Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bible Study: Synoptics #10: The Miracles of Jesus

Relevant Readings

The primary readings for this chapter are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, and Luke 8:26-39.

Additional passages are: Tobit 6:7-8:18, Matthew 8:1-4,14-15,23-27, Matthew 9:1-8,27-34, Matthew 12:9-16,43-45, Mark 1:21-31,40-45, Mark 2:1-12, Mark 3:1-12,22, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 11:14-15,24-26, Luke 17:11-19, Luke 18:35-43, Luke 4:33-39, Luke 5:12-26, Luke 6:6-11,17-19, Luke 7:11-17, John 11:45, Romans 16:19-20, 2 Cor 11:14, James 4:7-8, and 1 Peter 5:7-10.


Matthew 8:28-34 Mark 5:1-20 Luke 8:26-39
28 Jesus arrives in Gadarenes and two savage demoniacs coming from the tombs meet him 1-2 Jesus arrives in Gerasenes and a man with an unclean spirit, from the tombs, meets him 28-27 Jesus arrives in Gerasenes and a man posessed by demons meets him; he is naked and lives among the tombs
3-5 The man is described as being able to break the chains and shackles used to restrain him, and crying out and bruising himself with stones
29 The demoniacs cry out "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?" 6-7 The man prostrates himself before Jesus and cries out "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!" 28 The man falls before Jesus and shouts "What have you to do with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!"
8 Jesus had said "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!" 29 Jesus had ordered the unclean spirit to leave the man; the man was reported to have broken his chains and shackles and fled to deserted places by the demon
9 Jesus asks the man his name, and he responds "Legion is my name. There are many of us." 30 Jesus asks the man his name, and he responds "Legion" because there were many demons in him
10 The demons plead not to be sent from the area 31 The demons plead not to be ordered to depart to the abyss
30-31 There is a herd of swine in the area; the demons plead to be sent into the pigs if Jesus casts them out of the men 11-12 There is a large herd of swine on the hillside, and the demons plead to be sent into the swine 32 There is a herd of many swine on the hillside, and the demons plead to enter the swine
32 Jesus does so; the posessed herd of pigs rushes into the sea and drowns 13 Jesus does so; the two thousand pigs rush into the sea and drown 33 Jesus lets them; the herd rushes into the lake and drowns
33 The swineherds flee into town to report what happened 14 The swinheherds report the incident in the town, and the people come out to see what happened 34 The swineherds report what happened in the town
15-16 The people see the formerly posessed man sitting clothed and of sound mind, and they become seized with fear; the incident is explained to them by witnesses 35-36 The people come out to see what happened, and find the man clothed and in his right mind, and they become seized with fear; the witnesses describe the events to them
34 The villagers beg Jesus to leave the area (on account of the loss of swine) 17 They beg Jesus to leave the district 37 All of Gerasenes asks Jesus to leave because they became seized with great fear; Jesus gets into the boat to leave
18 As Jesus is departing, the man asks to remain with Jesus 38 The man begs Jesus to let him remain with Jesus, but Jesus sends him away
19-20 Jesus tells him Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."; the man proclaims throughout the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all are amazed 39 Jesus tells him "Return home and recount what God has done for you."; the man proclaims throughout the town what Jesus had done for him


