Setting

These events took place around the sea of Galilee during Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. He first crossed over to the Gadarenes and later returned to His home town.

Key Verse

(9:6)

Did You Know...?

  1. Sea of Galilee (8:24): The position of the lake in the Jordan rift below sea level with the high mountains to the E and W creates a natural condition for storms. The cool air masses from the mountain heights rush down the steep slopes with great force causing violent eruptions of the lake. Such tempests are not infrequent and are extremely dangerous to small craft. [ref]
  2. Gergesenes/Gadarenes (8:28): The region around the city of Gadara, six miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee. Mark and Luke identify the region by the capital city Gerasa, located about 35 miles southeast of the Sea. [ref]
  3. Tax collectors (9:10): see notes in lesson 7.

Outline

  • Calming the Storm
  • Healing the Two Demon-Possessed Men
  • Healing the Paralytic
  • “Your sins are forgiven”
  • Accusation of the teachers of the law
    (9:3)
  • Healing as evidence of forgiveness
  • Calling of Matthew
  • Jesus’ calling and Matthew’s response
    (9:9)
  • The Pharisee’s accusation and Jesus’ rebuttal

General Analysis

  • 1.

    In what ways did the Lord demonstrate His authority in this passage?

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    He exercised authority over the winds and the waves. He commanded the demons to leave, saying, “Go!” He demonstrated His authority to forgive sins. He identified Himself as the one who calls people to Him and the healer of souls.

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  • 2.

    Record the various reactions of the people to Jesus’ words and actions.

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  • 3.

    What were the objections of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees?

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    The teachers of the law objected to Jesus’ words of forgiveness because they thought that He, as a man, was not in the position to forgive anyone. The Pharisees objected to Jesus’ association with sinners because they thought that Jesus as a teacher and master must be separate from the morally defiled (The word “Pharisee” is derived from the word “separate”).

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Segment Analysis

  • 8:23-27

    1a.

    What situations in your life have come upon you like a sudden storm?

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  • 1b.

    What has this story taught you about dealing with these situations?

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    If we are disciples of the Lord who follow his ways, we have no need to fear in times of trouble because he is with us.
    Our Lord is always in control. No problem is ever too great for God, even though the trouble may seem to be “sweeping over” us.

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  • 8:28-34

    2.

    Why did the people of the town beg Jesus to leave their region?

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    They had lost their possessions because of what Jesus did.

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  • 3.

    Why did the people of the town beg Jesus to leave their region?

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    The value we place on our possessions or personal interests often makes us unwilling to accept the Lord and blinds us from the more valuable things (e.g. the healing of the demon-possessed men). Our self- centeredness can easily come in the way of the Lord’s work and take away the opportunity for us to receive even better blessings.

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  • 9:1-8

    4.

    What is blasphemy? Why did the teachers of the law think that Jesus blasphemed?

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    The word blasphemy is related to “slander.” It means speaking evil of God’s name. The teachers of the law expanded the meaning to include misusing the authority that only God has (i.e. forgiveness. See Isa 43:25, 44:22). Thinking that Jesus was only a man, they condemned Jesus for taking God’s place.

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  • 5.

    Explain 9:5-6.

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    On the one hand, it would be easier for anyone to say, “your sins are forgiven you,” than “arise and walk,” since the forgiveness of sins is intangible where healing requires tangible result. On the other hand, it is more difficult to say “your sins are forgiven you” than “arise and walk” because while men are allowed to command someone to walk, no man could forgive sins. In either case, the Lord Jesus healed the man as evidence that he truly had the divine authority to forgive sins and that the man’s sins indeed had been forgiven.

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  • 9:9-13

    6.

    What lessons can we learn from Jesus’ calling of Matthew and His words to the Pharisees?

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    The Lord seeks those who are willing to come to Him, regardless of their past. God is merciful and likes to see mercy, not just an outward keeping of the law.

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  • 7.

    Explain “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” and “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

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    This language connects Jesus’ healing of sinners to His healing of physical sickness. Jesus’ words made clear His mission—to save God’s people from their sins. The Lord did not come to confirm our righteousness but to awaken us to our need for repentance.

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  • 8.

    Final Thoughts: What caused the teachers and Pharisees to criticize Jesus? How can we avoid making the same mistake today?

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    The teachers of the law and the Pharisees condemned Jesus’ actions because they used themselves, rather than God’s word, as the standard and judged Jesus accordingly. Their actions were not out of a sincere desire to follow God’s will, and they had become ignorant of what truly pleased God. Their mistake reminds us that while we need to stand up for what is right, we also need to constantly examine ourselves to see if we are still in line with God’s will.

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