Throughout these three accounts, the crowds that observed Jesus’ miracles began to take sides. In chapter 9, verse 22, Jesus received widespread positive publicity. In verse 31, this continues, but Jesus hinted at possible danger as well.
“But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”
“But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.”
In chapter 9, verses 33 and 34, the antagonism became explicit. Even as His popularity grew, the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of working His wonders by the devil’s power. This charge reflects consistent Jewish hostility over the next several centuries.
“And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”
“But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.”
Interestingly, rabbinic Judaism never tried to deny that Jesus worked miracles but merely challenged the source of His authority.
The end of the eighth chapter of Matthew has shown us the progression of Jesus’ power. His conquests over sickness and the weather earlier in the chapter are now punctuated with his control even over the kingdom of darkness that rules this world. With a word, Jesus dispatched an entire legion of demons and allowed their request to become their undoing. The demons fled, but not safety as they imagined but to their doom.
The inspired author concludes by giving us a picture of faith and the goodness of the Gospel. Here are two lost souls, empty shells each ruled by a host of demons, and yet Jesus comes and sets them free. Unwittingly they are teetering on the brink of hell one moment, captive to the violent and miserable whims of the demons, and then they are completely free the next.
The livelihood of the nearby town depended on the pigs that were destroyed in the sea. Instead of being amazed and overjoyed for the healing of miserable men, the people were alarmed over the loss of their property. The entire town came out not to see the evidence of a miracle and rejoice at the spiritual healing that had taken place, but to ask Jesus to leave for fear he might do more damage to their property.
It takes a special kind of faithlessness hatred to dismiss a miracle like this one and then despise such a healing for the sake of livestock. But this is exactly what we see happening here. The townspeople would rather have allowed two men to continue in their misery than to see a herd of pigs lost.
This kind of faithlessness is not isolated only reserved for ancient times, as people will always put their own survival ahead of others, unless Christ would dwell within them. (Atone New Testament Commentary, August 14, 2011)
References: Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor and Holy Bible, King James Version.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Wednesday, September 7
- Russ Meyne
- April Goodwin
- Laura Bushnell
- Loretta M. in Cayce
- Kody Oswald
- Tina Bailey
- Oliver Crawford
- Edgar Maxwell
- Laura Lou Roamans
- Elizabeth Adams
- Rootie Pope in Leesville
- Gene Awtrey in Spring Valley
- John Conde
- Millie Husbands
- Clyde Ireland
- Sam King
- Bob Whiteside
- Chuck Witten
- Lindsay Cathcart
- Raven Tarpley
- The family of William Earl Floyd
- The family of James “Kurt” Calhoon
- The family of John W. Robinson, Sr.
- All victims of natural disasters
- Mandy and all beloved pets
- Our president and congress
- All who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily as prayers are requested.
A discussion of today’s bible study is encouraged. If you would like to participate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations of scripture passages and, the more we share, the more we learn.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane In Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at in Columbia.
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