Scriptures

Matthew 8

Introduction

‘When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Heals A Man With Leprosy

After His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus comes down and is followed by a large crowd. Within the crowd, there is a man with leprosy.

The term ‘leprosy’ which includes the words leper, lepers, leprosy, leprous occurs 68 times in the Bible, 55 times in the Old Testament, ‘tsara’ath’ and 13 times in the New Testament, ‘lepros’, ‘lepra’.

In the Old Testament, the instances of leprosy most likely meant a variety of infectious skin diseases, and even mould and mildew on clothing and walls.

In the New Testament it seems to mean an infectious skin disease. The disease itself was considered by some as some kind of sin but not necessary a specific sin relating to the leper themselves.

The Life Of A Leper

We can’t begin to imagine what life would have been like for a leper as they lived in their own colonies, separated from society. Their food and clothing needs would have been provided by their families and close friends.

Living in isolation can never be easy, not being able to shake someone’s hand or hug your husband or wife or even your children. This explains why they stood at a distance.

Imagine never being able to go to the temple to worship God, imagine not being able to work, imagine the itchiness and daily struggles they would have had!

This was through no fault of their own, but because they were lepers they couldn’t associate with society because they were classed as unclean by the law, Leviticus 13:45-46 / Numbers 5:2.

The man’s faith in Jesus is obvious as he requests Jesus to heal him, if He was willing. He is in great need but he knows who can heal him. Jesus’ response is far more than a momentary pang of conscience, a tug at the heart strings that lasts a few moments and is then forgotten.

Compassion speaks of sympathy that desires to remove the cause of the suffering. This provides us an insight into the heart of God. He is a compassionate God.

Jesus reaches out and touches him. Touching is an effective way of communicating. Jesus didn’t have to do this, a spoken word would have sufficed, but so much is said by a touch. Jesus was coming into contact with the untouchable, he was entering into his world.

Jesus’ touching the leper tells us something about the ministry of Jesus, alienation is being removed and reinstatement is taking place.

Jesus doesn’t rebuke him for the uncertainty in his words. Jesus didn’t say, ‘what do you mean, if? What kind of faith is that?’ Compassion doesn’t respond in that way.

Jesus was more than willing and with the words, ‘be clean’, the man was healed. Notice he was healed from his leprousy immediately. The healing is instant, there’s no need for a medical examination.

No need to place him on a period of probation just to make sure that the leprosy has really gone. Jesus made no deal with the leper, no money changed hands, and no performance was given, only love from the compassionate Christ.

Jesus said to the leper, ‘don’t tell anyone’ simply because at this point in His ministry, He didn’t want to be bombarded with other people coming to be healed. He still had a lot of work to be done at stage, Matthew 9:30 / Matthew 12:16 / Matthew 17:9 / Mark 1:44 / Mark 3:12 / Mark 5:43 / Luke 4:41 / Luke 9:21.

Jesus tells him to show himself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them. After any leper was cleansed of his disease, the law said they were to present themselves to a priest in order to receive confirmation that he was clean, Deuteronomy 24:8 / Leviticus 13:1-6 / Leviticus 13:45- 49 / Leviticus 14:1-32 / Luke 5:14.

Life Changing Healing

Imagine how his life would have been changed after his healing, imagine them hugging their wife or husband and children for the first times in whatever amount of time they’ve had this disease. Imagine being able to go the priests to shows themselves and to be able to socialise again and worship God in the temple again.

To get a mainstream job and walk through the market places in Jerusalem. This healing was life changing on all kinds of levels, physically, socially, mentally, spiritually.

The Faith Of The Centurion

There are only two, possibly three people who were ever commended for their faith by Jesus, which incidentally were two, possibly three Gentiles, one or two Roman Centurions, Matthew 8:5-13 / Luke 7:1-10, and a Syro-Phoenician woman, Mark 7:24-30.

You may wonder why I wrote one, possibly two, Roman Centurions, the answer is simple, there are some who believe that the account in Matthew of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant, Matthew 8:5-13, is a totally different story from the one we find in Luke’s account, Luke 7:1-10. In other words, some believe that these are two accounts of two separate miracles.

