MAX KLEIN BIBLE MINISTRIES
The Gospel of Matthew: Chapter Eight
A verse-by-verse commentary by Max Klein
When he came down from the mountainside [from the Sermon on the Mount], large crowds followed him.
Καταβάντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοί
The large crowds which followed Christ were from two different groups. Matthew 5:1a, “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain. . .”. Jesus deliberately separated himself from the crowds in order that he might brief his disciples. As Jesus was briefing his disciples more and more people were making their way up the mountain so that when Jesus had finished the Sermon on the Mount, large crowds were surrounding his disciples as per Matthew 7:28, “When Jesus had finished these words [the end of the Sermon on the Mount: chapters 5-7] the crowds were astonished at His teaching [amazed, but no converts];” This crowd which came down from the mountain with Christ and his disciples along with the crowds that did not go up the mountain produced large crowds.
Behold, a leper having come, was worshipping Him and said, “Lord [a believer addressing the Lord], if you are willing [I don’t know whether you are or aren’t: he respects God’s sovereignty], you can [by the use of your omnipotence]make me clean.”
καὶ ἰδοὺ λεπρὸς προσελθὼν προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων, Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς δύνασαί µε καθαρίσαι
This leper is willing to go either way. If the Lord wants to heal him he knows that He can, and he will be thankful for it, but if He doesn’t want him to be healed he knows that the Lord has a purpose for the leprosy and so he will fulfil the principle of “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This leper was very humble for he did not assume that his leprosy was more important than the Lord’s plan for his life. Being very humble, he didn’t ask to be healed. Rather, he merely stated that the Lord could heal him if he so desired.
In the Old Testament, the Levitical priests both examined for leprosy and handled the ceremonial cleansing of a cured leper. If the person being examined (The priestly examination is found in Leviticus 13:1-59.) was found to have leprosy, then he was recorded as a leper. If a leper was miraculously cured of his disease, he would need to report this matter to someone in the Levitical priesthood. The ceremonial cleansing of a cured leper is described in Leviticus 14:1-57. The priests used chapter 13 often, but the scroll containing chapter 14 was rarely used.
In the Old Testament there was no cases of leprosy being cured except for a couple of cases where the cure came about through a miracle. The Lord healed Naaman, the general of the army of Aram through following the instructions of Elisha as per 2 Kings 5:14. Miriam, the sister of Moses was punished with leprosy by the Lord for maligning Moses and his Ethiopian wife. She was subsequently healed by the Lord through the intercessory prayer of Moses (Numbers 12:10-15). To prove that God was with Moses, God told Moses to put his hand into his bosom (under his cloak), when he pulls it out again, “his hand was covered with scales, like snowflakes.” When Moses again puts his hand in his bosom, it comes out clean (Exodus 4: 6-7).
During the ministry of Christ, many cured lepers had to report to the priests that they were cured. This should have alerted the priesthood that the messiah was here.
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean [aorist: instantly completely clean]!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἥψατο αὐτοῦ λέγων, Θέλω, καθαρίσθητι· καὶ εὐθέως ἐκαθαρίσθη αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα.
There were literally thousands and thousands of lepers in that part of the world and Jesus only healed a few. Does this mean that He was remiss when He overlooked the rest? The point is: whenever someone was healed by Jesus Christ it had a purpose. Jesus was not remiss in His duty. He didn’t come to heal people; He came to save, So, the purpose of healing was not to alleviate suffering but to focus attention on the Lord Jesus Christ.
The one thing a person does not do and that is to touch a leper but the Lord did which was another proof of his Messiahship. Through this leper the priesthood will be alerted regarding the arrival of the Messiah. Jesus probably healed 25 lepers out of the thousands of lepers. He was not remiss for he didn’t come to cure all diseases, but to provide salvation for the human race.
Then Jesus said to him, “See [pay attention even though you are excited about being cured] that you don’t tell anyone [the priest are to be alerted first]. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift [two birds] that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them [to the priests].”
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ὅρα µηδενὶ εἴπῃς, ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ, καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς, εἰς µαρτύριον αὐτοῖς
Whenever a leper was cured, he would have to go to the priests who would then examine him according to Leviticus 14. After satisfactorily meeting all the requirements of being cured, the priests would remove that person from the records of being a leper. Jesus wanted to alert the priesthood that the Messiah was here since they were the spiritual leaders.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, making a request.
