Matthew 9:27-34: Authority

Read: Matthew 9:27-34

The last two miracles Matthew records again demonstrate Jesus’ authority over matters of life when he heals blindness and authority over demons when he exorcises yet another demon. Jesus’ spreading fame had undoubtedly reached the ears of all the sick who could hear about him. The blind men that Jesus encountered after he raised the young girl back to life were certainly two of them. Blindness was incurable, and if these men wanted to receive their sight Jesus was their only hope. They cry out for the “Son of David” to have mercy on them, and Jesus does. But first be asks them if they are willing, and they said “yes” and Jesus heals according to their faith. Jesus however tells them not to tell anyone, but they did anyways.

The scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus at every turn, but in every case the criticism fell on deaf ears because there was simply nothing they could say or do to discredit. Towards the end of Matthew though, their attempts start to get desperate – they accuse him of casting out demons in the name of the prince of demons. This same accusation was later leveled at Jesus later on when some people ask whether or not he is the “Son of David” (Matthew 12:22-28). The “prince of demons” line something that they continued to use. Jesus in chapter 12 point out the logical absurdity of this claim though – he notes that if he casts out a demons in the name of a demon, then his house is divided, and it cannot stand. In other words, if the prince of demons was trying to establish his authority by casting out demons, his methods are self-defeating. However if he casts out demons in the Spirit of God, then it vindicates that he is of God and the kingdom of God had come. The Pharisees did not want to accept this truth.

It’s peculiar that Jesus wouldn’t want people to spread the news about the miracles that he was performing. The people obviously wanted to tell everyone because it was truly amazing. There are a couple of reasons why: Jesus did not want to miracles to distract people from his message, which was to proclaim the kingdom of God, he wanted the priests to declare a person healed so that the Jews would believe rather than demonize the priests, and lastly too much fame made it difficult for Jesus to move about freely in the villages proclaiming the gospel (Mark 1:45). Yet in even so, Jesus still had compassion on people had healed them anyways. All in all, the people still managed to see Jesus as someone of significance: the Son of David. This was a title that was given to the one they believed to be the Messiah – a theme in Matthew. With Jesus position firmly established as the “Son of David” and with authority over all things, he is able to do what he does next, which is send out the disciples to do the same. For Christians today, Jesus still has the same authority. It is up to those that claim Jesus to act in his authority to boldly proclaim his truth and do so in a way that puts the emphasis on the message and show that Jesus does have authority over all things!

Lord, you reign! Help me to proclaim this to everyone everywhere!

Matthew 8:23-34: Lord of All

Read: Matthew 8:23-34

The miracles at the end of Matthew 8 further establish Jesus’ authority. When Jesus pushes out into the boat, a storm arises on the Sea of Galilee, which wasn’t all that uncommon. The geography of the region causes the weather to shift rapidly and sometimes without much warning . This particular storm was rather violent and was pitching the boat up and down, yet Jesus was sleep. When the disciples wake Jesus, Jesus speaks to the storm and it stops, and the disciples were amazed even the storm “obeyed” him.

The second miracle puts Jesus among some of the most foul things that any Jew could encounter that would certainly make that Jew unclean. First, the man that Jesus heals is hanging out around tombs – the place of the dead. Jews typically avoided places such as this because encountering the dead made them ceremonially unclean. Second, this particular miracle happened in a region far outside the bounds of where the Jews lived in a place primarily inhabited by Gentiles, who the Jews avoided. Third, these Gentiles herded pigs which were unclean animals. There was herd of them nearby that the demons went into after Jesus cast them out of the man. Also of note, the particular man that was inhabited was not inhabited by one, rather by man demons that gave the man supernatural strength but also drove the man mad. This place to a Jew would have been a pagan, God forsaken land and a stronghold for evil and full of demonic influence. The demons however immediately recognize Jesus – they call him the “Son of God” and know that their judgment is coming. Jesus drove them out into the herd of swine which caused a great fear to come over the Gentiles in that reason. Gentiles in that day though were generally skeptical of miracle works and saw them as a bad omen while the Jews welcomed the miracles as a sign from God. This is why they asked Jesus to leave when he did come. The second miracle shows that Jesus has authority over demons even in their own strongholds like this man.

Jesus’ authority over natural and supernatural can only point to one truth: he commands the same kind of authority that only God has. The next incident that Matthew records also implies the same truth when Jesus forgives sins. Regardless though of clear demonstrations of power that Jesus had put on display, his own disciples lacked faith. This faith stands in contrast to the faith of the centurion whose servant was healed. For Christian today, faith the means to please God. Submitting to him in faith and believing that he has the power to do mighty acts demonstrates the not only the faith of the believer, but also the authority of God in all things. There is nothing in the natural or supernatural that can stand between God and his purposes!

Lord, you reign supreme! Help me trust you ways and will in all I do!