Matthew Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Matthew 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

Matthew 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Matthew 8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

to the priest. Leviticus 13-14 contains detailed laws and instructions for the ceremonial cleansing of lepers—116 verses altogether. The problem was that there was no cure for leprosy in those days, so the laws were never implemented. Naaman was miraculously healed (2 Kings 5:1-19), but he was not an Israelite, so did not follow the prescribed procedures for cleansing. So far as the record goes, this incident in Matthew is the first time ever that a cleansed leper would go to the priest in the manner prescribed by Moses. No wonder, in view of the hypocrisy and unbelief common in the priesthood of the time, that Christ said this would be “for a testimony unto them.”

Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

came unto him a centurion. The parallel account (Luke 7:1-10) says that the centurion sent the Jewish elders to Jesus to make this request on his behalf (Luke 7:3). Matthew recognized that this was, to all intents and purposes, the centurion himself speaking, for he had delegated the elders to serve as his proxy. Perhaps the centurion thought that, since he was a Roman, the elders (as Jews) could influence Jesus to come more effectively than he could on his own. It is also possible that the centurion himself did come later, after the elders had first approached Jesus. In any case, there is certainly no necessary contradiction between the two accounts, as some have charged.

Matthew 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

Matthew 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

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.

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.

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.

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.

many shall come. Both Jewish and Gentile believers from all over the world will share with the fathers of God's chosen people in the resurrection, and in the millennial kingdom and the eternal kingdom as well (Matthew 24:31).

Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

outer darkness. The ultimate destiny of the lost, even those who had the special privilege of birth in the chosen nation, is in the lake of fire. This is possibly a star far out in the outer darkness of infinite space (note also 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13). Note that a star is, indeed, a vast lake of fire.

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.

Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

Matthew 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto 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:

Matthew 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Esaias the prophet. See Isaiah 53:4. Note that this prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled, according to this passage, before the atonement of Christ on the cross. Therefore, bodily healing is not in the atonement. Like all aspects of our salvation, however, our bodies are delivered from the power of sickness, pain and death in this present life, and from their very presence in the future resurrection life.

Matthew 8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.

Matthew 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

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.

Son of man. This is the first of some eighty occasions when Jesus called Himself “the Son of man,” many more times than He called Himself “Son of God.”

lay his head. The term “lay His head” actually could read “bow His head”—that is, to worship God. It is significant that, although we never read of Jesus worshiping God, He did teach others to worship, which means simply to bow down to the will of God. Jesus could never really bow His head until He reached the cross and completely finished God's mission and accomplished His will. Then “He bowed His head [same as ‘laid His head'] and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).

Matthew 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

dead bury their dead. The meaning of “dead” refers to the spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). The young man was actually proposing to wait and follow Jesus after his father died, whenever that might be.

Matthew 8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

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.

Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

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.

Matthew 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

What manner of man is this. This “manner of man” was God incarnate. He had created the winds and the sea, so it was no wonder He could control them!

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.

Gergesenes. Both the account in Mark 5:1 and that in Luke 8:26 say this was “the country of the Gadarenes,” and many manuscripts of Matthew have “Gadarenes.” Gadara was an important city about eight miles southeast of the sea of Galilee and apparently was the political center of the entire region. Some manuscripts have “Geresenes” in Mark and Luke (both Gergesa and Gerasa were distinct cities, like Gadara), but the most probable reading seems to be “Gadarenes,” which best fits the geographical implications in the three accounts.

two possessed with devils. Mark and Luke each speak of only one demoniac in their accounts, evidently emphasizing the one who was the spokesman and leader of the unfortunate pair.

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?

Jesus, thou Son of God. These “devils” (actually demons, or evil spirits, probably the fallen angelic spirits that followed Satan in his primeval rebellion against God) could recognize Jesus for who He was, even though He was now also a man. In fact, both Satan and his demons, on various occasions, called Jesus “Son of God,” but they never called Him “Son of man.” They apparently refuse to acknowledge that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (note xTerm 4:2-3).

Matthew 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

Matthew 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

cast us out. It seems that these demons intensely desire to function through a physical body. If they could not possess the body of the man living in the tombs, they still wanted at least to indwell the swine.

swine. Critics have charged Jesus with destroying private property by allowing the demons to drown the swine. However, God called these animals unclean (Leviticus 11:7-8), and forbade the Jews to use them as food; thus these swine ranchers were profiting illegally from their chosen occupation.

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.

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.

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.