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Small Group Discussion week 22

May 22, 2022
Week 22 – Jesus, Demons, & People

Transition:
Over the past two weeks, we have seen Matthew reveal to his readers Jesus’ great authority. We
encounter Jesus’ authority over the diseases that ail our physical bodies, His authority over the physical world,
and now we see His authority over the spiritual realm as well.

Context:
This week’s passage is the story of an exorcism in the gentile region of Gadarenes. It is the second
miracle story in a set of three such stories in Matthew 8-9. So far, we have seen Jesus demonstrate His authority
over various diseases, over what it takes to be His disciple, over the wind and sea, and now we see it
demonstrated over demonic (supernatural) forces that lurk around us. We also see that His authority is so great,
that even with the simplest, one-word command He is able to accomplish His will.

Opening Questions:
• Has there ever been a time in your life when you knew you were witnessing or experiencing a demonic
attack? What happened? How did you respond? Do you believe that spiritual warfare is happening daily in
your life? If so, how? What are some examples? If not, why do you think that is? What do you do to combat
it?
• Many people who go on a mission trip, especially to a third world area, report that spiritual warfare is more
visible there than here. Do you believe this to be true? If so, why do you think it is? Going even further, if you
think there is less apparent demonic attack here in the US, what is your explanation for it?
Scripture/Storying: Matthew 8:28-34

Discipleship Questions:
• In 8:28-29, Matthew makes note of Jesus’ boat arriving on the other side of the lake. Some believe this to be

an attempt to highlight Jesus moving into a gentile area (Gadarenes) as they encounter these demon-
possessed men. Why would demon possession be something Matthew wanted to highlight in this way? Do

you observe there to be more spiritual warfare in the areas that have less of the gospel message? Why or
why not?
• The demons address Jesus directly and ask Him a question, “Have you come here to torture us before God’s
appointed time?” What does this question tell us about what the demons understood about Jesus? ...about
their judgment? ...about God’s long-term plan over spiritual things? How does this help you to face demonic
activity today?

• In 8:30-32, Jesus reveals His authority over the demons with a simple word, “Go.” What does Jesus one-
word response teach us about His authority? What other “Go” statements in Matthew come to mind (that

also deals with authority)? (e.g., Matthew 28:18-20.) Until this point, only the demons have spoken. What was
their request? Some say the pigs are in the wrong place at the wrong time, others believe it represents an
unclean landing place for these evil spirits. Why do you think the pigs were selected? How does the death of
the pigs help us to understand the “appointed time” mentioned before? These demons were forced to leave
the men but still caused deviant pain. What does it teach us about humanity that Jesus allowed death to the
pigs but not the two men? What makes humanity uniquely valuable in creation?
• In 8:33-34, the entire town comes out to meet Jesus and asks Him to leave. What do you believe motivated
their request? If money/livelihood, what other characteristics about Jesus’ life do people try to push out of
their lives for personal prosperity? What has Jesus already taught in the sermon on the mount about the
relationship between God and money? If fear, what are some of the fears people have that motivate them to
resist Jesus’ authority in their lives today? Jesus is both safe and dangerous. What does this miracle teach
us about Jesus as safe? What does this miracle teach us about Jesus as dangerous?
Prayer time: Pray that we will be faithful in following Jesus, especially in continually surrendering our all to Him.
Let’s also pray that we readily recognize His authority and gladly yield to it.