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The Fourfold Gospel

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8:1  And when he was come down from the mountain1, great multitudes followed him2.

    HEALING THE CENTURION'S SERVANT (At Capernaum.) Matthew 8:1,5-13; Luke 7:1-10

  1. And when he was come down from the mountain. Jesus proceeded from the mountain to Capernaum, which was now his home, or headquarters. See

  2. Great multitudes followed him. The multitudes, which are now mentioned for the third time in Matthew, were not wearied by his sermon, and so continued to follow him. Their presence showed the popularity of Jesus, and also emphasized the fact that the miracles which followed the sermon were wrought in the presence of the vast throngs of people.

8:2  And behold, there came to him a leper and worshipped him1, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

    JESUS HEALS A LEPER AND CREATES MUCH EXCITEMENT. Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

  1. There came to him a leper and worshipped him. See Mark 1:40 and see Luke 5:12.

8:3  And he stretched forth his hand1, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou made clean. And straightway his leprosy was cleansed2.

  1. And he stretched forth his hand, etc. See Mark 1:41.

  2. And straightway his leprosy was cleansed. See Mark 1:42.

8:4  And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man1; but go, show thyself to the priest2, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them3.

  1. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man. Several reasons are suggested why the Lord thus commanded silence: (1) It may have been better for the man not to mention his cure (John 9:34). (2) He required the decision of the priest to make him legally clean; and too much talk might so prejudice the priests as to lead them to refuse to admit his cure. (3) But the best reason is that it accorded with our Lord's general course, which was to suppress excitement, and thus prevent too great crowds from gathering about him and hindering his work. To take this view is to say that Jesus meant to prevent exactly what happened.

  2. But go, show thyself to the priest. Though healed of his leprosy, the man was not legally clean until declared so by the priest. The priest alone could readmit him to the congregation. The local priest inspected the healed leper, and if he was found clean or cured, he was purified by the use of two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop, razor and bath. After seven days he was again inspected, and if still cured the priest repaired with him to the temple, where he offered the gift for his cleansing.

  3. And offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. Which was three lambs, with flour and oil; or if the leper was poor, one lamb and two doves or pigeons, with flour and oil (Leviticus 14:19-22). The healed leper was a testimony that Messiah, the great Physician, had come, and that he respected the law of Moses. This testimony was given both to priests and people.

8:5  And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion1, beseeching him2,

  1. There came unto him a centurion. The context shows that this centurion, or captain of a hundred men, was a Gentile, but whether he was in the employ of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, or an officer in the Roman army, is not clear, neither is very important. The army of Antipas, like that of other petty kings, was modeled after that of Rome.

  2. Beseeching him. To reconcile Matthew and Luke, we have only to conceive of the centurion as coming to the edge of the crowd about Jesus, but modestly refraining from coming into the Lord's immediate presence. See Luke 7:3.

8:6  and saying, Lord, my servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented1.

  1. Lord, my servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Because palsy is not usually accompanied with suffering, some think that in this case it was combined with tetanus or lockjaw, a combination not infrequent in hot climates. But Sir R. Bennet, M.D., speaks thus:

    "In this instance we have probably a case of progressive paralysis, attended by muscular spasms, and involving the respiratory movements, where death is manifestly imminent and inevitable. In such a case there would be symptoms indicative of great distress, as well as immediate danger to life."

    As to palsy generally, see Matthew 4:24 and see Mark 2:3.

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

  1. And he saith to him. That is, answering him as represented by his friends. See Matthew 8:5.

8:8  And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof1; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed2.

  1. And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof. Not because his house was a poor one, for he was evidently well to do (Luke 7:5).

  2. But only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. The centurion showed his great faith partly by believing that Jesus could heal by a word, but chiefly in his lofty conception of Jesus as compared with himself. The less faith we have, the less we esteem Jesus, and the more faith we have, the less we esteem ourselves. As Jesus rises, we sink in the scale of our estimation. The centurion's faith would have been wonderful enough in an Israelite, but it was all the more wonderful when found in the bosom, of a Gentile. The word "found" (Luke 7:10 it again (Luke 18:8). The elders, little knowing the wideness of our Lord's vision and sympathy, supposed that Jesus would look upon the splendid synagogue erected for the Jewish people as a sufficient motive for granting their request (Luke 7:5). Even the apostles were slow to learn that at heart Jesus knew neither Jew nor Gentile.