Similarities

1. They both record that the event happened took place while Jesus was in Capernaum, Matthew 8:5 / Luke 7:1.

2. They both record the centurion, Matthew 8:5 / Luke 7:2.

3. They both record the centurion’s servant who was seriously ill, Matthew 8:6 / Luke 7:2.

4. The centurion’s unworthiness is recorded in both accounts, Mathew 8:8 / Luke 7:6-7.

5. The centurion recognises his own authority and the authority of Jesus in both account, Mathew 8:9 / Luke 7:8.

6. The centurion’s faith is recorded as great and Jesus’ response of amazement is recorded in both accounts, Matthew 8:10 / Luke 7:9-10.

Differences

1. The Greek words ‘pais’, translated ‘my servant’, Matthew 8:6, literally means ‘a boy’ or ‘the boy of me’, in other words, this could be referring to the centurion’s own son.

The Greek words, ‘doulos’, translated ‘my servant’, Luke 7:2, literally means ‘slave’ or ‘bond servant’, in other words, this could be referring to the centurion’s slave.

2. Jesus has just finished his sermon on a level place, Luke 6:17, this isn’t the same place as the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:1, as one is delivered on a level place and the other is delivered on a mount.

These are two different sermons, delivered in two separated places, to two different audiences.

3. The main reason some think these are two different miracles is because Matthew records that the Centurion himself went to see Jesus, Matthew 8:5, while Luke records that the centurion sent some elders, Luke 7:3-5.

Answers in Genesis, gives the following reason for believing that they are the same account.

‘When looking at the two texts in total, Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, it seems quite likely that when Jesus came near to the centurion’s house, Luke 7:6, He was probably within shouting distance. Consequently, when Jesus was talking to the centurion’s friends, He either spoke loudly enough that the centurion could hear, and was thus addressing him directly, or he spoke to the friends as people who were direct mouthpieces for the centurion.’

‘Luke 7:9 states that while talking to the centurion’s friends Jesus marvelled at him, i.e., the centurion, so it is quite possible that Jesus was talking to the friends of the centurion, but looking directly at and addressing the thoughts and intentions of the centurion. The centurion may have been mindful that Jesus would be considered ceremonially impure if He came into a Gentile’s house (as mentioned in a different context in Acts 10:28, and therefore stood outside the house, so that if Jesus persisted in coming to the centurion, He would not be defiled. Remember that on another later occasion, Matthew 16:23, Jesus addressed someone directly who was the controlling force behind another, even though they were not present, ‘get behind me Satan’ to Peter.’

MacKnight, in his commentary, gives the following reason for believing that they are not the same account.

‘There might have been two centurions. Both made the same speech to Jesus, one through his friends, and the other in person, but this circumstance may be accounted for. As the faith of the first centurion, who was a heathen, took its rise from the extraordinary cure wrought on the nobleman’s son, John 4:46-54, the faith of the second centurion might have taken its rise from the success of the first, which could not fail to be well known both in the town and in the country. To conclude that two centurions should have had, the one his son, the other his slave, cured in Capernaum with like circumstances, is no more improbable than that the temple should have been twice purged, the multitude twice fed, and the fishes twice caught by miracle, and with the same circumstances.’

In the grand scheme of things, it matters very little if they are or are not the same account. It’s certainly possible that Matthew and Luke wrote about two different accounts, and it’s certainly possible that Jesus had a very similar situation arise in the same town with another centurion, or the same centurion with another servant.

‘When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Matthew 8:5-9

Capernaum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading centre and it appears that word got out that Jesus was in Capernaum because a Roman centurion sent Jewish elders to find Jesus. It’s possible the centurion didn’t come to Jesus himself because he would be classed as unclean, Acts 10:14 / Acts 10:28.

