Storms, Demons, and Healing
“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 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. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 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. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” 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. 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?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 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 herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 8:14–9:8, ESV)
Healing And Following
As evening drew near, Jesus entered Peter's home and saw his beloved mother-in-law suffering from a fever. With one miraculous touch, she was healed of her illness. Grateful for being restored to health, the joyous woman sprang up just in time to welcome more people seeking healing under Jesus' compassionate ministry—further affirming Isaiah 53:4, which says, "He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases." Jesus's healing ministry had an amazing impact on many people's lives in Capernaum. A scribe wanted to join their mission—declaring his commitment to following Jesus no matter where he went. Another important thing to note was that this was the first time Jesus referred to himself as "the Son of Man." It is used 29 times in Matthew alone.
The King Has Dominion Over Creation
The disciples needed to learn the importance of complete confidence in Jesus. While the centurion trusted the ability of an absent Christ, the disciples could not trust the power of a present Christ. The miracle was a means of showing them his dominion over all of nature. It also served as a confirmation of their weak faith. These disciples are left to ask what kind of man Jesus is, and the answer is that he is the God-man. The encounter with the demoniacs reminds the reader that competing kingdoms are at war. Satan has a counterfeit kingdom, but that kingdom has significant influence and power in this world. However, even these demons recognize the authority of Jesus and ask for mercy. Jesus obliges their request, and they enter a herd of pigs that are drowned. The herdsmen who witnessed this incredible sight go into the town and report all they have seen. The response of the people is somewhat unexpected. They were not interested in knowing Jesus; they just wanted him to leave their region.
The healing of the paralyzed man shows the relationship between physical and spiritual healing. This incident sheds light on the truth that Jesus has the authority to forgive sin. Faith is the catalyst for the healing of this man. The religious leaders took offense at Jesus' statement because forgiving sins is a prerogative of God, and it would most certainly be blasphemy if Jesus were not God. The healing serves as proof that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. The crowds were afraid, but they glorified God and recognized that this was his work.
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