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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator
Matthew 8

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-4

Matthew 8:1-4

And, behold, there came a leper.

The leper’s cure

I. The leper’s faith.

II. Christ’s treatment or the leper.

1. That this disease is a type of moral corruption.

2. God’s grace alone can effect a cure.

3. We see the power of prayer. (W. Wight, M. A.)

The healing of the leper

I. The leper’s opportunity. Let every hearer of the word follow Jesus Christ till he finds Him in secret.

II. The leper’s defiliment.

1. The disease of leprosy seems to have appeared first in Israel while in the land of Egypt, the earliest notice of it being in the leprous hand of Moses. Sin, like leprosy, is deeply hereditary. It spreads corruption and dissolution through the entire body. It was viewed with the hopelessness of death.

2. The leprosy, selected by God as the special type of sin, #as more than other diseases sent immediately from heaven as the express punishment of sin. Thus with Gehazi.

3. The leper, alone of all the sick, was shut out from the camp of Israel. The sinner excluded from holy fellowship.

4. The leper was appointed to bewail himself as one already dead; he was to become his own mourner (Leviticus 13:45). These were three of the chief symbols of sorrow for the dead. The leprous sinner is dead, while he lives.

III. The leper’s prayer.

1. He was convinced of Christ’s ability to heal him. This the chief element of saving faith.

2. There is an appeal to the compassionate will of Jesus.

IV. The leper’s cleansing.

1. Jesus is moved with compassion, touches, and cleanses.

2. The thanksgiving is seasonable and acceptable in one case; the gratitude, unwise and not obedient in the other. The case of the ten lepers. (A. Moody Stuart.)

I. The individual referred to-“a leper.” No condition more awful and distressing. Striking representation of sin. Leprosy was generally hereditary; small in its first appearance, deep-seated and inveterate in its nature, universal in its prevalence, loathsome in its appearance, excluded from society, incurable by human power, and generally produced a most awful death.

II. His address to the redeemer. It was an address of humble respect, associated with faith, affecting appeal to his misery and Christ’s goodness.

III. The conduct of the saviour. Responded to his appeal; His word was omnific and conveyed His healing power; He put forth His hand to testify to his cleanness; He sent him to the priest that his recovery might be duly attested; He was to present a gift unto the Lord. See how you are to obtain healing and purity. See the way in which Christ will receive you.

1. Bless God for health of body.

2. Especially be anxious for health of soul.

3. Praise God for the means of spiritual health and felicity.

4. Come and be healed. (J. Barnis, LL. D.)

Healing of the leper

I. His lamentable condition.

II. His appropriate prayer.

III. His complete restoration.

IV. His instant dismissal. (J. T. Woodhouse.)

Christ’s healing touch

It was a touch

The touch of Christ cleanseth

“Blessed are the merciful,” so our Lord had said; now the act follows the word.

I. How truly humble and lowly was Jesus. Free from ostentation He walked among men. Christ can heal the leprosy of pride.

II. Though lowly, the Saviour was not fearful. With all our pride, how many things we fear. We fear labour, difficulty. Let us learn from Christ what courage is. He can cleanse from the leprosy of fear.

III. Impurity is another form of leprosy.

IV. Indolence, too, is a leprosy. Christ’s is an active Spirit, by feeling the influence of which we shall be healed of sloth.

V. Selfishness is leprosy.

VI. We shall see in discontent an irritating leprosy, eating into our mind’s health and our soul’s peace. These are instances of our moral disease. The Saviour’s band can heal. (F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.)

Christ’s healing touch

Notice in Christ’s touch of the sick.

I. His fixing and confirming faith in himself the healer. It is in condescension to human weakness that He lays His hands on sick folk; we believe in little that we cannot see. Naaman said, “Behold, I thought,” etc. Pain and sickness are sensible; we look for equally sensible tokens of the energy of the Restorer. Thus we are touched into attention.

II. His answer to our craving for sympathy. Had Jesus held aloof from the diseased they would never have trusted Him. His touch was healing; some touches irritate. In the Incarnation Christ touches us in sympathy. It is a comfort to be touched by Christ.

III. The symbol of His bearing our infirmities and carrying our sins. He touched our nature in all its pollution. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. (A. Mackennal, B. A.)

Touching the loathsome

A good Christian lady living in Sweden opened a home for crippled and diseased children-children whom nobody really cared about but herself-and received about twenty of them into it. Amongst them was a little boy of three years old, who was a more frightful and disagreeable object than you ever saw, or are ever likely perhaps to see in your life. He resembled skeleton. His poor skin was so covered with blotches and sores that he could not be dressed. He was always crying and whining, always peevish, and the poor little fellow gave more trouble almost than all the others put together. The good lady did her best for him; she was as kind as possible-washed him, fed him, nursed him; but the child was so repulsive in his look and ways, that she could not bring herself to like him, and her disgust, I suppose, occasionally appeared in her face. One day she was sitting on the verandah-steps with the child in her arms. The sun was shining warm, the scent of the autumn honeysuckles, the chirping of the birds, the buzzing of the insects, lulled her into a sort of sleep; and in a half-waking, half-dreaming state, she thought of herself as having changed places with the child, and lying there, only more foul, more disagreeable than he was. Over her she saw the Lord Jesus bending, looking intently and lovingly into her face, and yet with a sort of expression of gentle rebuke in it, as if He meant to say, “If I can love and bear with you, who are so full of sin, surely you ought, for My sake, to love that guiltless child, who suffers for the sin of his parents.” She woke up with a start, and looked in the boy’s face. He had waked up too, and she expected to hear him begin to cry; but be looked at her-poor little mite!-very quietly and earnestly for a long time, and then she-sorry for her past disgust, and feeling a new compassion for him, and a new interest in him-bent her face to his, and kissed his forehead as tenderly as she had ever kissed any of her own babes. With a startled look in his eyes, and a flush in his cheeks, the boy, instead of crying, gave her back a smile so sweet, that she had never seen one like it before: nor will, she thinks, till it will light up his angel features some day on their meeting in heaven. From that day forth a perfect change came over the child. Young as he was, he had hitherto read the feelings of dislike and disgust in the faces of all who approached him, and that had embittered his little heart; but the touch of human love, swept all the peevishness and ill-nature away, and woke him up to a new and happier life. (G. Calthrop, M. A.)

Christian reserve in words modified by deeds

(ver. 4):-Why was this reserve insisted on? What would have led the restored leper to act at variance with Christ’s command? Two motives-a desire of bearing personal witness to the miraculous power of his Benefactor: or a wish to draw the eyes of men on the favour he had received. Both these we can conceive our Lord would be likely to prohibit-the one, because it was needless; the other, because it was exposed to harm.

1. The first of these objects was prohibited for reasons of our Lord’s showing. He did not wish to be the idol of strong excitement.

2. It was not His purpose to take men’s minds, as it were, by force. He would lay no compulsion on faith.

3. Then there was also the fact itself, clear and patent to the observation of all men. Then see, on the other hand, how the injunction of our Lord seems to have borne on the personal case of the leper himself. “Go show thyself to the priest.” As if our Lord had said, “Be not occupied with thine own self, make no display of what I have clone, let not that distract thee from what thou oughtest to do, thy duty is more than words, more than even magnifying thy blessings.” Thus our Lord prohibited words that He might enjoin actions. The full heart can seldom find adequate vent in words; deeds do not fail us. This is a comfort to the poor. (J. Puckle. M. A.)

The prudence of Jesus

(ver. 4):-Why did Jesus give this charge?

I. It may be observed that though our Saviour’s injunctions of silence and secresy were frequent, they were by no means constant. Many of His miracles were wrought in public. Jews expected a temporal Messiah. He wished to prevent popular rebellion. Fear did not suggest the injunction; but it was the course of courage, benevolence, and wisdom. He guarded Himself against the imputation of political intentions and of turbulence.

II. Our Lord desired To avoid all idle and unprofitable excitements. A love of display formed no part of His character. Quiet faith was the grace He loved to see. He desired obedience rather than profession. Is all need for caution gone? A due regard to circumstances and consequences no proof of a timid spirit. (F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.)

A picture of true faith

(ver. 1-13):-

I. What it sees in Christ.

1. Both of these ,applicants assigned to Him the character of a Great Healer. Saving faith sees in Christ the attributes of a great Physician.

2. They both saw in Christ a superhuman Power. Saving faith never thinks meanly of Christ.

3. They both saw in Christ a most encouraging beneficence. True faith sees in Christ a Rewarder of them that seek Him.

II. What are the affections with which it moves toward him.

1. It despairs of help in any one but Christ.

2. True faith is also attended with feeling of great unworthiness.

3. True faith is attended with earnest and practical interest in others.

III. The manner in which the Saviour met the faith of these men.

1. He graciously entertained their applications.

2. He mercifully granted their requests.

3. He introduced them into another empire. They were to sit down with Abraham, etc. (J A. Seiss, D. D.)

Human leprosy and its Divine cure

I. The leper.

1. He comes.

2. He worships.

3. He pleads.

II. The healer

1. He puts forth His hand.

2. He touched him.

3. He spoke.

In the leper two things are remarkable-the weakness of his body; the virtues of his mind.

I. The weariness of his body. Weakness proceeds from wickedness. The weakness of his body brought him to the Physician of his soul. He felt his misery great; but hoped Christ’s mercy was greater.

II. The virtues of his mind.

1. Faith.

2. Adoration.

3. Wisdom in selecting place, not on Mount, but in valley; time, not interrupting His sermon.

4. Patience. Content to stay God’s leisure.

5. Confession.

III. Now look at the physician.

1. His mercy.

2. His might.

1. The leper was commanded to tell no man. We must temper zeal with knowledge and obedience.

2. It was needless to tell it since his whole body, made clean, was a tongue to tell it.

3. It was absurd that he should boast he was clean, before he was so judged. (J. Bogs, D. D.)

The leper’s prayer

I. The characteristics of leprosy as set forte in scripture. Loathsome-helpless-hopeless.

1. The position of this leper was one of shame and disgrace. He inspired repugnance in those around him. Sin is a disgrace. It ought to fill with shame.

2. Other maladies healed by Christ invited sympathy and help and society. The leper was reminded by everything that he was alone in the world. Each one of us alone before God.

II. His faith.

1. There was a thorough consciousness of his own misery and a perfect conviction of his own helplessness. But he knew it was not too bad for Christ to deal with successfully.

