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145 - Tempests and Tempters

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2023 1:00 pm

145 - Tempests and Tempters

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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May 6, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 145 - Tempests and Tempters (6 May 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. We know that Jesus healed people everywhere he went, but he also cast out demons. Oh yeah, he cast out a lot of demons. And he had conversations with them because they knew who he was. Right, and isn't that interesting? They were sure who Jesus was, but his disciples?

His disciples were still trying to figure that out. And we'll see them doing just that today on More Than Ink. Well hello, you found us. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And this is More Than Ink, and we delight in taking a look at God's Word. In fact, it's one of our most favorite things that we do. We hope you've been following with us because we've been going through the Gospel of Matthew, and at every turn there's surprises. I mean, there's still surprises for me today, even though I've read this, I don't know how many times, countless times. And when you look at even the parallel accounts, which is always just a good discipline when you're reading the Gospel.

Yes, it's a great thing. To look at the parallel accounts, because they add other details. Then the picture goes from flat to 3D. Yeah. And I might point out in passing that if you have three separate accounts of the same event, you should expect to have three slightly different set of details. Right, some differing details. And this happens in courts of law all the time. When you have three authentic witnesses, they see almost all the same thing, but with slight differences. And actually, that's a mark of an authentic eyewitness account. Exactly.

There's some different detail, because you get distracted by something and you don't see what somebody else saw. Right. So, read the other Gospels that follow these parallel passages, and you'll get a completer picture. So that's all we can say about that.

Okay. Well, we're in Chapter 8, and this is Jesus' ministry among the people, largely in Galilee. And we're going to start off in Chapter 8, verse 18.

So you want to read for us and we'll see. Well, yeah. And it starts right off saying, when Jesus saw the crowd around him. So remember, at the end of Chapter 7, he was... Or the end of the passage we dealt with last week, he was at Peter's house and the house was just packed out with people.

Packed out. And some of the other Gospels tell us he actually had to get up early in the morning and get out before anybody showed up, so that he could have some solitude. Mark said the whole city of Capernaum was at Peter's house. Yes, and gained some control over his own purposes. So, okay, let's start reading in verse 18. Now, when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.

And a scribe came up to him and said, Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. And another of the disciples said to him, Lord, let me go first and bury my father.

And Jesus said to him, Follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead. Okay, so he's gonna get into the boat. This is like he's responding to the crowd. He's on his way. He sees the crowd. He's walking to the beach, the disciples' own boats. They're ready to go and get away from the crowd. And these guys elbow to the front, a scribe and somebody else with questions.

Like, I gotta catch him now before he gets in the boat and leaves. Great, I'm going with you. Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. Now, this is a scribe who has, you know, through the Gospel, been a little bit of an irritant to Jesus' ministry, because they're experts in the Moses Law.

Well, they spend all their time studying what Moses wrote and all of the traditional other writings attached to it. Yeah, yeah. So they're usually a cause of problems in these narratives. In this case, he says, you know, I'll follow you wherever you go. Jesus' response to him tends to challenge that maybe he doesn't really know what he's getting into. Because he says, I don't really have a home. You know, foxes have holes, birds have nests, but you know, I don't.

We're not going to have a comfortable room where you can go and spread out your scroll and study. Yeah. So we don't have much more information on him. But my take on this guy has always been that he was sort of, sort of elbowing in into the glamour of this very large public event.

I'm going to be your brightest and best student. Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

I'll be your right-hand man kind of. It's kind of what it feels like. You know, it's kind of, it's like, and then Jesus comes back basically saying, look, there's no glamour in what I'm doing.

You're not going to have a house or a place to stay from this point on if you come. In a sense, he was sort of too quick and is motivated to jump on this bandwagon, but I think it really is a bandwagon move. It's not really a serious disciple move, but I'm just, you know, there's a lot of speculation. Well, it's not, you know, the text doesn't say that, but by Jesus's response, we can guess he's saying, you know, this is not going to be comfortable. It's not going to be what you think.

And scribes and Pharisees lived a privileged lifestyle and that's just not going to be the case here. So, yeah. And then there's another guy that elbows to the front and says, Lord, let me first go and bury my father.

Like I'm coming, I'm coming, but I got this thing I have to do first. Wait for me. Right. Right. Right. And Jesus says, nope, this is a now kind of thing.

