HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Matthew Chapter 8
Chapter 7 completed the Sermon on the Mount. It has been accepted by friend and foe that there has been given no higher set of principles than that in the Sermon on the Mount.
Can anyone ever attain that high a standard? To answer this question, Matthew brings together a series of miracles which demonstrate that the One who gave the standards also has the power for its accomplishment. Our Lord made it very clear to those who are believers that ".... without me ye can do nothing" (Jn.15:5). If we are wise, we will keep that FACT before us at all times. You and I, in our own power and wisdom, CANNOT ever produce anything which is acceptable to God. Christ today works in us, through the Holy Spirit, whom He sent into the world, to accomplish through us what we are not able to do.
Matthew does not attempt to give us a biography of the Lord Jesus, nor does he attempt to put in chronological order the series of events that took place in Jesus’ ministry, instead, he is giving us a progress, which we should not miss. The King went to the mountain, pronounced His procedure, the law of the Kingdom; comes down from the mountain, and we the awesome miracles that He performs. This demonstrates that when He rules on this Earth, He will have the power to enforce the laws of His Kingdom.
The Sermon on the Mount is probably in an shortened edition. In the Millennium we will have the unabridged version, which means that there will be many more things to be carried out.
In chapters 8 and 9 Matthew tells us of twelve miracles. While he does not attempt to give all the miracles that demonstrate the King's power, he gives these in an organized, and logical order. See the six miracles recorded in the chapter before us:
#1. Healing the leper, our Lord touches him. Leprosy is a human disease at its worst.
#2. Healing the centurion's servant is done from a distance. He has no physical contact with him.
#3. Healing Peter's wife's mother. He touches her.
#4. Casting out demons. He has supernatural power over Satan and his devils.
#5. Stilling the winds and the sea. He demonstrates His power over natural forces.
#6. Casting out demons from the two Gergesenes. Our Lord has complete control over the spirit world.
Christ Jesus, the King moves in all of these different areas. Matthew does not list them in chronological order but in a logical order. There is a definite movement in Matthew's record.
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (KJV) . . . This summary statement of Jesus' activity speaks not only of His teaching and proclaiming the Gospel but of His "curing every disease and illness among the people". This is repeated almost word for word in Matthew 9:35. The narrative section that follows the Sermon on the Mount (Mat.8:1 to 9:38) is composed mainly of accounts of those compassionate deeds of Jesus, but it is far from being just a collection of stories about miraculous cures. The nature of it all shows that Jesus shall establish His Kingdom, and it will always be under the protection of He whose power can deal with ALL dangers (Mat.8:23-27), but it is only for those who are ready to follow Him no matter the cost (Mat.8:16-22), not only believing Jews but also Gentiles who have come to Him in faith (Mat.8:10-12). The apostles begin to have some insight, although far from perfect, into the mystery of the Person of Jesus. They marvel and are in awe of Him, Whom "the winds and the sea obey" (Mat.8:27). They stand amazed as they witness His bold declaration of the forgiveness of the paralytic's sins (Mat.9:2). When the crowd sees the miracles that testify to the authority of Jesus, the Son of Man, to forgive sins (Mat.9:6), they glorify God who had given such authority to human beings (Mat.9:8). The ‘religious’ character of this narrative section could not be more clearly specified.
Matthew 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. (KJV)
When he was come down from the mountain . . . into which He went up, and preached the sermon recorded in the "three" preceding chapters, the Sermon on the Mount.
Great multitudes followed him . . . this is mentioned to show that the people which had come from several areas, still continued to stay with Him. I can imagine that they were greatly affected by His teaching. They were deeply impressed with the wonderful doctrines they had just heard.
Jesus Heals A Leper (Matthew 8:2-4)
Matthew 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. (KJV)
And, behold there came a leper . . . as soon as Jesus came down from the mountain, and while He was still on the road. Luke 5:12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. (KJV) . . . Into one of the larger cities of Galilee, an un-walled city, into which a leper might come. A leper could not come into walled towns, for they might turn him out.
And even though because of the following miracle, of healing the leper, which was not done in a corner, but before great multitudes, who were witnesses of it, some think this miracle was done more privately. It seems that lepers were forced to live outside the towns because the people were afraid they might infect others. As long as the signs of the disease remained upon them they were compelled to live outside the camp. Laws about leprosy: Leviticus chapters 13 & 14. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9774-leprosy
And worshipped him . . . this humble leper showed great reverence to Jesus as a Man; which he did by falling down on his knees, and on his face; prostrating himself before Him, in a very humble and submissive manner, as Mark also relates (Mk.1:40-45). That he worshipped Him as God, is not evident; though it is certain he had a very high opinion of Him and great faith in Him.
Saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean . . . he was sure of Jesus’ power, that He could make him clean, ridding him entirely of his leprosy, which the priest could not do. The priest could only, according to the law, pronounce him clean, so that he might be admitted to company, but he could NOT heal him of his disease. This poor leper was convinced Christ could heal him, and humbly submits completely to His will, of which, as yet, he had no indication that Jesus would heal him. And so it is with poor sinners . . . they believe Jesus has the ability to justify them by His righteousness (1 Cor.1:30), cleanse them by His Blood (1 Pet.1:2,18-19); and save them by His grace (Eph.2:8) to the uttermost . . . yet so many hesitate about His willingness, because of their own vileness and unworthiness.
Matthew 8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (KJV)
And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him . . . this is a wonderful instance both of the grace, and goodness of Christ, in touching this loathsome creature; and of His unspotted purity and holiness, which could not be defiled by it; and of His mighty power in healing by a touch, and with a word of his mouth,
Saying, I will, be thou clean . . . this immediately expresses Jesus’ willingness, of which the leper before was not certain. And by His power . . . a word of command, "be thou clean" reveals the readiness of Christ to do it. There was no discussion with the man, no demanding a further trial of his faith, no objecting to his uncleanness . . . but at once, He stretches out His Hand, touches His filthy flesh, and commands the disease to leave. This is a great encouragement for poor sinners to consider, we must go to Christ, under a sense of our guilt and filth; who shall readily receive us, and in no wise casts them out. He gives immediate revealing of His power and grace unto us.
And immediately his leprosy was cleansed . . . he was not only pronounced clean, but was clean! He was completely healed of the disease of leprosy. Mark, says it more emphatically: Mark 1:42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. (KJV) . . . Perfectly and instantaneously. What a contrast this to modern pretence!
Matthew 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. (KJV)
And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man . . . not that this fact could be concealed, for it was done publicly, before the multitude. Possibly it was Christ's design that he would speak of it to no man, before he came to the priest, lest out of ill will to Christ, they should refuse to pronounce him clean.
But go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them . . . the man was now in one of the cities of Galilee; and Christ orders him to go directly to Jerusalem; and present himself to one of the priests, to be examined, whether he was free of his leprosy. Then he was to offer what was ordered by the law of Moses in such cases: for as yet the ceremonial law was not abolished: and therefore, as Christ was subject to it himself, so he enjoins others the observance of it. There was a two fold offering, according to the law of Moses, on account of the cleansing of the leper (Lev.14:1-57). The one was on the first day of his cleansing, when he first showed himself to the priest, and consisted of two birds, alive and clean, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop; the other, and which was properly the offering on the eighth day, was, if the man was able, two he lambs and one ewe lamb, with a meat offering; but if poor, one lamb, with a meat offering, and two turtle doves, or two young pigeons.
Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, (KJV)
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum . . . returned from His journey through Galilee, to the place where He before dwelt, and is called His own city (Mat.9:1).
There came unto him a centurion . . . a Roman officer, "a commander of an hundred men". Some say that the number of men under a "centurion" was more than a hundred.
A band, it is said, made two centuries, each of which consisted of an hundred and twenty eight soldiers; for a doubled century made a band, whose governor was called an ordinary "centurion".'' It seems that Cornelius, was a centurion of a band (Acts 10:1). The leper that was healed was a Jew. The next instance of Christ's power and goodness is to the servant of a Gentile. He came to do good both to Jews and Gentiles.
Beseeching him . . . not in person, but by his messengers (Lk.7:3). The Jews say, that a man's messenger is as himself.
Matthew 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. (KJV)
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home . . . supposing this to be the same case, Luke calls him "a servant" (Lk.7:2). The concern of the "centurion" for him, shows him to have been a good servant, faithful and obedient to his master; and Luke says, he "was dear unto him", highly valued, and much beloved. The centurion was a good master; he does not put his sick servant away from him, but takes care of him at home, and seeks out for relief for him, being eager to save his life. This man's servant was not dead, but lay as one dead.
Sick of the palsy . . . his nerves all relaxed, and he senseless, motionless.
Grievously tormented . . . paralytic persons do not feel much pain and torment: but the meaning is, that he was in a miserable afflicted condition. The account of his disorder is given to move Christ's compassion, and recorded to show the greatness of the miracle.
Matthew 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. (KJV)
And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him . . . the answer of Christ's, which is short and to the point, not only shows the willingness of Christ to do good, but how soon and easily He complied with the centurion's request. This also contains an absolute promise that He would heal him. He does not say that He would come and see him, and what his case was, and do what He could for him, as ordinary physicians do; but that He would come and heal him at once. Jesus cannot deny anything when faith is present, not His Presence and not His assistance.
Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (KJV)
The centurion answered, and said . . . according to (Lk.7:6), when the centurion understood that Christ had agreed to come to his house, with the elders of the Jews, he first sent to Him; and after He was actually set out with them, and was in the way to his house; was conscious of his own unworthiness, sends some persons to Him, to speak to Him in this manner . . .
Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof . . . this declares his modesty and humility, and the unworthy apprehensions he had of himself. The centurion did NOT say this as rejecting and despising the Presence and company of Christ; but is expressing his great modesty and humility, for he was ever so conscious of his own depravity, and unworthiness of having so great a Person in his house. Dear one, how much more unworthy are poor, vile sinners to see themselves to be unworthy, that Jesus should come into their hearts, and dwell there by faith, as He does, in all true believers (Rom.8:9), no matter how vile and sinful they have been, when they turn to Him in faith?
But speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed . . . this signifies the centurion’s great faith in Christ, and the power that comes with that faith. He does not look upon Him just as a Man of God, a Prophet, or One that had great interest in God, but as One who stood at the throne of grace . . . he tells Jesus, just speak and it shall be done. This ascribes omnipotence to Jesus; such as was the power that was put forth in Creation (Gen.1:3,6,8,11,14,20,26; Ps.33:9). He means that if He would just speak a word, it will be done. What faith! Do we have faith like that?
Matthew 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (KJV)
For I am a man under authority . . . of the Roman emperor, and of superior officers under him, as a tribune.
Having soldiers under me . . . at least a hundred of them.
And I say unto this man go, and he goeth, and to another come, and he cometh . . . for there is no argument to the commands of officers, by soldiers, in anything, in exercises, marches, battles.
And to my servant . . . this refers to his domestic servant, who waited upon him, and did those things for him which every soldier under him was not employed in.
Do this, and he doth it . . . immediately, without any argument; as a servant should.
He suggests, that as his soldiers were under him, and at his command; so too were all bodily diseases were under Christ, and to be controlled by Him, and that, if he would but say to that servant of his, the palsy, remove, it would remove at once.
Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (KJV)
When Jesus heard it, he marveled . . . this must be understood of Jesus as Man; for as God, nothing could present itself unto Him unawares, and not known before. God is NOT astonished at anything.
And said to them that followed . . . this agrees perfectly with the account that Luke gives, that Christ was set out, with the messengers the centurion sent unto him, in order to come to his house, and heal his servant. Them that followed Him were His disciples, or others that were following Him thither to see the miracle.
Verily, I say unto you . . . any time that Jesus spoke these words, He was about to declare something very seriously or positively affirm something. He was about to say something of considerable importance, and required their attention.
I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel . . . it is recorded only on two occasions the Lord Jesus Christ marveled. One was at the unbelief of Israel (Mk.6:6), and the other was at the faith of this Gentile centurion.
Matthew 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west . . . because of the faith of the centurion, who was a Gentile, our Lord makes a statement, concerning the call of the Gentiles; and suggests that what was seen in that man now, would be fulfilled in great numbers of them in a later time: that many of them from the several parts of the world, from the rising of the sun to the setting of it, from the four points of the heaven, east, west, north, and south, as in (Lk.13:29-30), and from the four corners of the earth, would come and believe in Him.
And sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven . . . meaning that as the Gospel would be preached in a short time to all nations, many Gentiles would believe in Him, as Abraham, and the rest of the patriarchs did; and so would partake of the same blessings of grace with them; such as, adoption, justification, pardon of sin . . . for "they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham" (Gal.3:9). This reveals that the faith of Jews and Gentiles, is the same; their blessings the same, and so their eternal happiness; they have the same God and Father, the same Mediator and Redeemer, are activated and influenced by the same Spirit, partake of the same grace, and shall share the same glory. Our Lord here, goes directly contrary to the notions and practices of the Jews, who thought it a crime to sit down at table, and eat with the Gentiles (Acts 11:3), and yet Gentiles shall sit at table and eat with the principal men, the heads of their nation, in the Kingdom of Heaven, and they themselves (Jews) at the same time would be shut out.
Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
But the children of the kingdom . . . meaning the children, or the people, who expected the kingdom; or to whom it properly belonged; or, in other words, the Jews. The Jews considered themselves the favorites of Heaven. They thought the Messiah would enlarge their nation, and spread the triumphs of their kingdom. They called themselves, therefore, the children of the members of the kingdom of God, to the exclusion of the Gentiles. Jesus used the manner of speech to which they were accustomed, and said that many of the Gentiles would be saved, and many Jews lost.
Shall be cast out into outer darkness . . . this is an image of future punishment. It is possible that the image was taken from Roman dungeons, which were commonly constructed under-ground, shut out from the light of the sun. They were damp, dark, unhealthy and probably filthy. Cruel masters constructed such prisons for their slaves, where these slaves, with no light, no comfort, spent his days and nights in weeping from grief, and in vainly gnashing his teeth in fury. The image expresses the fact, that the wicked who are lost will be shut out from the light of Heaven, and from the peace, joy and hope, will be confined in gloomy darkness; will weep in hopeless grief; and gnash their teeth against God, and murmur against His justice. Can you imagine this striking image of future woe? If you could see in your mind a damp, dark, solitary, and filthy dungeon, then see a miserable and enraged victim . . . and add to his sufferings the thought of eternity . . . then remember that this is an image, a faint image, of Hell!
Hell: (Mat. 8:12; 13:30,50; 22:13; 25:46).