2. The concentrated force which resides in the leper’s petition. His entire resignation; he is willing to leave the matter in the hands of Christ.

3. What a Divine concentration there is in the answer-“I will; be thou clean.” What a majestic utterance. Christ accepts the recognition of His power. The main point of the answer is, not His power, but His will. (Dean Howson, D. D.)

The leper’s loneliness as indicating the souls solitude

Each one of us is alone before God. However great may be the human crowd in which we live, however closely we may be connected with one another by affection, by interest, by duty, each soul is solitary in its relation to God. Just as in those great American forests, which stretch in vast succession over mountain and plain-whatever be the interlacing of the foliage-whatever be the beauty which comes from the blending of sunlight and shade-whatever havoc may be done on a great and extensive scale by storm and tempest-each tree, rising from its own root, with its one stem, and with the outgrowth of its own branches, is a solitary tree. So is the human soul, with the outgrowth of its own words and deeds, a solitary soul. No other human soul can share its responsibility. (Dean Howson, D. D.)

Secret leprosy

I have seen a fair and well-built house, lifting its head proudly above its neighbours, and having a goodly outside presence. And I have looked within, and found that the dry rot had eaten away rafter and beam, and that the house was ready to fall to ruin. During the Crimean War, our ships suffered far more from the dry rot within their timbers, than from the outside attacks of shot and shell. How many lives there are like that grand house, or those stately ships! Outside they are fair to look upon, men envy their wealth, or position, or good fortune, and all the while the foul leprosy is within, eating away the moral nature, making that life a ruin. (Wilmot Buxton.)

The mark of the leper

Is it the leprosy of an impure life, or a selfish nature, or a cruel tongue, or a proud, rebellious spirit? Whatever it be, once more, are you willing to be made clean? Before you can find pardon, you must see your sin and hate it. (Wilmot Buxton.)


Verses 1-34

Verse 5

Matthew 8:5; Matthew 8:10

There came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him.

I. The applicant. He was a centurion, etc. He was a Gentile, and not of the house of Israel. His profession was unfavourable to piety.

II. The suit he presented. The object of his suit. The way in which he presented it: personal exertion, earnest application, reverence and humility, extraordinary faith.

III. The success he experienced. He was honoured by the Saviour, his servant was healed.

1. Admire this example of human excellence.

2. See the grace and power of the Saviour.

3. Let all believers exert their influence for the good of others. (J. Burns, LL. D.)

Manliness

It is sometimes said that religion is not a thing for men.

I. Look at this soldier’s faith. It Was the faith of a man; no sign of weakness or effeminacy.

II. Look at this soldier’s humility. It was the humility of a man; not mere subservience, which bends before title, wealth, and perhaps not before God. It is an elevating thing to bend before such a God as ours.

III. Look at this soldier’s affection. Human affections not to be sneered at. These are the qualities of true manhood. (A. G. Bowman, M. A.)

1. The duty of masters in relation to their servants.

2. The duty of making intercession on behalf of others at the throne of grace, and the encouragement given thereto.

3. The intimate connection between great faith and great humility. (A. Peebles.)

Christ’s healing the centurion’s servant

I. In the centurion we have an instructive example to petitioners.

1. His benevolence in applying to Christ on behalf of the sick servant. He had not been hardened by scenes of war. The prudence and diligence of the servant won his esteem. Providence compensates cruelty or attention towards servants; this sickness brought the centurion into contact with Our Lord.

2. The humility that declined the Saviour’s offer-“I will come and heal him.” What conscious power; prompt kindness; unwearied benevolence! The military spirit often haughty.

3. The faith that asked only a word from the Saviour’s lips. He was convinced of Christ’s supremacy.

II. In the Saviour we have an edifying pattern to benefactors.

1. His admiration of the centurion’s faith. Christ, who saw all the glory of the world-wealth, valour, culture-admires faith more than all.

2. Christ’s warning to the Jewish nation-“Many shall come,” etc. (ver. 11).

3. The miracle of healing on the servant. (J. Bennett, D. D.)

The Roman centurion

I. In all the sick the highest honour given to a dying slave.

1. He is honoured by his master because he is faithful and obedient. Also because he was probably a believer in the God of Israel. How anxious ought we to be for the spiritual good of our friends, if centurion so anxious for bodily healing.

2. The whole city is moved on behalf of this poor, dying stranger; it is this which exalts his case above all the other sick in the gospel narratives.

3. The Lord Himself honours this dying stranger, saying, “I will come and heal him.” Jesus had a hard day’s work, and might have spared Himself this visit to the sick bed.

II. The deepest humility hid in the heart of a Roman commander.

1. The centurion is the only example of a man who thought himself unworthy to come to Christ, to speak to Jesus personally. How unworthy are we to address God!

2. He is the only man who thinks his house unworthy of Christ. Probably he had a good official residence.

III. The strongest faith found in a gentile soldier. The strength of his faith is connected with the depth of his humility; faith the root of every grace.

1. His faith discerns in the Son of Mary the unseen arm of the Lord.

2. His faith so discerns Christ as to make his own unworthiness no barrier to Christ’s work. (A. M. Stuart.)

Miracles of healing

I. What disease is; what place it holds with reference to the office and work of the redeemer. An important place from the numerous cases of cure. Disease is the beginning of death. Christ came to abolish death; by healing confirmed His mission. He showed the great restoration He came to effect in our whole nature.

1. The Son of Man came to save men’s lives, not to destroy them.

2. The importance of these our bodies in the great process of redemption. Modern religion too spiritual: must better the body by civilization and art, as well as soul.

II. The typical import of these healing miracles.

1. A type of man’s great disease-sin.

2. The great command which Christ has over all diseases, as His servants, going and coming at His word. (H. Alford, D. D.)

True faith

Our Lord did not heal the centurion’s servant at once; He delays. He will allow time for the play and energy of faith. What were the characters of the centurion’s faith?

1. His faith must have been a thing of gradual growth, and it must have grown under no ordinary conditions. He was a heathen. Many a man in his position would have looked at the religion around him with lack of sympathy. But he had come to see that though the Romans were better than the Jews in courage, the Jews were in possession of a higher faith. One step leads to another. He took interest in the religion of Israel: then led to notice the fame of Jesus. No help came to him from the memories of youth. When adverse circumstances do not kill faith, they brace it.

2. His faith was marked by thoroughness. No flaws in it at a critical hour.

3. His faith was characterized by humility. Alive to the awful majesty of God.

The question has been asked, Why should such a disposition and effort as faith have this power?

1. One reason of the religious power of faith is that it implies knowledge of facts of the highest importance to man.

2. It is a test or criterion of the predominant disposition of the soul or character. The believer has moral affinities with the revelation. The habit of insincerity is fatal to faith.

3. The third reason for the religious power of faith is its leverage. It sets the soul in motion, it embodies the element of will. Here a caution is necessary. Faith does not create, but apprehends its object. The healing power of Jesus is not dependent upon the centurion’s faith, although exerted as a token of approval of it. Let us pray for the faith of the centurion, persevering, thorough, humble. (Canon Liddon.)

Faith powerful because of the knowledge it imparts

At the time of the Franco-German War, some twelve years ago, the success of the Germans was largely attributed to the superiority of their intelligence department. They knew so much more about the strength and position of the enemy, and their own available resources, than did the French, that they conquered. Well, faith supplies the general intelligence department of the soul. Faith reports all that is of most importance to a being who is wrestling, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. True, such information may not be acted on. The truant soul often prevails against the sense of evil; but faith does supply the information which may be acted on, and thus it contributes very efficiently indeed, a first condition of religious success. (Canon Liddon.)

Faith powerful because of the will-power it evokes

The action of faith is in Scripture represented to us not merely by that of the eye; it is also represented by that of the hand. When Scripture speaks of the believing Christian as “apprehending,” or “laying hold oil” Christ our Lord, it implies that faith is a hand as well as an eye; that it is not merely spiritualized intelligence, but spiritualized will. The faith which justifies does not merely behold; it claims its object. And the effort of will, which is thus inseparable from faith, means energy-let us be quite sure of it-in a great many more directions than one. (Canon Liddon.)

The faith of the centurion

I. That he attained it under unfavourable circumstances.

II. That his application was made, not for himself, but for his servant. His faith was thus adorned by fervent charity. We should intercede for others.

III. That he does not in words ask anything. He merely stated to Jesus the fact that his servant was ill. His faith deemed this enough to ensure relief from Christ. Jesus says, “I will come and heal him.” In these words He expresses His own gracious method in dealing with mankind.

IV. That it was tempered with humility. A false faith known by its pride.

V. How he uses his own reason for help in establishing this excellent faith. “For I am a man under authority,” etc. To us the word only is spoken. We must be healed through the influence of the written Word, if healed at all. This is the condition of our trial. Some want sensible proof of the truths of religion. (C. Girdlestone, M. A.)

The centurion’s faith proved

“Go thy way; … I will stay apart from thy sick servant; … I will take thee at thy word.”

I. Observe how this proposal was calculated to try the earnestness of his faith. How far we really believe may be gathered from the fruits of our faith. Let us thus test our belief in Providence, revelation, the assistance of Divine grace, of the resurrection of the body. What portion have we by real faith in these? To the centurion Christ’s words were words of comfort; to his servant, of healing. Are they to us? He was justified in the profession of his faith.

II. Hence we may account for the slight degree in which we at present derive benefits from the privileges of the Gospel. It is only by believing more heartily that we can be healed more fully.

III. From these words we may form a just apprehension also of our future sentence. Then it will be said, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” We are graciously justified by faith. (C. Girdlestone, M. A.)

Thy word suffices me

I. The perfect readiness of Christ.

II. The conscious ability of Christ.

III. The abiding method of Christ. He spake and it was done.

1. This coming back to the original form of working in creation.

2. This method suits true humility.

3. It pleases great faith.

4. It is perfectly reasonable.

5. It is sure to succeed. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Divine Word enough

When William, Prince of Orange, was invited to come to England and be king, he promised certain offices to his friends, and he gave them written pledges. But when he offered such a pledge to the man who was to be his Lord Chamberlain, that nobleman replied, “Your Majesty’s word is sufficient. I would not serve a king if I could not trust in his word.” That saying pleased the king, and he who showed such faith in him became his favourite minister. Should we not be willing to take the word of the King of kings?

