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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 8

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-4

12 Compare Luk_6:31 .

12 To do as we would be done by is an ethical standard far above the world's attainment, yet far beneath the monitions of grace. The law and the prophets demand compliance with this code, yet supply no power to carry it out. Grace gives the ability, yet makes no demands, but rather entreats us to do as we have been done by in our dealings with God , rather than man.

13-14 Compare Luk_13:24 .

13 The crowds enter a city by the broad road which passes through the wide gate. The narrow side-paths leading to a narrow gateway in some retired corner were seldom used and were always shut in the daytime and locked at night. Few find or use these paths. This is not an illustration the gospel, but of the law. It represents an effort to attain life. It is not stated that few find life, but few find the path to it. All life is God's gift and can never be made by man, either in the sphere of religion or of science.

15-23 Compare Luk_6:43-46 .

15 The law was exceedingly severe on false prophets. Death was their penalty ( Deu_13:5 ). It is generally supposed that a prophet is false if his sign or prediction does not come to pass. Not so. If it comes to pass, yet leads away from the Lord, they were not allowed to hearken

( Deu_13:1-5 ). This is being written at the very time when a modern prophetess predicts the end of the world. That prophetess is not false because her vision is not being verified, but because her dreams were not of God and led away from His word. This, however, is a day of grace, and false prophets are not stoned. But the term prophet includes all who claim a direct revelation from God, apart from His written revelation. As prophets are only in the foundation of the ecclesia ( Eph_2:20 ), the mere claim to a personal and direct message from God is evidence in itself that it is false. The word of God is complete ( Col_1:25 ), and only those who do not fully apprehend what God has revealed crave further communications. The latest revelations given to the apostle Paul make all further prophecy useless and round out the whole realm of revelation.

16 The figures are finely chosen. The fig tree stands for the righteous government of Messiah and the vine the spiritual cheer of His kingdom. In that day each one will sit under his own vine and fig tree ( Mic_4:4 ). The kingdom of God is not only feeding on figs and drinking wine, but what these symbolize-righteousness and peace and joy in holy Spirit ( Rom_14:17 These are the fruits that do not grow on thorns and thistles, and that characterized the true prophet.

21 See Mat_25:11-12 ; Luk_13:25-30 .

21 Many will need to read this passage twice, for it is the popular conviction that any one who can prophesy or cast out demons and do other supernatural deeds is necessarily in the highest intimacy with God. Many will claim these powers, yet He refuses to acknowledge them. In itself supernaturalism is no index of divine activity, for the powers of evil win their greatest triumphs in mimicking the manifestations of the holy Spirit.

24 That the Lord has not been preaching the evangel of God's grace, but proclaiming the constitution of His kingdom, is convincingly clear from His conclusion. He is not seeking for faith but works. The prudent man is doing them, and the stupid man is not doing them. Now the evangel for us is for him “who is not working, yet is believing'' ( Rom_4:5 ). “Now if it is out of works, it is no longer grace, else work is no longer work” ( Rom_11:6 ). The great storm of which our Lord speaks suggests the terrible judgments which usher in the kingdom. Then it will be “he who endures ...will be saved”.

24-27 Compare Luk_6:47-49 .

28-29 Compare Mar_1:22 ; Luk_4:32 .

29 Jewish scribes always say that Rabbi So-and-so says, or that he says that another Rabbi says, etc. All their teaching is tradition.

2 Our Lord cleansed many lepers, and probably dealt similarly with them all. The “parallel” accounts in ( Mar_1:40-44 ) and ( Luk_5:12-14 ) do not “disagree” in details, for they record different occurrences. Our Lord's first testimony must be to the priests. It is not a direct one,

for the priests had already rejected the testimony of John the baptist, who was one of them-by birth, if not by office. They will not hear Him, so He sends these lepers to them, as a sign that He is the One Who can cleanse the leprosy of the sinful nation. They should have known that the One Who can do this is the long-desired Messiah. There is no intimation that they heeded this testimony, so that here we have, in a parable, the same truth with which John begins his evangel: His own people do not accept Him ( Joh_1:11 ). Indeed, this is more striking. For the priests had before them continually the lesson of the suffering sacrifice. If no other class in the nation could understand His rejection and sorrow and death, they should have recognized that this is the One Who was to be led as a lamb to the slaughter. But, in that deeper wisdom of God, they were also the ones who were ordained to be the slayers of the great Sacrifice.

4 See Mat_9:30 ; Mar_5:43 ; Lev_14:1-32 .

Verses 5-24

5-13 Compare Luk_7:1-10 .

5 This is followed by an intimation that, though rejected by His own, He would be accepted by the nations, as is the case in the book of Acts. The priest was at one end of the religious scale, and the alien centurion at the other. Yet it was the far-off gentile who believed and received, without a sign, without even the Lord's presence, rather than the privileged priest, who had ample opportunity to examine the reality of His cures and to test His claims by the divine oracles of which the priests were the repositories.

10 Like the centurion's servant, the nations who believed, when the evangel went forth after His resurrection, as recorded in Acts, had no personal contact with Him, and never knew His presence. They are saved at a distance, by a faith unequaled in Israel. So, also there will be many in the future who will find a place in the kingdom, while many even of the priests will be left out. The paralytic who was healed is appropriately delineated. He has no strength and needs none. He does nothing. All his salvation is outside own efforts. It was, of necessity, not of works. It was all of God. Such was the salvation of the nations. In contrast with this the leper called on Him and entreated for the blessing, He came to Him and worshiped Him. Such was the case with the Jewish disciples.

