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Matthew 8

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4 NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Cleansing of a Leper Jesus Cleanses a Leper Events in Galilee Jesus Makes a Leper Clean Cure of a Man with Skin-disease
    (8:1-9:38)    
8:1-4 8:1-4 8:1-4 8:1-2 8:1-4
      8:3-4  
The Healing of a Centurion's Servant Jesus Heals a Centurion's Servant   Jesus Heals a Roman Officer's Servant Cure of a Centurion's Servant
8:5-13 8:5-13 8:5-13 8:5-6 8:5-13
      8:7  
      8:8-9  
      8:10-13b  
      8:13c  
The Healing of Many People Peter's Mother-in-Law Healed   Jesus Heals Many People Cure of Peter's Mother-in-law
8:14-17 8:14-15 8:14-17 8:14-15 8:14-15
  Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset     A Number of Cures
  8:16-17   8:16-17 8:16-17
(17b)
The Would-be Followers of Jesus The Cost of Discipleship   The Would-be Followers of Jesus Unconditional Commitment
8:18-22 8:18-22 8:18-22 8:18-19 8:18-20
      8:20  
      8:21 8:21-22
      8:22  
The Calming of a Storm Wind and Waves Obey Jesus   Jesus Calms a Storm The Calming of the Storm
8:23-27 8:23-27 8:23-27 8:23-27 8:23-27
The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniacs The Demon Possessed Men Healed   Jesus Heals Two Men with Demons The Demoniac of Gadara
8:28-34 8:28-34 8:28-34 8:28-29 8:28-34
      8:30-31  
      8:32  
      8:33-34  

 

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

 

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

BACKGROUND TO MATTHEW 8:1-34

A. Matthew 8 and 9 form a literary unit of ten miracles describing Jesus' power and authority not only over human beings, but over disease and nature. It is not by accident that these power miracles follow the Sermon on the Mount. Miracles are meant to (1) confirm Christ's message, (2) show the reality of the eschatological setting, and (3) show Deity's compassion.

B. In this chapter several groups depreciated by Jewish society are ministered to by Jesus.

1. leper - Matt. 8:2,4 (Matt. 10:8; 11:5; 26:6; Luke 5:12-14; 17:11-14)

2. Gentile (i.e., Roman army officer) - Matt. 8:5-13 (cf. Mark 7:26-30,31-37)

3. woman - Matt. 8:14-15 (cf. Luke 8:2,43-48; 7:36-50; 13:10-12)

4. demon-possessed, Matt. 8:16,28

This list could be easily expanded.

1. children - 18:2 (in context a metaphor for new believers); Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17

2. the poor -

3. Samaritans - Luke 10:30-37; 17:15-19; John 4:1-54

4. tax collectors - Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:27-32; 15:1ff; 19:1-10

5. sinners (those who did not keep the oral traditions) - Matt. 9:10-11; 11:19; Luke 15:2; 18:13; John 9:16,24,25,31

Jesus' attention to and healing of these people was fulfillment of OT prophecy (cf. Matt. 11:5, which quotes Isa. 35:5-6; and 61:1, also note the parallel in Luke 7:22).

C. There are discrepancies related to the time, place, and other details involved in these accounts as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. The difference speaks of (1) each Gospel writer's ability under inspiration to structure his evangelistic/catechistic presentation of Jesus to specific audiences and (2) the authenticity of the eyewitness accounts. We cannot explain the "why" and the " how" of Synoptic Gospel composition, but we can affirm their truthfulness, inspiration, and authority for our lives!

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 8:1-4
 1When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 3Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

8:1 "When Jesus came down from the mountain" This statement and 5:1 form a literary frame. Matthew was obviously referring to the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. Some interpret this as Jesus the second law giver, descending a mountain as Moses did. Here, Jesus gave the new Law, not received it!

▣ "large crowds followed Him" The purpose of the miracles was to give validity to the message. Fallen mankind is always attracted to the immediate, the self-centered, the material instead of the eternal, the corporate, and the spiritual!

8:2 "a leper came to Him" Our English term " leper" comes from the Greek word "scales." The ancient term covered many more skin diseases than our modern nomenclature. Leviticus 13 and 14 deal with the Old Testament examples of leprosy. The fact that a leper approached Jesus was socially and theologically inappropriate because leprosy was viewed as a disease given as a judgment by God. The OT and theological bases for this was King Uzziah, 2 Chr. 26:16-23.

▣ "Lord" This is the term kurios. It can be used as a polite designation such as "Sir" or as a theological designation of the Divine Messiahship of Jesus. Context determines which use is intended. Often it is uncertain, as in this context.