The Almighty Healer

I. As an answer to prayer.

1. Whose prayer was it that was here answered? A heathen’s.

2. What was the prayer that was here answered’? Not personal, but relative, for another.

3. When was this prayer answered-immediately?

II. As an instance of condescension.

III. As A display of power.

IV. As an emblem of His grace. (W. Jay.)

The centurion’s faith and humility

1. The care of this centurion for his servant was commendable.

2. A beautiful instance of the conquest over prejudice. When prejudice shall be universally overcome, Turks and Hindoos will build Christian temples, and bigots of every sect will unite in seeking the Saviour’s mercy for the wretched of our race.

3. An example of great humility. His situation was calculated to foster pride.

4. The power of grace to overcome all the obstacles of rank and condition.

5. His faith. (W. H. Lewis.)

The worth of humility

Look

at the tops of the mountains. They represent pride. Nothing grows there. See how bare and barren they are! And then look at the quiet, low-lying valleys. They represent humility. And see how beautiful they are in their greenness and fertility! The highest branches of the vine or tree represent pride. You find no fruit on them. The low branches represent humility. These you will find bending down with the load of rich, ripe fruit that hangs upon them. A farmer went with his son into the wheat field to see if it was ready for the harvest. “See, father,” said the boy, “how straight those stems hold up their heads! They must be the best ones. Those that hang down their heads, as if they were ashamed, cannot be good for much, I’m sure.” The farmer plucked a stalk of each kind, and said, “Look here, foolish child. This stalk that stood up so straight is light-headed, and almost good for nothing; while this that hung its head so modestly is full of the most beautiful grain.” (R. Newton, D. D.)

The greatness of faith

Christ knew all the man had gone through to arrive at faith. Faith is a hard work: and Jesus knows it. A man who is not a real Christian sometimes shows a trust which might well put to shame the truest child of God.

I. What composed the greatness of his faith?

1. With few advantages the centurion had gone far in advance of the age.

2. Seizing the first opportunity with personal exertion, and on a loving purpose, he came to Christ.

3. Arrived in His presence, he was earnest, simple, devout.

4. At Christ’s favour to him his faith rose higher, and his heart went lower.

II. How did that faith come? By the ways you cannot see-a grace-a creation. What makes faith grow larger?

1. Look into the constitution of faith. First, it is a clear understanding of the truth; secondly, it is a converting of the abstract truth into a thing real in the mind; thirdly, it is an appropriation, a making your own the truth understood. To increase faith these three points must he cultivated.

1. Keep pure the affections; avoid sin. Faith grows by its own actings.

2. He who would enlarge faith must feed upon promises.

3. To have found Christ as a Saviour gives faith its best impulse.

4. The measurement of everything to a Christian is the falling and rising of his faith. (J. Vaughan, M. A.)

It is evident that our religious attainments may not be equal to our opportunities of spiritual growth, and that we may be surpassed in moral excellence by those who have not enjoyed our mercies.

I. Our advantages as the professed disciples of Christ. “In Judah is God known; His Name is great in Israel.” Our advantages may be considered as great.

1. In our birth and education.

2. That we have the inspired volume in our own language.

3. The ordinances of the Lord are with us.

4. That we enjoy religious liberty.

II. Consider the attainments in the ways of God. “What do we more than others?”

1. Encouragement. If we have a little faith, it is a great mercy.

2. Reproof. Have we not loitered in the ways of God?

3. Instruction. Learn to do better. (T. Wood.)

A blessed wonder

What was there about the centurion’s faith so remarkable that Christ wondered at it?

I. That there was such faith found in such a person. Did not expect to find it in a Gentile-a Roman-a soldier, etc. The most astonishing and acceptable faith may be exercised by the most unlikely persons.

II. The subject of the centurion’s confidence-his servant struck with the palsy. His was a faith which took an impossibility into its hand and threw it aside, etc. There is no sin too black for His blood to wash out the stain.

III. The realizing energy of this man’s faith which led him to deal with the case in such a business-like way. So should we.

IV. He did not ask for a sign. Some want to feel “strong convictions,” “extraordinary sensations,” etc. We must accept the bare word of God in Christ Jesus as the basis of faith, for no other foundation is to be depended on for a moment.

V. His conviction that Christ could cure his servant at once. Usually, successful combat with disease requires time. Pardon, a present blessing-not the result of weeks of fasting, etc.

VI. His deep humility, which instead of weakening his faith only strengthened it. How often the sense of unworthiness keeps from Christ-“I cannot believe, I am so great a sinner,” etc. The simplicity of faith often makes it difficult. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Marvellous faith

This faith was remarkable, because it was-

I. Great in itself. The centurion believed-

1. That Christ had absolute power over disease.

2. That He could heal his servant at a distance.

3. By His word.

II. Great as compared with that of the Jews. They were favoured with many aids to faith, while the centurion had many obstacles, etc.; yet the faith of the latter far transcended that of the former. In this we have-

1. Warning for privileged people.

2. Encouragement for those who labour under disadvantages.

III. Joined with great humility. “Humility is both the fruit of faith and the companion of faith; an humble soul has a high esteem of Christ, and a low esteem of himself.” The faith of the centurion was-

IV. Gloriously rewarded.

1. His servant was healed.

2. He himself was received as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. (W. Jones.)

The soldier and his slave

The suppliant’s previous history. A centurion-a Gentile.

1. He was a good neighbour.

2. He was a kind master.

I. Look at the Centurion’s address to the Saviour.

1. His humility. What words for a proud Roman to address to a poor Jew.

2. His faith. It took its colour from his soldier-life.

II. The Saviour’s comment on the conduct of this noble-minded soldier, and reflection to which it leads.

1. He announces, in connection with this remarkable display of faith, the inbringing of the Gentile nations. The Roman soldier was the earnest-sheaf of u mighty harvest yet to he reaped in heathen lands, o. That in every profession and occupation of life a man may serve God. His military habits fed his faith.

3. Great faith is fostered in the midst of difficulties. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)
.

The centurion’s servant

1. The value of faith.

2. The value of intercession.

3. The value of Christ’s intercession. (T. R. Stevenson.)

The true disposition required in communicants

”I am not worthy.” Personal humility, met, limited, and directed by personal faith. Many say of the Holy Communion that they are unworthy.

1. But this humility, if really what it ought to be, should lead us directly to the performance of this sacred duty. Our humility should take the form of that in our text. The communicant can’t be worthy as far as real worthiness is concerned.

2. But it is at this point that our humility should he met, limited, and directed by our faith. The centurion’s sense of unworthiness did not turn him aside from duty, from beseeching our Lord to help him; it delicately gave greater force to his request.

3. Our humility, if sincere, will issue in our greater confidence in God’s mercy. (J. Puckle, M. A.)

Faith where not expected

On which side of the garden wall, children, would you expect to get the finest fruit-on the inside, where the gardener has carefully tended the fruit, or on the other side, where the seed has accidentally dropped and grown up by itself? On the inside, would not you say? And if you found on the other side more order and better fruit than inside, you would be very much astonished. So was Jesus when He found this heathen man with such a beautiful trust and character as He had not met with among His own people-the sons of Abraham.

Faith superior to circumstances

The temptations incident to a military life are neither few nor small. Camps are not churches. Barracks are often baleful. We may, therefore safely affirm that if a holy life can be lived there, it can be lived anywhere. “God is able to make you stand,” though your lot be cast in “ slippery places.” The leaves of some plants may be plunged in water and taken out dry. They are so defended by a fine, thick down all over their surface that water will lie in “minature lakes” in their hollows for hours, and leave no tinge of dampness. By God’s grace the plant of piety may be surrounded by evil influences and yet preserved from their power. (T. R. Stevenson.)

A soldier’s faith

One day when Napoleon

I. was reviewing his troops in Paris, he let fall the reins of his horse upon the animal’s neck, when the proud charger galloped away. Before the rider could recover the bridle, a common soldier ran out from the ranks, caught the reins, stopped the horse, and placed the bridle again in the hands of the Emperor. “Much obliged to you, captain,” said Napoleon. The man immediately believed the chief and said, ‘Of what regiment, sir? Napoleon, delighted with his quick perception and manly trust in his word, replied, “Of my guards,” and rode away, As soon as the Emperor left the soldier laid down his gun, saying, “He may take it who will,” and started for the Company of Staff Officers … and so the soldier came duly to his post as Captain of Napoleon’s Guard. (Sibbs.)


Verse 10

Matthew 8:5; Matthew 8:10

There came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him.

I. The applicant. He was a centurion, etc. He was a Gentile, and not of the house of Israel. His profession was unfavourable to piety.

II. The suit he presented. The object of his suit. The way in which he presented it: personal exertion, earnest application, reverence and humility, extraordinary faith.

III. The success he experienced. He was honoured by the Saviour, his servant was healed.

1. Admire this example of human excellence.

2. See the grace and power of the Saviour.

3. Let all believers exert their influence for the good of others. (J. Burns, LL. D.)

Manliness

It is sometimes said that religion is not a thing for men.

I. Look at this soldier’s faith. It Was the faith of a man; no sign of weakness or effeminacy.

II. Look at this soldier’s humility. It was the humility of a man; not mere subservience, which bends before title, wealth, and perhaps not before God. It is an elevating thing to bend before such a God as ours.

III. Look at this soldier’s affection. Human affections not to be sneered at. These are the qualities of true manhood. (A. G. Bowman, M. A.)

1. The duty of masters in relation to their servants.

2. The duty of making intercession on behalf of others at the throne of grace, and the encouragement given thereto.

3. The intimate connection between great faith and great humility. (A. Peebles.)

Christ’s healing the centurion’s servant

I. In the centurion we have an instructive example to petitioners.

1. His benevolence in applying to Christ on behalf of the sick servant. He had not been hardened by scenes of war. The prudence and diligence of the servant won his esteem. Providence compensates cruelty or attention towards servants; this sickness brought the centurion into contact with Our Lord.

2. The humility that declined the Saviour’s offer-“I will come and heal him.” What conscious power; prompt kindness; unwearied benevolence! The military spirit often haughty.

3. The faith that asked only a word from the Saviour’s lips. He was convinced of Christ’s supremacy.

II. In the Saviour we have an edifying pattern to benefactors.

1. His admiration of the centurion’s faith. Christ, who saw all the glory of the world-wealth, valour, culture-admires faith more than all.