Follow me. And this is often misunderstood. It sounds like his father has died already, but that may not be the case. I mean, this is kind of like when someone says, look, I need to leave for a month or two because my ailing parent is dying. You know, in the Midwest, I'll be there until they die. I need to go bury my father. It might not even be that short. It might be, I just need to see my father through to the end of his life.

Right. So it's, so many times we think this, his father's dead already. Now the idiom really means I need to be with my dad until he passes away. Until he's done and then I'm free.

Which is a very indefinite amount of time. And Jesus says, nope, can't go for that. So again, it's, it's a, you know, wait for me. I have this other thing I have to do first.

Yeah. And Jesus says, nope, we're on a tight schedule. Leave the dead to bury their own dead. That sounds pretty callous.

It sort of does. Sounds heartless in a way. But we know Jesus is not heartless when it comes to death.

We see him weeping in front of Lazarus' tomb. So that's not the issue. The issue is really here in the ministry, time's a wasting. And Jesus has been very careful to tell people don't talk about me because the timing issue is really important here. The gospel must go forward and time is limited. Well, and he's going to say later on in his ministry, listen, I am the way, the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father but by me. Right? Let those who don't recognize life when it walks right by them, go and do what they're going to do. You follow me. Yeah. Such a single focus for a disciple, for an apostle.

And he's just saying, those who follow me have got to have this single focus. Well, let's move on. Gigantically wonderful? No. Cataclysmic.

No? Well, okay, so. Turmoil.

That's the word I'm looking for. We all know, we've heard stories about Jesus calming storm when they're in the boat. Right.

Famous. But there were at least two times when it happened. And Matthew actually records them both. So this first one, there's a question that comes up at the end of it, but let's read it because remember Jesus was on his way to the boat, the crowds were pressing. And so it says in verse 23, and when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.

So it wasn't just anybody, it was the guys who were his hand chosen ones he'd called. And behold, there rose a great storm on the sea so that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep. And they went and woke him saying, save us Lord, we're perishing. And he said to them, why are you afraid?

Oh, you of little faith. Then he rose and rebuked the winds in the sea and there was a great calm. And the men marveled saying, what sort of man is this that even winds and sea obey him?

I always want to chuckle at the end of it. Who is this guy who can control the weather? This is clearly a capability they had not reckoned on. They didn't expect. This is pretty new. I mean, which is interesting because it seems as though he's already been healing lots of people and casting out demons. Okay, well that's one thing. That's one thing. But when we're talking about all of nature, we're talking about storms and water. That's like a big deal.

That's like creator level stuff. And this is a big storm. And other gospels say the waves were swamping the boat and Jesus was sound asleep because he was exhausted. And just to be clear, the fishermen who are with him are experts on this lake. They know when this lake is going to kill them.

And that's what they said. We're dying here in the world. So they're not just these pansy tax collectors who've never been in boats. These are guys who know how to read the danger. And they read the danger and say, we're perishing. And I think it's either Mark's or Luke's account that says, don't you care, we're perishing. How can you sleep?

I know. The fact that Jesus is there. By the way, just the fact that he's there sleeping tells me a lot about his humanity.

Isn't that interesting? He gets tired. He's exhausted. He gets tired. And the disciples also likewise must be just pooped. I mean, they must be tired.

And there's a little stress induced right there, but he's sleeping in the stern. And he says, save us, Lord, we're perishing. Don't you care that we're all going to die?

Well, I don't think it's a matter of being concerned about where they're all going to die. Jesus needs to sleep. Well in his humanity, he certainly did need to sleep. Right. But he also knew he wasn't going to die in a lake in a boat. Well, exactly.

He knew how his death was going to come about. This is not where it's going to come to an end. Yeah, that's right. And it's not here and now.

So I can take a nap. And I like in Matthew's account, there's actually two rebukes here. First he takes a moment in the middle of the storm to rebuke the apostles, you know, while things are still splashing around. And then he rebukes the wind and the sea and it calms down.

So there's rebukes here. But his rebuke is all about the fact that there's a contrast between fear and faith. Fear happens when your faith is insufficient. And so he's basically saying, if you're fearing, that means you're not faithing.

There's something that you're not gathering about who I am. And the security that you actually have here, that you yourself could be sleeping. In fact, I think they were as tired as he was. And I think their godly response, if they knew who Jesus was, would be, well, Jesus is sleeping in the midst of the storm. I guess everything's okay.