Εἰσελθόντος δὲ αὐτοῦ εἰς Καφαρναοὺµ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἑκατόνταρχος παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν
Now we are going to meet a gentile believer. Here is a Roman officer, a military attaché attached to the Roman legation in Capernaum. Some of the greatest believers of all times have been soldiers for example, Gestaphas Adolphus.
“Lord [he is a believer],” he said, “my son lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
καὶ λέγων, Κύριε, ὁ παῖς µου βέβληται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ παραλυτικός, δεινῶς βασανιζόµενος
The son is very sick and apparently dying, possibly in the advanced stages of polio.
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Ἐγὼ ἐλθὼν θεραπεύσω αὐτόν
Most believers would say that is great and let’s hurry. However, this gentile believer is very humble with a great understanding of authority.
The centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word [great faith], and my son will be healed.
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἑκατόνταρχος ἔφη, Κύριε, οὐκ εἰµὶ ἱκανὸς ἵνα µου ὑπὸ τὴν στέγην εἰσέλθῃς· ἀλλὰ µόνον εἰπὲ λόγῳ, καὶ ἰαθήσεται ὁ παῖς µου
This believer recognizes that Jesus Christ is God. So, even though he himself is a high Roman official, he is not worthy to have God enter into his quarters, undoubtedly a very plush one.
8:9. For I myself am a man under authority with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes: and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπός εἰµι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν, ἔχων ὑπí ἐµαυτὸν στρατιώτας, καὶ λέγω τούτῳ, Πορεύθητι, καὶ πορεύεται, καὶ ἄλλῳ, Ἔρχου, καὶ ἔρχεται, καὶ τῷ δούλῳ µου, Ποίησον τοῦτο, καὶ ποιεῖ.
This man understands authority and lives under the principle of authority. He knows that Jesus has the authority to heal and applies that knowledge by faith.
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύµασεν καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν, Ἀµὴν λέγω ὑµῖν, παρí οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον.
Jesus Christ just gave the faith award to a gentile soldier in the Roman Army in the midst of many Jews.
“Truly, I say to you that many [gentiles] will come from the east [India] and the west [Spain], and will take their seats with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
λέγω δὲ ὑµῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσµῶν ἥξουσιν καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται µετὰ Ἀβραὰµ καὶ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακὼβ ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν·
These religious Jewish people and leaders looked down upon these Romans, yet many gentiles will take their seats with the founders of the Jewish race.
But the sons of the kingdom [racial Jews] will be thrown outside into the outer darkness [Torments] where there will be weeping [lost opportunity] and gnashing of teeth [frustration from seeing gentiles entering the kingdom who had no spiritual heritage].”
οἱ δὲ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας ἐκβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθµὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγµὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.
They are religious, but not regenerate.
The ‘children of the kingdom’ are the Jews who had the Old Testament Scriptures but have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are going to weep and gnash their teeth when they realize that they have lost such an opportunity, an opportunity that many gentiles without the Jewish spiritual culture will not miss out on. This fact will even make it more frustrating for them.
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! As you have believed [there is no ‘so’], it has been done unto you for your benefit.” And his son was healed at that very hour.
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ ἑκατοντάρχῃ, Ὕπαγε, ὡς ἐπίστευσας γενηθήτω σοι. καὶ ἰάθη ὁ παῖς [αὐτοῦ] ἐν τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐκείνῃ
Jesus could have healed this man’s son with or without the centurion’s faith. He didn’t heal the son because of the Centurion’s faith for there is no causal construction in this verse. Jesus didn’t say, “Because of your faith, I healed your son.” He healed his son because of his own matchless grace. Jesus does give recognition however to the centurion for his faith in front of a large crowd of religious Jews and some born again Jews without much faith-rest. Just as the Lord used the believing leper to speak to the priesthood, so he uses this gentile centurion to speak to the crowd of Jews.
Healing related to faith is found in Mark 5:25-29, “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering [she was healed]. (34) He said to her, "Daughter [a believer], your faith has healed you [her faith motivated her to touch his robe]. Go in well-being and be made complete from your illness [there would be no relapse]."
