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Matthew 8

SUMMARY.--The Leper Healed. The Servant of the Centurion Healed. Great Faith. Sitting in the Kingdom with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Children of the Kingdom Cast Out. Following Christ. The Storm on the Sea. The Disciples in Terror. The Storm Quelled at His Voice. The Gergesene Demoniacs Healed. The Swine Perish in the Sea.

      18. Now when Jesus saw multitudes about him. The multitudes had gathered to listen to his teaching, or to behold his miracles. The sea was only six miles wide, and the Savior often crossed it in order to secure retirement. There is no deep recess in the eastern hills; no towns along its banks corresponding to those in the plain of Gennesareth.

      19. A certain scribe said, . . . I will follow thee. Compare Luke 9:57-62 . Though this scribe belonged to a class which, as a body, rejected Christ, he was disposed to be a disciple (see verse 21 ), but had not counted the cost. See note on Matt. 2:4.

      20. Jesus saith unto him. He rejects not this man's offer, nor refuses him the liberty to follow him, only he will have him know what he is doing and "count the cost." The Son of man. It is the name by which the Lord ordinarily designates himself as the Messiah--the Son of God manifested in the flesh of Adam; the second Adam. Not where to lay his head. He, as the "Son of man," did not possess what the humbler animals claim, a home.

      21. Suffer me first to go and bury my father. There are two views. 1. That his father was already dead, and he wished only to attend the funeral and properly observe the last rites. If this view is correct, the Savior meant to teach that the duty to the Lord is higher than any earthly duty, and when one has to yield to the other it must be the lower one. 2. The view is also held that the disciple asked that he might be permitted to remain at home until his father's death and burial, and then follow Christ. That is the more probable view. It was the case of "loving father or mother more than me."

      22. Follow me. The highest of all duties, now discharged by becoming his disciple, obeying him and making his life our example. Let the dead bury their dead. Those spiritually dead will attend to the last rites of them who have died naturally.

      23. And when he was entered into a ship. Compare Mark 5:1-21 Luke 8:28-40 . Boat is a better rendering. It was a small open row boat.

      24. There arose a great tempest in the sea. Mark says, "A great storm;" Luke , "There came down a storm of wind;" the word used by Matthew implies a tornado. The Greek word denotes a sudden and violent gust of wind, such as frequently bursts on the lake. All travelers describe the storms as very sudden and violent, caused by the cold air that rushes down from the mountains into the heated depression of the lake.

      25. Lord, save us: we perish. The Lord was awakened out of sleep with these words. Their language is that of extreme terror.

      26. O ye of little faith. According to Matthew, he characterizes them as of "little faith; according to Mark he asked, How have ye have no faith? according to Luke , Where is your faith? The spirit of the rebuke is the same in all the accounts. Rebuked the winds and the sea. Mark gives the very words of the rebuke: "Peace, be still."

      27. What manner of man? The words express astonishment at this new proof of his control, not only over demons and disease, but also over the winds and waves, which obeyed him at a word.

      28. Into the country of the Gergesenes. Compare Mark 5:1-21 Luke 8:26-40 . Gergesa has been identified on the east shore of Galilee; the "steep place" and "tombs" are still seen. It was a village in the district of the Gadarenes. The Lord landed here after the storm. The Revision has Gadarenes in Matthew, and Gerasenes in Mark and Luke Mk 5:1 Luke 8:26 . The simple explanation of this difference is, that Gadarenes and Gerasenes are different names for the inhabitants of the same large district, so called from Gadara and Gerasa, two cities of that region; while Gergesenes is the name of the people of a smaller district within the other, and named from the city of Gergesa. Two demoniacs. Mark and Luke Mk 5:2 Luke 8:27 mention only one, the fiercer one, who spoke with the Lord. The tombs. The tombs were caves, natural or artificial, cut in the rock of the hill side, and, hence, suitable for a shelter. Fierce. So violent as to be dangerous ( Mark 5:3-5 Luke 8:29 ).

      29. They cried out. This account shows: (1) That demoniacal possession was not simply bodily or mental disease. (2) That evil spirits actually took possession of and controlled human beings. (3) That these controlled the actions and organs of speech of their poor victims. (4) We learn elsewhere that sin prepared the way for the entrance of the demon. Thou Son of God. The demons, like the devil, recognized him. Torment us before our time. These words show that they expected the final triumph of Christ.

      30. A herd of many swine. According to Mark , 2,000. They were an unclean animal, kept probably by Jews in violation of the spirit of the Mosaic law; or, if by Gentiles, kept in violation of God's law for the land of Israel.

      31. Suffer us to go into . . . the swine. Why this request we do not know; perhaps it was malicious; perhaps to have an animal habitation.

      32. Go. A permission, not a command. Rushed . . . into the sea. Maddened, the swine rushed down the steep declivity into the sea. If we knew all the facts we would see more fully the righteousness of the Lord's permission. Perhaps the loss of the swine was a punishment. Perhaps it was to show that evil works its own destruction.

      34. The whole city came out to meet Jesus. Filled with wonder and fear by the story. Besought him that he would depart. Partly from awe of one with such power; partly, perhaps, from fear of loss of more property. The Lord, bidden to depart, never returned. In this fact is a significant lesson. Mark tells us that the healed demoniac became a preacher of Christ in his own country.

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