Let's all hunker down the corner and we'll all take a nap because we all need a rest. That would be the godly response. Well, their response is immature.

They did not yet know exactly who it was they were dealing with. Right. Because that's what they say.

What sort of man is this? Exactly. And so you see in the second account in Matthew 14, their question is, this is not a question at all, surely you are the son of God the second time. So they finally get it. So I would say they are mature as fishermen understanding the danger that's present.

They are not mature understanding that it means nothing to the son of God. I mean, in comparison, it's just two different worlds. But they saw him heal with simply a word at a distance. We're talking storms here that kill people. I mean, like I say, this is real creator level stuff. Right, that's true. Nobody can control the weather, and least of all, simply by speaking to it. Exactly. I mean, this just is not done.

This just is not done. So the rebuke happens, Jesus challenges their faith, and then he rebukes the winds. And you see, by the way, the winds are important here, because it's the winds in Galilee that make the sea get crazy.

It's kind of down in a bowl. So when the winds come down, it can whip it into a fury, just a fury. So we can have a little taste of this here where we live, because we also live near a large body of water and at the end of a canyon where the wind comes sailing through and it'll flatten your fence.

It's a big deal. It'll knock your trees over. The wind is a big deal. Oh yeah, I dare say most of our damage here is wind.

Yeah, it's not storm. But when you couple that with the fact that it's whipping up waves that in the other gospel it says it covered the boat. Right, swamp in the boat. There's water in the boat. These are big waves, and you can only bail so fast to keep the water out, and they're not bailing fast enough. So yeah, they are mature in their danger, but they're not mature in their understanding of who Jesus is. Yeah. So he rebukes the winds and the waves, and then they have that just marvelous thing.

I'm just surprised that Matthew recorded this, because it's kind of embarrassing. So what sort of man is this that even winds and the sea obey? It's one thing if the demons obey. It's another thing if diseases obey, but the winds and the sea obey him?

What? Well, they're still thinking of him as just a man. Yeah, or just as a prophet maybe. Right, a teacher, a healer. They haven't yet fully grasped his creator level identity.

Exactly. However, as I reach back into the Old Testament and I think about a prophet who had an effect over the winds and the waves, I go to Moses. By God's power, he separated the Red Sea so they could get out. So we're talking about something that if you're thinking about even Jesus being a prophet, if he's a prophet of the stature of Moses, you should expect him to be able to do something like this.

You should, I would think, but they don't. Well, I hadn't thought about that, but that actually, I'm going to think about that some more. Well, and I didn't prepare this, but if you read Psalm 107, there's some statements in Psalm 107 about God's power over the seas, and they're really quite explicit.

So in doing this, Jesus is undeniably identifying himself with God himself. I mean, there's just no way around this. This is so unusual. What sort of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey? I love this story.

Oh my goodness. So, you know, just because the Gospels never give us all the details that we want, where you want to know what happened, what was the rest of the conversation, whether they rode on in silence in the calm sea. Verse 28, and they came to the other side. And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon possessed men met him coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, what have you to do with us, O son of God?

Have you come here to torment us before the time? Now, a herd of pigs was feeding at some distance from them, and the demons begged him saying, if you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs. And he said to them, go. So they came out and went into the pigs and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled and going into the city, they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

Another surprising ending to a big story. You really need to look at the Mark and the Luke account to get more detail. And if you don't know what chapters, you have that little center reference in your Bible that I'll usually show where it is.

But I'll tell you, it's the first part of Mark 5, verses 117, and right toward the end of Luke 8, verses 26 to 37. And there we get a personal conversation between Jesus and the man who was demon possessed. There's also a difference too, because here it lists two demon possessed men and it says one man and the other. Is that a conflict? Well, no. There can be two men, but in this particular case, he seems to be relating to the one. So one of the two.

Right. But the thing that's consistent is look what the demon says. What have you to do with us? Oh, son of God, we know who you are. And here the guy in the boat had just said, who is this man?

Who is this guy? But the demons recognize him. I think that's why Matthew put these back to back.

I think so too. Because the apostles are going, wow, who is this guy? And the demons know. Well, and they say, have you come here to torment us before the time? They know who's going to have the final word on their fate. Yeah. They know there's an inevitable torment coming at their end. Yeah.

And so they're saying you've pulled up the timeline and let's not do this. And this is not just one demon. This is a bunch of them. Because the other gospels are the ones where we find out that Jesus says, what is your name? And they say, Legion, because we are many. Yeah, that's in Luke's gospel. So there's many.

