But if I am casting our demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. [Matthew 12:28 (NLT)]
Mark and Luke tell of Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee to the region of the Gerasenes where they encountered a demon-possessed man. He’d been banished to live in the tombs and was so violent and strong that even shackles couldn’t restrain him. The demoniac would cut himself with sharp stones and his shrieks could be heard night and day. When Jesus restored the man, He sent the demons into a herd of swine that plunged down the steep hillside and drowned in the lake.
Just before arriving in the Gerasenes, Jesus and the disciples had departed Capernaum in clear weather to sail across the Sea of Galilee. We know Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd, but why sail to the Gerasenes? Jesus never seemed to do anything by chance and going five miles across the lake to a predominately Gentile region (one where pigs grazed) seems an odd choice for Jewish rabbi. But this is the rabbi who told of the Good Shepherd—the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to save the one lost sheep. Perhaps this trip across the lake to the Gerasenes was a shepherd’s journey to save one of his flock. When Jesus set foot in that boat in Capernaum, I think He knew exactly where He was going, what He would find there, and what He would do about it.
It seems that Jesus deliberately set out for a confrontation with the enemy and Satan did his best to deter Him. Was that squall just another unexpected violent Galilean storm or were those twenty foot waves Satan’s attempt to prevent Jesus from getting to shore and saving the lost soul waiting there? Our good shepherd will go to great lengths to save His children and not even a hurricane can stop Him! Calming the storm revealed Jesus’s divinity and His power over nature but I think it also revealed His power over the spiritual realm. The confrontation between good and evil started in a storm on the lake, long before Jesus set foot on land and sent those demons into the swine.
As Jesus was departing, the healed man begged to go with Him. Jesus, however, told him to go home to his family and tell everyone all that the Lord had done for him. That nameless once demon-possessed man became the first Gentile missionary. Throughout the Decapolis, an alliance of ten cities southeast of the Sea of Galilee, he proclaimed “the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.” [Mark 5:20] Just as he did 2,000 years ago, the enemy loves to send storms our way to discourage us from doing God’s work. Satan, however, is no match for Jesus. Our Lord wouldn’t let a storm deter Him and neither should we!
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? … No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in al creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:31,39 (NLT)]
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