A centurion was a Roman officer who was in charge of one hundred men and there are a number of centurions mentioned in the Scriptures and most of them appear to have more than the Jews did, Matthew 27:54 / Acts 10:1 / Acts 27:3 / Acts 23:17-18 / Acts 27:43 / Acts 21:32. It appears that many of these Roman centurions showed more faith in God than the Jews did.

The Centurions Love For His Servant

The centurion comes to Jesus and informs him about his servant. The Greek words ‘pais’, translated ‘my servant’, Matthew 8:6, literally means ‘a boy’ or ‘the boy of me’, in other words, this could be referring to the centurion’s own son.

Under normal circumstances if a slave died, they would simply replace them because they were seen as a piece of property. But notice his love for his servant, he is highly valued in his eyes and he’s about to die. He probably already spent lots of money with the locals doctors but he’s desperate and he comes to Jesus for help.

We don’t know exactly how he came to trust God, but no doubt his Jewish friends must have influenced him to some degree.

The Centurion’s Unworthiness

The centurion says that he was that he didn’t deserve to go to his house and heal his servant but he acknowledges Jesus as worthy and all-powerful. He knows that Jesus has the power to speak things into being, just as He spoke the world into creation, Psalms 148:5 / Colossians 1:16.

The Centurion Recognises Authority

The centurion not only recognises his own unworthiness and how worthy Jesus is but he also recognises that Jesus has supreme authority. Remember, this centurion had 100 soldiers under his command, he knows all about giving commands, he knows all about people obeying his commands.

He was wealthy enough to own at least one slave and so, like others in Jesus’ day, he may have tried to threaten Jesus, but he didn’t. He believes that Jesus is who He says He is, and the centurion sees the authority he has as a gift from God, Daniel 2:21 / Romans 13:1, the One who is above all things, even above Roman officers.

Jesus’ Response

‘When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’ I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:10-12

When Jesus heard what the centurion said, he was amazed. Why? In all of Israel, the people who should have known better, the people who have read and heard all about God’s wondrous works, Jesus couldn’t find anyone with such great faith.

Notice that Jesus declared His amazement of the centurion’s faith to the crowd, just as He was amazed at the other centurion’s faith, Luke 7:9, and just as He was amazed with the Syro-Phoenician woman’s faith, Matthew 15:28.

Remember the only other time Jesus was amazed in the Bible, was when He saw the lack of faith in his hometown, Mark 6:5-6.

Jesus says that many Gentiles will come into the kingdom reign of God, Psalm 107:3 / Isaiah 49:12 / Isaiah 59:19 / Genesis 12:1-3 / Isaiah 2:2-3 / Isaiah 11:10 / Malachi 1:11 / John 10:16 / Acts 2:39-41 / Acts 11:18 / Acts 14:27).

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In addition to the interest provoked by the projected entry of the Gentiles into Christ’s kingdom, there is also the obvious intention of Jesus to declare that the patriarchs mentioned here are truly saved and that they make up a part of the great family of the redeemed.’

‘This has the same prophetic import as Paul’s words concerning the breaking off of the natural olive branches and the grafting in of the wild olive branches, Romans 11:17-24. The ‘outer darkness’ is a reference to hell, or the place of final disposal of the wicked. It is interesting that Christ used various expressions descriptive of the final place of destiny for the wicked, referring to ‘unquenchable fire’, Matthew 3:12, in one place, and to ‘outer darkness’ in another, The sons of the kingdom mentioned are the leaders of the Jewish nation who rejected Christ.’

Some of the Jews rejected Jesus, John 1:11, and a s a result, God would reject them, Matthew 22:13 / Matthew 25:30 / 2 Peter 2:17 / Jude 13 / Matthew 11:11 / Matthew 21:43.

The weeping and gnashing of teeth are used figuratively to speak of the terrors of hell, Matthew 13:42 / Matthew 13:50 / Matthew  22:13 / Luke 13:28.

‘Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.’ Matthew 8:13

Notice that Jesus didn’t even have to go to the servants house for the miracle to happen, Matthew 9:29. Many so called ‘faith healers’ today tell us that they can’t heal anyone unless they come to their services, distance was no problem for Jesus.

