Day 13 – Driving Demons into the Sea

Today’s reading: Matthew 8:18-34

Just wanted to share a interesting footnote from my Bible on today’s reading in Matthew 8.  Here are the verses:

28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,  two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

Here is the footnote: In the OT, waters represent hostile forces (Ps 69: 1-4) that are sometimes personified as beasts that rise out of the sea (Dan 7:1-3); cf. Rev 13:1).  By driving the demon-possessed beasts back into the sea, Jesus symbolically demonstrates his triumph over the legions of Satan’s kingdom.  (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible).

What we see here is a manifestation of Jesus divinity.  His mere presence in the area of the demoniacs is enough to drive them into a panic.  The question of the demons is interesting.  They ask if Jesus has come to torment them “before the time”.  Note that this takes place in the Gadarenes, a city of the Decapolis which was predominately gentile.  Perhaps the demons thought they were safe from Jesus’ reach while they were among the gentiles.  However, throughout the gospels Jesus makes several of these excursions into gentile territory in which he manifests his power.  It seems to me that Jesus may be seeding the gentile world with reports of his ministry so that they might be ready to receive the gospel after the resurrection.

Tomorrow: Matthew 9:1-17

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