▣ "if You are willing" This is a third class conditional sentence, which meant possible future action. This man had heard of Jesus' miracles and believed He could perform a cure if He would.

8:3 "Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him" Touching a leper went against the culture of that day based on the command of the OT (cf. Lev. 13:45-46). This showed Jesus' compassion, lack of fear, and willingness to break with Jewish tradition (cf. Matt. 5:21-48).

▣ "I am willing" The man had faith in Jesus' ability based on what he had heard, but he was not sure of Jesus' willingness!

8:4 "see that you tell no one" This type of statement is often called the Messianic secret of the Synoptics (cf. Matt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; 16:20; 17:9; Mark 1:44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 4:41; 5:14; 8:56; 9:21). It is related to Jesus' unwillingness to be known simply as a healer. The gospel message was not yet complete (cf. Matt. 17:9; Mark 9:9). He knew that humans would respond to Him for the wrong reasons.

▣ "but go, and show yourself to the priest. . .as testimony to them" This was an attempt by Jesus to affirm the Mosaic law of Leviticus 13-14. It was also an attempt to show His power to the priests in Jerusalem (cf. Mark 1:44; Luke 5:14; 17:14). Early in Acts many thousands of them accepted Jesus and His message (cf. Acts 6:7).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 8:5-13
 5And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 7Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!'and he goes, and to another, 'Come!'and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!'and he does it." 10Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go, it shall be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very moment.

8:5 "Capernaum" This city became Jesus' Galilean headquarters after His rejection in Nazareth (cf. Matt. 4:13). It was a central location. Peter and Andrew owned a home there.

▣ "a Centurion" There were no more ostracized people in Jewish society than lepers (Matt. 8:2) and Roman military officers. This concept demonstrated Jesus' love for all mankind, as His dealings with the men of Gadara, Matt. 8:28, 34; and the Syro-Phoenician woman (Matt. 15:21-28). This same account is paralleled in Luke 7:1-10, but in a different setting.

8:6 "my servant" The account in Luke records that this man had great love for the Jewish people (as did Cornelius of Acts 10). The account in Matthew shows that he had great love for his servant boy. Centurions throughout the NT are usually presented in a positive light.

8:7 "I will come and heal him" This is an emphatic use of "I," which is explained in Matt. 8:8 by the unheard of action of Jesus being willing to enter a Gentile home, which was a major cultural/religious taboo.

8:8 "I am not worthy" this term is used in the statements of

1. John the Baptist - 3:11; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16

2. Roman Centurion - 8:8; Luke 7:6

In a theological sense it expresses the sinfulness of all humans as well as God's amazing love and mercy. Humans must recognize their spiritual need (cf. Matt. 5:3-6) before they can receive God's forgiveness and acceptance.

▣ "just say the word, and my servant will be healed" This man, being a military person, understood authority and did not demand a ritual, or magical formula, or even Jesus' physical presence for the healing. In Luke the centurion did not come to Jesus personally, but sent representatives: (1) Jewish elders (cf. Luke 7:3-5) and (2) his friends (cf. Luke 7:6). This is a good example of how the Gospels record the same event in different ways. The question is not which account is true but why the authors recorded it in the way they did. See Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pp. 127-148.

Jewish and Greek healers healed by means of chants, magic, and special rituals, but Jesus healed by the spoken word. This was a way to show

1. His connection with creation (i.e., Genesis 1)

2. His personal authority (cf. Matt. 8:16)

3. His difference from the other healers of His day

This is why the title logos (word) is so appropriate in John 1:1! Jesus could heal with a touch (cf. Matt. 8:3) or speak a word (cf. Matt. 8:8), as well as exorcize demons (cf. Matt. 8:16). He spoke with authority (cf. Matt. 7:28-29); He healed with authority!

It is also interesting in Matthew how he uses the formula "what was spoken. . .was fulfilled" (cf. Matt. 1:22; 2:15,17,23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 22:31; 24:15; 27:9) as a way to assert the trustworthiness of Scripture and its fulfillment in Jesus and the new age He inaugurated.

8:10

NASB"Truly I say to you"
NKJV"Assuredly I say to you"
NRSV"Truly I tell you"
TEV"I tell you"
JB" I tell you solemnly"
NJB"In truth I tell you"

This was Jesus' distinctive way of showing emphasis. There are no other examples in Greek literature. The single or double use of "amen" to start a sentence accentuated the importance of the statement, as well as Jesus' personal authority. See Special Topic at Matt. 5:18.

