Calming Storms and Drowning Demons – Matthew 8:22-34

“What sort of man is this …”

Seeking solace from the growing crowds who sought to follow Jesus after the Sermon on the Mount and because of the miracles he did in Capernaum, Jesus and disciples finally get into a boat at evening and set out to cross the Sea of Galilee from north to south. Little did the disciples know, but the respite they sought and so desperately needed, would be short-lived as they would find their faith tested and stretched through two ensuing “storms.”

Physically exhausted from the last two full days of ministry, Jesus slept on a cushion at the stern of the boat, when a furious gale-force wind steadily driving a deluge of rain threw the boat into a frenzy. Even though at least four of the men in the boat were experienced seamen, they were unable to secure the boat and feared it might capsize costing them their lives. They were all afraid, save One, who continued to sleep amidst the storm. Finally, the disciples awakened Jesus, who with calm assurance spoke to the waves and wind, and they immediately subsided and all became perfectly calm. The disciples’ fear of the storm turned to awe as the man who they witnessed had authority over sickness also had authority over nature. Their response was an exclamation; “What sort of man is this!?!”

Ironically their exclamatory query would soon be answered by the unlikeliest of sources. When the boat landed on the south shore of the Sea, Jesus and the disciples came to the land of Gedara where they met a storm of a different kind. Two men possessed with many demons were able to identify the sort of man they encountered. “What have you to do with us, O Son of God?” they bellowed. These demons knew things about Christ that even the weak-believing disciples did not yet know. They knew that Jesus was the Son of God, and that He had full authority to judge them as He wished (see James 2:19). In a vivid demonstration of power, Jesus drowned a legion of demons into the sea with a single word.

How does one respond to a sort of man who has authority over sickness, over nature, and over the angelic and demonic realm? The people of Gedara were so unnerved that they wanted Jesus to depart. The former demoniacs were sent back to their town to bear witness of the Lord’s work. What is your response to the One who even the wind and sea obeys?

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