And there's many in two guys. So they are sort of overwhelmed. What have you to do with us, oh, son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time? There's a lot of eschatological understanding on the part of these end times understanding. They know their destiny. They know they're going to go to torment.

But they want to continue to do what they do right now while they have a chance, which is torment and bring destruction and death. Because that is their purpose. That's their purpose. And they just want to be left alone. It's like they're saying, leave us alone, Jesus. This is what we're supposed to be doing.

This is none of your business. Right. We just got to torture these guys. Just leave us alone.

This is what we want to do. And they call him the son of God. In fact, the other demons where he casts out demons, he told the demons, you can't speak.

I don't want you spreading around what you know about the truth about who I am. Okay, so that kind of opens the door. We need to understand where this happened. It says Jesus went across the lake to the country of the Gadarenes, or one of the other gospel says the Gerasenes. Another one says the Gergesenes.

The Gergesenes. It all is in the Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee. The eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Right, the eastern side, which an area known as the Decapolis, which is 10 Gentile cities.

Now there were Jews over there, but it's largely a Gentile area. And we can see that in the passage because they were herding swine. Hey, wait a second.

Wait a second. These are unclean animals in an unclean place, unclean outsiders. But Jesus has gone over there deliberately.

Yes, yes, yes. To get away from the Jewish crowds. So yeah, so presumptively, we're talking about Gentiles here, presumptively. And we know some other stuff about these guys too from the other gospels. Luke says the guy was naked, had worn clothes. Right, and they couldn't keep him chained. He was so powerful. And Mark's description of that, let me just read it.

It's really something. He had been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart and he broke the shackles in pieces. So no one had the strength to subdue him.

I mean, this is terrifying. Okay, but this is a human being in utter agony because in Mark's account, again, right after what you just read, and constantly night and day among the tombs and in mountains he was crying out and gashing himself with stones. Yes, gashing himself.

This is a human being in utter bondage. Yeah, and just being tormented by numerous demons. And there's some speculation that this side of the Sea of Galilee, especially the Gentile communities there, were more deeply involved in occult-like beliefs. And so in a way, this was just part and parcel of what it was like there.

Right, what you would expect to be there. Yeah, so Jesus decides to go right into the face of this, right into the face of this, and immediately coming off the boat to face these guys that no one in those villages would ever face. They deliberately, the demon-possessed man comes screaming towards Jesus the minute he sets foot on the beach.

Isn't that interesting? Yeah, leave us alone. Jesus is the demon who is the aggressor. Yeah, right, because this seems just out of order. I mean, they were allowed to torment this area, and Jesus is coming and saying, not today you're not.

Not today you're not. Yeah, remarkable thing. This is not like the Sermon on the Mount, where you have these followers gathering around him by the thousands and listening. Here he's just jumping right into the face of hell. And where he's commenting on the law, back in the Sermon on the Mount, the Jewish law. These people are not law keepers.

They have a passing knowledge of Judaism, but they're not Jews. Yeah, and so because of this, I'm convinced the apostles are standing there watching this saying, wait, this is dangerous, number one. Don't touch anything. Number two, what in the world are we doing here? Why are we here?

This is just a total losing. Why are we here? We could make much more hay if we went back to where we were, look at all those people at Peter's house that wanted to talk to you, and you're coming over to these guys?

I mean, what are you doing here? Well, what we'll find out later is that he's starting the gospel on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee through these guys. Yeah.

Yeah, it's fascinating. Yeah, because that does become clear in the Mark and the Luke account, which is past this conversation, when he gets back in the boat to leave and the man says, take me with you. Yes, can I go back with you? And Jesus says, no, stay here and tell everybody what I've done for you. Right. So in this case, instead of telling the man, telling him who I am, he says, man, go all over and blab it to everybody. And there's a good reason for that because that geographical region was not going to get the word back to the Jews in Jerusalem who would be so antagonistic toward him. Well, and it's interesting in the other accounts, we find out that when the townspeople come out, they find him, this man who had been wounding himself and naked and unassailable, really. Right, impossible to deal with. And in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus, having this conversation.

Yes, it's a beautiful picture. Oh, that in itself would have spoken to these people like, well, we don't know what just happened here. But this we, you know, we've just lost our whole town's income. So we don't want you stay here. Right, right.

