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100% God & Man?

April 14, 2009

Jesus Riding A DinosaurSo I wanna hear your thoughts about this.  This is for all you Bible scholars out there!  Today I had a conversation with a friend about a certain set of Scriptures in the Bible.  I disagreed with this person’s standpoint but I wanna present the information in an unbiased way before giving my opinion and want to hear yours.  This is strictly for the sake of satisfying my interest and not at all to bash someone else’s thoughts.  Just wanted to be clear on that.

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke we are given the story of a man (or two men in one version) in who is demon possessed. The man, demons and Jesus have a confrontation and Jesus casts the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs (cracks me up that they are a herd).  The basic argument (using the term argument loosely…maybe discussion would be better) is this: Did Jesus command the demons out of the man and fail to succeed and therefore had to command them again or did Jesus command the demons out of the man and they left?

I’m told that the New American Standard Bible is the version that is closest to the original Greek so I will use that.  Here are the different passages (not all the same length because some are quite a bit longer than the others).  Matthew is the only one that says two men.  Just thought that was interesting.  

The italics are in the version of the Bible and were not added by me.  Just FYI.

  • Matthew 8:29-32 – And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.
  • Mark 5:6-13 – Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank and into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.
  • Luke 8:28-33 – Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

So the question is did Jesus command the demons to leave the man and fail to do so resulting in having to command them again or did He command them once and succeed?  What do you think?  Where does that leave you?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom E. Snyder permalink
    April 14, 2009 11:01 PM


  2. April 15, 2009 7:20 AM


  3. Kara-Kae permalink
    April 15, 2009 8:28 AM

    I think it’s crazy to say that Jesus could “fail” at anything. I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus was and is 100% God, and could be 100% man and God at the same time. Come on…this is GOD we’re talking about!!

    It would be silly for us in our tiny minds to try to figure it out, but I think Jesus had the FULL ability to do whatever he chose to do. The demons had the ability of free will, so even though Christ commanded them out, they might not have gone the first time. How many times does Christ command us to do things and it takes a little coaxing? I don’t see this as a FAILURE of God, simply as his patience toward us. He commanded them out, was patient with their free will of choice and even allowed them what they asked of him. Jesus could have burned them up in an instant, but he showed his grace and love on the situation and was 100% God!

    That’s just my opinion though!

  4. Rodney Thompson permalink
    April 15, 2009 10:32 AM


    You should be a Professor at Harvard University! You are one smart dude.

    I tell you though, I like what Kara Kae says. God never fails.


  5. I'm Brook James permalink*
    April 15, 2009 12:47 PM

    Now for my thoughts. In this version of Matthew there doesn’t seem to be any room to even suggest the possibility. In Mark it seems that He was in the process of commanding them as the demons begged for a lesser fate. And in Luke, I still think it is pretty cut and dry. He commanded them. Then asked them their name. They beg. He has mercy. For me, taking the step from commanding, asking and giving permission to commanding, failing and commanding again is too big. There doesn’t seem to be nearly enough evidence to support a failed attempt. It seems more like a command followed by a question. Just because there isn’t an immediate death of the demons doesn’t even mildly suggest failure to me.

    I would think that if He failed or was capable of failing to cast out demons that they wouldn’t be terrified the second He shows up. If He was capable of failing and/or did this time why did the demons not put up a fight? It seems to me that the Jesus told them and they were still terrified even to the point of already knowing their probable fate of the abyss. I believe that in Him failing we are calling into question His ultimate control over the entire universe. He came to earth and was 100% man and 100% God. He does seem to have logical physical limitations like not being omnipresent or all places at all times. But He doesn’t have any spiritual limitations or mental limitations. He still is all-knowing and all-powerful. After all, just before they met this guy with the demons they came across this body of water while Jesus was sleeping in the boat during the storm and He comes out and shows that He has complete control over all of nature. He doesn’t seem to be limited in any Godly capacity just before the demon casting.

    So there. Those are my thoughts. For me to make the leap to Jesus failing and having to retry calls into question Him being 100% God. It’s like saying He made sure He learned to swim before He walked on water just to make sure that in case He did sink He would be able to swim to safety. But that’s me.

  6. tony permalink
    April 15, 2009 3:13 PM

    yep – you can preach AND sing – Amen bro, Amen

  7. April 17, 2009 9:54 AM

    Well said Brook James, great insight, get you in a pulpit and turn ya loose…

    Jesus is God incarnate! In some mysterious and wonderful way God in His love and mercy wrapped himself and walked among us (John 1:1-3, 14). Jesus willfully submitting himself to the confines of that fleshly nature. Any moment He wanted to whoop out a little God strength it was plenty available.

  8. April 19, 2009 5:10 PM

    Brook tried to write to you about this and sent it to cyber space somewhere so i’ll try again. this was debated for a couple hundred years during the time of the early church–resulting in three major councils and the creed which put to rest multiple heresies all of which had various interpretations of Jesus’ god/man status. all these synoptic gospels, as you know were written for the erudition different groups of people at different times, so what is important is what the message was. what was it? that Jesus is recognized by the demons as the Christ. why did he send them into the pigs? we don’t know. neither do we know what happened to the demons after the pigs throw themselves off the cliff and drown. we do know that the healed man begs to go with Jesus and He tells him no, go home and tell the story. And to top it off the people are first happy about the healing but they quickly turn against Jesus because they see the loss of PROPERTY. i think this is very important and the point that is often missed. anyway so much for that. hope you and kk are happy in cali spring here in okla is beautiful

  9. I'm Brook James permalink*
    April 20, 2009 12:05 AM

    Aunt Candy, you bring up a very good point. I don’t believe the point of the story is the actual casting out of the demons. You are probably correct in directing the attention to the freed man and the way the people react to the situation. I’m sure that’s not the only time in the Gospels that we get a story from different men’s standpoints but still don’t get all the details but are not neglected a moral. Good thought!

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