Many unbelievers were healed in Matthew 4:23, 24, “Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the [eternal] kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (24) News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” Unbelievers can only use faith in believing in Jesus Christ as their savior; they cannot execute faith toward God in healing themselves or someone else. So, obviously faith is not needed for healing.
When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed very sick with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
Καὶ ἐλθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν Πέτρου εἶδεν τὴν πενθερὰν αὐτοῦ βεβληµένην καὶ πυρέσσουσαν καὶ ἥψατο τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς, καὶ ἀφῆκεν αὐτὴν ὁ πυρετός· καὶ ἠγέρθη καὶ διηκόνει αὐτῷ.
Whenever Jesus would enter Peter’s house, Peter’s mother would provide many services related to hospitality. Jesus appreciating such a gracious and hospitable lady, healed her.
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all that were sick [with demon-possession]. That the communicative word might be fulfilled through the prophet, Isaiah saying, [53:4]: “He himself took our infirmities and carried them away and took away our diseases.” [Jesus Christ performed many acts of healing during his 3 years ministry to prove that He was the Messiah]
Ὀψίας δὲ γενοµένης προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δαιµονιζοµένους πολλούς· καὶ ἐξέβαλεν τὰ πνεύµατα λόγῳ, καὶ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ἐθεράπευσεν· ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος, Αὐτὸς τὰς ἀσθενείας ἡµῶν ἔλαβεν καὶ τὰς νόσους ἐβάστασεν.
Point of the quotation: This was fulfilled two years before the cross. He healed in his ministry to prove that he was the Messiah and that people would listen to his gospel message. This then is not healing in the Atonement.
The Greek word ‘lambano’ means to take by the hand and to carry away namely to remove these sicknesses and diseases from the people. These acts of healing had nothing to do with the cross.
So, there is no such thing as ‘healing in the atonement’.
These diseases were not transferred to Christ on the cross. Rather, these sicknesses and diseases were healed long before the cross occurred. The Scripture is very clear that Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross not a handful of illnesses and diseases.
The purpose of healing here was to focus attention on Christ as Savior and Messiah.
In the atonement Christ bore our sins, not our sicknesses and diseases (1 Peter 2:24) and those sins were judged.
This verse clearly states that Jesus Christ had power over disease by removing them, not by bearing them.
Removing diseases through miracles were a presentation of the credentials of the King.
The Power of Christ over nature: verses 18-27.
8:18. When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross over to the other side of the lake [of Galilee].
Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὄχλον περὶ αὐτὸν ἐκέλευσεν ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὸ πέραν.
Jesus leaves the crowd this time to get rid of the dead wood. Jesus wanted quality, not quantity. The departure of Jesus creates a crisis for some members of the crowd. The second crisis would be the storm on the Sea.
This crowd had originally been gathered by our Lord's first thrust in the field of miracles. Many had stayed to hear the Sermon on the Mount. They were impressed up to this point. Like most crowds, however, they came to be entertained. They were entertained by the miracles and stimulated by having heard the Sermon on the Mount. However, for the most part they were not seeking truth. They were fickle, emotional, and irrational.
Furthermore, large crowds are a distraction to the teaching, training, and inculcation of the true disciples of our Lord during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, and so there has to be a separation of those who are positive from the rest of the crowd who mostly wanted to be entertained.
In this manner, the Lord separated positive from negative volition. This is just as true today. The pastor must so teach that there will be from time to time a separation of positive from negative volition. The job of the pastor is not to be popular but to be faithful in teaching the Word so that negative volition is irritated and moves on, and positive volition stands fast to grow in grace.
Then a certain scribe [teacher of the law] came to him and said, “Teacher [notice that he did not call him Lord], I will follow you wherever if you should go [3rd class conditional sentence].”
καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς γραµµατεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, ∆ιδάσκαλε, ἀκολουθήσω σοι ὅπου ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ
This unbeliever was following Christ because he was impressed with crowds. He is also full of a lot of hot air. He uses a 3rd class conditional sentence, if you go, but I don’t think that you will leave this crowd. This religious man would never leave this crowd, rather he would make every effort to exploit them. In his life, he has only known religious people and so has never known anyone with integrity. So, he thinks Jesus is just like all the others he has known. Therefore, when Jesus gave the command to leave the crowd, he thinks that he was bluffing. This unbeliever looks at life from the human viewpoint and from human success standards. What he really is saying is that he will follow the Lord as long as it doesn’t interfere with his personal comfort. Religious people are interested in conventions, rituals, social life, money, pleasure and popularity.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head [no reservations on the other side].”