2. Christ’s warning to the Jewish nation-“Many shall come,” etc. (ver. 11).

3. The miracle of healing on the servant. (J. Bennett, D. D.)

The Roman centurion

I. In all the sick the highest honour given to a dying slave.

1. He is honoured by his master because he is faithful and obedient. Also because he was probably a believer in the God of Israel. How anxious ought we to be for the spiritual good of our friends, if centurion so anxious for bodily healing.

2. The whole city is moved on behalf of this poor, dying stranger; it is this which exalts his case above all the other sick in the gospel narratives.

3. The Lord Himself honours this dying stranger, saying, “I will come and heal him.” Jesus had a hard day’s work, and might have spared Himself this visit to the sick bed.

II. The deepest humility hid in the heart of a Roman commander.

1. The centurion is the only example of a man who thought himself unworthy to come to Christ, to speak to Jesus personally. How unworthy are we to address God!

2. He is the only man who thinks his house unworthy of Christ. Probably he had a good official residence.

III. The strongest faith found in a gentile soldier. The strength of his faith is connected with the depth of his humility; faith the root of every grace.

1. His faith discerns in the Son of Mary the unseen arm of the Lord.

2. His faith so discerns Christ as to make his own unworthiness no barrier to Christ’s work. (A. M. Stuart.)

Miracles of healing

I. What disease is; what place it holds with reference to the office and work of the redeemer. An important place from the numerous cases of cure. Disease is the beginning of death. Christ came to abolish death; by healing confirmed His mission. He showed the great restoration He came to effect in our whole nature.

1. The Son of Man came to save men’s lives, not to destroy them.

2. The importance of these our bodies in the great process of redemption. Modern religion too spiritual: must better the body by civilization and art, as well as soul.

II. The typical import of these healing miracles.

1. A type of man’s great disease-sin.

2. The great command which Christ has over all diseases, as His servants, going and coming at His word. (H. Alford, D. D.)

True faith

Our Lord did not heal the centurion’s servant at once; He delays. He will allow time for the play and energy of faith. What were the characters of the centurion’s faith?

1. His faith must have been a thing of gradual growth, and it must have grown under no ordinary conditions. He was a heathen. Many a man in his position would have looked at the religion around him with lack of sympathy. But he had come to see that though the Romans were better than the Jews in courage, the Jews were in possession of a higher faith. One step leads to another. He took interest in the religion of Israel: then led to notice the fame of Jesus. No help came to him from the memories of youth. When adverse circumstances do not kill faith, they brace it.

2. His faith was marked by thoroughness. No flaws in it at a critical hour.

3. His faith was characterized by humility. Alive to the awful majesty of God.

The question has been asked, Why should such a disposition and effort as faith have this power?

1. One reason of the religious power of faith is that it implies knowledge of facts of the highest importance to man.

2. It is a test or criterion of the predominant disposition of the soul or character. The believer has moral affinities with the revelation. The habit of insincerity is fatal to faith.

3. The third reason for the religious power of faith is its leverage. It sets the soul in motion, it embodies the element of will. Here a caution is necessary. Faith does not create, but apprehends its object. The healing power of Jesus is not dependent upon the centurion’s faith, although exerted as a token of approval of it. Let us pray for the faith of the centurion, persevering, thorough, humble. (Canon Liddon.)

Faith powerful because of the knowledge it imparts

At the time of the Franco-German War, some twelve years ago, the success of the Germans was largely attributed to the superiority of their intelligence department. They knew so much more about the strength and position of the enemy, and their own available resources, than did the French, that they conquered. Well, faith supplies the general intelligence department of the soul. Faith reports all that is of most importance to a being who is wrestling, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. True, such information may not be acted on. The truant soul often prevails against the sense of evil; but faith does supply the information which may be acted on, and thus it contributes very efficiently indeed, a first condition of religious success. (Canon Liddon.)

Faith powerful because of the will-power it evokes

The action of faith is in Scripture represented to us not merely by that of the eye; it is also represented by that of the hand. When Scripture speaks of the believing Christian as “apprehending,” or “laying hold oil” Christ our Lord, it implies that faith is a hand as well as an eye; that it is not merely spiritualized intelligence, but spiritualized will. The faith which justifies does not merely behold; it claims its object. And the effort of will, which is thus inseparable from faith, means energy-let us be quite sure of it-in a great many more directions than one. (Canon Liddon.)

The faith of the centurion

I. That he attained it under unfavourable circumstances.

II. That his application was made, not for himself, but for his servant. His faith was thus adorned by fervent charity. We should intercede for others.

III. That he does not in words ask anything. He merely stated to Jesus the fact that his servant was ill. His faith deemed this enough to ensure relief from Christ. Jesus says, “I will come and heal him.” In these words He expresses His own gracious method in dealing with mankind.

IV. That it was tempered with humility. A false faith known by its pride.

V. How he uses his own reason for help in establishing this excellent faith. “For I am a man under authority,” etc. To us the word only is spoken. We must be healed through the influence of the written Word, if healed at all. This is the condition of our trial. Some want sensible proof of the truths of religion. (C. Girdlestone, M. A.)

The centurion’s faith proved

“Go thy way; … I will stay apart from thy sick servant; … I will take thee at thy word.”

I. Observe how this proposal was calculated to try the earnestness of his faith. How far we really believe may be gathered from the fruits of our faith. Let us thus test our belief in Providence, revelation, the assistance of Divine grace, of the resurrection of the body. What portion have we by real faith in these? To the centurion Christ’s words were words of comfort; to his servant, of healing. Are they to us? He was justified in the profession of his faith.

II. Hence we may account for the slight degree in which we at present derive benefits from the privileges of the Gospel. It is only by believing more heartily that we can be healed more fully.

III. From these words we may form a just apprehension also of our future sentence. Then it will be said, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” We are graciously justified by faith. (C. Girdlestone, M. A.)

Thy word suffices me

I. The perfect readiness of Christ.

II. The conscious ability of Christ.

III. The abiding method of Christ. He spake and it was done.

1. This coming back to the original form of working in creation.

2. This method suits true humility.

3. It pleases great faith.

4. It is perfectly reasonable.

5. It is sure to succeed. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Divine Word enough

When William, Prince of Orange, was invited to come to England and be king, he promised certain offices to his friends, and he gave them written pledges. But when he offered such a pledge to the man who was to be his Lord Chamberlain, that nobleman replied, “Your Majesty’s word is sufficient. I would not serve a king if I could not trust in his word.” That saying pleased the king, and he who showed such faith in him became his favourite minister. Should we not be willing to take the word of the King of kings?

The Almighty Healer

I. As an answer to prayer.

1. Whose prayer was it that was here answered? A heathen’s.

2. What was the prayer that was here answered’? Not personal, but relative, for another.

3. When was this prayer answered-immediately?

II. As an instance of condescension.

III. As A display of power.

IV. As an emblem of His grace. (W. Jay.)

The centurion’s faith and humility

1. The care of this centurion for his servant was commendable.

2. A beautiful instance of the conquest over prejudice. When prejudice shall be universally overcome, Turks and Hindoos will build Christian temples, and bigots of every sect will unite in seeking the Saviour’s mercy for the wretched of our race.

3. An example of great humility. His situation was calculated to foster pride.

4. The power of grace to overcome all the obstacles of rank and condition.

5. His faith. (W. H. Lewis.)

The worth of humility

Look

at the tops of the mountains. They represent pride. Nothing grows there. See how bare and barren they are! And then look at the quiet, low-lying valleys. They represent humility. And see how beautiful they are in their greenness and fertility! The highest branches of the vine or tree represent pride. You find no fruit on them. The low branches represent humility. These you will find bending down with the load of rich, ripe fruit that hangs upon them. A farmer went with his son into the wheat field to see if it was ready for the harvest. “See, father,” said the boy, “how straight those stems hold up their heads! They must be the best ones. Those that hang down their heads, as if they were ashamed, cannot be good for much, I’m sure.” The farmer plucked a stalk of each kind, and said, “Look here, foolish child. This stalk that stood up so straight is light-headed, and almost good for nothing; while this that hung its head so modestly is full of the most beautiful grain.” (R. Newton, D. D.)

The greatness of faith

Christ knew all the man had gone through to arrive at faith. Faith is a hard work: and Jesus knows it. A man who is not a real Christian sometimes shows a trust which might well put to shame the truest child of God.

I. What composed the greatness of his faith?

1. With few advantages the centurion had gone far in advance of the age.

2. Seizing the first opportunity with personal exertion, and on a loving purpose, he came to Christ.

3. Arrived in His presence, he was earnest, simple, devout.

4. At Christ’s favour to him his faith rose higher, and his heart went lower.

II. How did that faith come? By the ways you cannot see-a grace-a creation. What makes faith grow larger?

1. Look into the constitution of faith. First, it is a clear understanding of the truth; secondly, it is a converting of the abstract truth into a thing real in the mind; thirdly, it is an appropriation, a making your own the truth understood. To increase faith these three points must he cultivated.

1. Keep pure the affections; avoid sin. Faith grows by its own actings.

2. He who would enlarge faith must feed upon promises.

3. To have found Christ as a Saviour gives faith its best impulse.

4. The measurement of everything to a Christian is the falling and rising of his faith. (J. Vaughan, M. A.)

It is evident that our religious attainments may not be equal to our opportunities of spiritual growth, and that we may be surpassed in moral excellence by those who have not enjoyed our mercies.

I. Our advantages as the professed disciples of Christ. “In Judah is God known; His Name is great in Israel.” Our advantages may be considered as great.

1. In our birth and education.

2. That we have the inspired volume in our own language.

3. The ordinances of the Lord are with us.

4. That we enjoy religious liberty.

II. Consider the attainments in the ways of God. “What do we more than others?”

1. Encouragement. If we have a little faith, it is a great mercy.

2. Reproof. Have we not loitered in the ways of God?

3. Instruction. Learn to do better. (T. Wood.)

A blessed wonder

What was there about the centurion’s faith so remarkable that Christ wondered at it?

I. That there was such faith found in such a person. Did not expect to find it in a Gentile-a Roman-a soldier, etc. The most astonishing and acceptable faith may be exercised by the most unlikely persons.

II. The subject of the centurion’s confidence-his servant struck with the palsy. His was a faith which took an impossibility into its hand and threw it aside, etc. There is no sin too black for His blood to wash out the stain.

