Matthew 8:1-34 - Outline of Matthew (MENU page)
In the Sermon on the Mount (ch. 5-7), Jesus set forth the principles of His Kingdom.
But were His 'sayings' (7:24) merely idealistic rhetoric?
Or, does He really have the power to -
Matthew's purpose in writing is to show that Jesus truly is the King.
To that end, he presents 12 miracles (in ch. 8 and 9) which demonstrate His power -
Jesus told us what to do, as citizens of His Kingdom (in ch.5-7).
He did not come to destroy the Law (ie., so that we could live free of its demands, 5:17).
Rather, He tells us to keep a standard of righteousness, which is even higher and deeper than the Law (eg., 5:21,22; 5:27,28).
Now, we begin to see how this is possible-
He came to fulfill the Law. (5:17)
It is the power of His life within the beiever, which enables us to fulfill His will (Rom 8:2-4). But, does He have sufficient power to overcome all that is wrong with me?
8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. {cp. 5:1}
8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying,
Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
8:3 And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean.
And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
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.
a leper... cleansed - cp. the accounts in Mark 1:40-45; Luk 5:12-14
A person with the disease of leprosy was considered 'unclean' (cp. Lev 13:44-46, also Lev 13:1-46).
He was an outcast, cut off from family, friends, and community.
...worshipped, saying...-
  1. Note what the leper requested...
    • He did not say: 'Are you able to make me clean?'
    • He said: 'If you will, you can make me clean.'
      Only One is able to cure an incurable disease. That One is worthy of worship.
      What we ask is not always God's will. But if it is His will, He can do it.
  2. Note how the leper addressed Jesus:
    'Lord...' -GK=kurios, equivalent to HB 'adonai.' The word is used in the NT...
    • to address men as 'sir' or 'master' (eg. Mat 6:24; 15:27; Joh 4:11).
    • to refer to God (eg., in NT quotes of OT passages translating the HB 'Adonai' or 'Jehovah,' Mat 1:20,22; 2:15; 4:7,10; 21:9; 22:44; and many others). The word is used with both human and divine application, in Eph 6:9.
    • to refer to Jesus with emphasis on His deity. eg., Mat 3:3; 12:8; 22:43-45; Joh 14:8-10; 20:28
      If He truly is Lord - - He is able; and - - He has the right and wisdom to determine what is best.
      Do you want His best? Then pray for your desire "if it be thy will..." Then, wait for Him.
      He gives good gifts to them that ask Him (Mat 7:11).
Jesus... touched him- a leper was considered an 'untouchable.'
Since the day his leprosy was diagnosed, this man had not held his wife, or touched his children. The family would leave food in a designated area. Only after they departed, would he come to take it. He watched his children grow from a distance.
- - Jesus' touch communicated His compassion to this man. cp. Mar 1:41; Heb 4:15
- - Jesus, by His touch, took the man's uncleanness upon Himself. Lev 5:2; 7:21; Hag 2:13
I will; be thou clean. And immediately, his leprosy was cleansed.-
Jesus is Lord over incurable disease.
He is able to heal...
- - with His touch (cp. Isa 53:4; Heb 2:14-16)
- - moved by love (compassion) for the unlovely.
show thyself to the priest... for a testimony unto them.-
The Law prescribed a procedure for declaring a leper clean, and receiving him back into the fellowship of the congregation.
But, who had ever heard of a leper being cleansed, except by divine intervention? cp. 2Kin 5:1-15
This miracle, and the 'gift that Moses commanded' testified to the identity of the Lord Jesus.
The points below relate to 'the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing' (See Lev 14:1-32).
  • "The bird slain, and the live bird, dipped in blood and released, present the two aspects of salvation in Rom 4:25; 'delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification.'
  • The earthen vessel typifies the humanity of Christ, as the running water typifies the Holy Spirit as the 'Spirit of life' (Rom 8:2): 'put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit' (1Pet 3:18)." [in quotes, from ScofRB note at Lev 14:4,5]
  • The cedar wood speaks also of Christ's human body which did not see corruption (Psa 16:10). The scarlet (crimson) speaks of our sins placed upon Him that we might be cleansed (Isa 1:18).
 