Shall be cast out . . . out of the land of Israel, as they were in a few years after this. These branches were broken off, and the Gentiles grafted in, in their room; and will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven, where they hoped to have a place,
And cast into outer darkness . . . into the Gentile world, and into judicial blindness, and darkness of mind, and into the blackness of darkness in Hell,
Where shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth . . . this states the miserable state and condition of persons outside of the Kingdom of Heaven; who are weeping for what they have lost, and gnashing their teeth with the pain of what they endure.
Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto the centurion . . . Christ answers the centurion, agreeing to his desire, saying to him . . .
Go thy way . . . not as being displeased with him, but as granting his request.
And as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee . . . the centurion had faith to believe, that Christ could cure his servant by speaking the word, and it was done accordingly. Christ by His almighty power said, let him be healed, and he was healed: just as God in the Creation said, "let there be light, and there was light". He does not say according to thy prayer, or according to thy righteousness, and goodness, but according to thy faith: and it is further to be observed, that this cure was done, not so much for the sake of the servant, as his master; and therefore Christ says, "be it done unto thee"; let him be healed for thy sake, and restored unto thee, to thy use, profit, and advantage.
And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour . . . at the exact moment! (Lk.7:10).
Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. (KJV)
And when Jesus was come into Peter's house . . . which was also Andrew's house (Mk.1:29), for these two brothers lived together. This was in Capernaum, as appears from the context. Although Andrew and Peter were originally from Bethsaida, a place not far from this, they had moved here since they were called by Christ. It is possible that this house was Peter's wife's mother's, and only called their's, because they lived there. While in this city, it was into this house Christ entered, with James and John, and others.
He saw his wife's mother laid . . . Peter's wife's mother . . . Peter was married! The Bible clearly tells us that marriage is absolutely NO hindrance to virtue. Here it states that the chief of the apostles had a wife. Marriage is one of the first of Divine institutions, and is a positive command of God. He says, the state of celibacy is NOT good. Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (KJV) . . . Those who say that staying single is more holy than being married insult and slander their Maker.
And sick of a fever . . . Luke says that she "was taken with a great fever" (Lk.4:38), meaning it was raging and furious, and had reached a very great height.
Matthew 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. (KJV)
And he touched her hand . . . sometimes He healed by a word, as the centurion's servant; and sometimes by a touch, as here; and sometimes by both, as the leper. Luke says, that he "stood over her" (Lk.4:38), reached over her to take her by the hand, and lift her up, "and rebuked the fever" . . . just as he did the winds and sea (Mk.4:39; Lk.8:24), having all diseases, as well as all the elements, at His beck and call.
And the fever left her . . . the other writers say immediately.
And she arose and ministered unto them . . . she was restored to health and strength, in so much that she could rise and walk by herself; where normally, persons after fevers are very weak for a considerable time; which prove that a miracle was brought about on her by Christ. She expresses her gratitude for the mercy she had received. She rises and serves Jesus and His friends, preparing provisions for them.
Matthew 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: (KJV)
When the even was come . . . the other writers say, when "the sun was set". The Jews kept their Sabbath from evening to evening, according to the law (Lev.23:32). It was that the sick were not brought out to our Lord until after sun-set, because then the Sabbath was ended.
They brought to him many that were possessed with devils . . . there may be two reasons why Judea, in our Lord's time, abounded with demoniacs. First, they were then advanced to the very height of sinfulness. Josephus, the Jews own historian, says that there was not a nation under Heaven more wicked than they were. Second, they were at that time strongly addicted to magic (Acts 16:16; 19:19), thus inviting evil spirits to be familiar with them. BEWARE of all forms of witchcraft! Giving in to any form is your giving Satan permission to enter your body and soul. Remember this though . . . a TRUE Christian believer cannot be demon possessed! 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (KJV) . . . An evil spirit CANNOT live where the Spirit of God resides!
And he cast out the spirits with his word . . . Jesus was and IS able to cast out evil spirits just by speaking to them. Do I believe people today can be or are, demon possessed? YES! Absolutely! Do I believe that Jesus can cast them out? YES! Once a person truly believes God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accepts His Son Jesus as their Saviour by faith, they become a child of God and the Holy Spirit comes to reside within them. BUT . . . God will NEVER give His Spirit to anyone who is not sincere in their repentance. NO one can fool God!
And healed all that were sick . . . it did not matter who they were, there was never any respect of persons with our Saviour. Whatever disease they had: the most stubborn, chronic, or incurable disorder, was not too hard for Him. He cured them all without the help of medicine . . . either by speaking or touching, He healed them. NO respect of persons: (Lev.19:15; Deut.1:17; 16:19; 2 Chron.19:7; Pro.24:23; 28:21; Rom.2:11; Eph.6:9; Col.3:25; Jam.2:1,9; 1 Pet.1:17). Remember dear ones, not one soul did the Lord Jesus ever reject, who came to Him seeking His aid. Any sinner in despair who comes to Him, aware of their spiritual malady, can be healed by His merciful Hand!