8:11 "many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" This was an allusion to the inclusion of Gentiles into the family of God (cf. Isa. 25:6-9; Mal. 1:11; Luke 13:22-30). The faith of this Roman military man was greater than any Jesus had encountered among the Jewish people. These kinds of encounters with Gentiles (i.e., Matt. 15:28; 21:32; Mark 7:24-30; Luke 10:30-37; 17:11-19), combined with Jesus' strong statements concerning their faith is evidence of the universal nature and evangelistic goal of the gospel (cf. Matt. 15:28; 22:2-14; 28:18-20; Luke 7:9; 24:47; Acts 1:8). The phraseology was taken from the concept of the Messianic banquet at the end of time (cf. Isa. 25:6-9; Luke 14:15; Rev. 19:9). Jesus speaks of these Patriarchs as alive in the kingdom of heaven (i.e., the new age). They will fully participate in the eschatological events, as well as other believers. This is surely a strong witness to the reality of life after death, as well as the promise of fellowship with God and other believers.

8:12 "but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out" Many Jews knew nothing of a personal relationship with God but only of a racial, legalistic, and ritualistic religion handed down to them (cf. Isa. 6:9-10; 29:13; Matt. 15:14). They were prideful and self-righteous based on their race and performance of the Mosaic Covenant (cf. Matt. 3:9). Jesus affirms in Matt. 8:12 that many who were not historically part of the people of God will be included, and many who thought they were part of the people of God will be excluded (cf. Matt. 21:43; Luke 13:28).

▣ "into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" These metaphors were also used in Matt.13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30 to describe the horrors of separation from God in hell (Gehenna, see Special Topic at Matt. 5:22). What men and women do with Jesus Christ now will determine their ultimate destiny (cf. Matt. 25:31-46). Jesus Himself is the One who shows us the grim alternative facing those who refuse to trust Him.

In the OT "gnashing of teeth" signified "rage" (cf. Job 16:9; Ps. 35:16; 37:12; 112:10; Lam. 2:16), as it does in Acts 7:54, but here it denotes the sorrow and pain of eschatological judgment (i.e., separation from God in Gehenna).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 8:14-17
 14When Jesus came into Peter's home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases."

8:14 "Peter. . .his mother-in-law" Peter was married (cf. 1 Cor. 9:5). This speaks of the normalcy of marriage among the Jews. The rabbis said that marriage was an obligation because of the command in Gen. 2:24. We never hear of his wife; maybe she had died. The Gospels were not written to satisfy our curiosity.

8:16 "when evening came" The end of the Sabbath had come (Mark 1:32) and the Jews who were taught that healing was not allowed on the Sabbath were now coming to Peter's front door. The Sabbath began at twilight on Friday and ended at twilight on Saturday. This follows the order of the days of creation in Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31.

▣ "many who were demon-possessed. . .healed all who were ill" There was always a distinction made between demon possession and physical disease in the NT. Sometimes demons cause physical problems, but certainly not always. Physical ailments, injuries, and diseases do not necessarily have demonic causes. See Special Topic: The Demonic (Unclean Spirits) at Matt. 10:1.

8:17 This is a quote from Isa. 53:4, but not from the Masoretic Text (Hebrew) nor the Septuagint (Greek translation). This is the only place in the NT this verse is quoted. This is used by many modern groups to affirm that physical healing is inherent in the Atonement. God is a supernatural God who acts in the lives of people for good. There is not enough Scriptural evidence based on this verse to affirm that all diseases on all occasions are out of the will of God and will be cured if we just respond with enough faith or prayer (cf. 2 Cor. 12:8-10; 2 Tim. 4:20).

Psalm 103:3b is also often quoted in connection with this subject. There is a Hebrew poetic parallel relationship between 103:3a and 3b. They both refer to spiritual forgiveness. In the OT physical ailments were used as a symbol for spiritual problems (i.e., Isa. 1:5-6). The rabbis saw sin and sickness as related (cf. James 5:14-16). See F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions, pp. 44-45.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 8:18-22
 18Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 21Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 22But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead."

8:19 "scribe" This was an expert in the oral law (the Talmud) and written traditions (the Scriptures) of the Jews. They took the place of the local Levite of the OT in interpreting Scripture. They were consulted about how to apply the Law of Moses to everyday matters. See Special Topic: Scribes at Matt. 12:38. In Jesus' day most of them were Pharisees (see Special Topic at Matt. 22:15).

