1055 Relatives, stilling the sea, and casting out demons into the swine -The image of Jesus (10) (by Whirlwind)

First, those who hear the word of God and act on it are relatives. Please note that Jesus didn’t deny His mother and brothers. He just said it to include everyone who hears God’s word and acts on it as relatives. Secondly, He knew that if He commanded the wind and the sea, they would obey Him, there was no reason for Him to panic. Indeed, He did so. And the people around Him felt fearful and amazed. Thirdly, we talk about the event of casting out the demons into the swine. We can see even the person possessed by demons still had a choice in front of Jesus. Fourthly, those knowing the event apparently were more fearful than amazed. They asked Jesus to leave and lost the opportunity to get salvation. Although Jesus performed a miracle, He didn’t have any intention to force them to believe and thus receive Him, just like the example described here from the other occasion. And we explain the seeming contradiction about why He wanted the person with leprosy not to talk about his healing while also asking the possessed man to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him.

1. Who hear the word of God and do it are relatives

In Luke 8:19-21, it says, “And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.””

The same event is recorded in Matthew 12:46-50, “While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”” Mark 3:31-35 also records the same event.

Please note that He didn’t deny His mother and brothers. He just said things including all people who hear the word of God and do it are relatives. Conversely, we see that He asked John to take care of His mother as said in John 19:26-27, “When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” Here, we also see that all of the male disciples except John fled. John was the only one who was in front of the cross.

2. The miracle of stilling the sea

In Luke 8:22-25, it says, “Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?””

The same event is recorded in Matthew 8:23-27. When “He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” …”(Matthew 8:26) That was why He said to them, “…”Where is your faith?” …”(Luke 8:25) We see that Jesus maintained His calm even in the middle of storms, since He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they had to wake Him. (Ref. Mark 4:35-41) He knows that if He commands the winds and the water, then they will obey Him. He eventually did command the wind and the rain to calm down, but the reaction of the men was to be fearful and amazed.

3. The event of casting out the demons into the swine

In Luke 8:26-33, it says, “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.” The same event is recorded in Mark 5:1-13, and also in Matthew 8:28-32 briefly.

It is clearly said where the event happened. We can see that the strength of the man possessed by demons was unusually strong beyond a normal human being, who was affected by other situations as well. We can see that demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine and got His permission.  But the herd couldn’t tolerate them and died. After all, the demons went into the abyss eventually. It is clear that Jesus had great authority in the spiritual world. We can also see that although the man was possessed by many demons, he still had a choice since it is said in Luke 8:28 “Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, …”  In Mark 5:19, it says, “…how He had mercy on you.” Out of mercy, He cast out the demons. Therefore, we can see that even though we are in a worse situation from our viewpoint, we still have a choice. That is, no matter what, we can still crawl in front of the salvation of Jesus. Regarding to the situation of the man possessed by demons, it is described more clearly in Mark 5:1-13, which says that the number of the swine is about two thousand. So, we can see that the financial loss to the owner of the swine was pretty big.

4. What happened afterwards 

In Luke 8:34-39, it says, “When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned. But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying, “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” The same event is recorded in Mark 5:14-20, and also described briefly in Matthew 8:28-34.

As discussed earlier, when the disciples saw that Jesus calmed down the wind and the sea, they were fearful and amazed. In here, being gripped with great fear was a normal reaction, since they either saw or heard an unusual thing. They really didn’t know what kind of person Jesus was. Apparently, their fear was greater than their amazement. Maybe, on top of that, they were also afraid of financial losses like what happened to the owner of the swine. Thus, they asked Jesus to leave and lose the opportunity to get salvation. 

We also see that Jesus performed a miracle, but He had no intention to force them to believe and accept Him. This is sort of like what happened in Mark 10:17-22 and Luke 18:18-23, there was a wealthy person who asked Him, “… Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”(Luke 18:18) “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.””(Luke 18:19-21) “When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.””(Luke 18:22) At that time, He talked and also invited him, but man has free will. As the results, “But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”(Luke 18:23) We must absolutely know that the power of Satan cannot exceed the authority of God. Satan cannot do anything beyond what God permits. (Ref. Job 1-2:7) In the Book of Job, we can also see that the permission of God is given to Satan for only one thing each time. If Satan wants to do anything else, he has to ask permission again. 

Regarding the demon possessed man begging Him to accompany Him, the Gospel of Mark has more details. In Mark 5:18-20, it says, “As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.” Please notice the situation is very different from the person who had leprosy who asked Him to heal him. At that time, as described in Mark 1:43-44, “And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”” From these verses, we can see that that person was a Jew at Juda. The different reaction is because he is a Jew, not because “But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.”(Mark 1:45) He knew that His time was not yet come. In the beginning of that period, He always kept a low profile in front of Jews. For example, it is like what was described in John 7:6-10, “So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.  But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret.”

The country of the Gerasenes is among the gentiles, and it is not directly linked to His nailing in the cross. Remember that the Jews wanted to kill Him starting with the time His not following the time of Sabbath, since the verse says in John 5:18, “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” So, He didn’t follow the time of Sabbath according to Law. What He did obey the true meaning of Sabbath. We must know what said in Mark 2:27-28, “Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.””

    (Verses refer to those in NASB unless otherwise specified.)

(You can get all articles in “https://a-christian-voice.com/” under “On spiritual understanding about life.”)

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