8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum,
there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
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.
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].
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.
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.
8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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.
Capernaum was a city on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee.
Peter owned a house here. Jesus made this city the headquarters of His Galilean ministry.
a centurion- a Roman military officer in charge of 100 soldiers. cp. Luk 7:1-10
my servant lies at home sick -
  • of the palsy- GK=paralutikos, paralytic, disabled, weak, immobilized. cp. 9:2
  • grievously tormented- ie., in severe pain.
    The word for 'tormented' is used to refer to the pain of hell (cp. v.29).
Jesus... marveled- This is said of Jesus only 2x in the NT-
  1. Here (v.10), at the faith of a gentile.
  2. In Mark 6:6, at the unbelief of the Jews, in His hometown.
many shall come from the east and west...-
During the temporary blindness of Israel to their Messiah, many gentiles would enter His Kingdom. cp. Mat 5:3; Rom 11:25; Eph 2:11-13
his servant was healed-
Jesus is Lord over debilitating disease.
He is able to heal...
- - with His word,
- - over distance (even the distance between Jew & Gentile, Eph 2:11-13),
- - in response to faith, which looks to Him who is able (Eph 2:8).
 
8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house,
he saw his wife's mother laid
{ie., lying}, and sick of a fever.
8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her:
and she arose, and ministered unto them.
Peter's mother-in-law - cp. Mark 1:29-34; Luk 4:38-41
sick of a fever- GK=puretos, a fiery heat.
A fever might be due to a disease from which recovery might be possible or expected.
(However, a fever could indicate a life threatening condition. cp. Joh 4:49,52)
he touched her hand...- In Luke's account we read: 'He rebuked the fever.'
Note that Matthew mentions no request of His intervention (perhaps her ailment seemed too common).
she arose, and ministered...- This disease had hindered her service to the Lord.
Jesus is Lord over common diseases.
He is able to free us from what hinders our service to Him,
- - but He acts at His own discretion (to give what is best, according to His will). 2Cor 12:7-10
 
8:16 When the even was come,
they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils:
{GK=daimonizomai, demonized}
and he cast out the spirits with [his] word, and healed all that were sick:
8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses.
he... healed all that were sick-
Jesus is Lord over all kinds of diseases including those with supernatural and spiritual causes.
He is able to heal-
  • with His word which commands even the demons,
  • in fulfilment of prophecy (v.17 quotes Isa 53:4).
Some use these verses to teach that physical healing is the right of every believer.
However, such an emphasis on physical healing forgets that-
  1. Christ came, primarily, to heal us of the disease called 'Sin.' Isa 53:4-6; 1Pet 2:24
  2. While physical healing is an aspect of the atonement, it will not be fully realized until the Lord returns. At that time, we will receive our glorified bodies and enter the new earth, where the curse of sin will not exist. cp. Php 3:20,21; Rev 21:4
  3. Paul, the apostle, did not regard physical healing as a right of believers. cp. 2Cor 12:7-9; Php 2:25-27
The focus of the passage is upon the One with power to heal, not upon the healings.
  • He touched and cleansed the unclean (v.2).
  • He answered the prayer of the unworthy (v.8).
  • He bore the infirmities of the unwell.
  • He had a purpose for each of those who came to Him:
    • To give testimony of Him (v.4).
    • To demonstrate what it means to trust in Him (v.10,11).
    • To turn disability into ability to serve, in His strength (v.15).
    • To fulfill the Scriptures, which spoke of Him, for the benefit of His people (v.17; Rom 8:2-4).
 
8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him,
he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him,
Master
{GK=didaskalos, teacher}, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
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.
8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him,
Lord, suffer
{ie., allow} me first to go and bury my father.
8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
These men presented themselves to Jesus as 'his disciples.'
But Jesus must be Lord of each disciple's life. To this end, Jesus tested them. cp. Luk 9:57-62
Note that He customized the test, to reveal the heart condition of each of these men.
  1. What is your motivation for following Me?
        The first man sought to voluntarily enlist as a follower of Jesus. He was a scribe. It could be that he understood from his study of scripture, that Jesus was the promised Messiah, who would become the King, in fulfilment of prophecy. Perhaps he wanted to get in on the ground floor, to secure a position in His kingdom.
    Do you seek Me?' or, ''all these things''? (Mat 6:33)
    As ''the Son of man,'' Jesus would someday receive all glory and power. cp. Dan 7:13,14; Luk 22:69,70
    But during His earthly walk, He and His disciples would live in poverty. (v.20; 1Cor 4:11; 2Cor 6:1-10)
  2. What relationship has priority in your life? Your relationship to Me? or, to your family? (v.22)
        According to Luk 9:59, Jesus initiated the call to the second man. But, for him, it was an inconvenient calling.
        'Let me go first and bury my father,' was not a request to attend a funeral. Rather, this man desired to delay following Jesus, until his responsibility toward his aging parents was completed (at their deaths). Perhaps he had his eye on the inheritance.
        Christ came to give spiritual life to those who were spiritually dead. Is there anything more important than following Him and sharing in His work? cp. 2Cor 5:14-21; Luk 9:60
    (Priorities are at issue here. Jesus would not have His followers neglect their parents' true needs. Mark 7:10-13)
Is the cost of discipleship too high for you? Many express interest. Many are called. But not so many follow. Those, who do, quickly discover that Jesus' 'school of discipleship' is more rigorous than they had expected...
8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
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.
8:25 And his disciples came to [him], and awoke him,
saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful
{GK=deilos, timid, cowardly}, O ye of little faith?
Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea;
and there was a great calm.
8:27 But the men marvelled, saying,
What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Lord, save us; we perish- Several of the disciples were fishermen.
They had seen storms before, but they were afraid that they would not survive this one. The mariners had done what they could, but 'the ship was covered with the waves.' (Mark and Luke say, the ship was now filled with water.) All hope was gone, they had exhausted all their resources, when they finally made their appeal to Jesus.
He arose {ie., from sleep} and rebuked the winds and the sea...- cp. Mark 4:36-41; Luk 8:22-25
Jesus is Lord over the forces of nature (Psa 89:9,10; 107:23-30).
It was He who caused the storm to come up and to calm down. It was all according to His design, for His disciples must understand who it is that they follow.
the men marvelled {GK=thaumazo, to wonder, to be amazed}-
''... and they being afraid {GK=phobos; in terror, in dread} wondered...'' (Luk 8:25)
The Lord, who has power over the storm, is more to be feared than the storm.
 