14-17 Compare Mar_1:20-34 ; Luk_4:38-41

14 There is considerable marshy land near Tell Hum, the probable site of Capernaum. This might account for the fever.

17 Compare Isa_53:4 . See 1Pe_2:24 .

18 Compare Mar_4:35 ; Luk_8:22 .

19-22 Compare Luk_9:57-62 .

20 This, the first time He takes the title “Son of Mankind”, is full of deep pathos. After He has become wearied with His works of healing, a scribe knows no better than to call Him his “Teacher”. How little had he apprehended of His power and glory! His words have shown

Him to be capable of coping with all that Adam's sin has brought into the world. He is his greater Son. He has regained the sovereignty lost by the first man. His realm extends over all mankind, and over the beasts of the field and the birds of heaven. They are among the lowest of His subjects. The jackals have their burrows and may retire to rest; the winged denizens of heaven have their roosts on which to spend the night, yet His weary head, Whose dominion includes all earthly creatures, was denied even the possession place of repose! What a contrast is this to the last time we meet this title in the sacred records! Then we see His holy head wreathed with the chaplet of a conqueror ( Rev_14:14 ). The victor's wreath adorns the brow they crowned with thorns. And then, as Daniel had foretold, will be given Him authority, and esteem, and a kingdom, that all peoples, races, and languages should serve Him, for His authority is an eonian authority, which shall not pass away ( Dan_7:14 ). The title “Son of Mankind” is significant in every occurrence, even though our dull minds may miss it. It is always suggestive of the dignities which devolved on Adam as the sovereign of all earthly creatures and head of the human race, He inherits all these glories and restores them to far more than their pristine perfection in the coming eon.

24 This event probably occurred at an earlier date than the similar accounts in Mark and Luke. The cause here was an earthquake which started immense tidal waves. In the other cases it was a squall ( Mar_4:35-41 ; Luk_8:23-25 ).

Verses 25-34

25 Ever and anon, while revealing His own glory and exercising the faith of His followers, our

Lord presents a marvelous prophetic picture of the course of the kingdom proclamation. Here we have a preview, on a small scale and in physical symbols, of that terrible time of affliction, which will threaten to engulf His disciples at the end of the eon, just before His advent. The winds are the spiritual forces of wickedness, figured by the great dragon ( Rev_12:3 ), the sea stands for the nations of mankind, led by the wild beast ( Rev_13:1 ). Together they will wellnigh destroy all hopes of the kingdom. Then it is that Christ will come and rebuke the nations and the spirit powers and usher in the calm of the kingdom, where there will be no more war, the nations will be subdued and Satan will be bound. Till then there will be no possible guarantee of peace among the nations of the earth, notwithstanding every effort to stop war.

28-34 Compare Mar_5:1-20 ; Luk_8:26-39

28 Vaticanus reads this “Gadarenes”. Sinaiticus reads “Gazarenes”, but the editor (S2) changed this to “Gorgesenos”, as we have it. Gadara was a well-known city, but is so far from the shores of Galilee, that it was quite possible for the narrative to have been enacted there. The hogs would have had to run down a mountain, cross the Jermuk river, itself enough to drown them, up its banks, then several miles across a level plain into the water. At one place on the eastern shore of the lake, at a ruined town called Chersa by the Arabs, all the topography is in perfect keeping with the narrative. Behind the town tombs were cut in the rock. A steep mountain rises almost immediately out of the water, so that the hogs, rushing down, could not step on the narrow beach, but plunged headlong into the lake. It seems evident that this is the true locality and the name Gergesone seems most likely to have been the original off the traditional “Chersa”, as it is now known. Gadarene seems misleading, hence we do not use it.

31 As swine's flesh was unclean, the keeping of hogs was illegal, and no wrong was done to their owners by sending them to destruction in the waters of the lake.

1-8 Compare Mar_2:1-12 ; Luk_5:17-26 .

5 Paralysis and all other human ills are but an effect, of which sin is the cause. Not, indeed, the personal sins of the paralytic, but the sins of mankind in general, for all men are born with a heritage of sin and live in an atmosphere heavy with wrong-doing. But the great truth here taught is that the physical blessings of the coming kingdom have a secure basis in the pardon of sins. So, in this scene, which suggests the believing remnant of Israel who receive Him as their Messiah, the Lord seems to overlook the paralysis at first, and pardons his sins. The delay, and the unbelief of the scribes, suggest the apostasy of the nation and the consequence postponement of physical blessings till the kingdom comes and the authority of the Son of Mankind to pardon sins is in full exercise, followed by the health, strength, and vigor which will be the portion of mankind in the millennium. If human governments would get beyond the outbreaks and symptoms and deal with sin they would not need to be concerned with all its evil effects. They can never bring health and righteousness.

9-15 Compare Mar_2:13-20 ; Luk_5:27-35 .

9 It is a most striking exhibition of God's grace and wisdom, that such a man as Matthew should be chosen for an apostle, and_ furthermore should be empowered to write this account of Israel's King. This was contrary to all the dictates of human wisdom. Matthew was a “publican” or tribute collector, a class more hated, perhaps, than aliens, and more despised than sinners. The Roman government did not collect its tribute from the nations under its yoke directly, but farmed it out to subordinates. A district was sold for what it would bring, and the collector received his wages by assessing as much more as he could get. Hence they amassed wealth at the expense of their poor countrymen and for the benefit of a foreign government. Yet God chose such a traitor to his country to describe the glories of the King! His fitness was not by birth but of God.

11 See Mat_11:19 Luk_15:2 .

12 The strong need to be taught their weakness, and the just their sinfulness. Then, and not till then, are they in conscious need of a Saviour.

13 See Mat_12:7 ; Hos_6:6 ; Mic_6:6-8 ; 1Ti_1:15 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 8". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-8.html. 1968.
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