  1. How does Jesus demonstrate his divine sovereignty?
    CCC 447 refers to his life's ministry, full of works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.
  2. Describe the only Old Testament reference to freeing a person from evil spirits, in Tobit 6:7-8:18.
    A woman, Sarah, is posessed by a demon that has killed every man who marries her. Tobiah follows the instructions of the angel Azariah (also named Raphael) and burns a fish's liver and heart as incense in the presence of Sarah; the demon flees and Tobiah marries Sarah.
  3. Describe the events in: Matthew 8:28-29, Matthew 8:30-32, Matthew 8:33-34.
    See the Summary.
  4. Describe the events in: Mark 5:1-5, Mark 5:6-13, Mark 5:14-17, Mark 5:18-19, Mark 5:20.
    See the Summary.
  5. Describe a time when you wanted to do one thing and God wanted you to do something else.
  6. What does Saint Luke specifically mention in Luke 8:26-39?
    Luke mentions that the man had not worn clothes for a long time (Luke 8:27), and that the demons posessing him had driven him to deserted places before (Luke 8:29). Luke records Legion as requesting not to be sent to the abyss (Luke 8:31). Finally, he reports the conversation between the man and Jesus: the man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay behind and tell of what God had done for him (Luke 8:38-39).
  7. What do Jesus's exorcisms demonstrate?
    From CCC 550 we read that the exorcisms were a foreshadowing of Jesus's victory over Satan in the coming of God's kingdom. The exorcisms freed people from demons, much as Jesus would free everyone from sin.
  8. Identify these miracles of Jesus: A. Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-39; B. Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16; C. Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26; D. Matthew 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:6-11; E. Matthew 9:27-31, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-43; F. Matthew 9:32-34, Mark 3:22, Luke 11:14-15.
    1. Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law
    2. Jesus cures a leper
    3. Jesus forgives the sins of a cripple, and heals him as well
    4. Jesus heals a man's withered hand (on the Sabbath)
    5. Jesus cures two blind men
    6. Jesus drives a demon out of a mute man, curing him
  9. What were the various responses to Jesus's miracles: Mark 3:6,22, John 11:45, Matthew 9:33, and Luke 17:11-19.
    In Mark, the Pharisees plot against Jesus's life, and the scribes think that Jesus only has power over demons because he himself is obsessed by Beelzebul. John reports that some Jews who saw Lazarus resurrected began to believe in Jesus. The verse in Matthew shows people being amazed by Jesus driving out a demon, thereby curing the mute man; the next verse, however, has the Pharisees condemning the act: "He drives out demons by the prince of demons" (Matthew 9:34). The passage from Luke is about ten lepers cured by Jesus, only one of whom (a Samaritan) returns to Jesus to thank him and praise God.
  10. Has anyone witnessed to you a miraculous, life-transforming event?
  11. About how many healing miracles did Jesus perform, as reported in Matthew 12:15-16, Mark 3:7-10, and Luke 6:17-19?
    Hundreds, if not thousands. The numbers are not made clear in these passages.
  12. What miracle is exclusive to Luke's gospel, in Luke 7:11-17?
    Jesus resurrects a widow's only son during his funeral procession, out of the city of Nain.
  13. What does Jesus show in the miracle in Matthew 8:23-27?
    Jesus displays control over nature itself: the wind and the sea become calm when he commands them (Matthew 8:26).
  14. How do evil spirits respond to Jesus (Mark 3:11-12)?
    They would fall down before him and shout, "You are the Son of God." (Mark 3:11).
  15. In what unexpected place was a demoniac found (Mark 1:21-28)?
    He was in the synagogue.
  16. How did Jesus deliver people from demons and unclean spirits in Luke 4:33-37?
    He spoke to the demons and exerted his God-given power over them: Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" Then the demon [...] came out of him (Luke 4:35).
  17. What caution does Jesus give about receiving deliverance from evil spirits in Matthew 12:43-45?
    Evil begets evil: the person because worse off than before.
  18. What happens to the person who allows evil to return and dwell with him (Luke 11:24-26)?
    This is essentially identical to the passage from Matthew.
  19. What do the apostles reveal about the devil in these passages: Romans 16:19-20, 2 Cor 11:14, James 4:7-8, and 1 Peter 5:7-10?
    Paul writes in Romans that God shall crush Satan under your feet, and in 2 Corinthians that Satan is deceptive and masquerades as an angel of light. James writes that, just as drawing near to God causes God to draw nearer to you, resisting the devil will cause the devil to flee from you. Peter writes that the devil is eager to find someone to corrupt, prowling around like a roaming lion.
  20. Explain what the Lord has done for you and how he has shown you mercy, as he does to the man in Mark 5:19.

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