Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 8:23—9:8 we see the authority of the King. The sequence of Matthew is wonderful. After the King spoke in a way to indicate that He had nothing, not even a home or a place to rest, and after not allowing His followers to perform the dead duties, the record of Matthew reveals the authority of this King. Although He had nothing, He had authority. In 8:23—9:8 this authority is of three aspects: the authority over the winds and the sea (8:23-27); the authority over the demons (8:28-34); and the authority to forgive sins (9:1-8).
The Lord’s authority was manifested over the winds and the sea. This is not an ordinary authority; rather, it must be counted as an extraordinary authority. The Lord and His disciples were in a boat, and “a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves” (v. 24). When the disciples, fearing that they would perish, roused the Lord from sleep (v. 25), He said, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” (v. 26). Faith comes from the word of the Lord and depends upon that word (Rom. 10:17). The Lord gave them the word in verse 18 “to depart to the other side.” If they had believed that word, they would not have needed to pray as they did in verse 25. Their realization of the Lord’s word was not a full realization; thus, they were those of little faith.
Verse 26 says, “Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” As the Lord and the disciples were sailing across the sea, on their way to cast out the demons, something in the air and under the sea began to cause them difficulty. In the air there were the fallen angels, and in the water there were the demons. Thus the Lord’s command was not actually spoken to the winds or to the sea, but to the fallen angels in the air and to the demons underneath the water. A rebuke is not given to things without life, but to things with personality. The King rebuked the winds and the sea because in the wind are the fallen angels of Satan (Eph. 6:12), and in the sea are the demons (Matt. 8:32). The fallen angels in the air and the demons in the water collaborated to frustrate the King from going to the other side of the sea, because they knew He would cast out the demons there (vv. 28-32). As soon as the King commanded the fallen angels and evil demons to stop, they immediately obeyed, and there was a great calm. The calm being great was in contrast to the measure of their faith, which was little (v. 26).
Verse 27 says, “And the men marveled, saying, What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Actually, it was not the winds and the sea, but the fallen angels above the winds and the demons under the sea that obey the King’s authority. Hence, in verses 23 through 27 we see a manifestation of the King’s supernatural authority. He had no hole, no roost, no place to lay His head; however, He had supernatural authority over the natural environment. He is fully qualified to be the heavenly King of the heavenly kingdom. Apart from Him, there has never been on earth a King with such extraordinary authority.
When the Lord Jesus had come to the country of the Gadarenes, He was met by two who were possessed by demons. When the two possessed by demons met the Lord Jesus, the demons cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (v. 29). The King called Himself the Son of Man (v. 20), but the demons called Him the Son of God, tempting Him to deviate from His standing as the Son of Man. The demons asked Him if He had come to torment them before the time. The words “before the time” imply that God has appointed a time for the demons to be tormented and that the demons knew that time. It will be after the millennium and for eternity. (See note on Revelation 20:13 in Recovery Version of Revelation.)
The demons, not wanting to be tormented before the time, entreated the Lord Jesus, saying, “If You cast us out, send us into the herd of hogs” (v. 31). The fact that the demons entreated Him indicates that they were under the power and authority of the King. Verse 32 says, “And He said to them, Go! And they came out and went into the hogs; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the precipice into the sea and died in the waters.” The word “Go!” was the King’s authoritative order, and the demons obeyed it. The King answered the demons’ entreaty to enter into the hogs because hogs are unclean in the eyes of God (Lev. 11:7). Unable to tolerate being possessed by the demons, the hogs rushed into the sea. The demons agreed to this, because the water is their lodging place (12:43-44).
The Lord’s intention in permitting the demons to go into the hogs was not to damage the occupation of those who fed them. Because hogs are dirty in the eyes of God, the Lord Jesus destroyed their unclean occupation with the expectation that those employed in it might be saved and turn to Him. The hogs, unclean and condemned by God, should not have been present.
When the report concerning the hogs came to those who owned them, the owners were offended. Verse 34 says, “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw Him, they entreated Him that He might depart from their districts.” They begged the Lord Jesus to leave, and He did depart (9:1). The city people, having lost their hogs, rejected the King. They wanted their unclean hogs, but not the King of the heavenly kingdom. They were probably Gentiles. (Gadara was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, opposite to Galilee of the Gentiles—4:15.) They rejected the heavenly King because of their unclean way of making a living.
The King’s coming to this district set everything in order. Not only were the demons cast out of the two men, but the hogs were drowned. Hence, the whole region was cleared, and the demons returned to their dwelling place. This was an exhibition of the Lord’s authority.
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