Many so called ‘faith healers’ today claim if a person doesn’t get healed, it’s because of a lack of faith on the persona’s part, however, the Bible doesn’t even tell us if the servant had any faith.

When the disciples couldn’t drive out a demon from a young boy, Jesus didn’t say it was because the young boy didn’t have any faith or enough faith but they would do it because the disciples didn’t have enough faith, Matthew 17:19-20.

The Centurion’s Faith

Essentially, the Centurion had the same kind of faith as Abraham had, Genesis 15:6, because he believed Jesus and took Him at His word, It was accredited to him as righteousness. A Roman centurion, who wasn’t even a Jew, had more faith than the people who grew up with Jesus and saw Him live a perfect life.

Taylor, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This centurion placed Jesus on the throne of the universe, regarding him as the ruler of the world, and as having all things under his command. He saw him, not merely as Messiah, but as God Incarnate, and therein lay the superiority of his faith to that of any of the Israelites. Not even any of the apostles, at that time, had reached the lofty altitude on which this Gentile soldier stood.’

The centurion came to Jesus with humility, acknowledging His authority by faith, Hebrews 11:1. Jesus proved the centurion’s faith was real and proved His own Deity when He miraculously healed the servant.

Jesus didn’t need to prove anything to anyone but He still chose to heal the centurion’s servant, who was highly valued and deeply loved.

As someone once said, ‘Faith honours God, and God honours faith!’

Jesus Heals Many

‘When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.’ Matthew 8:14-15

Jesus came into Simon Peter’s house and found his mother-in-law sick in bed with a high fever, Luke 4:38-39. Here is the proof which tells us that Peter was indeed married, 1 Corinthians 9:5. Mark records that Andrew, James and John were also present during this event, Mark 1:29-34.

Notice what Jesus did, He spoke to her, raised her up, and the fever left her. She then began waiting on Jesus and the disciples. He also healed many others who were brought to Him.

Several features of Jesus’ healings are noteworthy.

1. He healed immediately, with no delay.

2. He healed everyone who came to Him regardless of their disease. Matthew 8:16-17 / Luke 4:40-41.

3. He healed so completely that Simon’s mother-in-law was able to get up and start waiting on them. After a fever breaks, it normally takes a few days for a person to recover his strength. Jesus’ healings put people back as if they had never had their disabilities in the first place!

4. Jesus sought to avoid publicity. He ordered the demons not to announce who He was.

‘When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17

When evening came, it appears that many people came to Jesus to be healed of their demon possession, Matthew 4:24, and just with a word, He drove many spirits out of people.

1. There is no indication that demon possession occurred before the ministry of Jesus and His apostles. We have no references to it in the Old Testament, Saul was not demon possessed, 1 Samuel 18:10. And the first we hear of this is in the Gospels during the ministry of Jesus.

The last we hear of it is during the ministry of the apostles. This suggests that demon possession was something God allowed for a short time in order to demonstrate the power and authority of the Lord Jesus and of His apostles.

2. There is no instruction in the epistles on how to cast out demons. If demon possession is a problem for the church today, then surely believers need to be able to cast out demons and to do so we must know how. Because there is no such instruction, suggests this isn’t a problem now.

If demon possession continued today, Satan would have more power than God, for he could send his demons into people, but God’s people couldn’t cast them out.

3. What is sometimes called demon possession today doesn’t match up with the accounts we find in Scripture. We don’t find people, for example, who break the strongest of chains, as the possessed man of Gadara did, Mark 5:3-4 / Luke 8:29.

4. Most alleged demon ‘exorcisms’ today are secluded, back-room affairs that are only later publicised. Yet when Jesus expelled evil spirits, his miracles were publicly viewed, by astonished multitudes, Luke 4:36.

