As noted below (v. 3) a lot of the poor people had lived in a cave that was also a grave site. Now days no one in the world has to be homeless.
For example, Oprah Winfrey makes approximately $6,000,000 a week/$10 a second, and she is worth approximately 2.8 billion dollars.
How many houses do you think she could build, and she’s one of the poorest billionaires.
Does it sound like I’m jealous or envious of wealthy people? If it does, I’m not. I’ve never liked them because most of them are stuck up, but now that I got my head on right, i.e., I walk with Jesus, I feel sorry for them because Jesus said:
“…Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:23-24).
I’m not bashing Oprah, I’m just stating the facts. She was born into poverty and grew up pit poor so you would think she would do all that she could, not just a little now and then to help people to the best of her ability, especially since she tells people how much she cares for others.
Remember, talk is cheap, it’s action that matters and we should practice what we preach, as Jesus did.
I also grew up poor, and even though I’m far from wealthy, I’m okay now. I know what it’s like to be poor, to be needy, it sucks and if I had a billion dollars I’d spend it all on the poor. I’d create businesses and hire only the poor, build low cost housing, anything to give everyone an equal chance.
If you love Jesus and admire Oprah you may want to watch this: Oprah says we don’t need Jesus to get to Heaven.
Anyway, tomorrow we’re going to look at…
Devils Cast Out
1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
“Unto the other side of the sea” – the east side of the lake, a territory largely inhabite4d by Gentiles, as indicated by the presence of the large herd of pigs – animals Jews considered “unclean” even though God had told Peter that nothing that He has made is unclean (Acts 10:11-15), and therefore they were unfit to eat.
I am so thankful that I’m not a Jew. To be ignorant is bad enough, but also, I love pork.
“Country of the Gadarenes” – Gadara, located about six miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee. Matthew (8:28) identities the region by the city of Gergesa in the hills overlooking the eastern shore of the sea.
2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
“Had his dwelling among the tombs” – it was not unusual for the same cave to provide burial for the dead and shelter for the living. Very poor people often lived in such caves. It would be better than being homeless.
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
“I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not” – this has got to make you laugh. The devil and his demons thing they are so bad, but this one is confronted by Jesus and he starts whimpering, begging for mercy and basically says, “If you beat me up I’m going to tell your dad.”
Notice that the demon didn’t call on Satan for help, but begged for God to be merciful just a little bit longer.
8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
“My name is Legion: for we are many” – a Roman legion was made up of 6,000 men. Here the term suggests that the man was possessed by many demons and perhaps also represents the many different powers there could be and they all are opposed to Jesus, who embodies the power of God (cf. Eph 6:12).
10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
“Not send them away out of the country” – the demons feared that Jesus was going to send them into eternal punishment now, instead of alter, i.e., the Lake of Fire (Rev 19:20, 20:8, 10, 14, 15).
11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
“Had suffered many things of many physicians” – the Jewish Talmud preserved a record of medicines and treatments prescribed for illnesses of this sort. The Jews and the Catholics will tell you anything if they believe they can make a buck off of you.
The Jews would sell their own mother for a slice of bread. The Catholics say that if you abide by the rules of the Rosary that they can forgive you of your sins. They also have this little cap/bonnet that they say Saint Mary wore and if you have it on when you die then you won’t go to purgatory.
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.
38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.
43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
Herod’s Successors and Uneasy Relations
Between Rome and the Jews
When Herod died in 4 B.C., the predominately Gentle area northeast of the Sea of Galilee known as Iturea and Trachonitis was given as a tetrarchy to Philip, the half-brother of Antipas.
On the site of a dilapidated town, he built a glorious new city, splendid in every detail—from its chief temple down to its sewer system. The effort took over a decade (from 22 to 10/9 B.C..), but Herod spared no expense in materials or in construction.
He named the new city Caesarea as a politic compliment to the emperor under whose aegis he rose, Caesar Augustus.
