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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 8

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verses 1-2


Then a leper came to him. Leprosy begins as a skin disease, defies efforts to cure it, and is a kind of “living death.” Dr. Schaff says: “Near the Jaffa gate of Jerusalem I saw, in 1877, these miserable creatures with their withered limbs imploring aid, and visited a hospital of incurable lepers.” There are different forms of the disease, but white leprosy seemed most common among the Hebrew people. With it all the skin turned white. Religious law ruled a leper unclean and untouchable. Leprosy was symbolic of sin. See Leviticus 13:1-12; 2 Kings 5:27; Numbers 5:2. Sir. An expression of faith, along with the following words.

Verse 3


Jesus reached out and touched him. It was forbidden to touch a leper, and made the one who did it religiously unclean. But when Jesus did this, the leprosy vanished and the man was clean. At the touch of Jesus, impurity vanishes!

Verse 4


Don’t tell anyone. This was forbidden until the man was officially pronounced healed. He could not mix with people until the priest had examined him and certified him clean. The man might have prejudiced his case with the priest by telling how it happened. And, Jesus didn’t try to impress people. Offer the sacrifice. Leviticus 14:10; Leviticus 14:22; Leviticus 14:30-31.

Verse 5


When Jesus entered Capernaum. See note on Matthew 4:13. He returned to the place he made his home after the Sermon on the Mount, and the healing of the leper. Compare Luke 7:1-10. A Roman officer met him. Roman occupation forces controlled Palestine at this time. Their headquarters were in Caesarea, and soldiers were stationed in every town. This man was a centurion, comparable to our rank of captain, and he was probably the commander of the garrison at Capernaum. A Gentile, he did not approach Jesus in person, but through some Jewish elders (Luke 7:3). Probably he thought Jesus would listen to them more favorably. These Jewish elders were happy to speak a good word for this man, because he had built a synagogue (Luke 7:5), either to gain their favor, or he may have been a religious man like Cornelius. Ruins of a synagogue were found at Tel Hum, thought to be Capernaum, and perhaps these were of the one built by this Roman officer, in which Christ preached.

Verse 6


Sir, my servant. Luke says his servant was dear to him, and the account here shows deep concern. Unable to move. He was paralyzed. Alford (Greek Testament) says: “The disease of the text may have been tetanus, or lockjaw, which the ancient physicians included under paralysis. Luke says that “he was ready to die.”

Verse 7


I will go. Luke says that he did go, and the following conversation took place near the officer’s house (Luke 7:6).

Verse 8


Oh no, sir. The officer said this through some friends (Luke 7:6). I do not deserve. The strict Jews would not even talk to a Gentile. The Roman officer may have thought that so holy a Jew as Jesus would not want to enter his house. Just give the order. He believed this was enough to ask. Not even Martha thought that Jesus could have saved her brother Lazarus without going to him in person (John 11:21). This man’s faith was strong.

Verse 9


And I have soldiers under me. What he says is this: “In the army, authority is obeyed. I give the order and it is obeyed. You have authority over disease. Give the command, and it will leave.”

Verse 10


Jesus was surprised. Two times Jesus is said to be surprised. Here—at the faith of a Gentile Roman Officer. In Mark 6:6—at the unbelief of the Jews. I have never seen such faith. The amount of this man’s faith is demonstrated by his view of the authority and high rank of Jesus. This strong faith was not in a Jew, but a Gentile. See the Canaanite woman [also a Gentile] whom Jesus praised (Matthew 15:28).

Verse 11


Remember this. The east and the west are symbolic of the entire world. Not only those far from the Jews geographically, but spiritually as well See Acts 2:39. Sit down at the table. The Jews spoke symbolically of Messiah’s Kingdom as being a “feast with the fathers.” This implies companionship with the great men of old in that Eternal world. [This can also be applied figuratively to the church on earth (Galatians 3:29).]

Verse 12


But those who should be. The Jews, Abraham’s natural children. Thrown out. Because they rejected the Messiah, in whom the promise was fulfilled. Into the darkness outside. This has been fulfilled in the history of the Jews in the last nineteen centuries. There may also be a hint here of future punishment.

Verse 13


What you believe will be done for you. The Roman officer believed fully that Jesus could heal his servant just by giving the order. That very hour. At the very moment these words were spoken, the servant was healed.