All this healing was done in order to full the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah 53:4 / 1 Peter 2:24.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Christ fulfils the prophecies in all respects, and is himself the completion and truth of them, as being the lamb and victim of God, which, bears and takes away the sin of the world. The text in Isaiah refers properly to the taking away of sin and this in the evangelist, to the removal of corporeal afflictions but, as the diseases of the body are the emblems of the sin of the soul, Matthew, referring to the prediction of the prophet, considered the miraculous healing of the body as an emblem of the soul’s salvation by Christ Jesus.’

The Cost Of Following Jesus

‘When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:18-22

Before Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee, a teacher of the Jewish law, came to Him. This scribe had probably not yet counted the cost of discipleship. While on earth, Jesus had no personal house or place to stay that He could call His own.

By referring to Himself as the Son of Man, He declared that He was the Messiah. Jesus was referring to Himself as the Messiah because the Jews used the term ‘Son of Man’ to refer to the Messiah. Jesus used this term a lot, and He used that term at least forty times.

One of Jesus’ disciples felt he still had responsibilities toward his father who was either dying or had just died. He was one of the group known as ‘wait a little’ Pharisees who always proposed something else to do first. I guess we would call this procrastination, the idea of putting things off until a later time.

Jesus used physical death in this context to refer to spiritual death. In other words, ‘Let the spiritually dead bury their own physically dead.’ Jesus knew that if this disciple returned home to his old ways, and his old standpoints and his old habits, he would never come back to follow Jesus.

On the surface Jesus’ words may seem a bit harsh or even unfair but Jesus had nothing but love for the man and the man’s eternal destiny in mind. Jesus was demanding total commitment on the part of the disciples to the work of the kingdom Matthew 10:37 / Luke 9:23.

Nothing must come between the disciples and the work to which God would commission them. The disciple’s destiny mustn’t be diverted, Luke 9:57-62.

1. Christians must be willing to sacrifice any permanent place of dwelling, Luke 2:7 / Philippians 3:20-21.

At this time in the ministry of Jesus, commitment to follow Him was demanded. There were certainly others who were following Jesus other than the immediate twelve. Jesus taught that all must commit themselves to follow Him.

2. Christians must be willing to put Jesus before their social responsibilities and family relationships.

I know this is difficult for some people, but Jesus must always be first in our lives.

3. Christians must be willing to give their full attention on the work in Christ’s kingdom.

It was now a time to look forward and not back. Those who look back aren’t much use to Jesus in His kingdom. When a person looks back they are really questioning their faith in the One who is before them.

When the kingdom reign of heaven is done on earth in the hearts of men, then kingdom business must always supersede that which is of this world, Matthew 6:31-34.

Christians can’t trust in God as they do kingdom work, whilst at the same time, look back in order to trust in the things of this world, Luke 14:25-33.

People were following Jesus to Jerusalem for various reasons. However, it was at this time in Jesus’ ministry that He was nearing Jerusalem and the cross. In these verses, we see Jesus sought to sift out of the multitudes those who were not willing to pay the cost of being a true disciple.

Again, these are hard words for those who aren’t willing to commit themselves totally to Him. The reality is that many will fail, but those who do succeed, will have a tremendous influence in the world with their lives.

1. We must be willing to love Christ more than anyone else, Genesis 29:30-31 / Luke 14:25.

In order to be a disciple of Jesus, we cannot love our family and our own life more than we loves Jesus. If any situation develops in our life when we have to make a decision between following and serving Jesus or our own family, our eternal destiny would command that we follow Jesus, Matthew 22:37-40.

2. We must be willing to sacrifice our entire life, Luke 14:25 / Romans 12:1-2.

3. Building God’s kingdom.

We must count the cost involved in becoming a Christian, Luke 14:28. A lot of people find it difficult to become Christians simply because they aren’t willing to pay the price of discipleship. This is something, especially many preachers must accept and not get disheartened with.

Counting the cost of what it will take to be a disciple assumes that some may make the decision to turn away from the Gospel. Though Paul was a chosen vessel for God’s work, Jesus still showed him all things that he had to suffer in order to carry out his mission.

The early disciples were shown what the cost of discipleship would be in their lives. They, as well as all disciples, must go through many sufferings in order to be saved, Revelation 2:10.