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.
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?
8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
8:31 So the devils besought him, saying,
If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
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.
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.
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.
when he was come unto the other side...
After departing Capernaum, encountering the great storm, and its Master, the disciples landed their boat on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
the country of the Gergesenes {or, Gadarenes}- cp. Mark 5:1-21; Luk 8:26-40
Gadara probably took its name from Gad, one of the tribes of Israel that had settled on the east side of the Jordan River. If these swine herders were Jews, they had drifted far from following God, since the Law declared pigs to be unclean. (Lev 11:7,8)
two {men}...- Mark and Luke mention only one, who was probably the more severe case.
two {men} possessed with devils {GK=daimonizomai, demonized, under the influence of demons}-
Demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God to follow Lucifer (also called 'the Devil' {GK=diabolos} and 'Satan'). Apparently, some fallen angels are imprisoned, while others carry out the work of Satan in the earth today (cp. 2Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6).
  • Demons oppose the work of Christ. cp. Eph 6:12; 1Tim 4:1-3
  • Demons may periodically influence believers (eg., with depression or oppression) but cannot 'possess' them (ie., completely dominate their personality), because the Spirit of God dwells within believers. cp. 2Pet 1:4; 2Cor 5:17; 1Cor 6:19; 1Joh 4:4
  • Demons may 'possess' unbelievers (Eph 2:2; eg., Mat 4:24; 8:16; 9:32; 12:22; 12:43-45).
    Some aspects of demonic character were expressed through these two possessed men.-
    1. they dwelt in the tombs.- a preoccupation with death and corruption.
      These men were more unclean than the swine. cp. Rom 1:28-32; Isa 65:3,4
      Popular secular culture has a similar unhealthy fascination with death (eg., zombies, the walking dead, etc.). Eph 2:1
    2. they were fierce.- beyond human control (observe the demonic influence on the swine, v.32)
      The word for 'fierce' is translated 'perilous' in 2Tim 3:1-4.
    3. they recognized Jesus, as God the Son. - cp. Acts 16:16,17; Jam 2:19
    4. they knew that they are destined for eternal torment in Hell.- cp. Mat 25:41; Rev 19:20
{Jesus} said unto them, 'Go' {GK=hupago, depart, get thee hence}-
Jesus is Lord over the supernatural.
Note the reactions:
  • {the swine keepers} fled- perhaps in terror of who Jesus must be. cp. v.27.
  • the whole {population of the} city begged Him to leave-
    - - perhaps in fear of Jesus' Person,
    - - perhaps in fear of further economic loss. (Their concern was for lost pigs, not lost men.)
  • the formerly demon possessed man (now, clothed and in his right mind) desired to be with Jesus (Mark 5:18-20).
    Can you understand his desire? To his soul, which had been hopelessly battered by a spiritual storm, Jesus had brought a deep peace.
    Why did Jesus send him away?
    • to bear witness to Him - When Jesus returned to the region, about a year later, multitudes would seek Him.
      (cp. Mat 15:29-31; Mark 7:31-37, Decapolis and Gadara are the same region.)
    • perhaps, because the former demoniac's personal knowledge, of Jesus' power to deliver, placed him far ahead of the twelve, in Jesus' 'school of discipleship.'
  • all men did marvel {ie., were amazed} at the testimony of a man, for whom the Lord had done great things (Mark 5:20).

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