8:9  For I also am a man under authority, having under myself soldiers1: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant2, Do this, and he doeth it.

  1. For I also am a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. Having those over him, he knew how to obey, and having those under him, he knew how to be obeyed. He was familiar, therefore, with all the principles of obedience. Knowing from the healing of the nobleman's son, or from other reports concerning Jesus, that the realm of nature obeyed Jesus, he judged from his knowledge of earthly obedience that Jesus had those who could come and go for him, and who could carry his messages and enforce obedience to them. He felt that the presence of Jesus was not at all necessary to the healing.

  2. My servant. Not a soldier, but a household slave.

8:10  And when Jesus heard it, he marvelled1, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel2.

  1. And when Jesus heard it, he marvelled. To some it seems strange that Jesus could marvel, but he had all the actual feelings of a man. However, we should note that Jesus is never said to have marveled but twice. In this case it was because of belief, and in the other, it was because of unbelief (Mark 6:6).

  2. I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Those who think that Jesus gave or gives faith should note this fact. If Jesus had given the centurion faith, he could not have been surprised to find that he had it; and, if he failed to bestow it upon the people of Nazareth, it would have been inconsistent in him to express surprise at their lack of it. It would seem, however, irreconcilable with the character and affectionate nature of Christ, to bestow faith in such profusion upon this Gentile stranger, and withhold every spark of it from his near kinsmen and fellow-townsmen. Faith is no miraculous gift. Faith means no more nor less than belief; and a man believes the Scripture facts in the same manner and by the same processes that he believes any other facts.

8:11  And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west1, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven2:

  1. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west. Jesus here predicts the conversion of the Gentiles, since that fact is suggested to him by the faith of this centurion. The east and the west represent the extreme points of the compass in the directions in which the world was most thickly inhabited. But Jesus refers rather to spiritual separation than to geographical distances (Isaiah 49:19 Jeremiah 16:19; Zechariah 8:22; Malachi 1:11).

  2. And shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. In this paragraph Christ's kingdom is set forth under the simile of a great feast, a familiar simile with Jesus (Matthew 26:29; Luke 22:30). The Jews were accustomed to speak of the delights of the Messianic kingdom as a feast with the patriarchs (Luke 14:15), but lost sight of the fact that Gentiles should share in its cheer and fellowship (Isaiah 25:6).

8:12  but the sons of the kingdom1 shall be cast forth into the outer darkness2: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth3.

  1. But the sons of the kingdom. The child of anything in Hebrew phraseology expressed the idea of special property which one has in the thing specified, as, for instance, children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). Jesus here means, then, the Jews, to whom the kingdom belonged by hereditary descent (Romans 9:4).

  2. Shall be cast forth into the outer darkness. Marriage feasts and other great feasts of the Jews were usually held in the evening. Inside, therefore, there would be joy and light and gladness, but outside there would be darkness and disappointment, tears and bitter self-reproach (Matthew 25:10-13).

  3. There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. The despised outcasts should be brought in and placed at the festal board, while the long-invited guests--the natural and fleshly heirs of Abraham's invitation--would be excluded (Matthew 21:43). Hell is absence from spiritual light, separation from the company of the saved, lamentation, and impotent rage.

8:13  And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; as thou hast believed, [so] be it done unto thee. And the servant was healed in that hour1.

  1. And the servant was healed in that hour. In the moment when Jesus spoke, the servant was healed--not relieved, but healed.

8:14  And when Jesus was come into Peter's house1, he saw his wife's mother2 lying sick of a fever3.

    HEALING PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW AND MANY OTHERS. (At Capernaum.) Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41

  1. Peter's house. See Mark 1:29.

  2. His wife's mother. See Mark 1:30.

  3. Sick of a fever. See Luke 4:38.

8:15  And he touched her hand1, and the fever left her; and she arose, and ministered unto him.

