mark and Luke, we are only told of one man who was demon-possessed. Perhaps one man was more prominent than the other and Matthew focused his attention on his story, and that Matthew likes to make sure that there are two or three witnesses to his accounts.

We often hear those involved in “deliverance ministry” tell stories about how they have to determine the number of demons and the names of those demons before they can actually “cast them out” of someone. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of evidence to support this. What we do see is Jesus speaking to the man and asking his name. But then just as the man begins to speak, another voice, that of some demon, speaks up and says that his name is “Legion, for we are many” (Mk.5:9; Lk.8:30). Its almost as if those in deliverance ministry would have the oppressed to “Count your demons, name them one by one!”  We aren’t actually told how many devils indwelt this man or these men. A Legion could be 5000 men plus 120 cavalry, or 6000 men, depending on what commentary you read. Many assume there is 2000 in a Legion because there were about 2000 swine in the nearby fields (See Mk.5:13).

Matthew records that the locals, who most likely were Gentiles, weren’t happy with the destruction of their herd of pigs, and when they came to Jesus they begged Him to leave their area (Matt.8:33-34). Mark and Luke continue the story, and tell how the man who had been demon-possessed was found sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind (Mk.5:15; Lk.8:35), which caused the locals to be ‘seized with great fear‘ (Lk.8:35-37).

The final part of the story, as told by Mark and Luke, is that of the man wanting to be one of Jesus’ disciples and to join Jesus in the boat as they left. But Jesus did not permit him, but rather commissioned him to go and proclaim all the great things the Lord had done for him, and how He has had compassion on him (See Mk.5:18-20; Lk.8:38-39), and he did just that. He actually probably became the first missionary to the Gentile cities of The Decapolis (The Ten Cities).

If you want to watch the full church service from Sun 13th Feb, 2022 with the sermon included, click on this link!

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