Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
Lesson 8
TOC | Previous | Next

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Jesus Calms the Storm (4:35-41)

Jesus and the disciples go to the other side of the lake (35-36)

Disciples are afraid of the storm (37-38)

Jesus rebukes the storm, and then the disciples (39-41)

Jesus Casts out “Legion” (5:1-20)

The demon-possessed man comes to Jesus (1-7)

The unclean spirits plead with Jesus (8-12)

The unclean spirits come out of the man and go into the pigs (13-14)

The people plead with Jesus to leave them (15-17)

Jesus tells the man to testify the miracle (18-20)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Windstorm, sleep, “don’t you care?”, rebuked, calm, fearful, Legion, pleaded, permission, pigs, tell

II.    General Analysis

1a.             disciples—They were afraid for their lives when a violent storm hit them; afraid of Jesus when He calmed the storm.

1b. “Legion”—They afraid of Jesus’ power over them, and that Jesus would send them out of the region of the Gadarenes.

1c. Gadarenes—They were afraid of Jesus because of what had happened to the man and to the pigs.

1d. The only good fear is the fear of God (Prov 9:10). The disciples feared Jesus when they witnessed His almighty power. When we fear the Lord, we learn to completely rely on Him.

When we have God’s wisdom to guide us, there is no need to fear our surroundings. We can sleep calmly through the storms in our life, like Jesus did (Prov 3:19-26).

The love of God drives out fear of punishment and suffering (1Jn 4:15-18). If our fears hinder us from living for God, we can ask Him to help us (like the disciples did during the storm). Even Jesus experienced fear when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane because of the bitter cup that He was about to drink. But He prayed earnestly, and God helped Him by sending an angel to strengthen Him (Lk 22:42-44).

As God’s children, we do not fear Him like the demons do (Jas 2:19). There’s no need to be afraid of what God can do to us. When we strive to obey his will, He works out everything for our good (Rom 8:28). When we suffer loss, the last thing we would want is for God to be away from us. It was foolish of the Gadarenes to ask Jesus to leave because they feared Him.

III. Segment Analysis

1a. No time at all. He was probably on the same boat he sat in when He was teaching the crowd (Mk 4:1). The disciples took Him along, “even as He was in the boat” (36). This implies that He did not take the time to wash up or to rest, even though He must have been tired (He fell asleep in the boat).

1b. Although Jesus did not pamper Himself, He still needed to rest before continuing. For example, He used the time in the boat to sleep. He also retreated to the wilderness to be alone, to rest, to pray, and to meditate on the word of God (Mk 6:31,46).

2a. The twelve apostles, other boats (36), possibly the people who had stayed behind to ask Him about the parables.

2b. He was tired, and should rest; the likelihood of a storm; on the other side were mostly Gentiles, with whom the Jews didn’t like to associate.

2c. There was work to do on the other side. Casting out the unclean spirit was the first step in spreading the gospel throughout Decapolis (5:20), among the Gentiles.

2d. There are times for us to be on dry land, listen to the word of God, and cultivate our spirituality. There are also times when we have to brave the storm.

God lets us decide whether or not we want to go. We decide whether we want to face a difficult situation with God on our side, or refuse to obey and face the consequences ourselves. Do we want to submit to God? These are the times when we expose our vulnerability in order to experience God’s mercy (2Cor 12:9-10).

3a. Jesus must have been exhausted. Also, because He was the Lord of all creation, the wind and the waves did not bother Him, no matter how strong they were. He could have stopped the storm at any time (although He deliberately did not do so until the last moment).

3b. Sometimes it feels like Jesus is sleeping, not caring about us. It feels like God has forgotten about us (Ps 13:1). But if we cry out to Him, like the disciples cried out to Jesus, He will do what we ask, or give us a better answer (2Cor 7:9).

4. The same rebuke was used to quiet the unclean spirit and the storm (cf. Did You Know 3). Jesus also rebuked the fever of Simon’s mother-in-law (Lk 4:39). It is possible that the devil had brought the storm upon Jesus and the disciples. If this is so, then this was another one of his attempts to stop Jesus’ ministry. Jesus saw through the devil’s tricks.