▣ "Teacher" This is the vocative form (didaskale) of the term "teacher" (didaskalos). It translates the Hebrew term for "teacher" (lit. "great one," cf. John 1:38; 20:16) and refers to one who knew the Law of Moses (i.e., an honorific title). It is used in the NT of

1. Jewish teachers - Luke 2:46

2. John the Baptist - Luke 3:12

3. Jesus - Matt. 8:19; 9:11; 17:24; 26:25,49; Mark 9:5,17,38; 11:21; Luke 10:25; John 1:49

4. Nicodemus - John 3:10

5. Paul - 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11

6. Christian teachers - Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; James 3:1

Jesus restricts the usage of this term/title to Himself (cf. Matt. 23:7-12; Mark 14:14; John 3:2; 11:27-28; 13:13-14). There is only "one" Father; there is only " one" teacher! He and only He is the true "Great One" !

8:20 "Jesus said to him" Two persons are involved in this context. One was willing to go anywhere; Jesus told him to stop and count the cost (cf. Matt. 8:20). The other one was reluctant to follow; Jesus told him, follow at any cost because of the priority of the call of God on a human's life (cf. Matt. 8:21). Truth often cuts two ways!

▣ "the Son of Man" This was Jesus' self-chosen designation. It was an Hebraic phrase referring to a human being (cf. Ps. 8:4; Ezek. 2:1). But because of its use in Dan. 7:13, it took on divine qualities. Therefore, this term combines the humanity and Deity of Jesus. This designation was not used by the rabbis; therefore, it had no nationalistic or militaristic overtones.

Here is a quote from my commentary on Daniel 7:13.

" a son of man was coming" The Aramaic phrase (" ben enosh," construct BDB 1085 and 1081) "son of man" is different from the similar Hebrew phrase ("ben adam") found in Psalms and Ezekiel. Both phrases are used in parallel in Job 25:6; Ps. 8:4; 90:3; 144:3; Isa. 13:12. This obviously refers to the Messiah and it links his humanity (cf. Dan. 8:17; Job 25:6; Ps. 8:4; Ezek. 2:1), which is the meaning of the Aramaic and Hebrew phrases, "son of man" with his deity because the clouds are the transportation of Deity (cf. Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Rev. 1:7; 14:14).

Jesus uses the phrase to refer to Himself in the NT. It was not used of the Messiah in rabbinical Judaism. It had no exclusivistic, nationalistic, militaristic connotations. It uniquely describes the Messiah as fully human and fully God (cf. 1 John 4:1-3). Daniel's usage is the first which focuses on its divine aspect!

Jesus used the phrase for Himself in three senses.

1.His suffering and death (e.g., Mark 8:31; 10:45; 14:21; Luke 9:22,44)

2.His coming as Judge (e.g., Matt. 16:27; 25:31; John 5:27)

3.His coming in glory to set up His kingdom (e.g., Matt. 16:28; 19:28; Mark 13:26-27; 14:62)

From The Jewish Study Bible, p. 1657 (also see George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, pp. 136-139), the later Jewish tradition about this text are listed.

1.This context is Messianic (cf. I Enoch 46:1; 48:10; 4 Ezra [2 Esdras] chapter 13; b. Sanh. 98a)

2.All predictions in this context are already fulfilled (cf. b. Sanh. 97b)

3.This context does not refer to the end-time (cf. Gen. Rab. 98:2)

4.This context represents Israel (cf. Ibn Ezra and Rashi)

 

SPECIAL TOPIC: OT TITLES OF THE SPECIAL COMING ONE

8:21 "permit me first to go and bury my father" On the surface this seems like a reasonable request. However, this was a cultural idiom for staying home and taking care of one's parents as long as they lived. It was a social obligation (cf. 1 Kgs. 19:20).

8:22 "allow the dead to bury their own dead" This was a play on the word "dead." It can be used of spiritual lifelessness as in Matt. 10:39. What Jesus was saying was that spiritual life and obedience to the heavenly Father are more important than social obligations to one's earthly family.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 8:23-27
 23When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" 26He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

8:24

NASB"And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea"
NKJV" And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea"
NRSV" A windstorm arose on the sea"
TEV"Suddenly a fierce storm hit the lake"
NJB"Without warning a storm broke over the lake"

The Sea of Galilee is surrounded by hills and affected by its proximity to Mt. Hermon and the Mediterranean Sea. The strong winds descending on this body of water were often sudden, unexpected, and violent. Even these professional fishermen were afraid.

The NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 557, has an interesting comment about the term seismos (" storm").

"The other eleven occurrences of seismos in the NT all refer to earthquakes, and always as divine interventions: at the moment of Jesus' death (Matt. 27:54); at the resurrection, where it is linked with the rolling back of the stone; and at Philippi, as Paul and Silas sing God's praises in prison (Acts 16:26). Earthquakes are one of the eschatological signs (Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11; Rev. 6:12; 8:5; 11:13,19; 16:18)."