Those who convert to Jesus, and then fall away, will be mocked by those who never wanted to become disciples in the first place, Luke 14:29-30 / 2 Peter 2:20-22.

4. Fighting in God’s kingdom.

We must count the cost involved in becoming a Christian, Luke 14:31-32. Before a king goes to war with the enemy he must first consider whether he has enough power to win the battle. Before one becomes a disciple, he must first consider whether he can win the battle, Ephesians 6:10-18.

Jesus’ emphasis here is that one must seriously consider his call to discipleship. His emphasis is on the seriousness by which we must consider being a disciple of Jesus.

Those who do not take their discipleship seriously will inevitably become indifferent and lukewarm. Their attitude of indifference and look-warmness will be as leaven, and thus, affect the entire group of disciples.

Jesus is the King who is coming against all those who have not obeyed the Gospel. He is coming with destruction, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.

If one would have peace with King Jesus at the time of His final coming, then he must sit down and consider Jesus’ conditions for peace. His conditions begin with obedience to the Gospel.

The rich young ruler who wanted to be a disciple of Jesus had to pay this price because his riches stood between him and commitment to Jesus, Mark 10:17-31. If one wants to be a disciple of Jesus, he must be willing to forsake all that is necessary in order to be such, Philippians 3:7-11.

5. Material sacrifice.

We must count the cost involved in becoming a Christian, Luke 14:33. If someone isn’t willing to forsake all for Jesus, then that which they aren’t willing to forsake will eventually be their stumbling block over which they will fall as a Christian.

All these demands of Jesus were met with genuine excuses from different people who wanted to follow Jesus, but when push comes to shove, there was no excuse, it was people who simply failed to count the cost or simply found the cost involved too high a price.

I wonder what price people put on their souls today! Mark 8:36-37. Why is it so important to share the costs involved with someone before they decide to become a Christian? Being a Christian is serious business, it’s all about sacrifice and commitment to Christ and His kingdom.

We don’t want people to say, ‘hey, I signed up to become a Christian, but I wasn’t aware of all this sacrifice stuff and commitment’! But more importantly we don’t want any Christian to fall away simply because they didn’t have at least some understanding about what’s involved in living the Christian life.

What about those who say, ‘wow, that’s a lot of things, I’ve got to ‘give up’?’ Maybe we should focus a little more on what a person receives, in return for their sacrifice, Philippians 3:8.

Jesus Calms The Storm

‘Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27

One of the reasons Jesus chose fishermen was because of their easy access to boats, they maybe even used a specific boat for Jesus ministry. Now remember that most of the disciples were hardened fishermen and they would be used to being in storms.

Jesus consistently demonstrated His authority by doing things which were totally beyond human capacity. In this case, while the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat, Jesus fell asleep on a cushion, Mark 4:38. A great storm arose, and the disciples panicked, these hardened fishermen were scared, this must have been some storm!

In desperation, they awoke Jesus saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ Jesus then turned to the disciples and reproved them for their lack of faith, Matthew 14:22-36.

He got up and calmly rebuked the wind and the sea, the word, ‘quiet’ means to muzzle. The storm ceased, Mark 5:1-17 / Luke 8:26-37.

At this time, all things were under the care and control of Jesus because He was head over all things, John 13:3 / John 17:2. Though they had seen Jesus perform many miracles, they were always amazed by each new one. They said, ‘what kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’ Psalm 89:9 / Psalm 93:4.

Once we recognise that Jesus is God and the Creator of all that exists, Colossians 1:16, then we will realise that nothing is outside the power of Jesus to control. For this reason, it is faith in Jesus that brings peace of mind, Philippians 4:7.

Considering the things that the disciples had already seen Jesus do, their doubts about His ability to quiet the storm are astonishing. They had seen Him heal multitudes of people, cast out demons and prove Himself equal to any task at hand.

Suddenly, they despaired because of a storm on the sea. Obviously, they didn’t really think Jesus could solve this problem because they were amazed when He did.

