Jesus’ Power Revealed (Matthew 8:28-34)

Published on Tuesday, 26 December 2017 05:41

We can see from the story that the powers of darkness recognised four things at least about the Saviour. First, it is obvious that they recognised who Jesus was because they called him by the title, the Son of God. Some have commented that here, from a surprising source, was the answer to the question asked by the disciples in verse 27 about the identity of Jesus after he calmed the storm. Second, the demons also recognised that there was a day coming when they would be tormented, which is a reference to what will happen to them in a lost eternity. Third, they recognised that Jesus would be the One who would inflict punishment on them, that he would be the final Judge of evil angels as well as of humans. Fourthly, the demons were aware of why Jesus had come to that location – he had come to set the two individuals free from the grip of the evil powers.

It looks that maybe the demons wanted to stay in that area, which would have been one reason for them wanting to enter the pigs. Perhaps the area was connected to evil behaviour. Nevertheless, they confessed a fifth aspect of their recognition of Jesus, which was that they could not go anywhere without his permission. The outcome was that the entire herd was lost, which may indicate that it was connected to inappropriate practices.

Why did Jesus allow the herd to be destroyed? I suspect it was to give an insight to the local people of the destruction and havoc the powers of darkness can cause. This story describes two extreme examples – the two demoniacs and the pigs, but the demons affecting them could easily destroy a herd of swine. Another reason would be to show that he had freed the two men from that awful bondage. And a third reason could be that he was punishing the owners for their sins, and Calvin comments that ‘While the reason of it is not known by us with certainty, it is proper for us to behold with reverence and to adore with devout humility, the hidden judgment of God.’ A fourth reason could have been to show to people what their real priorities were, and they revealed what they were when they came to see Jesus and asked him to leave.

It is surprising that neither the herdsmen or the inhabitants of the city were pleased about what had happened to the two men. Their spiritual deliverance meant nothing to them. They did realise that Jesus possessed real power, but they wanted nothing to do with him. Instead they preferred that he left. They did not see any personal need of his power in their lives.

Why did Jesus wait to hear this request? Perhaps he wanted his disciples to realise that winning souls in a community would not lead to the approval of the community. Or maybe he wanted them to note that displays of power in themselves would not bring people to faith.

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