Matthew 8:18 “…saw great multitudes…He gave a command to depart to the other side”
They’re in Capernaum, and the people are beginning to mass about Him. He gives the command to leave by boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. I would suspect this is a time He saw the need to get away just to have some rest. Commentaries agree. Those in ministry, especially if they have something that many want, must make time to rest and recharge or they will burn out. The crowds know only their needs and can completely drain someone.
19-20 “…I will follow You…Son of Man has nowhere…”
Seems an odd response to a potential follower until we realize Jesus could see the hearts and intentions of those around Him. From His answer, He apparently saw that the scribe hadn’t fully counted the cost of following Him.
21-22 “…let me first go and bury my father…let the dead bury their own dead”
Another odd response, and this one sounds heartless on the surface. Commentary brought out that the man wouldn’t have been in the crowd if his father was actually dead. He was saying he needed to wait to follow Christ until after his father died so as to fulfill that responsibility first. Jesus’s response was that the man should follow Him and allow those who choose not to follow to see to their own. Following Christ is a question of priorities. If we follow Him first, He will make sure all the other things are taken care of. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. Sometimes easier said than done.
26 “…Why are you fearful…”
They had reason to be fearful, so why does Jesus say this. They literally had Christ with them in the midst of the storm. Didn’t matter what the storm was doing, they could have believed that they would be cared for because they were with Christ. Their answer shows they still didn’t realize exactly who He was. Our storms are the same. It may seem harder because we can’t see Him, but He is there with us. No matter what the result, we can have faith that His will will be accomplished.
28 “…two demon-possessed men…”
Demon possession seemed to occur more often then than now. I wonder if it’s just our perception of it. I’m not one to believe that every sickness or sinful attitude we have is caused by a demon as some do, but I think possession is still possible. Commentaries suggest there is a question among some, but they brought out a good point. Jesus made the distinction between healing the sick and casting out demons. Sometimes He cast out a demon that was causing dumbness or some other illness while other times He simply healed the malady. Because of the lack of belief in things truly spiritual in our day, it is highly likely that many illnesses may be caused by possession, but go undiagnosed.
29 “…What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
The demons knew who He was. The people wouldn’t believe, but the demons knew. Before the time, a reference to the final time of judgment. The demons know what’s coming.
31 “…permit us to go away into the herd of swine”
Part of what we don’t know about demons. Why would they have to be indwelling something or someone. Jesus speaks of them leaving a man, wandering about dry places, then getting other demons and returning to the man. What are the rules governing demons. Mysteries we don’t know. What is known is that we should have nothing to do with them, not even trying to directly cast them out of places and things. We should direct our attention and speech to God and ask that He do what is needed.
34 “…they begged Him to depart…”
Interesting statement. Were they upset over the pigs. Were they afraid of the power demonstrated by Christ. Some commentaries assume the people were Jewish and were therefore in violation of the law by keeping swine. They suggest the people wanted Jesus gone so as to cover their transgressions. Sad commentary in any case. Still goes on. Some refuse to believe in the power of Christ to do anything other than salvation. Nothing is ascribed as an act of God. Nature and science are in control. And when the evidence is overwhelming, people would rather cover it up and not deal with it rather than acknowledge Him.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.