Realising the competency of Jesus (Matthew 8:28-34)

So far in his encounters, Jesus has brought his disciples into a variety of experiences, but in each of them fear and helplessness was prominent. They would have been frightened of dealing with a leper because of concerns of contracting the disease, of dealing with a Gentile centurion because the Roman authorities could use power against them, and of being in a fierce storm. Maybe they were afraid of what would happen to Peter’s mother-in-law if no one could help her. In all these situations, they would have also felt helpless.

Probably the meeting with the demoniacs would have been the most frightening of all for the disciples. Matthew Henry, in discussing the various fears, mentions that as far as the disciples were concerned the diseases were inevitable, the storm was uncontrollable, and the demons the most formidable.  Facing one would be enough for most people, never mind facing a lot of them at the same time. Each of those categories would make us afraid. I think we can deduce from this incident that Jesus wanted the disciples to deal with their fears by letting him deal with their fears by his gracious power, and by extension he can do the same for us.

The various encounters highlight the competence of Jesus. If we had a notebook and were among his followers we would tick off one by one the various situations that did not prevent his power being displayed. He could heal diseases, whether longstanding like the leper or recent like Peter’s mother-in-law; he could heal from a distance or heal a crowd on his doorstep; he could control the elements with a word and cause his disciples to be full of wonder; he could help the prominent and the outcast without a word. Now he was about to deal with individuals whom everyone else would regard as very dangerous and would not wish to be near on any occasion.

The deduction that can be made is that Jesus can handle all kinds of situations, that there is no set of events that would show any incompetency in his ability to deal with whatever kind of challenge came his way, or in the path of the disciples when they were engaged in following his commandments.

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