We don't know what this is, but go away. Right. And I can imagine this guy healed from the demon oppression, I can imagine this guy showing up in different villages over there. And he'd say, remember me? Yeah, because they would have known him. They would have known him. He was famous. Remember me?

Well, guess what? Jesus is the Messiah. I mean, what an incredible message he must have had.

I would have loved to get a little history on that. Well, he might not even have said Jesus is the Messiah. He said, this guy healed me. He healed me. Yes, yeah. And freed me from the oppression I had known all my life. Yeah, yeah.

But it was necessary for him to be the point man for the gospel in that region. It's just astonishing. So what do you make of the pigs? Why go into the pigs? Well, they were there. They were convenient. But why didn't Jesus send these demons away out into the netherworld?

I know. Something about they, about playing out their destruction? I think so, because remember, they just wanted to be left alone so they could continue to torment.

That's their job. And so they're saying, we don't want to be sent in the abyss yet. We want to continue tormenting. How about those pigs over there?

So it was a wonderful way for Jesus to say, you know, you dabble in the spiritual world, in the occult world. There's occult spiritual demons that are not on your side, who are destructive. They steal, kill, and destroy. And let me demonstrate that to you by allowing them to go into pigs. And what do they do once they went into the pigs? They killed them. This is what these guys are all about.

So this demon world, this spiritual, occultic world, you got to be careful. I mean, they're out to steal, kill, and destroy. And no clear picture then is the fact that when Jesus allowed them to go into pigs, they all died.

They just killed them. Yeah, that's the influence of this. I think that's, for me, that's the biggest statement in this entire thing. Because he could have just cast them into the abyss.

But here it's really quite demonstrated. And the fact that a whole flock, a valuable flock of pigs dies, does not go over well with the villagers. Right. Right.

Because that would have been extremely costly. Yeah. So as they're coming out of the village, you would think, hey, look, Jesus, they're coming out to thank you for the wonderful things you've done.

And they're not coming out to thank him. They're saying, you need to go. That's right. You need to go. You need to get out of here.

You need to leave this region. It is fascinating to me, again, I wonder about this demon-possessed man standing in front of them later, talking about who Jesus was, who he encountered face to face. And they start out antagonistic. Yeah, well he cost us entire herds. That was a huge thing to us. He says, yeah, but he brought me life.

So what an interesting conversation that would have been. Because here they're saying, you need to leave the region. And he does. But Jesus' influence in the region doesn't stop. His point men are these guys right here. Right. And we're going to see that some chapters on when he feeds 4,000 on this side.

On this side of the lake. Yeah. But I just, while you were talking here, it suddenly dawned on me.

Jesus had said in the Sermon on the Mount, you know, you're more important than sparrows. Yeah. Right.

But here he has said to this one demon-possessed man, you are of more value than a whole herd of pigs. Right. Right. Right. And he tells the man in the Mark account, go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you and how he's had mercy.

Oh, he's had mercy on you. Right. Right. And there is some speculation that if the demons are like 3D chess players, that this was a PR strategy on their part. They knew that if Jesus let them go into the pigs, it would turn out that the villagers would hate him. That's great because it goes against Jesus' ministry. Oh, you mean they would hate Jesus.

They would hate Jesus. Yeah. So they might've thought ahead and thought, put us in the pigs, we'll kill the pigs and the villagers won't let you come one more step into their village because of that. Oh, that's an interesting thought because it was the demons who asked, send us into the pigs. Exactly.

Exactly. Don't send us into the pit, send us into the pigs. And yet the entire plan kind of turned on its head because Jesus wasn't able to set foot in the villages, but these guys were the demons were. And they didn't understand how powerful that testimony was going to be. So Jesus turns and leaves and they think they won. Leaving behind a testimony. A testimony unshakable.

Of his mercy and his power to deliver. Yeah. Yeah. I just get goosebumps. I would have loved to have a little history on that side of the lake.

Cause that would have been great. Well, we'll get a little. We'll get a little. Well, you know, we're at the end of our time again. Again, astonishing stories that I just kind of get goosebumps every time I read them. So we hope you do too. We hope as you read this with us, you're understanding Jesus in ways you never have before.

So I'm Jim and I'm Dorothy. We love reading the word together and hope you come back with us next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself. And you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. There we go. That was a lot of work. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-06 14:15:56 / 2023-05-06 14:28:47 / 13

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