Matthew 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (KJV)
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet . . . Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.(KJV) . . . Isaiah 53:4-5 is used by so-called faith healers more than any other. They claim that physical healing is in the atonement, and they use this verse to support their position. I cannot go along with this. I do not believe it supports the modern healing movement. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" . . . of WHAT are we healed? This Passage from Isaiah clearly states that we are healed of our transgressions and iniquities. How can we be sure? The Bible is its own best commentary! 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (KJV) . . . Healed of what? SINS!!! Peter makes it very clear that he is talking about SIN!
Saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses . . . it is clear that according to the mind of the ancient Jews, this Passage belongs to the Messiah, and is rightly applied to Him by Matthew. There is however, a difficulty . . . this Passage in Isaiah was fulfilled in Christ's healing the bodily diseases of men . . . since Isaiah does not speak of Jesus’ actions and miracles, but of His sufferings and death; not of bearing the diseases of the body, but of the diseases of the heart and mind (sins), as the Apostle Peter interprets it (1 Pet.2:24). This chastisement (verse 5) was for the transgression committed (OURS) and for which HIS suffering was the expiation (act of making atonement). Our spiritual well-being comes when we believe that He was punished for OUR guilt. The Messiah suffered the chastisement of God, His Father, in order to obtain and secure our peace.1 Peter 2:24 confirms that we are healed due to Messiah's punishment. Acts 3:18 confirms Christ's suffering as fulfillment of what the prophets wrote. This is also fulfilled in Matthew 27:26.
Matthew 8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. (KJV)
Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him . . . great multitudes of people followed Him. He had literally healed thousands of afflicted people, and not just those individual cases recorded. John substantiated this fact in his Gospel of John when he wrote: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30-31). This multitude gathered partly just to see this awesome Man, of whom they had heard so much; and partly to see the miracles He could do. Some came to have their bodily diseases healed . . . very few, if any, to hear the Gospel preached by Him, and for the good of their immortal souls. The majority came with selfish and carnal views, wherefore . . .
He gave commandment to depart unto the other side . . . there were different reasons for Jesus to depart from the multitude: #1. that He might have a time of private prayer, #2. to preach, #3. to show He did not seek to be popular, #4. to avoid incitement to rebellion, etc. His reasons here seem to be that He was weary as Man, and that He might have a chance of refreshing Himself with sleep. It also seems possible that He might have a trial of the apostles’ faith.
Two Want To Follow Jesus (Matthew 8:19-22)
Matthew 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (KJV)
And a certain Scribe came . . . "As they went in the way" (Lk.9:57), to go to the sea side, in order to pass to the other shore.
And said unto him, Master, or Rabbi, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest . . . we might think that this man really was sincere about being a disciple of Christ, IF it were not for Jesus’ answer to him. Since God knows all things, including our hearts, it seems that he, seeing the miracles which Christ had done, and saw the fame of Him among the people, began to think that Jesus would be well received as the Messiah; and by joining himself to Him, would mean much ease, honor and wealth for himself.
Matthew 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (KJV)
And Jesus saith unto him . . . knowing his heart, and the carnal and worldly views with which he acted;
The foxes have holes . . . homes in the earth, where they hide from danger, and rest.
And the birds of the air have nests . . . where they sit, lay, and hatch their eggs, and bring up their young;
But the son of man has not where to lay his head . . . Jesus had no home to go to when He was weary and wanted to rest and sleep. Our Lord Jesus was saying to this young man, "Have you counted the cost?" Our Lord was revealing His poverty when He was here upon this Earth. The poverty of the Lord Jesus! Poverty is part of the curse that He bore. There are those today that teach that Jesus was rich. NO where in the Holy Word of God, does it say He was rich. This is just one verse that clearly teaches that He was poor! He was poor, his earthly family were poor people.
Matthew 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (KJV)
And another of his disciples said unto him . . . this is not the same man in verse 19. This is not one of His apostles that were called by Him. This is a one of the many disciples (learners) that followed Jesus. Consider: an “apostle” was one of the twelve called by Jesus. The apostles were also disciples. A “disciple” is a follower, someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (Jn.9:28). Jesus was quite clear about the cost of following Him. Discipleship requires a totally committed life: Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (KJV) . . . Sacrifice is expected: Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (KJV) . . . Not all of Jesus’ followers were able to make such a commitment . . . not then, not now! John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (KJV) . . . The term Christian was never used by Jesus. The first time the word Christian is used is found in Acts 11:26.
Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father . . . this has been greatly misunderstood. Our first impression is that the “father” had just died and that the family was getting ready to hold the funeral service. Our Lord seems very harsh in His answer.
Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (KJV)
But Jesus said unto him, Follow me . . .this man’s feelings might not have been deep enough, and his purpose to follow the Saviour may not have been strong enough to stand the trial to which he would be subjected.
