Truth Taught- Jesus has the power and authority over Satan’s realm
Psalm 24:1 (ESV)
1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
As we continue through Matthew’s Gospel we have already seen a theme through this section. Authority is mentioned at the end of the Sermon on the Mount…
Jesus’ Words has authority
Matthew 7:28–29 (ESV)
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Jesus has the authority over sickness and disease.
Matthew 8:8–9 (ESV)
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Matthew 8:16 (ESV)
16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.
Jesus has authority over creation
Matthew 8:26–27 (ESV)
26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
Jesus has authority over the demonic realm. Here, Matthew has given us a wonderful account of Jesus commanding a legion of demons and they obey.
Matthew 8:28–34 (ESV)
28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
1. Demons Understand Who Jesus is and the Authority He Has
28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
The region or the country of the Gadarenes was a predominately Gentile region. It’s famous for its many caves and steep cliffs that overlook the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus and His disciples land on the shore of this region and immediately encounter two demon-possessed men. We should note that Mark and Luke’s account only report one of men perhaps the spokesman of this demonic hoard. It’s probably that Mark and Luke only mention the one man who was possessed by the demon doing the talking for the group.
These two demon-possessed men lived among the tombs. This was an area where the dead were buried. They lived inside the caves among the dead.
Matthew reports that these two demon-possessed men were extremely violent. They were violent towards themselves and to anyone walking past.
Looking at one of the demon possessed men, Mark tells us that he had been chained with shackles and even the chains could not subdue him. He continues that night and day he lived among the tombs crying out with a loud voice and cutting himself.
The demons were out to destroy these men and anyone close.
The attacks were so severe that no one could even walk that way for fear of being attacked.
What Matthew’s point here is everyone was powerless against these demon-possessed men. The men themselves could not rid themselves of the demons. No one else had the power to control them or remove them. Humanly speaking the Satanic realm cannot be controlled or overpowered.
Another thing Mark reports is that Jesus asks the demon its name and he answers…
Mark 5:9 (ESV)
9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
A Roman Legion was 6,000 troops. Literally, Jesus asks his name and he replies six thousand.
These men were in a hopeless situation the demons had completely taken control over these men. They were bent on self-destruction.
If we combine the accounts we can see that night and day they lived among the tombs, they were alienated from society, no one could restrain them even with chains, they continued to cut themselves, no one could help. No one could control 6,000 demons who had possessed these men…
Im not sure but probably the disciples were letting Jesus go first. I’m sure as they walked up the shore and the demon possessed men were running down the beach to meet them Jesus was at the front of the line.
29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
The goal of these demons is to erase the image of God in these men through self-destruction. Their misery being a foretaste of hell itself. Beloved this account is demons tormenting these men before the appointed time. They however plead for special treatment from Jesus.
As soon as they see Jesus they cry out, literally, stay away from us, it’s not time yet. Isn’t that ironic? They are happy to torture these men before they’re sent to hell but are afraid Jesus will send them to torture before it’s their time.
They know who Jesus is they call Him Son of God. They also know the authority Jesus wields. Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
These demons know their ultimate end is the eternal torture in the Lake of Fire. They don’t beg for mercy but for delay. They seem to think that it would somehow be wrong for Jesus to consign them to hell now. Evil never repents. Evil acts out its natural inclination and always wants special treatment when caught but never repents.
Beloved apart from God working in our heart to cause us to repent we would never repent either. Humanists believe people are basically good and it’s environment or some other external factor that makes us do evil things. Listen to the Bible’s assessment…
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
According to God there is nothing more wicked and deceptive than our hearts. Evil is not something out there somewhere but something inside us. Like 6,000 demons controlling us so our wicked hearts control us and like a demon we will never repent unless God breaks through and brings us to life.
This legion of demons was busy tormenting these men and when they saw Jesus they were afraid that He was going to begin their torment. That’s how evil works and that’s what evil looks like.
We like to dress it up so it doesn’t look too bad but it torments to destroy all reminders that there is a God who has authority over us. People seek so desperately to forget that there is a God and that someday He will pass eternal judgment upon them. Unless people repent all they can do is seek to delay the judgment that they know is coming.
Perhaps there is someone here whom God is prompting to repent and turn to Him so that your sins can be forgiven? Perhaps today is the day of salvation. You see demons are not given an opportunity to be saved only humans that God calls.
2. The Power of Christ and the Folly of Evil
30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.
The herd of pigs nearby has convinced many that we are in Gentile country.
The demons present a strange idea to Jesus. The demons fully expect that Jesus is going to drive them out of the two men so they present a possible compromise perhaps. Jesus, sense You’re going to drive us out of these men then…….what about those pigs over there?
Luke’s account tells us that the demons ask not to be sent into the abyss but into the pigs instead.
32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.
One account tells us this herd of pigs was around two thousand in number. All of the pigs run uncontrollably over the cliff and all die.
We are left wondering a few things, aren’t we? Why did the pigs do this? Why did Jesus permit this? What happened to the demons after the pigs died? The bottom line here is we don’t know. Matthew’s emphasis is not on the demons or the pigs. He emphasis is to show is the authority of Jesus Christ.
The men were in a hopeless situation there was nothing they could do to rid themselves of these demons. The community around them was helpless to control these men there was nothing they could do. Those on the road were helpless. Notice the demons knew who Jesus was and the authority He had. All Jesus had to say was Go! And 6,000 demons immediately were cast out of the two men. Do you see the authority and power of Jesus?
Matthew reports this in such a way as to show the fear the demons had when they realized this was Jesus. We have just left the boat after Jesus calmed the storm and His disciples were afraid and marveled at Jesus. Now, it’s clear that the demons who were 6,000 in number are shaking in fear as well. They know who Jesus is, the Son of God and they know that He alone has the authority to send them into the abyss for eternity and they too are afraid of Him.
The folly of evil is that the demons prefer pigs to the abyss and yet the pigs run off the cliff and drown and the sea literally becomes their abyss.
3. They Begged Him to Leave
33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Mark’s account again goes into a little more detail.
Mark 5:15–17 (ESV)
15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.
The herdsmen go into town at tell everything that happened. The town comes out to see for themselves. What do they see? The demon-possessed man sitting at Jesus’ feet calm and listening to Jesus teach. The man who was out of control was now calm and listening to Jesus. When they saw that they realized everything they had heard was true and they were afraid.
The healing of these two men show us some glimpses of the Gospel. They didn’t run down the beach that day to be saved and yet in the authority and power of Jesus He not only heals them of their possession but saves them. We again read Mark’s report of one of them.
Mark 5:18–20 (ESV)
18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
This man went from being uncontrollable to an evangelist in the matter of a few minutes. He was possessed by demons and now possessed by God’s Holy Spirit. What a wonderful picture of salvation.
Notice how before he wanted nothing to do with Jesus and now all he wants is to be with Jesus.
The men begged Jesus to leave them alone, the demons begged Jesus to cast them into the herd of pigs and now the man begs Jesus to go with Him. What a change the power of God can bring about in a person.
This man was delivered as an act of sovereign mercy.
Jesus still has the power today to calm the storm, remove demons, and save the sinner. As He delivered this man He can also deliver you. He clothes us in robes of righteousness, He teaches us, loves us and calms us. He places us in our right mind.
Will you come to Christ today? He has the authority to save you from your sin.
Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary
A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles
A Gospel of Matthew by France
Matthew by Craig Bloomberg
Matthew by Doriani
Matthew by Charles Price
Matthew by Leon Morris
Blue Letter Bible