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.
The fox distraction is the negative volition of this intellectual person who has become superficial in his thinking. The fox is clever; so is the scribe. The fox is a smart animal; so is the scribe. The fox has a lair, a den, a burrow, his security.
Then, our Lord moves to the birds, “the birds of the atmosphere have roosting places [or nests]” and are relatively secure. While the fox is analogous to the cleverness of the scribe the bird illustrates prominence, wealth, and success.
Jesus concludes, “but the Son of Man has no place where he may recline his head” In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ is not promising any form of human security, prominence or wealth. Since these are what the scribe desired, he will not join the Lord.
The interesting thing about mentioning the ‘head’ in which Jesus had more doctrine than any other human being in history, and yet He had no place to rest His head, but for Jesus that was not an issue since He knew that God the Father would sustain Him all the way to the cross and then in resurrection, Ascension and Session. So, since Jesus had a secure relationship with the Father, human security was not an issue.
The scribe with his superficial scholarship, his pseudo-intellectualism, his arrogance, his spurious emotion, his human security orientation illustrates the person who because of his arrogance and his cleverness is impressed by the superficialities of life such as human approbation, large crowds, miracles, and the popularity of our Lord Jesus Christ, but was not interested in the gospel message.
Another [of a different kind: saved] of the disciples said to him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
ἕτερος δὲ τῶν µαθητῶν [αὐτοῦ] εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Κύριε, ἐπίτρεψόν µοι πρῶτον ἀπελθεῖν καὶ θάψαι τὸν πατέρα µου
Going to his father’s funeral is not wrong, it is not sinful, it is not immoral, it is not evil, it is a normal and wonderful function. So, we are not dealing with sin in this case, we are dealing with another form of superficiality, the protocol of human society. For this believer, the approbation of people was more important than the approbation of the Lord.
But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own [spiritually] dead.”
ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτῷ, Ἀκολούθει µοι, καὶ ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς
Not offending his family and friends was more important to him than obeying the Lord. A funeral of an unbeliever attended by unbelievers means nothing to a believer except for the opportunity to present the gospel. Even if this believer had the opportunity, he would not take advantage of it for fear of offending his unbeliever relatives and friends. Furthermore, this believer knew that if he did not attend, he would be ostracized by his family and friends and this he did not want for his family and friends were more important to him than the Lord Jesus Christ. He will live out his life, therefore, inside of the cosmic system and will eventually die the sin unto death.
This man obviously loved his father and wanted to attend the funeral, but not so much out of love, as we will note, but from the standpoint of protocol, conformity to the regulations of society. That was more important to him than to continue in the plan of God. There are a lot of legitimate functions in life that are not related in any way to sin or evil. The funeral is merely used as the illustration here. Where the protocol of society is concerned, however, this disciple is inflexible. In his case, traditional observance of a funeral took precedence over the mandate of Jesus Christ, and that is the issue.
Believers think to themselves, “What will they think if I do not attend the boss’s party? What will they think if I do not do this, or that, or the other thing?” If there is a conflict between doctrine and something you want to do or something that will advance you personally by way of a party, by way of a social life of some sort, even a business life of some sort, then doctrine always loses out. When doctrine loses out in normal circumstances you can count on it that you will never ever pass any momentum testing, and when the crisis comes you will fall apart and act like any unbeliever would in your category. There are probably millions of believers today with “legitimate” excuses as to why they do not take in doctrine every day. They are not growing spiritually, and they are not prepared for the crisis.
When he got into the ship, his disciples followed him.
Καὶ ἐµβάντι αὐτῷ εἰς [τὸ] πλοῖον ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ µαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ
We do not know how many boarded the ship, but it was more than the Twelve. The storm at the sea will become a test for believers who are advancing in the spiritual life.
These are the ones who are positive to the plan of God. They were pluggers, they were persistent in the perception of doctrine. They stayed with the ship. They continued their momentum and they finally arrived at occupation with Christ. They are unremitting in their perseverance and they did not allow wrong priorities to distract them from the plan of God. These disciples follow our Lord into the boat, not knowing where He is going, not knowing what is on the other side for them.