And let the dead bury their dead . . . the word dead is used in this passage in two different senses. It is apparently a paradox, but is fitted to convey His idea very distinctly to the mind. The Jews often used the word dead to express indifference to a thing, or to show that the thing has no influence over us. For instance: to be dead to the world; to be dead to the law (Rom.7:4); to be dead to sin (Rom.6:11); means that the world, the law and sin, have no influence or control over us; that we are free from them just as though they did not exist. A body in the grave is unaffected by the splendor and pride, by the gaiety and festivities, by the ambition and luxury that may be close to the tomb. So too, men of the world are dead to religion. They cannot see its beauty; cannot hear not its voice; cannot see its attractiveness. It seems to me that this is the class of men to which the Saviour referred to here. Anyone who is not interested in His work, and who are dead in sin (Eph.2:1), let them take care of the dead. The duty of a TRUE believer is to follow Him. Jesus would not excuse this man, or any other on this account, A greater regard to Christ Jesus must be had, than to the nearest relation. Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (KJV)
There may have been two reasons for these seemingly rash words. One was to test the character and attachment of the man. IF he had proper love for Christ, he would be willing to leave his friends and family even in the most tender and trying conditions. A second reason might have been, that the Saviour saw that the effect of visiting his home at that time might have driven away all his serious feelings, and that he would return to Him no more. This man’s feelings might not have been deep enough, and his purpose to follow our Saviour may not have been strong enough to bear the trial to which he would be subjected. Not even the death of a father, and the sorrows of a distressed family, should lead a person to put off the reason to be a Christian. Following Christ is a duty NOT to be put off or neglected, be it in sickness or health, at home or abroad; whether surrounded by living and happy kindred, or whether a father, a mother, a child, or a sister lies in our house dead. Regard to family, friends and comfort should be secondary to Christ; we should always be ready to sacrifice these when duty to Him requires it.
Jesus Stills The Tempest On The Sea (Matthew 8:23-27)
We come to another miracle. This one has nothing to do with healing anyone. This one concerns a miracle over nature. The awesome power of the Lord Jesus is demonstrated, and I believe that Adam had that same power before he lost his dominion. Now we see in the Lord Jesus, the last Adam, the manifestation of this dominion.
Matthew 8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. (KJV)
And when he was entered into a ship . . . which was made ready by His disciples, or hired by them for His use. The boat used here was probably the kind familiar to many of Jesus' apostles who were fishermen. Josephus, an ancient Jewish historian, wrote that there were usually more than 300 fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee at one time. This boat was probably large enough to hold Jesus and His 12 apostles and was powered both by oars and sails. During a storm, the sails were taken down to keep them from ripping and to make the boat easier to control.
His disciples followed him . . . only the apostles followed Him into the ship, the multitude was dismissed, because I think Jesus wanted to try their faith.
Matthew 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. (KJV)
And behold, there arose a great tempest . . . whether this storm which arose here was in the ordinary course of providence, or purposely raised for our Saviour to reveal His power in quieting it. I think it is enough for us to know that a great storm did arise.
In the sea . . . Luke calls it a "lake" (Lk.5:1), and it was the lake of Genesareth. But both Matthew and Mark call it the sea, and is what is sometimes called the sea of Tiberias, and the sea of Galilee (Jn.6:1; 21:1). To all this, the word "behold!" is prefixed; which is sometimes used, when anything extraordinary and supernatural is spoken of . . . and this storm seems to be much more than an ordinary storm. When the apostles entered the ship, the air was serene, and the sea still and quiet; but as soon as they had set sail, all at once, quite suddenly, this storm came down with great force into the sea, and lifted up great waves.
Insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves . . . they were afraid that it would sink to the bottom. They were in the utmost boundary. And what added to their distress was,
But he was asleep . . . Jesus was fast asleep! The deep sleep into which Jesus fell during the short voyage, was so profound that the noise of the terrific storm and the rolling of the ship did not wake Him. This is accounted for by the fatigue and the utter weariness resulting from His preaching to the great multitude. No one else was asleep! Our Saviour was asleep . . . showing Himself to be truly Man, subject to like infirmities with us . . . only He was without sin! Luke calls this tempest a "storm of wind" (Lk.8:23), and Mark says, it was "a great storm of wind" (Mk.4:37). This particular kind of wind, is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards; or rather, a conflict of many winds. It seems it may have been a whirlwind or hurricane. I feel sure that this tempest "arose", not by chance, nor by the power of Satan, but by divine providence; for the trial of the faith of Christ's apostles, and that He might have an opportunity of giving proof of His deity on the sea, as He had recently done in several instances on the dry land.
Mark mentions the place where he was asleep, "in the hinder part of the ship" (Mk.4:38). He slept as Man, although, as God, He is Israel's keeper, who neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps.121:4).
Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. (KJV)
And his disciples came unto him . . . being greatly concerned and in distress.
And awoke him; saying, Lord, save us, we perish . . . I imagine they were crying out quite loudly to be heard above the roar of the storm.
They awoke him by their loud cries, and repeated calls; for in Luke, the form of address is doubled, "Master, Master!" (Lk.8:24), expressing their distress and haste for deliverance saying, "save us, we perish", which shows the anxiety they had of their condition; not only that they were in danger of being lost, but were lost. They saw no possibility of escaping by any natural methods, so they run to Christ, believing that He was able to save them, as they had good reason to conclude, from the miracles they had that day seen performed by Him.
Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (KJV)
And he saith unto them, why are ye fearful? . . . although they had some faith in Him, there was a much fear and unbelief, for which Christ blames them, saying,
O ye of little faith (Mat.6:30). Luke says: "where is your faith?" (Lk.8:25), what has become of it? You professed but just now to believe in me, is your faith gone already? In Mark it is, "how is it that ye have no faith?" (Mk.4:40). It seems that their faith was very small, it could hardly be discerned. Some faith they had, as appears by their request to Him, but it was very little.
Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm . . . being awaked by His apostles, He stands up, and with a majestic voice, in an authoritative manner, showing some kind of resentment at the wind and sea, as if they had exceeded their commission; and the one had blown, and the other raged too much and too long; He rebukes them in such language as this, "peace, be still" as it is in Mark 4:39, upon which the wind ceased, the sea became calm, and the ship moved quietly on.
Matthew 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! (KJV)
But the men marveled . . . Mark says, "they feared exceedingly"; and Luke, "they being afraid, wondered". They were filled with astonishment and reverence! There was such majesty, such a luster of divine power that they had witnessed. They were abundantly convinced of His deity and dignity, saying,
What manner of man is this . . . surely He must be more than a mere man; He can be none other than the mighty God . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
That even the winds and the sea obey him . . . NO mortal man can control the elements. Only the power of Almighty God can control that which He had created.
Jesus drives devils out of two demoniacs.
Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. (KJV)
And when he was come to the other side . . . of the lake, or sea of Tiberias, over against Galilee.
Into the country of Gergesenes . . . the same as the Girgashites Gen.15:21; Deut.7:1; Josh.3:10), whom Joshua drove out of the land of Canaan. Both in mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26, it is called "the country of the Gadarenes".
There met him two possessed with devils . . . both Mark and Luke mention just one, which does not contradict Matthew; for they do not say that there was only one. Maybe the reason why they only mention one is, because he was the fiercest, had a legion of devils in him, and was the main one, that spoke to Christ, and with whom he was chiefly concerned. This is to be understood, NOT of any natural disease of body, but of real possession by Satan. These demon possessed men met Jesus accidentally, and unaware to Satan also; for although Satan knows very much, he absolutely is NOT omniscient. Had he been aware of Christ's coming that way, and what He was about to do, Satan would have taken great care to have had the possessed ones out of the way.
Coming out of the tombs . . . just as Christ landed, He met the two possessed with devils. Burying places, were some distance from towns or cities; wherefore Luke says, the possessed met him "out of the city", or a a good way off from it. These tombs were built so large, that persons might go into them, and sit and even live in them, as these "demoniacs" must have done, therefore are said to come out of them.
Exceeding fierce . . . wicked, malignant, mischievous, and troublesome, through the influence of the devils in them.
So that no man might pass that way . . . without being insulted or hurt by them.
Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? (KJV)
And behold they cried out, saying . . . this is an instance and proof, of the awesome power of Christ Jesus over the devils; and has therefore the note of exclamation "behold!" prefixed to it. The demons themselves who had taken possession of these men, and made them so cruel, fierce and outrageous, knew that there was no passing the way for them. Yet upon the sight of Christ, and especially at hearing His orders to come out from them, not only say, but cry out, as being in great consternation, horror, and fear, and with the utmost subjection to him,
What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? . . . they certainly had nothing to do with Him; they had absolutely no interest in His grace, His precious Blood, His righteousness and His salvation. Jesus was no Saviour for them . . . but Jesus did have something to do with them, and that was what they dreaded. They knew that He was Jesus, the Saviour of sinful mankind, and they knew that He was the true Messiah; and they also knew that He was "the Son of God" (God Himself), and possessed almighty power, at whose Presence they trembled, and whose majestic voice they were compelled to obey, although very much against their wills.
Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? . . . this implies the anxiety the devils had of Christ as a Judge, and their sense of His authority and power, to punish them. They are not saying that they did not deserve and expect it, nor do they say anything against it . . . they could only imagine that the time of their full torment was not yet come; which is generally referred to as the day of judgment, to which they were reserved by the appointment of God (Mat.25:41; 2 Pet.2;4; Jude 1:6,13). Either they look upon their dispossession as a torment, or else the devil was afraid lest Christ would command him to his chains before the day of judgment.
Matthew 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. (KJV)
And there was a good way off from them . . . Mark says "nigh unto the mountains" Luke says "on the mountain". The mountain bordered on the sea shore; so that although it was some distance away, it was within sight. Since swine's flesh was forbidden the Jews to eat (Lev.11:7), the question is, why was there such a large number of these hogs, “an herd of many swine” . . . why was this large herd kept in the land of Israel? The answer, although the Jews might not eat swine's flesh, they were not forbidden to raise them, which did in order to sell to the Gentiles who dwelt among them; and mainly to the Romans, under whose government they now were, with whom pork was in great demand. Too, this herd of swine may well have belonged to the Gentiles that dwelt in this country; since Gadara was a Grecian city, and then inhabited more by Syrians, than by Jews, as Josephus states.