III. The realizing energy of this man’s faith which led him to deal with the case in such a business-like way. So should we.

IV. He did not ask for a sign. Some want to feel “strong convictions,” “extraordinary sensations,” etc. We must accept the bare word of God in Christ Jesus as the basis of faith, for no other foundation is to be depended on for a moment.

V. His conviction that Christ could cure his servant at once. Usually, successful combat with disease requires time. Pardon, a present blessing-not the result of weeks of fasting, etc.

VI. His deep humility, which instead of weakening his faith only strengthened it. How often the sense of unworthiness keeps from Christ-“I cannot believe, I am so great a sinner,” etc. The simplicity of faith often makes it difficult. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Marvellous faith

This faith was remarkable, because it was-

I. Great in itself. The centurion believed-

1. That Christ had absolute power over disease.

2. That He could heal his servant at a distance.

3. By His word.

II. Great as compared with that of the Jews. They were favoured with many aids to faith, while the centurion had many obstacles, etc.; yet the faith of the latter far transcended that of the former. In this we have-

1. Warning for privileged people.

2. Encouragement for those who labour under disadvantages.

III. Joined with great humility. “Humility is both the fruit of faith and the companion of faith; an humble soul has a high esteem of Christ, and a low esteem of himself.” The faith of the centurion was-

IV. Gloriously rewarded.

1. His servant was healed.

2. He himself was received as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. (W. Jones.)

The soldier and his slave

The suppliant’s previous history. A centurion-a Gentile.

1. He was a good neighbour.

2. He was a kind master.

I. Look at the Centurion’s address to the Saviour.

1. His humility. What words for a proud Roman to address to a poor Jew.

2. His faith. It took its colour from his soldier-life.

II. The Saviour’s comment on the conduct of this noble-minded soldier, and reflection to which it leads.

1. He announces, in connection with this remarkable display of faith, the inbringing of the Gentile nations. The Roman soldier was the earnest-sheaf of u mighty harvest yet to he reaped in heathen lands, o. That in every profession and occupation of life a man may serve God. His military habits fed his faith.

3. Great faith is fostered in the midst of difficulties. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)
.

The centurion’s servant

1. The value of faith.

2. The value of intercession.

3. The value of Christ’s intercession. (T. R. Stevenson.)

The true disposition required in communicants

”I am not worthy.” Personal humility, met, limited, and directed by personal faith. Many say of the Holy Communion that they are unworthy.

1. But this humility, if really what it ought to be, should lead us directly to the performance of this sacred duty. Our humility should take the form of that in our text. The communicant can’t be worthy as far as real worthiness is concerned.

2. But it is at this point that our humility should he met, limited, and directed by our faith. The centurion’s sense of unworthiness did not turn him aside from duty, from beseeching our Lord to help him; it delicately gave greater force to his request.

3. Our humility, if sincere, will issue in our greater confidence in God’s mercy. (J. Puckle, M. A.)

Faith where not expected

On which side of the garden wall, children, would you expect to get the finest fruit-on the inside, where the gardener has carefully tended the fruit, or on the other side, where the seed has accidentally dropped and grown up by itself? On the inside, would not you say? And if you found on the other side more order and better fruit than inside, you would be very much astonished. So was Jesus when He found this heathen man with such a beautiful trust and character as He had not met with among His own people-the sons of Abraham.

Faith superior to circumstances

The temptations incident to a military life are neither few nor small. Camps are not churches. Barracks are often baleful. We may, therefore safely affirm that if a holy life can be lived there, it can be lived anywhere. “God is able to make you stand,” though your lot be cast in “ slippery places.” The leaves of some plants may be plunged in water and taken out dry. They are so defended by a fine, thick down all over their surface that water will lie in “minature lakes” in their hollows for hours, and leave no tinge of dampness. By God’s grace the plant of piety may be surrounded by evil influences and yet preserved from their power. (T. R. Stevenson.)

A soldier’s faith

One day when Napoleon

I. was reviewing his troops in Paris, he let fall the reins of his horse upon the animal’s neck, when the proud charger galloped away. Before the rider could recover the bridle, a common soldier ran out from the ranks, caught the reins, stopped the horse, and placed the bridle again in the hands of the Emperor. “Much obliged to you, captain,” said Napoleon. The man immediately believed the chief and said, ‘Of what regiment, sir? Napoleon, delighted with his quick perception and manly trust in his word, replied, “Of my guards,” and rode away, As soon as the Emperor left the soldier laid down his gun, saying, “He may take it who will,” and started for the Company of Staff Officers … and so the soldier came duly to his post as Captain of Napoleon’s Guard. (Sibbs.)


Verse 11-12

Matthew 8:11-12

Many shall come from the east and west.

The extent if God’s family

I. That the number of the saved shall be great. “Many.” Might expect the contrary from aspect of society. God has secret servants.

II. That the large company shall be made up of men from all nations. “From the east and west.”

III. That all these persons shall be united in heaven in society. “Sit down together.” The happiness of heaven will not be solitary; it will not be without union.

IV. This change takes place in heaven. Must not take earthly conceptions of this celestial state; it is a state connected with God.

V. We may infer something with regard to the nature and completeness of the happiness that will be enjoyed by the saints in glory,

1. Rest. “They shall sit down.”

2. Sovereignty. They shall sit on thrones as kings. (J. W. Cunningham, M. A.)

The connection

Christ receives applications from all sorts of characters. The centurion-conscious of personal unworthiness-concerned for his domestics-unbounded confidence in the capacity of Christ.

I. The exulting prophecy. Implies that God is no respecter of persons (Isaiah 45:6; Isaiah 59:19; Malachi 1:11); that many shall be saved; that heaven is an exalted state of felicity, rest, and social intercourse, etc. (Ch 25:10, 26:29; Luke 14:15; Luke 22:30 : Revelation 19:7-11). Loyal submission to the King, enjoyment of His presence, admiration of His glories; laud and magnify His name.

II. The agency by which it shall be effected. Manifold-chiefly by the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21); adapted-to every stage of human society, to every order of mind, and to every moral condition; efficient-the power of the Holy Ghost, awakening, convicting, etc. (1 Thessalonians 1:5, &c.). “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (A. Tucker.)

Bigotry must not limit the number of the saved

The readiest way in the world to thin heaven, and replenish the regions of hell, is to call in the spirit of bigotry. This will immediately arraign, and condemn, and execute all that do not bow down and worship the image of our idolatry. Possessing exclusive prerogatives, it rejects every other claim-“Stand by, I am sounder than thou. The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we!” How many of the dead has this intolerance sentenced to external misery, who will shine like stars in the kingdom of our Father! How many living characters does it not reprobate, who are placing in it all their glory! No wonder, if under the influence of this consuming zeal, we form lessening views of the number of the saved: “I only am left”-yes, they are few indeed, if none belong to them who do not belong to your party-that do not see with your eyes-that do not believe election with you, or universal redemption with you-that do not worship under a steeple with you, Grin a meeting-house with you-that are not dipped with you, or sprinkled with you! But hereafter we shall find that the righteous were not so circumscribed. (Jay.)

Hen then converts

Mosheu, an African chief, visited Dr. Moffat at Kuruman. The missionary availed himself of the opportunity to speak of the “one thing needful,” but without apparent effect. After some time Mosheu repeated his visit to Kuruman, bringing with him a very large retinue. He was agonizing to enter the kingdom of God. “When first I visited you,” he said to Dr. Moffat. “I had only one heart, but now I have come with two. I cannot rest; my eyes will not slumber, because of the greatness of the things you told me on nay first visit.”

Heaven and Hell

I. A glorious promise.

1. It is a land of rest-“sit down.”

2. The good company they sit with, “Abraham and Isaac.” etc.

3. Man? I shall come. I have no wish for a small heaven; many mansions.

4. Where they come from-from all places and classes, even the most hopeless.

5. The certainty “shall.”

II. The children of the kingdom cast out.

1. Those noted for externals in religion.

2. The children of pious fathers and mothers.

3. They are to be cast out. Where to? (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The heavenly state

1. Many, will be there. What are “ many “ in the Divine authentic? Must not lower the standard of admission.

2. The imagery that of a banquet, the attitude assigned to the assembly. Nest and repose after labour and conflict.

3. The celestial citizens are to know one another, else it would little avail to sit down with Abraham, etc. The meeting-place of generations. (H. Melvill, B. D.)

The wonderful M.

The Countess of Huntingdon used to say, “She thanked God for the wonderful letter M, for it turned ‘any’ into ‘many;’ thus the Word of God reads, ‘Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called’ (1 Corinthians 1:26), therefore she could be found amongst the ‘not many.’” The wonderful “M” shows forth the extent of God’s grace. Man does not enter heaven by virtue of his poverty or his riches, sufferings or rejoicings, morality or immorality, but by virtue of the atonement and the shedding of the precious blood of Christ. None can rightly say, “I have had so much trial and trouble down here that I am sure God will provide a place for me;” nor can they say, “I am so noble, and have such power in this world that I surely must have a place above.” God is no respecter of persons. All, whatever their station or circumstances, find but one entrance into eternal glory, even through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-the only door, the one way, by which alone any can be saved,

The children of the kingdom

I. By the children of the kingdom are intended the Jews, who were God’s peculiar people.

1. God was in an especial manner their King. He revealed Himself as their King and Saviour. He fought against their enemies.

2. As a king He laid down laws which they were to follow.

3. They were not only subjects of the kingdom; they were to be children of it.

4. The justice of that sentence, which, after their ejection, deprived the children of the kingdom of their glorious inheritance.

II. How were they cast into outer darkness.

1. They were withdrawn immediately from that which is light even on earth-the enjoyment of God’s grace, and the enlightenment of His Holy Spirit. This was outer darkness of soul.

2. They were driven into the darkness of sorrow and affliction.

III. The cause why this happened-their unbelief. We are now the children of the kingdom; have God’s laws written in our hearts. (J. Garbett)


Verse 14

Matthew 8:14

Sick of a fever.

Peter was a disciple, yet affliction was permitted to visit his domestic circle.

Affliction at home

1. Develops social sympathy.

2. Brings out family characteristics.

3. Unites the household in devotional exercises.

4. Evokes practical and affectionate gratitude. (Dr. Parker.)

Fevers at Capernaum

How do you account for the prevalence of fevers at Capernaum? for it was there, of course, that “Peter’s wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.” Fevers are still prevalent in this region, particularly in summer and autumn, owing to the extreme heat acting upon the marshy plains, like that of El Batihah,, at the influxof the Jordan. (W. M. Thomson, D. D.)

