is a constant of atomic level physics that one cannot see the innards of the
atom. Only by making it interact with other particles can the invisible be
made known. How much more, then, can we learn of Christ as he interacts with
those around Him! In this lesson we shall see the authority of Christ in
actions, hoping to discover the authority of the Christ by what He does.
when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. Then a scribe came and said to Him,
"Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." Jesus *said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son
of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Another of the disciples said
to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But Jesus
*said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to
bury their own dead."
(Mat 8:18-22 NASB)
item which is often missed in the study of this passage is the sequence: Jesus
gives orders for the boat to leave. This pressures two men who might have
preferred to wait a bit for the kingdom of God. The decision then faces them:
what will I give up for the kingdom of God? It is the “secret” of
discipleship: I surrender all. It’s just that some of us would like to
surrender all – later.
had been a part of Jewish society for a long time. They were prominent as
recorders – as Baruch wrote down what Jeremiah told him. At this time they are
predominantly experts on the law of Moses. Many of them are also Pharisees;
for the most part (there are exceptions) they tend to be legalistic. It’s an
occupational hazard shared today by teachers. As an expert in the Law, it was
common to be relatively rich.
does not reject the scribes; He wants them to grow into those who know both
the Law and the Christ. As He said it:
Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who
has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household,
who brings out of his treasure things new and old."
(Mat 13:52 NASB)
particular scribe had a problem: he had a comfort zone. Note that Jesus makes
no inquiries; he instead answers his thought. It is a sign of humility in
Jesus that he does not wish to embarrass the man. This scribe probably saw in
Jesus some sort of “super-rabbi” or a once-in-a-hundred-years prophet. As
such, it would be natural for a scribe to want to follow this man. But this
will not be in the man’s comfort zone.
test of the disciple is this: Is it “I surrender all” or “let me get back to
you on that.” The scribe evidently did not go with Jesus; we may conclude
that he flunked the test.
disciple might have appealed to the scribe for this one. It is well established
that it is the child’s duty to bury parents. We see this in Elisha being
called by Elijah,
where he goes back to say goodbye. But there were two exceptions to this
High Priest was ordered not to make himself unclean by touching a dead body
– even that of his father.
Nazirite was also to refrain from touching a dead body.
that our High Priest is Christ – and that He was known as a Nazarene – we might
well conclude that this disciple’s vision of Christ is a bit limited. But
that’s the point of this section: just who is this Jesus?
not as if Christ were flaunting his authority; in fact, He makes His claims in
the softest and gentlest ways. Consider:
answers the scribe’s thought – not his bold assertion.
leaves the decision to each disciple; there is no hint of force or
despite the power He will shortly display.
(we really don’t know) the scribe didn’t follow; the young man did. But
taken either way, see what is proclaimed:
authority of Christ over His followers is absolute and supreme.
He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a
great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but
Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him
and woke Him, saying, "Save us,
Lord; we are perishing!" He *said to them, "Why
are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and
rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were
amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the
sea obey Him?" 
(Mat 8:23-27 NASB)
The creator of all things, King of Kings,
is asleep in the back of the boat. Christ actually slept! Consider the
- It is another sign that He is fully
human. If He were God only, He’d need no sleep.
- But it’s still His universe, and the
storm will take a while to build up to the point of danger.
- One last: their lack of faith is no
hindrance – either to the storm or to Christ.
So then, just what is it that Christ is
teaching them here?
First, he is teaching them how physical
difficulties – aren’t. So often we take counsel of our fears; we should be
taking counsel of Christ. Second, it is well to think humbly of yourself. The
disciples figured that Jesus would help with the boat, taking directions from
(say) Peter, who was a fisherman. He did what they asked; what’s the problem?
Please note this too: Christ taught this
lesson to the disciples; it’s a private lesson, if you will. His humility
cloaks His power.
Even the winds and the waves…
If sleeping on the couch is a sign of
Christ being fully human, stilling the wind and the waves is certainly a sign
of Christ being fully divine. Can you imagine the look on Peter’s face? By
His Word he created all things; by His Word he stills the storm. It shows us,
The authority of Christ
over the universe is absolute and supreme.
He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were
demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could
pass by that way. And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have
with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the
time?" Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them.
The demons began to entreat Him, saying,
"If You are going to cast us out,
send us into the herd of swine." And He said to them, "Go!" And they came out and went into the
swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished
in the waters. The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported
everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, the whole
city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave
(Mat 8:28-34 NASB)
Side note: do demons really exist?
Begin with some obvious facts. Ask the
missionary to peoples and tribes who have never known God. They’ll tell you
that demons are very real, demon possession (especially by the shaman) well
known. It is only in Christian countries that Satan tries to persuade us that
he (and therefore God) doesn’t exist. Most Americans today believe in mental
telepathy but deny the existence of things spiritual. So let us examine this
belief, and suggest some questions which might assist us in dealing with such
- First, does the spiritual world
exist at all? Most people would agree that it does – but have no idea why
this might be logical. If it does exist, it must be made of matter and/or
energy – because that’s all that exists. But consider:
Let me start matters by defining the
universe: I hold it to be all matter and energy, in all places and in all
times. Now, have you ever heard of anything which willed itself into
existence? We know the universe to be of a certain age; there was no universe
before then. So, something caused the universe to start. That something
(Christians would say Someone) must be other than matter and energy – because
if it were matter and/or energy it would be part of the universe. That something
exists outside the bounds of the universe; that Someone is not matter or
energy but spirit.
Well, that works for matter and energy –
then. Is there anything outside the universe that is still true today? There
is indeed. Suppose that tomorrow morning the universe ceased to exist (and you
with it). Would the Pythagorean theory still be true? Of course it would. It
is true, and therefore part of Truth – which needs no universe.
If you need more, look to the pigs. Pigs
don’t go lemming on you.
Christ comes to the demon possessed
No one brought these two to Christ.
That’s fairly obvious; these two had sufficient strength when the demons are
in them that nobody can keep them chained up, let alone lead them as docile sheep.
They are the most miserable of sinners;
therefore Christ goes to them. It’s as if Christ has no comfort zone – and we
shouldn’t either. It gives one pause: just who should we be bringing before
the Living Christ?
A short stay
The demons give us an interesting
- First, the mere presence of the
Christ puts them into “beg for mercy” mode. His very presence torments
them. As it often happens, the Christian need not mention his religion to
cause the obscenity to stop.
- Even to the demons, Christ is
charitable. The end of the world has not arrived; He permits them into
That last, however charitable to the
demons, obviously is not going to curry favor with the owner of the pigs. Whose
swine would be next? More to the point, the man that has that authority over
demons – what might He do next?
One thing we may conclude from all this:
The authority of Christ
over the spiritual world is absolute and supreme.
The Authority of Christ
Matthew later puts it this way:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them,
saying, "All authority has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth.
Here it is proclaimed, after the
Resurrection. Before the Resurrection it was visible to all who would look.
After the Resurrection it is stated by the one man who ever called the shot –
that He would rise from the dead. Someday, soon please Lord, that point will
be obvious to one and all.
What should we be doing in the meantime?
Let His words speak to us directly:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end
of the age."
(Mat 28:19-20 NASB)