In the presence of Jesus there should be a great emotional calm in our lives, Psalm 65:7 / Psalm 89:9 / Luke 4:39.

Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men

‘When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.’ Matthew 8:28-34

Jesus and His disciples went to the eastern shore of Galilee, a place called Gerasenes, Mark 5:1 / Luke 8:26, this must have been a Gentile area as there were many pigs around and we know that the Jews saw pigs as unclean animals. And it’s here Jesus meets two me who are demon possessed.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Mark and Luke mention only one of these people, Mark 5:2 / Luke 8:27, the principal one. Note that neither Mark nor Luke states that there was ‘only one’ of these men. The fact of demon possession is plain here. These were possessed not merely with one, but with many, demons.’

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac, probably the fiercer of the two.’

There are many views today concerning demonic possession, some argue that it still exists whilst others don’t. It’s generally supposed that no such thing as demon-possession exists on earth today and if that supposition is correct, it would simply mean that the power of Jesus Christ in destroying the works of the devil, which was His purpose in coming into this world, 1 John 3:8, was effective and that Satan’s demonic followers are not able to work the havoc upon human personality in this age, as formerly.

The multiplication of such disorders in the times of Christ should, in such a view, have been expected as the demons recognised the holy Saviour and His purpose of destroying them.

Mark stressed the unnatural strength of this caveman, using two entire verses to stress it, Mark 5:3-4, but Matthew supplied the significant fact that his wildness had closed the area to human traffic, and Luke the equally significant fact that he was naked. Such a person had no doubt cast a terror over the entire village, Zechariah 13:1-2.

The demon-possessed men seem always to have been able to recognise Christ as the Son of God and so, they ask, ‘what do you want with us, Son of God?’ Notice the word, ‘us’ which implies there is more than one demon addressing Jesus.

Notice also that these demons appear to know their destiny, ‘have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ Matthew 25:41 / Acts 16:16-17 / James 2:19 / 2 Peter 2:4 / Jude 6.

They knew that Jesus had absolute power over them and they are well aware that their destiny is destruction, Matthew 25:41 / Luke 8:32.

The request of the demon seems here to have been predicated upon God’s prior promise that the demonic world would be vanquished at some time certain in the future, hence, his invoking God’s name in the request.

A glimpse of God’s ultimate plan of destroying evil surfaces here in the demonic knowledge that such a destruction is in store for them and that an appointed time for it has already been determined, Acts 17:31 / Zechariah 13:1-2.

There were around two thousand pigs feeding on the side of the mountain according to Mark 5:11-13, and so, after requesting to embody the pigs, Jesus send them into the herd of pigs. They then rushed into the sea and drowned, Job 1:12-22.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This shows that the emissaries of Satan are restricted and may not enter even a herd of swine without the Lord’s permission. Other restrictions of Satan are given in 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Matthew 13:25.’

But as two men’s lives are transformed, the crowd seem to be scared, why were they scared? Possibly because they didn’t want Jesus’ kind of power in their midst. Possibly because they thought Jesus was going to wipe out every pig in the region which would mean a loss of property and revenue.

At first, it may seem incredible that the people of the town didn’t want Jesus to stay. But think about what they had just lost, 2000 pigs. Some people owned them, some folks were planning to make money slaughtering, processing and selling them.

He had hurt the town’s economy. They evidently loved material possessions more than they loved Jesus, because of that, they missed out on the supreme privilege. They asked Him to leave. Do we ever invite the Lord to leave our lives because we love material things more than we love Him? Luke 8:36-37.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear they were so blinded by their physical loss, they ask Jesus to leave the area. Jesus listened to them and left and would never set foot in the area again, how sad to see Jesus being rejected once again, despite doing a wonderful thing, not only for the men who was possessed but for those who lived in the area.

Luke and Mark record, that one of the men who was possessed was commanded by Jesus to tell others what God had done for him, which he proceeded to do, Luke 8:39 / Mark 5:20.

Go To Matthew 9

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

MENU