Domestic affliction an imoving ministry

You would not be half the man you are but for your sick child; your tendency is towards bumptiousness, aggressiveness of speech, sternness, harshness. You have a magisterial cast and bearing in your life; but that little sick child has softened you, and been like a benediction upon your life. Men now take notice of your voice and say, “What new tones have subtly entered into it; how different” the kind grasp, how noble the new bearing, how impressive the sacred patience, how touching and pathetic the sadness of the face!” Afflictions do not spring out of the dust: do not be impatient with them; we need something to soften this hard life. O, if it were all buying, selling, getting gain, outrunning one another in a race for wealth in which the racers take no time to recover themselves-there would be no gardens on the face of the earth, no places consecrated to floral beauty, no houses built for music, no churches set up for prayer. But affliction helps to keep us right, affliction brings us to our knees. (J. Perkier, D. D.)


Verse 17

Matthew 8:17

Himself took our infirmities.

The preciousness of Christ’s sympathy with our infirmities

Our Lord’s union with our nature was actual and personal, etc. In this point of light, the truth of Christ’s sympathy with our infirmities presents itself with an actuality and vividness the most realizing and personal. The proper discussion of our subject suggests the consideration of;

I. The infirmities which appertain to our humanity. Physical-as the consequence of sin, and not in themselves sinful: New Testament illustrations. May become occasions of sin. But Christ’s sympathy extends to all the infirmities to which His people are subject-the inbeing of sin; constitutional infirmities-varied; sufferings and persecutions, provocations, trials and temptations; proneness to look to the dark providences of God, rather than to His power, faithfulness to live in the providence, etc.

II. Our Lord’s personal participation in those infirmities. It was a personal act; by His assumption of our humanity; by taking upon Him our sins.

III. The preciousness of His sympathy with the varied infirmities of His people. Fitted to sympathize-“touched,” etc. Let us be patient and sympathizing towards the infirmities of our fellow Christians. (Dr. O. Winslow.)

Christ’s identity and sympathy with His people

I. The completeness of Christ’s identity with his people.

1. Our true nature.

2. In its entirety.

3. In our trials.

II. The closeness of his sympathy. Identity is the source of sympathy. Christ had sympathy with His followers. (H. Stowell, M. A.)

The sympathy of Jesus

The miracles which Christ had wrought.

I. A revelation of Christ-of the sympathetic heart of Jesus. The working of healing miracles not with Jesus a matter of calculation, rather the spontaneous forth-putting of endowment, in response to need; a revelation of the grace in Himself. They show His love even more than His power.

II. A prophecy of better days for the world. They are signs that disease does not belong to the true order of nature; a prophecy that the true order shall be restored.

III. An inspiration to all who honour the name of Christ and cherish the spirit of Christ. We cannot do as Christ did; but we may adopt His aim, and work for it according to our ability. (A. A. Bruce, D. D.)


Verses 19-22

Matthew 8:19-22

Master, I will follow Thee.

Impetuous and hesitating discipleship

I. The significance of Christ’s treatment of the impetuous scribe. He declares his determination to follow Christ, lead where He may. Christ checks rather than encourages the man. We may regard the determination of the scribe as-the resolution of an unreflecting emotionalist, and an ambitious worldling. Our Lord’s words have important applications in our own day.

II. The suggestiveness of Christ’s treatment of the shrinking and hesitating disciple. Christ might have seen in this request a sensitive shrinking from the sacrifice and sufferings involved in following Him. The man had heard the words in Matthew 8:20, or Christ might have foreseen that to grant it, would be attended with fatal results to his yet unripened discipleship. Immediate decision was the essential conditions of his salvation. (J. Taylor.)

Followers on the sea-shore

I. The followers on the sea-shore.

1. The hasty follower who is the first who presents himself, and he is sifted by Christ.

2. The tardy follower is hastened by Jesus. He is called not to bury the dead, but to preach the life-giving word.

3. The last of the three followers is halting with a divided heart, and is reproved. It is not the claims of family, but the clinging of His own unloosened attachment that divides and detains Him.

II. The passage across the lake. (A. M. Stuart.)

The corrective test

I. High-sounding words are not always a proof of deeply rooted faith.

II. Christ should be followed for what He is in Himself, as well as for what He has to bestow.

III. The omniscience of Christ enables Him to detect the most hidden motives of men.

IV. The poverty of Christ may well excite our wonder and gratitude. (H. G. Parrish, B. A.)

Following Christ

Every man has a “Master”; business, home, etc., command and we obey. Every person has a master passion, also every man is a master. Has the power of will; is a servant by consent. The resultant of these two facts, is necessitated relationship to something.

I. Christ is a valuable companion because He embodies a lofty and perfect moral ideal, the expression of the grandest conception of truth this world has ever known. He gives the idea and the grace to imitate it.

II. Christ is a pleasant companion. Imparts joy and sense of security-hope.

III. Christ is a safe guide. But if a man is to follow Christ there are some conditions which he must observe.

1. There must be a fixed purpose. “I will “ must be will and not impulse only.

2. You will require courage.

3. You will have to take on the habits of the Lord Jesus. You cannot follow Him and be selfish and narrow. (J. R. Day, D. D.)

The lower duty hinders the higher

It is not that you desire wrong things; it is not that you desire to avoid right things; but you say,” Suffer me first to do the inferior, and then I shall be ready for the superior. Suffer me first to take care of myself. Suffer me first to take care of my household. Suffer me first to take care of my business. Suffer me first to take care of my party. Suffer me first to look after this enterprise, and then-“No! this constant habit of humbling the higher, and making it subordinate to the lower; this constant preference of the inferior to the superior, works demoralization. A man does not need to throw away his Bible, nor defy his God, nor sell his soul voluntarily. He only needs to say, “Suffer me first to do this lesser thing.” The moment that is done, there will be another “ Suffer me first” in its place. And so we shall put the inferior duties in the place of higher duties, and go through life, and fail at last. (Beecher.)

Religion must surmount difficulty

A man fascinated with the idea of raising fruit, goes to the country and sets out his orchards with bright anticipations as to the result. But no sooner have his trees got well started than all nature becomes his tormentor. The frost blasts the blossoms. The worms gnaw the roots. The insects sting both blossom and roots. And when he has toiled year after year, and brought his trees into such a state that he thinks that he is going to have a profusion of delicious fruit, the black wart seizes his plum-trees, and the gum-canker attacks his cherry-trees, and the winterblight kills his pear-trees, and his apple-trees will not bear anyhow; and at last disgusted with raising fruit, he comes back to the city, and says, “I prefer, after all, that other people should be my pomologists. I have had enough of gardening.” (Beecher.)

Religion more than resolution

Oh! what pictures there would be, if I could only take the trouble to learn to paint the things that I dream about! Such frescoes I Such magnificent renderings of magnificent scenes! Such portraitures! The trouble is, that while my imagination is fruitful enough, it is a shiftless and careless fruitfulness, and it never comes down lower than that, and dies in the nest where it was born. I think of things, and turn them over, and turn them over, and make pictures, and forget them, and make pictures, and forget them; but I am not an artist. An artist is a man whose wishes get down through his shoulders to his fingers; and he makes what he wishes he was going to make. He does. He turns into account that which would otherwise die as smoke or cloud. Men of reverie are like clouds that never rain. Men of function shower down resolutions in the form of drops, and results spring up from them. (Beecher.)

Religious impressions not to be checked

I. The importance of a prompt and resolute devotedness of mind to the great concern of religion. This is to follow Christ, and includes:

1. The candid reception of His revelation.

2. It involves a surrender of ourselves to Christ as our Saviour and Governor.

3. It imparts an ardent solicitude for the prevalence of his religion.

II. The egregious folly of stifling religious impressions in favour of such devotedness, by worldly considerations. “Let the dead bury their dead.”

1. Some are prevented from an immediate compliance with their convictions, by the notion that their happiness is to be found in the world, which they would be required to abandon.

2. Some by the remonstrances of worldly relatives and friends.

3. Some by some particular worldly object of pursuit, upon which, for the moment, they are intent, and which promises soon to leave them at liberty. (J. Leifchild.)

I. The men of the world are but dead men. The sentence of death passed upon all men still abides: it is not repealed. As dead as men in their graves. You rotting above the ground, and they under (Romans 8:10). As there is in the sinner a seeming life, so is there in the righteous a seeming death. They may seek a new life.

1. They may become alive in their apprehensions of God.

2. They are alive in their devotions to God.

3. These awakened sinners are alive in their obedience to God.

II. As the men of the world are, so also are the things about which they are conversant. They are dead things, they have no real life in them. They perish in the using. (W. Gilpin, M.A.)

Jesus a homeless wanderer

I. The striking fact.

II. Reasons for this.

1. As the Son of Man He was the federal representative of our race, in certain important respects.

He showed:

2. In the work of our redemption it was needful for Jesus to stoop thus low.

III. Some additional reflections:

1. Christian, adore the humiliation and condescension of your loving Lord.

2. Be willing if need be to suffer shame and poverty with Him.

3. If more happily circumstanced be amazed and overwhelmed with gratitude at your superior lot.

4. Yet set not your affections on earthly possessions.

5. Nor despise poorer brethren.

6. If offering to follow Christ, count the cost.

7. In another sphere, how this saying is reversed. (T. G. Horton.)

Not where to lay His head

A little boy, between four and five years old, was one day reading to his mother in the New Testament; and when he came to these words, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head,” his eyes filled with tears, his tender breast heaved, and at last he sobbed aloud. His mother inquired what was the matter; but for some time he could not answer her. At length, as well as his sobs would let him, he said, “I am sure, mamma, if I had been there, I would give Him my pillow.”

The foxes and birds better accommodated than Christ

I. Christ’s remark on the provision made for the habitation of the inferior creatures. Men have reason, are able to contrive habitations for themselves; Providence hath furnished them with trees, stones, etc., for this end. Suitable provision also made for the inferior creatures. Tame animals are accommodated by the care of man; wild beasts directed by instinct to proper places (Job 39:27; Psalms 104:17).

II. Christ’s representation of his own destitute circumstances.

1. How wise and faithful was Christ in this representation; how much instruction doth it convey to His followers. A test of sincerity.

