Church of Christ
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8) Matthew 8 - Jesus meets those possessed
Matthew 8:28 - and when He was come to the other side of the Sea of Galilee following the stormy crossing, the
events occur which follow.

Mark 5:6 tells us that from their home in the tombs, from a distance, the demoniacs had watched Jesus and the
disciples disembark.  Now, they run to Him, throw themselves on the ground at His feet and worship.  Luke 8:28 -
Here is tragedy, these men belonged to the city, (Luke 8:27) but they came out of the tombs.

There is much controversy over Jesus casting out demons.  I believe Jesus knew that demons exist and dealt with
them accordingly.
    a) But Jesus did not treat demoniacs as merely sick, nor demons themselves as another disease, although
        when the demons were gone out of their victims, who had shown also characteristics of disease, the
        demoniacs were well.
    b) Nor did Jesus treat demons as mere "sins".  There is no evidence that He regarded demoniacs as       
        particularly guilty, beyond other sinners.
Back to Matthew 8 Study Index Page

Jesus saw them as men:
1) Violently antisocial:  "they lived not in a house but in the tombs," "Fierce," "night and day among the tombs and
on the mountains," "driven by the demon into the desert."
2) Indomitable:  "None could bind him any more with fetters and chains, no one had the strength to subdue him."
3) Extremely tormented to the point of brutal self-abuse:  "he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones,"
4) Unclean spirit (Mark 5:2):  Up to this point one might have pointed to natural mania or some other violent insanity.
 Here the line is sharply drawn, for the man was the home of other personalities who were destroying him.

The two demoniacs ran and worshipped Him (Mark 5:6).  But who really did this:  the demons or the men
themselves?  If the demons worshipped Jesus, then out of what motives?  Recognition of their real Master, greater
than Satan, and their final Judge for eternity?  See Matthew 8:29.

This possession must be kept in view as characteristic of the demonized, that they were incapable of separating
their own consciousness and ideas from the influence of the demon, their own identity being merged, and to that
extent, lost, in that of their tormentors.
Matthew 8:29 - And behold they cried out, what have we to do with the thou Son of God?

This expression Son of God that was given by the demons, indicates that the man was not a Jew, and there is some
evidence the owners of the swine were not Jews.  The Most High (Elyon) is a name for Jehovah which was usual
among heathens.  It also appears as a descriptor rather than a name.

What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God?  Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?  The personal
testimony of the demons clarifies the true relationship between themselves and Jesus, and, at the same time, shows
that they recognized Jesus' authority above that of Satan.

Let alone to do what?  They preferred their past life to be far better than any temporary or permanent judgment
Jesus would bring.

What have we to do with thee?  Really is translated what do we have in common?  What is there between us that
unites us in a common bond?  Nothing!
Have you come here to torment us before the time?  There is no question in their minds about the torment:  for them
it is but a question of timing.

In Revelation the abyss denotes only the abode of evil spirits, although not the place of final punishment, since it is
apparently distinguished from the "lake of fire and brimstone."

It is unnecessary for Jesus to discuss or debate with these evil spirits.  It is sufficient for them that Jesus is the
Christ.  He had already won the victory.  Now it was merely a question of what to do with the captives!  James' words
(James 2:19) rings true - the demons believe and shudder!

Mark and Luke report that Jesus asked the principle demoniac, "What is your name?"  His answer was, my name is
Legion; for we are many.
This area was one of the sub-territories of the independent cities of the Greek Decapolis.  It may well be that that
herd of swine represents Greek contempt for Jewish prejudices. Or, since this event occurred within the tetrarch of
Philip, the owners of these swine could well be Jews, seeking profits from Gentile purchasers.  They could have
justified themselves, saying, "But we don't eat the stuff!  We just grow the hogs and sell the pork to the heathen

Send us into the swine.  Why did they make this strange request?  They apparently did not wish to remain

What we see in the hogs' action is THEIR decision, not that of the demons!  Perhaps pigs are smarter than men.

Why destroy the pigs?  To the evil all things turn to evil.  The prayer of these evil spirits was heard but only to their
ruin.  They are allowed to enter the swine; but the destruction of the whole herd follows, they defeated their own
purpose, there revels itself here the very essence and truest character of evil, which outwits and defeats itself.