The ancient historian Josephus gives us the closest to a contemporary account:
“When Herod had observed that there was a place near the sea, formerly called Strato’s Tower, which was very well suited to be the site of a city, he set about making a magnificent plan and put up buildings all over the city, not of ordinary material but of white stone.
He also adorned it with a very costly palace, with civic halls and—what was greatest of all and required the most labor—with a well-protected harbor, of the size of the Piraeus [of Athens], with landing-places and secondary anchorages inside…
In a circle round the harbor there was a continuous line of dwellings constructed of the most polished stone, and in their midst was a mound on which stood a temple of Caesar, visible a great way off to those sailing into the harbor, which had a statue of Rome and also one of Caesar…
Herod also built a theater of stone in the city, and on the south side of the harbor, farther back, an amphitheater large enough to hold a great crowd of people, and conveniently situated for a view of the sea.”Philip ruled his territory well from his newly constructed capital, Caesarea Philippi (which we just studied in chapter 3). When he died in 34 A.D. his tetrarchy was incorporated into the Roman province of Syria.
Galilee and Perea were assigned to Philip’s half-brother Antipas (known as Herod the tetrarch. Herod Antipas ruled from Sepphoris near Nazareth, and later from Tiberias until his banishment by the Roman emperor Caligula in 39 A.D.
He is often remembered of his illegal marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias, and for his imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist (Matt 14:3; Josephus, Antiquities, 18.5.1-2).
Judea and Samaria were placed under the control of Herod’s son Archelaus (the full brother of Antipas and half-brother of Philip), who was given the title of ethnarch.
Archelaus began his reign by slaughtering 3,000 people during the Jewish Passover, and he was eventually banished for incompetence by Augustus to Gaul in 6 A.D. (Josephus, Antiquities, 17.13.2).
At this point a became a Roman province, ruled directly by a series of Roman prefects (6-41 A.D.) and then procurators (44-66 A.D.), who maintained their residence in Caesarea and at the Fortress of Antonia near the temple in Jerusalem.
The most important prefecture for early Christianity was that of Pontius Pilate (26-36 A.D.).
The Uneasy Relations
between Rome and the Jews
The first act of direct Roman rule was the taking of a census by Quirinius, legate of Syria, in order to determine the amount of tribute owed by Judea. The census itself and the paying of tribute provoked great animosity within Judean society.
Under the prefects, internal Jewish affairs were governed by the high priestly aristocracy and judicial cases were determined by the Sanhedrin, or court of seventy-one. The prefects reserved the power of the sword, or the right of capital punishment.
However, Jewish leadership seems to have retained this power in cases that dealt exclusively with religious crimes, especially those having to do with the sanctity of the temple.
It is for this reason that Jesus, Paul and Stephen were tried on the accusation of’ speaking against” or “defiling” the temple (Matt 26:61; Acts 6:13- 14; 21:28). The prefects further maintained their authority over the high priests through the power of appointment and by means of Roman custody of the high priestly garments (Joseph us, Antiquities, 20.1.1).
After a brief return to Herodian rule under Agrippa from 41-44 A.D., Judea, Samaria and Galilee were ruled by a series
of procurators until the outbreak of war in 66 A.D.
Agrippa’s son reigned over a small kingdom in the north from 48-66 A.D., and several later procurators are known from the New Testament, including Marcus Antonius Felix (52-59 A.D.; Acts 23:24) and Porcius Festus (59-62 A.D.; Acts 24:27), under both of whom Paul was imprisoned.
The reality of Roman control during the time of Jesus produced various reactions within Israelite society. Archaeology has revealed the large extent to which the upper classes adopted Greco-Roman customs and welcomed this new relationship.
Evidence for such Hellenization can be observed in both public and private architecture, civic institutions and the widespread use of the Greek language.
At the same time, Roman control generated widespread animosity and concern for the vitality of traditional Jewish values and expectations.
…the politics in the Holy Land that led up to the time of Jesus.