  1. He touched her hand, etc. See Mark 1:31.

8:16  And when even was come1, they brought unto him many possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all that were sick:

  1. And when even was come, etc. See Mark 1:32.

8:17  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet1, saying: Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases2.

  1. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet. See Isaiah 53:4.

  2. Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases. Isaiah's vision is progressive; he sees, first, a man of sorrows; second, a man sorrowful because he bore the sickness and sorrows of others; third, a man who also bore sin, and healed the souls of others by so doing. Such was the order of Christ's life. His early years were spent in poverty and obscurity; his days of ministry in bearing by sympathy and compassion, the sicknesses and sorrows of others (John 11:35; Mark 14:34); and in the hour of his crucifixion, he became the world's sin-bearer (John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24).

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

    JESUS STILLS THE STORM

    (Sea of Galilee; same day as the last section)

    Matthew 8:18-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25

  1. He gave commandment to depart to the other side. See note (Mark 4:35).

8:19  And there came a scribe1, and said unto him, Teacher, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

  1. And there came a scribe. Literally, one scribe. The number is emphatic; for, so far as the record shows, Jesus had none of this class among his disciples.

8:20  And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes1, and the birds of the heaven [have] nests; but the Son of man2 hath not where to lay his head3.

  1. The foxes have holes. Caves, dens.

  2. The Son of man. Daniel's name for the Messiah (Daniel 7:10-13).

  3. Hath not where to lay his head. This scribe had heard the wonderful parables concerning the kingdom. He, like all others, expected an earthly kingdom and sought to have a place in it. Jesus so replied as to correct his false expectations.

8:21  And another of the disciples1 said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father2.

  1. And another of the disciples. This disciple must have been one of the twelve, for these only were required to follow Jesus (Mark 3:14).

  2. Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. It may have been James or John, whose father, Zebedee, almost certainly died before Jesus did. He may have just heard of his father's death.

8:22  But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead1.

  1. Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead. Let the spiritually dead bury the naturally dead. This was a very exceptional prohibition, intended to show not that it was ordinarily wrong to stop for burying the dead, but wrong when in conflict with a command from Jesus. God bids us recognize the claims of filial duty, but rightfully insists that our duties toward him are superior to those due our parents.

8:23  And when he was entered into a boat, his disciples followed him1.

  1. And when he was entered into a boat, his disciples followed him. See Mark 4:36.

8:24  And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea1, insomuch that the boat was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.

  1. There arose a great tempest in the sea. See Mark 4:37.

8:25  And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Save, Lord; we perish1.

  1. Save, Lord; we perish. See Mark 4:38.

8:26  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith1? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea2; and there was a great calm.

  1. Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? See Mark 4:40.

  2. He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea. See Mark 4:39.

8:27  And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this1, that even the winds and the sea obey him?

  1. What manner of man is this, etc. See Mark 4:41.

8:28  And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes1, there met him two possessed with demons2, coming forth out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man could pass by that way.

    JESUS HEALS TWO GERGESENE DEMONIACS (Gergesa, now called Khersa.) Matthew 8:28-34; Matthew 9:1; Mark 5:1-21; Luke 8:26-40

  1. The country of the Gadarenes. See Mark 5:1.

  2. There met him two possessed with demons. See Mark 5:2.

8:29  And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee1, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time2?

  1. What have we to do with thee. On this phrase, see John 2:4.

  2. Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? See Mark 5:7.

8:32  And he said unto them, Go. And they came out, and went into the swine: and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep into the sea, and perished in the waters1.

  1. The whole herd rushed down the steep into the sea, and perished in the waters. See Mark 5:13.

8:33  And they that fed them1 fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, and what was befallen to them that were possessed with demons.

  1. They that fed them. See Mark 5:14.

8:34  And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought [him] that he would depart from their borders1.

  1. They besought [him] that he would depart from their borders. See Mark 5:17.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 8". "The Fourfold Gospel". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/tfg/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=008>. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.  

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