Before any believer can face the storms of life, he must get into the ship, he must get into the plan of God and stay with it. No storm or testing ever becomes a blessing in your life until you live and have momentum inside God’s power system.
Verses 24-27 the crisis of the storm:
And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea so that the ship was being covered with the waves; but Jesus himself was asleep.
καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισµὸς µέγας ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, ὥστε τὸ πλοῖον καλύπτεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν κυµάτων· αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκάθευδεν
The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake), at levels between 705 feet and 686 feet below sea level. It is approximately 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long, and 8.1 miles wide.
The Sea of Galilee is a dangerous place in a storm for it is rather shallow and is surrounded by Mountains except for a valley that leads into it. So, when winds come down this valley and enter the sea, it forms a wind funnel producing sudden and violent storms.
In the storm, the disciples learn who and what Christ is. Our safety is in our relationship with the Lord and nothing else. By sleeping in the ship, Jesus was attempting to give them a lesson on the faith-rest drill.
And they came to him and awoke him, saying, “Save us, Lord [title of deity]; we are perishing!”
καὶ προσελθόντες ἤγειραν αὐτὸν λέγοντες, Κύριε, σῶσον, ἀπολλύµεθα
Why didn’t the humanity of Christ awaken and give them assurance? This is not the way to meet disaster. The believer meets disaster by applying metabolized doctrine from his stream of consciousness. Since they had the doctrine, they didn’t need any personal attention or encouragement from others to pass the test.
Waking up the humanity of Christ and addressing Him as Lord, meaning deity made no sense whatsoever. Since it would be the deity of Christ who would deliver them and since deity never sleeps, their act was irrational. They needed to apply the Lord’s essence or some other doctrine by faith during this dangerous storm.
The suddenness of the storm turned them into cowards even though they would be winners later-on in their spiritual lives. At this time, they flunked the test because they could not think under pressure. The storm was the crisis, the disaster. The disaster, of course, was testing for spiritual acceleration and blessing. (Note that this was not the time for prayer or a time to be counseled.) These disciples flunked the test because even though they had the necessary doctrines, they couldn’t apply them. They couldn’t apply them because they had entered into fear.
The storm, of course, is designed to teach the futility of human resources. There is no preparation, no ability, no genius, no system of human philosophy that can handle the historical disaster illustrated by the storm. Only the disciples, by the way, who were positive to the plan of God faced the storm. In the storm positive believers learn who and what Christ is, and therefore the storms of life teach the higher form of security. The sea is very much like the circumstances of life; one moment the sea is perfectly calm and very beautiful, representing the pleasant circumstances of our life; the next moment the sea becomes stormy and awesome in the fury of its power, representing disaster and crisis in the circumstances of life.
The ship represents the plan of God with its mandates and its priorities; and with maximum doctrine resident in the soul, the believer can have his greatest blessings in the storm. The fact that the disciples failed merely emphasized the point. They could have succeeded; they could have had the wonderful privilege of riding out the storm and enjoying every minute of it.
The adverse circumstances of life are like the stormy sea, they provide uncertainty, they indicate lack of human control, they indicate that the resources of life apart from what God has provided are absolutely useless. The ship is the only place of safety in the storm just as the spiritual life is the only place of security, safety and blessing in this life. We can’t afford to be out of God’s system of power for even five minutes. Bible doctrine resident in the soul is the basis of capacity for happiness and blessing and the ability to handle the adversities of life. Bible doctrine resident in the soul is the key to our strength and our stability. Many believers never get into the ship because they are distracted by the cosmic system, but those who do face the storm not as a discipline but as a blessing. All adversity which comes to you when you are living in the divine power system with its two power options is for blessing. The only place of security in the storm is the ship no matter how unstable it appears to be in the storm.
God does not deliver the believer by cancelling the crisis, He delivers by intensifying the crisis and forcing us to go away from human resources to the Bible doctrine we have stored in our souls from persistent perception of doctrine in Bible class. The blessing, therefore, comes not from avoiding the storm but from riding out the storm; not from the cancellation of the storm but going through it. The mature believer is delivered in the storm, never from the storm.