2. The condecension of Christ in submitting to these hardships is truly admirable.

3. How reasonable is it that the disciples of Christ should be humble when they have, and contented when they have not, the comfortable accommodations of life!

4. With how much pleasure should we think of the exaltation and glory of Christ in heaven. (J. Orton.)


Verses 23-27

Matthew 8:23-27

And when He was entered into a ship.

1. A storm arose while the disciples were following their Master. Sea of life. Storms in the voyage-even when sailing according to the Master’s orders.

2. While the disciples were alarmed, their Master was asleep. It was the sleep of real innocence. He was free from fear. Peter. Argyle on the eve of his execution. It was the sleep of apparent indifference. Reasons.

3. In their distress the disciples implored their Master’s assistance. Faith in His power and love. Leading to earnest prayer. Embodied in a brief sentence.

4. The disciples were reproved by their Master. Not for disturbing His repose. For their fears as indicative of their little faith. Faith is the true antidote against fear. Much fear, little faith: little faith, much fear.

5. The disciples were delivered by their Master.- His dominion over nature.

6. The disciples uttered an exclamation of profound feeling in reference to the interposition of their Master. Gratitude, admiration, worship.

The disciples in a storm

I. The storm arose while the disciples were following our Lord.

II. While his disciples were perplexed and alarmed he was asleep.

1. Sleep of refreshment.

2. Wonderful.

3. Designed.

III. They came to him and awoke him, saying, “Lord, save us.”

IV. Our Lord reproves his disciples.

V. What effect had all this upon his disciples

1. Admiration.

2. Praise.

3. Familiarize your minds with Christ as present with you in all difficulties. (W. Jay.)

Christ stilling the tempest

I. The danger. May not the body of man be compared to a ship; and the soul which he carries within that body be likened to a treasure. The world as a current; trials like storms. The disciples may aptly represent the Church, and the hazard they were in, the extremity to which the Church is often reduced. One of the chief reasons why our Lord permitted His disciples to be thus tried was-

1. To teach them humility.

2. To exercise faith and patience.

II. The behaviour of the disciples under the danger.

1. Distrust of God.

2. Distrust of His goodness and ability. Just before they had seen Him cure the palsy, etc.

3. Reproof.

4. In one respect worthy of imitation, they had resource to Christ.

III. The gracious deliverance effected by our blessed Lord.

1. The Divinity of our Lord.

2. How compassionate our Lord was to His timid disciples.

3. The man whose hope is in the Lord his God has no cause for alarm.

(J. Seger, M. A.)

The storm

I. The way of obedience leads through many a scene of boisterous trouble. If. Through whatever storms the way of Christian obedience may lie, they are for some good purpose.

III. Whatever storms may overtake Christian voyagers, there is this consoling fact: Christ is with them in the ship.

IV. Jesus not only comforts by His presence, He also gloriously delivers by His power. Christ’s help may be deferred, but will be timely and complete.

V. A. prophecy of the blessedness which Christ’s finished work is to bring to the world, and to those who embark with Him in the voyage of life-Peace. (J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

Christ stilling the storm

I. The storm. We are closely connected with the material world, waves may dash against our spirits as well as our bodies.

1. The storm in the elements of nature.

2. The storm in the bosom of the Church.

II. The calm.

1. In the elements of nature?

2. The calm in the kingdom of grace.

Application:-

1. Have you embarked with Christ?

2. Flee to Jesus now, and cry, “Lord, save: we perish.”

3. If we are embarked with Christ, learn His claims to confidence.

4. This miracle speaks to ministers. They must learn by experience the value of the Saviour they recommend. (J. Bennett, D. D.)

I. The passage across the lake.

1. Christ commands His disciples to pass over to the other side of the sea. He left the attractive for the repulsive.

2. The voyage is undertaken suddenly-“even as He was.” Disciples should hold themselves ready to go at a moment’s notice on their Master’s service.

3. He takes the apostles with Him: the school of the prophets, in which He is training the ministers of the Word. Daily lessons in providence.

4. Besides Christ’s immediate company in their own ship, a number of other disciples accompanied Him in “ other little ships.”

II. Jesus asleep in the storm.

1. An apt figure of the homeless state of Jesus on earth.

2. The holy rest of the weary workman after earnest labour. He redeems this time for rest.

3. A quiet sleep in the midst of danger.

4. The sleep of innocence-a contrast to the sleep of Jonah in guilt.

III. Jesus stilling the tempest.

1. The calm is in answer to the earnest cry of the disciples. We should pray in time of need. The cry of the disciples brought deliverance to many around; we never pray for ourselves without benefitting others.

2. Jesus stills the tempest by His word. An image of many a believer’s life. (A. M. Stuart.)

Miracles of power

In the former miracles love and mercy are prominent; in this, power.-(H. Alford, D. D.)

The stilling of the tempest

I. An appalling scene to contemplate.

1. Of imposing grandeur.

2. Of no ordinary peril and distress.

3. Highly instructive in its symbolical signification. “The wicked are like the troubled sea.”

II. The consternation which was felt.

1. To whom they applied.

2. The language in which they addressed Him. The last of these cries given by St. Matthew.

III. The wonderful power and authority that were manifested. This act.

1. By what it was preceded. He rebuked the disciples before rebuking the winds.

2. The manner in which it was done.

3. The result that followed.

IV. The amazement which was produced.

1. In their wonder there was considerable awe and terror.

2. Notwithstanding their excited emotions, they expressed themselves in language eminently befitting so memorable an occasion; not like St. Peter on Mount of Transfiguration. (Expository Outlines.)

A man destitute of fear

A simple but characteristic incident is recorded in connection with the early history of Lord Nelson. On one occasion his mother was telling him that he should fear a certain thing, and not go near to it; he at once turned round to her, and asked, “Mother, what is fear? “ It was a question which shows how true it is that the boy is father to the man; for if ever there was a character of dauntless intrepidity it was he. Now it is evident that there was no need for the disciples to have asked such a question; what fear was they well knew, and it was for giving way to it that they were now gently rebuked by our Lord. To us also He addresses the same words, for He would have each of us to say with the Church of old, “I will trust, and not be afraid; “ and, among many other instances, the present case is intended, and peculiarly adapted, to strengthen the one feeling, and to remove the other.

Storms on the Sea of Galilee

Dr. Buchanan experienced one of these sudden storms on the Sea of Galilee. “While gazing on the suggestive scenery around us, our earnest conversation was suddenly disturbed by a movement among our Arab crew. All at once they pulled in their oars, stepped their mast, and began to hoist their long and very ragged lateen sail. What can the fellows mean to do with a sail in a dead calm?” But they were right. There comes the breeze, rippling and roughening the lately glassy surface of the lake. It reaches us before the sail is rightly set. A few minutes more, and it is blowing hard. The bending and often-spliced yard threatens to give way, and the tattered leach of the sail seems as if it would rend right up, and go away in shreds. To go upon a wind with such a craft is impossible. There is nothing for it but to slack away, and run before it “And where are we going now?’ was our first inquiry, when things had been got a little into shape. ‘Where the wind will take us,’ was the reply of the old greybeard at the helm. And away we went, the lake now all tossed into waves, and covered with foaming white heads, as if a demon had got into its lately tranquil bosom-an adventure that afforded us a fresh illustration of the reality of those events which the narratives of Scripture relate.” (Clerical Furlough in the Holy Land.)

Fearless in danger

Some years ago, an officer in the army, who was a pious man, was drafted abroad with his regiment. He accordingly embarked, with his wife and children. They had not been many days at sea when a violent storm arose, which threatened the destruction of the ship, and the loss of all their lives. Consternation and terror prevailed among the crew and passengers; his wife also was greatly alarmed. In the midst of all, he was perfectly calm and composed: his wife, observing this, began to upbraid him with want of affection to her and her children, urging, that if he was not concerned for his own safety, he ought to be for theirs. He made no reply, but immediately left the cabin,to which he returned in a short time with his drawn sword in his hand, and with a stern countenance pointed it to her breast; but she, smiling, did not appear at all disconcerted or afraid. “What!” said he, “are you not afraid when a drawn sword is at your breast? No,” answered she, “not when I know that it is in the hand of one who loves me.” “And would you have me,” replied he, “to be afraid of this storm and tempest, when I know it is in the hand of my heavenly Father, who loves me?”

Caesar in the ship

One of the greatest of the old Romans was once overtaken by a storm at sea, and when the captain of the ship was full of terror, the conqueror said, “Why do you fear for the ship? Do you not know that it carries Caesar? “ Let us, as Christians, remember that the ship in which we must cross the waves of this troublesome world, is the ship of the Church, and that it carries Jesus.

A straight course

A certain noble family of England, which gained its position by the victories of an ancestor at sea, has for its motto the single word-Tilers. That word is a nautical term of command, which means that the steerman is to keep the ship’s head straight on the course which she is sailing. This is the true motto for a Christian. Let him keep his course straightforward, through the storm and tempest, through dangers and difficulties, steering the course of duty, with Jesus as his companion and his guide. (Wilmot Buxton.)

Lord, save us, we perish

I. Man in his helpless condition as a perishing creature.

II. Salvation alone is of the Lord.

1. It is of the Lord in its origin.

2. In its execution.

3. In its bestowment.

III. Personal application to Christ is necessary.

1. This implies knowledge of Christ.

2. Faith in His Holy Name.

3. Importunity of desire.

IV. Such application to Christ shall never fail.

1. Because it is His own appointment.

2. It is His delight to save His people.

3. He never allows His believing people to perish. (T. R. Baker.)

In the storm

1. That we must not be fearful in the time of danger.

2. Not to be fearful in the storm of everyday life. (Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)

The Saviour in the ship

I. What absolute helplessness is.

II. When, at last, the voyager comes sincerely and anxiously to that, and utters the prayer, Christ does not refuse him because he did not call sooner, or because when he prayed his prayer was not the purest and loftiest of prayers.

III. The person of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, is the actual bond of a living unity between the visible world of nature and the invisible world of God’s spiritual kingdom.

IV. The miracle thus discloses to us the true practical use both of the gospel miracles themselves, and of every other gift and blessing of heaven, in leading us up in affectionate gratitude to Him who stands as the central figure among all those visible wonders, and the originator of all the peace-making powers which tranquilize and reconcile the turbulences of the world. (Bishop Huntingdon.)

