Journey Through Matthew: Tortured
Good morning and welcome back!
It is good to see everyone out this morning.
If you don’t mind, start turning in your Bibles back to .
We are going to be continuing our Journey Through Matthew this morning and today we are going to be looking at the subjects of deliverance and rejection.
And we are going to be doing so on the backdrop of Jesus’ deliverance of two men who are demon possessed.
This story is so significant in the ministry of Jesus that it is discussed here in Matthew, then again in , and also in .
We are going to be primarily here in Matthew but Mark and Luke do provide some additional details that round out and complete the story, so we will be looking there as well.
But just to bring us up to speed, we’ve been following Jesus around through his ministry journeys for the past several weeks now and last week we witnessed Jesus sort of thinning the herd of disciples that were around him.
We went through the process with Jesus and even got to learn about a time of great deliverance for the disciples through the storm that they dealt with.
We pick up this morning at the other end of the journey across the lake in the region of the Gadarenes.
So, if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand with us if you are able as we read starting in verse 28.
Matthew writes . . .
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no-one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” 30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Met by the Devil
Met by the Devil
So, right off the bat, the forces of Satan do not waste any time causing trouble for Jesus.
Our Bible tells us that . . .
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no-one could pass that way.
So, these were some bad dudes that Jesus was going to have to deal with.
And apparently, one was worse than the other because Mark and Luke focus pretty significantly on him.
Mark writes about this man . . .
1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no-one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No-one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
And Luke adds that . . .
27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.
So, this guy had been completely expelled from the town, he was running around naked because the demons had driven him mad, and the people had pretty much exiled him to the graveyard.
Not only that but was extremely strong as well.
They had even tried to chain this guy up but he broke free every time.
The reality was that this guy was a menace to society.
He was the type of guy that you just tried to avoid and stay away from because he was so unstable that nobody knew what he was going to do next.
He is the one guy that everybody has in their mind who they are afraid of.
And here he comes toward Jesus.
Now, if we would have seen this guy coming toward us, what would we have done?
Probably took off and tried to get away, because we wouldn’t have any idea what this guy was up to, but we could bet it was no good.
But Jesus didn’t.
Jesus didn’t walk away.
Jesus didn’t run away.
Jesus didn’t avoid the guy.
Jesus didn’t act like he didn’t see him or hear him.
No, the Bible tells us this about the confrontation . . .
29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
And in Mark . . .
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!”
And in Luke . . .
28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”
Absolutely NOT what anyone would have expected.
Instead of this guy attacking Jesus, he was afraid of Jesus, or rather the demon spirit living in him was afraid of Jesus.
And the reason he was afraid was because he knew exactly who Jesus was.
He addressed Jesus as the Son of the Most High God.
And the reason he recognized Jesus was because he knew Jesus.
The man didn’t but all of those demons living in the man, knew Jesus.
And they were terrified because they knew that they had absolutely no power and no authority over Jesus.
They knew that whatever Jesus commanded them to do, they had to do it.
Because they knew that Jesus had the power and authority to cast them into the eternal pits of hell, which brings me to my first point.
We have a lot of people in this world, and maybe even in this church that have a skewed view of heaven and hell.
I’ve seen and heard people talking about the “party” they are going to have in hell.
And people doing and saying all sorts of ungodly things in funerals.
Talking about all the evil and sinful things they restrain from doing here and how when they get to hell, they are going to just do whatever they want.
I’m just going to tell you, that is dumb.
If hell was so great, then why in the world would these demons be scared beyond belief of being sent there?
In our passage the demon refers to Jesus torturing them before the appointed time. Does that sound like a party to you?
Also, even apart from them Satan, himself is trying to do everything in his power to avoid eternal damnation in the pits of hell.
That’s why he works so hard against God and God’s people.
He has such a warped sense of reality that in his mind he thinks he is just going take as many with him as he can if he can’t get out of it.
Which is another thing.
People thing that Satan has some sort of authority in hell.
Guess what, he doesn’t.
He has no more authority than any other poor soul that winds up there.
All who end up there end up with the same fate.
A fate that Jesus describes as . . . .
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
And in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
And finally, the book of Revelation . . .
20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur.
And . . .
10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
And . . .
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
And finally . . .
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”
Do you see anything mentioned about any parties?
This is the reality for ALL who die apart from Jesus Christ.
And this is the reality that these demons thought they had coming for them.
They thought “O’ Boy, this is it.”
And they begged Jesus not to do it, not to torture them before the appointed time.
Luke says that . . .
31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
And because it was not the appointed time . . .
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.
We also find out from Mark and Luke what the demons called themselves . . .
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
So Jesus drove them out of the man, and I don’t know exactly how it works but I guess they had to go somewhere, which ended up being a herd of pigs.
It was such a shock to the pigs they ran off the cliff and died.
A lot of wasted bacon, but this man was delivered.
Jesus had saved this guy . . .
34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.
A great miracle!
Something to rejoice and cheer about, right?
Jesus has the power over the demon spirits and can deliver people from whatever is torturing them.
One would think the townspeople would be happy right?
Not exactly . . .
34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Why would they plead for Jesus to leave?
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,
37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
They were terrified.
Terrified because they did not understand who Jesus was.
Terrified because they were afraid that Jesus would deliver them from their own demons.
That Jesus would call them out on their sin and confront them with a choice.
A choice to either repent and let the Holy Spirit deal with those demons, or keep on doing what they were doing.
They couldn’t have that, that would be just way too much to deal with.
So, instead of dealing with their sin, they did what we tend to do lots of times.
They shut Jesus out.
They ignored him.
They acted like he wasn’t even there.
And when things go too hot, they asked Jesus to leave.
I wonder this morning, if that describes any of us here today.
We have witnessed the deliverance and power of Jesus all around us, but we continue to shut Jesus out.
Or the Holy Spirit has been talking to us and we are ignoring him, acting like he isn’t even here.
But our heart and our soul is telling us something different.
Or, the conviction has gotten so heavy we’ve just flat out asked Jesus to leave.
To get out and leave us alone!
Or maybe even we have been deceived into thinking that hell isn’t as bad as it is.
The reality is, there could be a number of reasons why we are under the conviction we are under right now.
The only way to relieve it is to deal with it.
Will you come and do that today?
Will you come and deal with whatever the Holy Spirit has put on your heart to deal with?
Nobody else can do it for you, but you can take care of it once and for all right now if you will.
Are you willing?