Verse 14


Jesus went to Peter’s home. Peter had a mother-in-law, and therefore was a married man. In fulfilling his later duties as an apostle, Peter took his wife along with him (1 Corinthians 9:5). Sick in bed with a fever. Luke says a high fever (Luke 4:38). It may have been malaria, and Mark’s account (Mark 1:29-30) implies that the fever came on suddenly.

Verse 15


He touched her hand. Sometimes Jesus healed by a word, sometimes by a touch. At the touch of his hand, she was immediately well—and got up to wait on him.

Verse 16


When evening came. See also Mark 1:32. Jesus had amazed the people by healing one who was demon-possessed (Mark 1:21-28). Now that evening has come and the Sabbath ended (at sundown), the people come crowding in bringing those who need help. Who had demons in them. See note on Matthew 4:24. These were spiritually sick. Others were diseased in body.

Verse 17


He did this to make come true. See Isaiah 53:0. This emphasizes the love and sympathy which Jesus had for we humans. (See Hebrews 2:11-18).

Verse 18


Jesus noticed the crowd. People crowded in to listen to his teaching and to see the miracles which he was doing. The Lake of Galilee was only six miles wide, and the Savior often crossed it to find some peace and quiet. There were no towns along the eastern shore where he was going.

Verse 19


A teacher of the Law. The teachers of the Law rejected Christ, but this one was thinking about becoming a disciple. However, he had not realized it would “cost him something” to do so.

Verse 20


Jesus answered him. Jesus does not reject this man nor send him away. He only points out the cost of discipleship. The Son of Man. One title of the Messiah—emphasizing his kinship with humanity. But see Luke 22:69-70. The Jews understood “Son of Man” to mean “Son of God.”

Verse 21


Another man. It is possible, but unlikely, that this man wanted to attend the funeral of his father first. What this disciple asks must be this: “Master, let me stay with my father until such time that he dies, and then I will follow you.” He was putting his parent ahead of Jesus (see Matthew 10:37).

Verse 22


Follow me. Jesus seems harsh in his answer, But, not sol The most important matter is the work which Jesus is doing. Others are fully capable of caring for the parent and seeing to his burial. Put God’s Kingdom first!!!

Verse 23


Jesus got into the boat. A small open rowboat,

Verse 24


Suddenly a fierce storm. Luke says a strong wind (Luke 8:23). A tornado is implied. Very sudden and violent storms result from the cold air sweeping down the mountains into the hot air over the lake,

Verse 25


Save us, Lord! Extreme fear and terror. Remember, they were experienced sailors.

Verse 26


Why are you so frightened? Matthew records: “how little faith;” Mark: “are you still without faith;” Luke: “where is your faith.” The meaning is the same in all three accounts. Gave a command. Mark gives the exact wording of this command: “Be quiet! Be still!”

Verse 27


What kind of man is this? They are amazed that even the storms obey his word. It is unlikely that they really understood just who Jesus was until he rose from death.

Verse 28


Jesus came. The territory of the Gadarenes, also known as the Gerasenes, was on the south-eastern side of Lake Galilee. Gerasa was the village where Jesus landed after the storm. The mountains came down to the lake shore here (Matthew 8:32) and there were burial caves in the cliff. Demons in them. See note on Matthew 4:24.

Verse 29


At once they screamed. With an unearthly cry! This account shows that demon-possession was not simply bodily or mental disease. Evil spirits literally took control of their victims and spoke through them. We learn elsewhere that sin prepared the victim to be possessed. [Some scholars believe that both demon-possession and the miraculous acts of the Holy Spirit disappeared after Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.] Son of God. The demons knew who he was. Have you come? They knew Christ could not be defeated. They seemed to expect their own final punishment.

Verses 30-32


A large herd of pigs. Mark says 2,000. They were being kept in violation of the Religious Law, since pigs were “unclean.” Mark records the one demoniac as saying his name is “Mob” because there are so many of them. Perhaps Jesus allowed them to go into the pigs to show the fact or reality of the demons. This implies there were 2,000 evil spirits possessing this one man.

Verse 33


The men. They ran to the town and told. Perhaps they felt this was a judgment on them for keeping “unclean” animals.

Verse 34


They begged him to leave. Perhaps from fear of his power; or from the calamity of their economic loss. It is a lesson that they firmly rejected him. Mark tells us that the man became a preacher of Christ (Mark 5:20).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/matthew-8.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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