Christ’s supremacy over nature

I. The supremacy of Christ over all turbulent and seemingly uncontrollable forces.

1. The act represents Christ’s supremacy over the physical world.

2. This act is symbolical of Christ’s supremacy over the mental and moral disorders which agitate the world.

II. The bearing of Christ’s supremacy on certain aspects of truth and conduct.

1. In relation to His promises to each of His disciples. He will fulfil His word both because He wishes and can.

2. In relation to the establishment of His kingdom on earth.

3. In relation to the day of resurrection and judgment.

Christ’s supremacy over nature affects diversely different classes of character.

1. It is an occasion of fear and dread to those who are alien in heart and life to Him.

2. Of consolation to those who are loyal to Him. (C. Chapman, M. A.)

1. Undertake no enterprize in which Christ does not accompany you.

2. Distinguish between storms which you have provoked, and the storms which God has appointed.

3. Be assured that all forces are under the control of Divine beneficence. (Dr. J. Parker.)


Verses 28-33

Matthew 8:28-33

There met Him two possessed with devils.

Christ and the demoniac

I. The immediate connection of the world of darkness with the evil heart.

II. The great power of the inhabitants of darkness over the evil heart.

III. The utter impotency of man to deliver the possessed from the power of the inhabitants of darkness.

IV. The weakness of the powers or darkness in conflict with Christ. Remarks:

1. Beware of tampering with evil.

2. The wish of evil will ever be self-destructive.

3. If Jesus has cured you show it by causing joy where you have caused so much misery-in your home. (F. Wallace.)

Sin and salvation

I. Some aspects of sin.

1. Its contagiousness.

2. Its anti-social tendency-“Neither abode in any house.”

3. Its embrutalization of character.

4. Its dread of righteousness.

II. Some aspects of salvation.

1. It is begun in expulsion, not repression, of evil principles and desires.

2. God accounts as nothing whatever material loss may be incurred in its effectuation. Souls more than swine.

3. Its moral and spiritual results have a counterpart and external evidence in improved material and social condition.

4. The surest proof of the reality of its accomplishment is renunciation of personal preferences in obedience to Christ’s commands. (Pulpit Analyst.)

The accusing conscience of the wicked

(ver. 29):-

1. Bad men must sooner or later acknowledge their deserts.

2. They believe that a “time” for punishment of their sins will come.

3. A guilty conscience dreads the presence of Christ. (American Homiletic Monthly)

Christ sending the demons from the man into the swine

I. The malice of satan.

1. The possession.

2. The dwelling of the man-among the tombs. A melancholy madness.

3. The fierceness of the demoniac-he could not be bound.

II. The grace and justice of the Saviour,

1. The grace displayed in expelling the demons from the man. The devils saw their Master.

2. The justice manifested in the entrance of the demon into the swine.

III. The result of the miracle.

1. The swineherds flee to carry the tidings. Fear gives wings to their feet.

2. The demoniac comes and sits at Jesus’ feet.

3. The Gadarenes entreat Christ to depart, and He goes.

4. The recovered demoniac seeks to be allowed to follow Christ, and is refused.

Learn:-

1. Let us shudder at the malice, power, and misery of fallen spirits.

2. Fly for refuge to the power and grace of Christ, and dread the thought of desiring Christ to depart.

3. See the place and duty of those whom Christ has healed. (J. Bennett, D. D.)

The authority of right over wrong

1. That this was not a work of authority done by our Master in His own country. He had passed from His own country. Truth knows no limitations; a man that has it owes it to mankind.

2. The sad spectacle that met our Lord was a man in ruins.

3. The moment our Saviour came into the presence of this man he brought a distributing force. Two spheres came together that were antagonistic. Evil claims its rights, liberty. This is the keynote of the opposition in modern society to every attempt to make men better.

4. We should oppose these malign influences front self-interest, and in self-defence. It is not going away from our own affairs when we attempt to break down everything that is destroying the industry and virtue of society. We are bound to meddle with the demonized part of society. Men ought to stand on the ground of goodness and assert the dignity of rectitude over immorality. (Beecher.)

A man in ruins

There is nothing sadder; and, sad to say, nothing more common. No one can see great desolation by conflagration without having a kind of commercial sympathy. The consumption of so much property, the waste and ruin of so many costly structures, is painful to behold. No man can learn that a storm has swept the sea, and that fleets and merchantmen have been wrecked or foundered, without a certain sadness. And yet all the ships on the sea might sink, and all the buildings on the globe might be burned, and the united whole would not be as much as to shatter one immortal soul. There is nothing in old dilapidated cities, there is nothing in temples filled with memorials of former glory, that tends to inspire such sadness and melancholy as to look upon a dilapidated soul, whose powers and faculties are shattered and east down. (Beecher)
.

Evil to be opposed in self-defence

It is not going away from our own affairs when we attempt to break clown everything that is destroying the industry, and order, and virtue, and the well-being of the young in society, and corrupting society itself. Every man is to a very great extent dependent for his own prosperity upon the average conditions of the community in which he lives. A man is very much like a plant. If you put a plant in a pot of poor earth, there is no inherent force in the plant by which it can grow. The atmosphere, too, which surrounds the leaf has much to do with the health and growth of the plant. But suppose plant should be endowed with momentary intelligence, and should cry out and protest that it was potted in bad earth, and surrounded by poisonous vapours? and suppose the earth should say, “Mind your own business, and I will mind mine,” and the atmosphere should say, “You take care of yourself, and I will take care of myself”? It would be very much like these enemies to society saying to us, when we raise our voices against them, “Mind your own business.” That is just what we are doing. We are minding our own business. Our business is to breathe and to grow, and we must have pure air and good soil. And if we are living in a community where we find our roots starved, and our leaves poisoned, we have a right to take care of ourselves and defend ourselves. A man depends for his prosperity and happiness upon the average condition of the community in which he lives. A man that lives in a virtuous community is like a man that lives on some mountain side, where the air is pure. A man that lives in a corrupt community is like a man that lives where the air is impure. And for the sake of our own well.being,and the well-being of our households, we have a right to resist these men who are destroying society by corrupting it. (Beecher.)

Physical injury not tolerated

Let a man start a mill for grinding arsenic, and let the air be filled with particles of this deadly poison, and let it be noticed that the people in the neighbourhood are beginning to sneeze and grow pale, and let it be discovered that this mill is the cause, and do you suppose he would be allowed to go on grinding? -No man would shut up his establishment at once. And yet men open those more infernal mills of utter destruction-distilleries, and wholesale and retail dens for liquor; and you can mark the streams of damnation that flow out from them; and yet nobody meddles with them. One man is getting carbuncles; another man is becoming red in the eyes; another man is growing irritable, and losing his self-control: another man is being ruined both in body and mind; multitudes of men begin to exhibit the signs of approaching destruction; and the cause of all this terrible devastation may be traced to these places where intoxicating drinks are manufactured and sold. You would not let a man grind arsenic; but you will let a man make and sell liquor, though arsenic is a mercy compared with liquor. (Beecher.)


Verse 34

Matthew 8:34

Besought Him that He would depart.

God coming near to us.

I. The way in which God formerly presented himself to men.

II. The way in which he does so now.

III. The way in which men decline His presence. (E. M. Goulburn.)

God’s goodness and man’s ingratitude

The Gadarenes, in return for Christ’s works of love, majesty, and mercy, besought Him to depart. They eared more for the swine which the devils had destroyed than for the poor man Christ had restored. (A. Jones.)

Man’s dislike and dread of Christ

Still the same in our own day! Let us mark

I. The coming. It was a universal movement, and a most interesting one. A whole city flocking out to meet Jesus! How seldom had such a thing been seen, or is seen now.

II. The seeing. They did not remain afar off, but came nigh-they saw for themselves, and that aggravated their guilt.

III. The refusing. An awful request in many ways. Was there ever a request so sad, so fatal? Why was this? There was something in Jesus that drew them; but there was more that they disliked. They would like Him as the physician of the body, but not of the soul. His company seemed dangerous and terrible. So they besought Him to depart. Their “ depart from us” is the foreboding of His “depart from Me” (Matthew 25:41).

1. How near salvation they were.

2. How they wronged the Saviour.

3. How they wronged themselves. (H. Bonar, D. D.)

The case of the Gergesenes

That the rejection of Christ sometimes arises from imperfect knowledge of Hint; and that deeper knowledge wilt frequently lead to deeper love. I try to place myself in the position of these people.

1. I observe that almost the whole knowledge which they had of our Lord was confined to the miracle of the destruction of the swine. Can we wonder that they wished to get rid of a visitor at once so powerful and destructive? True, they had another chapter of evidences, the healed men to bear witness to the healing and restoring character of Him who had destroyed the swine. There was a problem of loss and gain; some palliation of their error.

2. If these Gergesenes, instead of the last seven verses, had had the whole of this chapter before them, would they have asked Him to leave their coasts? I doubt it.

3. If they had heard His teaching contained in the Sermon on the Mount, would they have acted so? Think of the goodness and gentleness pervading it.

4. The magnitude of the responsibility of rejecting Christ-intellectually and speculatively, or rejecting Him virtually by despising and forgetting His precepts-depends upon the knowledge which we have of Him, and in spite of which we reject Him. Those who have, as it were, a casual visit from Christ may not be much better or worse for it; it is otherwise with those who have the whole picture of His life before them. (Bishop of Carlisle.)

The conduct of the Gergesenes explained

Why the Saviour is not welcome.

1. Because the need of Him is not felt.

2. They look upon Christ as questionable Benefactor. He will take notice of everything unlawful and unholy. We like the aids of religion in domestic government, but not its restrictions.

3. The time will come when the Son of man will be admitted. Who may abide the day of His coming? He will not be shut out then. (T. E. Headline on, M. A.)

Rejecting salvation

To me it is specially appalling that a man should perish through wilfully rejecting the Divine salvation. A drowning man throwing away the life-belt, a poisoned man pouring the antidote upon the floor, a wounded man tearing open his wounds, any one of these is a sad sight; but what shall we say of a soul putting from it the Redeemer and choosing its own destruction? (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Christ should be welcomed

If you do but hear when the king is on his road to your town, you raise your bells to ring him in, and stay not till lie be entered the gates. The birds they rise betimes in the morning, and are saluting the rising sun with their sweet notes in the air. Thus should we strike up our harps in praising God at the appearance of a mercy. (Gurnall.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 8:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-8.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 29th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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