This sudden storm was not a coincidence, but a God-sent opportunity to

1. reveal Jesus

2. build the disciples'faith

 

8:25 "Save us, Lord" This was the OT use of the term " save" meaning physical deliverance (cf. Matt. 14:30; John 12:27; Acts 23:24; 27:20,31,34,43,44; 28:1,4; James 5:15).

SPECIAL TOPIC: SALVATION (OLD TESTAMENT TERM)

8:26-27 "it became perfectly calm" They were absolutely astonished at Jesus' power even over nature. Because of Ps. 89:8,9 this was an allusion to Jesus' deity . Only the creator can control nature (cf. Ps. 107:23-32).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 8:28-34
 28When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" 30Now there was a herd of swine feeding at a distance from them. 31The demons began to entreat Him, saying "If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine." 32And He said to them, "Go!" And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.

8:28

NASB, NRSV,
JB" into the country of the Gadarenes"
NKJV"to the country of the Gergesenes"
TEV"to the territory of Gadara on the other side of the lake"

There has been much discussion over this geographical location. This place was spelled three different ways in differeing Greek manuscripts of Matthew, as well as in three different Synoptic Gospels. Apparently it was close to the city of Khersa, but the city of Gadara owned some land near the lake and it was often called the district of Gadara, even though this city was six miles away.

▣ "two men" Matthew usually has two people involved in an account where Mark and Luke only have one (cf. Mk 5:1; Luke 8:26). Another example would be the blind man/men of Jericho (cf. Matt. 20:29; Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35). Some have supposed that two were mentioned because the OT required two witnesses in court (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16).

▣ "who were demon-possessed. . .coming out of the tombs" They had been ostracized by the community and this was the only place where they could find shelter. During this period small manmade or natural caves were used as burial places. Whether this location was connected with their demon possession is uncertain. There are many specific questions about demons and angels which cannot be answered because there is not enough biblical information. Our world is permeated by a personal force of evil with his servants, the fallen angels, who are out to thwart the will of God and to destroy mankind, God's ultimate creation and focus of His love and attention. See Special Topics: Personal Evil at Matt. 4:5 and the Demonic at Matt. 10:1.

▣ "that no one could pass by that way" See Mark 5:2-6 and Luke 8:27.

8:29 "Son of God" These demons recognized who Jesus was (cf. James 2:19). The title "Son of God" was used several times in Matt. 4:3; 14:33; 16:16; 27:43,54. It was a play on the term "son" (cf. Matt. 2:15); the nation of Israel is called "son" ; Israel's king is called "son" ; and Israel's Messiah is called "son." Several times in the Gospels the demons recognize Jesus (cf. Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34). Jesus does not acknowledge their testimony. They were not saying this to help Him. Later Jesus will be accused of utilizing Satan's power (12:24). The demons'witnessing to Him would have given credence to this charge. See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE SON OF GOD at Matt. 27:54.

NASB, NKJV,
NRSV, JB" Have You come here to torment us before the time"
TEV"Have you come to punish us before the right time"

The spiritual realm knows that a time has been set for God to judge the living and the dead, humans, and angels (cf. Phil. 2:10-11; Rev. 11:15).

8:30 "a herd of many swine" It was a Gentile area shown by the presence of these hogs. Exactly why the demons wanted to go into the hogs is simply a matter of conjecture. There is not enough information. The destruction of this group of hogs does show the ultimate purpose of the demonic-death to their host. Also, the herd's destruction would have caused the townspeople to ask Jesus to leave!

▣ "the demons" See Special Topic at Matt. 10:1.

▣ "if" This is a first class conditional sentence. Jesus was going to drive out the demons!

8:34 "they implored Him to leave their region" This is one of the saddest verses in all of the Bible. In the presence of the greatest man of history, these villagers were more concerned about the death of a few hogs than they were over the redemption and reclamation of two demonized persons and the spiritual potential of the gospel for their area.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Why do the Synoptic Gospels differ in their recording of the words and acts of Jesus?

2. Why was the healing of a leper such a significant event (cf. Matt. 11:5)?

3. Why did Jesus want those who had been healed to go and show themselves to the priests?

4. What is so unusual about Jesus working with a Roman military officer?

5. What is the significance of verses 11 and 12?

6. Who or what are demons? What is their purpose in our world?

7. Does verse 17 teach that physical healing is a part of the atonement?

8. What is the significance of the terms "Son of Man" and "Son of God" (cf. Ezek. 2:1; Dan. 7:13)?

 

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