Matthew: Jesus Has Power Over Nature, Spirits, Sin

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:6

8:23-27 Jesus Calms The Storm: Power Over Nature

  • 8:23-24a After Jesus shows the true cost of following Him, He entered the ship to go to the other side. Jesus’ disciples (probably the twelve) followed Him. Then while they were out on the sea a great storm (tempest) started. The storm was so great that the ship was covered by the waves. The sea storm was like an earthquake for those on the boat—having no solid foundation with the ever changing motion of the boat among the waves. The storm seemed to be so great that even the most experienced sailor would be nervous. Isn’t there something wrong with this story? Doesn’t following Jesus mean that life will be better and safer? The disciples are following Jesus—shouldn’t they expect this to be a pleasant voyage with Him across the sea? No—following Jesus means that we can expect to go through several storms—the Christian life isn’t smooth sailing.
  • 8:24b-25 The good news is that we don’t have to face these storms alone. Jesus is with us. But where was Jesus in the midst of this storm? He was asleep. This might seem absurd at first, but we need to realize that not even the greatest of storms bothers Jesus—which should give us great assurance. Next, a fearful group of Jesus’ disciples came to Him, woke Him and said, “Lord, save us: we perish.” In Mark’s account of the same story, he adds that they said, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” The storm has caused the disciples to be fearful and fear has led to them doubting the very character of Jesus. Maybe they were wondering how Jesus, the man whom they seen do great miracles, could be sleeping in the storm. It seems they started doubting everything they knew about Jesus—just because He wasn’t acting like they think He should be. Fear causes us to forget God and all that He has done and instead focus on the wrong things. Their fear comes from the feeling that they have “lost control”—indeed they have—and they are about to die unless Jesus does something.
    Mark 4:38
  • 8:26-27 Jesus wakes up and responds saying, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Jesus calls out their problem: fear because of a lack of faith. Fear inherently isn’t wrong, but it is our actions when we respond to it that is important. The disciples problem was a lack of faith in the midst of a scary storm. They doubted if Jesus even cared. Jesus arose from where He was laying and rebukes the winds and the sea. The great storm was instantly turned into a great calm. Jesus wants to teach them a great lesson about discipleship: following Him will lead us into great storms, but don’t fear have faith, Jesus can calm the greatest of storms. Then the disciples—who are just men—marvelled saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.”

8:28-34 Jesus Casts Out Devils: Power Over The Spirit Realm

  • 8:28-29 Jesus and the disciples finally made it to the other side. When they arrived there, in the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed with devils met Jesus. (We don’t know a lot about demon possession, but it seems to have been a greater problem when Jesus was on earth.) The two people were exceedingly fierce. They lived in the tombs and would come out when people would try to pass through that area, keeping them from passing by that way. When they came to Jesus they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The devils possessing these men knew who Jesus really was. They also knew their ultimate fate is to be cast into everlasting fire. They were worried that Jesus came to punish them before that time had come. We are reminded that even the devils recognize Jesus as Lord, they fear Him, but they won’t submit to Him as Lord, they won’t believe.
    Matthew 25:41; James 2:19
  • 8:30-34 A good way off from where they were standing was a herd of many pigs (swine) feeding. So the devils besought Jesus asking that if Jesus was going to cast them out of the men, that He would cast them into the herd of pigs. Jesus responds with “Go”—not agreeing or disagreeing with their request, but in some way seems to permit their requests or allows it to happen. The devils went out of the men and entered into the heard of pigs. This causes the whole herd of pigs to run violently down a steep place into the sea where they died in the waters. The people who kept the pigs fled to the city and told the people there everything that happened with the pigs and the men that were possessed of the devils. Then the whole city came out to meet Jesus. But they weren’t coming in excitement. When they saw Jesus they begged Him to leave their coasts. What do we learn from this? (1) Jesus liberated two men from the bondage of demon possession—He has power over the spirits. (2) No one else could help them or even seemed to care about them—who was excited about their liberation? (3) People are more concerned about themselves and their business or financial situations than the workings of God—are you missing Jesus because your have a wrong focus?

9:1-8 Jesus Forgives Sins: Power Over Sin

  • 9:1-2 Jesus listens to the request of the people, enters a ship and sails to His own city (Capernaum). Then they brought to Jesus a man lying on a bed that was sick of the palsy. They make no request, but just put this man before Jesus. But Jesus saw their faith and then said unto the sick man, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” We learn a few things from Jesus here: (1) Jesus first encourages the sick man, refers to him as a child and tells him to be of good cheer—this is comforting. (2) Jesus doesn’t heal the man but instead forgives his sin—no one except God has power to truly forgive sin—Jesus is fulfilling His mission. (3) Jesus forgives his sin because of his faith—faith in Jesus.
    Matthew 1:21; 4:13
  • 9:3-7 Being astounded that Jesus would say that He can forgive sins, certain of the scribes start their opposition thoughts. Their inner thoughts started saying that Jesus was blaspheming. (What are your inner thoughts about Jesus?) Jesus knew their thoughts and ask them two questions: (1) Why are you thinking evil thoughts?—Jesus is omniscient, He knows their very thoughts and they were evil. (2) What is easier, to forgive sins or to heal?—Both are impossible for man. But Jesus wasn’t just an ordinary man. Then Jesus goes on to explain that He has done this so they would know that He (the Son of man) has power on earth to forgive sins—He is claiming divinity because they would normally think  that: “God has power in heaven to forgive sins”. Finally, as an exclamation point, Jesus heals the sick man. The man who was carried to Jesus, walks away healed and forgiven.
  • 9:8 The multitudes saw everything that happened, marvelled and glorified God. They knew that only God could grant this to happen and that He has given such power to men.

Review Questions

  • Does following Jesus mean we will never have problems?
  • Are we to fear in the midst of the storm? Why?
  • Are you missing Jesus because you overlooking what He is doing in your life?
  • What doe Jesus have power over?
  • Has Jesus forgiven your sins? If he hasn’t yet, He can today.

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