Matthew 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. (KJV)
So the devils besought him, saying . . . Luke 8:30-33 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. (KJV) . . . All the devils, the whole legion of them, who knew that they must go out of these men, begged Jesus.
If thou cast us out . . . of these men, or "from hence", as one version states.
Suffer us to go away into the herd of swine . . . they (devils, evil spirits) are not able to do anything without permission, and the superior power of Christ over them.
Matthew 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. (KJV)
And he said unto them, Go . . . He gave them permission, as God did to Satan, in the case of Job; for without divine permission, these evil spirits cannot do anything to the bodies, souls or estates of men. They could not enter into the swine without permission, much less do things of greater significance; and therefore are not to be feared, or dreaded by men, especially by the people of God. Why did Christ allow the devils to enter the herd of swine, and destroy them, which was a considerable loss to the owners? I think possibly it was to display the power of Christ over the devils, and His sovereign right to dispose of the goods and properties of men. Also to show the truth of the dispossession, and the greatness of the mercy the dispossessed share in; and to spread the fame of the miracle the more.
And when they were come out . . . of the men that had been possessed by them,
They went into the herd of swine . . . revealing the actual existence of these evil spirits, the truth of possessions and dispossessions.
And behold, the whole herd of swine . . . which was a very large one, some say probably consisting of about two thousand. Even 200 is a lot!
Ran violently down a steep place . . .a rock face on the mountain, by the sea side,
Into the sea . . . of "Tiberias", or lake of Genesareth, which were the same, and over which Christ had just now passed.
And perished in the waters . . . of the sea, or lake.
Matthew 8:33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. (KJV)
And they that kept them fled . . . it seems that hog herders were men of very low life, and their employment was very infamous and reproachful. These, amazed at what they had seen, were worried about the loss of the swine, for it was their employment, and were frightened for fear that they should incur the blame and displeasure of their masters.
And went their way into the city . . . either of Gergesa or Gadara. Mark and Luke say, they "went and told it in the city, and in the country" . . . in their fright and distress, some ran one way, and some another; some went into the city, others into the country, and so this spread the event far and near, and the fame of Christ, which brought about this miracle.
And told everything . . . they saw and heard when the evil spirits (devils) entered into the swine, and saw them run headlong into the sea, and were drowned.
What was befallen to the possessed of the devils . . . the herders fled. They were amazed at the Lord’s power. This is the only one of our Saviour's miracles, except the case of the fig-tree that He cursed (Mat.21:18-20), in which He caused any destruction of property. It is an outstanding proof of His kindness, for His miracles were done directly to comfort mankind. He chose to exhibit the proof of His Divine power, in such a way as to benefit mankind.
The devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Saviour; they neither have, nor hope for any benefit from Him. There had to be much torment here to the devils, to be forced to own the excellence that is in Christ, and yet they had NO part in Him. The devils want nothing to do with Christ as a Ruler . . . but it is NOT true that the devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Judge . . . for they have, and they know it, and so too it is with ALL the children of men. Satan and his devils can go no further than Jesus permits; they must quit possession when He commands. They may try, but they cannot break His hedge of protection around His people. They cannot enter even a swine without His permission. But Jesus gave them permission. God often, for wise and holy ends, allows the efforts of Satan's rage, and the devil rushes people to sin; hurries them onward to what they have decided against, which they know will be shame and grief to them. So miserable is the condition of those who are led captive by him at his will. My dear friend, there are many people, multitudes, who prefer their swine before the Saviour, and thus fall short of Christ and salvation by Him. They want no part of Christ, like the devils, they want Christ to depart from them, and will not allow His Word to have a place in their hearts or minds. So sad, for only He and His Word can destroy their brutish lusts. And rightly so, after so long, Christ will forsake all them that are weary of Him; and say hereafter: Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV)
Matthew 8:34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. (KJV)
And behold, the whole city . . . not everyone, but the greater number of them, or, at least, a very great number of them. Luke says, "the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about": for as the news was carried both into the city and country, great numbers flocked from all parts,
And came out to meet Jesus . . . not out of any love and respect to Him, and treat Him with honor and reverence . . . but either out of curiosity to see such an extraordinary Person, or else being terrified at the report concerning Him, and distressed with their present loss.
When they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts . . . which was done NOT as though they thought themselves unworthy to be in the presence of so great a Person, as did the "centurion", or, as Peter, when he said, "depart from me, I am a sinful man" (Lk.5:8), but as fearing, lest some greater punishment should be inflicted on them for their sins. They were very conscious of their sins, and make no complaint of any injustice being done them by the loss of their swine; although the swine they preferred to the Presence of Christ. This is ironical, is it not? These people would rather have their pigs than Jesus. This is not strange to the Gadarenes, and there are a great many people today who prefer their "pigs" to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel of Matthew
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