We now encounter a series of incredible miracles and signs which demonstrate Jesus’ power over the forces of evil and death. First, we see Jesus as Lord over his creation. Jesus travels across Galilee with his disciples. He is asleep in the boat as a storm brews. There are echoes of Jonah’s flight to Tarshish here. The disciples are terrified but Jesus calms the storm with a word. Just as creation came into being through God’s Word, so Christ, the Word of God can bring order back to creation with a word.
I think there are clues here that this is not just about his sovereignty over nature though. First, this storm seems extraordinary, it produces fear in seasoned sailors. Secondly, the direct rebuke. Thirdly, there is a theme through the Bible of creation out of nothing, order out of chaos and especially the waters in their place. The Flood speaks of a return to chaos, of de-creation and judgement. Here Jesus rebukes forces of chaos and disorder.
On the other side of the lake, Jesus meets a man possessed by many demons who have tortured his mind and driven him out of the community to the tombs – a place of death. Jesus casts out the demons (5:1-20). They seek refuge in a herd of pigs and these are driven into the waters. Again, we see chaos and watery death. This gives us a hint as to who those forces of chaos are! The man however is restored to an ordered and peaceful life. He begins to speak for Jesus in the Decapolis -a group of ten towns in the region with a more Greek/Gentile culture.
Finally, we have the healing of a woman with a discharge of blood and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Notice too the theme of uncleanness coming through: uncleans spirits, graves, pigs, discharge, bodies. Uncleanness, disorder, and death are linked. Jesus has authority over all of these. He is the one who will defeat Satan and defeat death (5:21-43).
Big Theme: The authority of Jesus over the defeated enemies of darkness and death
Questions to consider
- The reality of evil including Satan and demons. Implications for spiritual warfare
- Do we let death have the last word in our lives?