5a. Many of the disciples were experienced fishermen, yet the storm was so strong (4:37) that they were afraid for their lives. Their large boat (cf. Did You Know 1) was quickly filled with water. Perhaps they had tried to row away from the storm but failed. Perhaps the other boats with them were also in danger of sinking. Clearly, the storm was so overwhelming that there was nothing they could do but ask Jesus for help.

5b. Maybe they had only expected Jesus to help them steer or dump water out of the boat. They had not expected Jesus to rebuke the storm, much less the wind and the waves to obey Him. They saw Jesus’ anger when He rebuked the storm. Jesus also revealed their lack of faith. Moments before they were afraid of the storm, but now they were more terrified of Jesus’ power. This experience taught them about Jesus and about themselves.

5c. In desperation, they cried out to Jesus for help. They believed that Jesus could somehow save them. However, because Jesus seemed to be ignoring them during the emergency, they accused him of not caring (4:38). The danger was so immediate that they did not bother to think why Jesus was sleeping through all of this. Afterwards, they were afraid of His power. They had witnessed Jesus casting out demons and healing, and still they underestimated Jesus. In that sense, they had no faith.

6. God helps us not only in the general sense. We do not need to hesitate to ask Him to help us solve a math problem, write an essay, or finish a project.

7a. “Legion”—not to send them out of the area; to send them among the pigs

7b. Gadarenes—for Jesus to leave their region

7c. Man who had been demon-possessed—to go with Jesus

8a. It was for the listeners’ benefit. The dialog between Jesus and the unclean spirit teaches us many important lessons. Jesus intended for the people to hear exactly what was taking place (5:16).

8b. In other times, when Jesus cast out an unclean spirit, it just left. But this time Jesus allowed the unclean spirit to go into the pigs. One possible teaching is that if our hearts are unclean (according to the Mosaic laws, pigs are unclean animals), we give the devil a chance to work within us (Eph 4:27).

8c.             God created everything in the universe for our benefit (Gen 1:28). If He can use something to teach us and to save us, He will. (cf. Mk 11:12-14, 20-22).

9. “Legion” implies a great army of unclean spirits.

      The devil always seeks to attack us in many ways, physically and spiritually.

10a. Even though the unclean spirit had power over people and the physical world (5:3-5), it was terrified of Jesus (5:7). There were many unclean spirits working together (they were named “Legion,” and there were enough of them to kill 2,000 pigs; Matthew tells us that there were actually two demon-possessed men [Mt 8:28]). Still, the demon had no power over Jesus, even though He was just one man, because He was God. Before Jesus said or did anything, the unclean spirit came to plead with Him. They even needed Jesus’ permission to stay or go (5:10, 12-13). Jesus alone has the power to bind the unclean spirits (cf. Mk 3:24-25); the devil cannot do anything without His permission (Job 1:12; 2:6). The unclean spirit might look strong to us (like the storm on the lake), but God is much greater.

11a. They lost 2,000 pigs, and did not want Jesus to do any more “damage” in their area. They placed more value on their pigs than on the man who was possessed. By asking Jesus to leave, the Gadarenes got in the way of Jesus’ work and missed a chance to receive greater blessings. Note that they were afraid of Jesus (5:15), and did not dare to use force.

12. The man told how much the Lord had mercy on him (5:19-20), whereas the pig herders probably told about how Jesus spoke with the unclean spirit and killed 2,000 pigs. The man told his family about Jesus so that they too would believe. In fact, the man himself was a testimony for God; just by looking at him, the people saw that he was healed. On the other hand, the pig herders told the townspeople to make sure people knew it was not their fault that the pigs had drowned; to them, Jesus was the troublemaker. We must ask God for wisdom to see the entire picture of His will.

13. This was an area of mostly Gentiles (cf. Did You Know 4), so the scribes and the Pharisees did not have the influence to oppose the gospel. There is a time and place for everything. Paul counsels Timothy to “be prepared in season and out of season” (2Tim 4:2). For example, the church in communist China must be discreet in order to avoid government interference. But in countries where there is religious freedom, we must freely preach the complete gospel entrusted to us.

PDF Download