The disciples had their eyes on the storm instead of having their eyes on the Lord. Testing through catastrophe and disaster always brings out what we really are. No one ever becomes strong until he has passed this category of pressure testing. They will learn from this pressure test in this storm that doctrine can be applied and must be applied. The disciples who were too distracted to embark on the ship will never learn this lesson and they are losers throughout life no matter what life brings their way. Their suffering is always discipline but never for blessing. Believers living in the cosmic system never suffer for blessing.
He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then [after rebuking them], he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.
καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Τί δειλοί ἐστε, ὀλιγόπιστοι; τότε ἐγερθεὶς ἐπετίµησεν τοῖς ἀνέµοις καὶ τῇ θαλάσσῃ, καὶ ἐγένετο γαλήνη µεγάλη
Human panic assumes that the Lord was sleeping and therefore not paying any attention to them, whereas in eternity past Christ had already paid attention to them. Human panic is the source of pseudo-prayer of fear, worry, anxiety, guilt-complex, all of which are sins. The disciples were not thinking. It never occurred to the disciples to ride out the storm and see what the Lord had for them. They were on one trip where it would be impossible for that ship to sink and therefore, they missed all the fun.
Jesus Christ controls history, and so we will never be taken from this life until He is ready to take us. God does not intend for the believer to run to Him or anyone else in time of disaster since He has provided the basis for utilizing inner resources. The believer must throw away his crutches. In other words, as the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “we walk by faith and not by sight.” This means that every time we seek help or counsel from another we are weakened. They sought advice from the Lord, but the Lord had already given them advice in many, many messages. He had already prepared them for this storm.
The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
οἱ δὲ ἄνθρωποι ἐθαύµασαν λέγοντες, Ποταπός ἐστιν οὗτος ὅτι καὶ οἱ ἄνεµοι καὶ ἡ θάλασσα αὐτῷ ὑπακούουσιν
After witnessing the deity of Christ rebuking the wind and the sea, this is got to be the dumbest statement that a group of believers could have possibly made. One thing is for sure, and that is the Apostle Paul would never had said this! Well, on the other hand, it should provide some comfort for us in that if these morons could make it, we can too.
The Power of Jesus over demons: verses 28-34.
When he came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.
Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πέραν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γαδαρηνῶν ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ δύο δαιµονιζόµενοι ἐκ τῶν µνηµείων ἐξερχόµενοι, χαλεποὶ λίαν, ὥστε µὴ ἰσχύειν τινὰ παρελθεῖν διὰ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἐκείνης
The Hellenized Jews liked pork, but pork was prohibited. So, they had to find a way around it for two reasons namely to maintain their hypocrisy and to avoid criticism from the religious faction. Since the area of the Gadarenes was a mountainous area, it was a great area to hide their hog-industry. Then, at night they would ship their pigs across the sea to their Jewish customers who had developed a taste for pork chops and roast.
And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the times [a reference to sending them to the abyss to be tormented before the angelic appeal trial had finished]?”
καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες, Τί ἡµῖν καὶ σοί, υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ; ἦλθες ὧδε πρὸ καιροῦ βασανίσαι ἡµᾶς
There was a conversation between the indwelling leader of the demons and the Lord Jesus Christ. The demon makes an issue out of ‘minding one’s business’ when demons don’t abide by that principle at all. They use these things only when it is for their benefit. This demon was obviously smarter than the disciples who had just referred to the work of God the Son as the work of a man.
Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. The demons began to entreat him, saying “If you are going to cast us out and you are [1st class conditional sentence], send us into the herd of swine.”
ἦν δὲ µακρὰν ἀπí αὐτῶν ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν βοσκοµένη. οἱ δὲ δαίµονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες, Εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡµᾶς, ἀπόστειλον ἡµᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων
Jesus knew that at least one of these two demon possessed individuals would believe in Christ if he had a chance to use his volition, and in order to use his volition, the Lord Jesus had to first remove the demons.
Luke 8:38, 39, “But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him [since he was now a believer]; but He sent him away, saying, (39) Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you [present the gospel]. So, he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things [removing demon possession so that he could believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior] Jesus had done for him.”
Human history is the Angelic Appeal Trial. This explains why angels including both fallen and elect are involved in human history. It further explains why even though Satan and the fallen angels were sentenced to the Lake of Fire before human history as per Matthew 25:41 they do not go into the Lake of Fire until after human history, not until the trial has been brought to completion (Revelation 20:10).
God has set up certain rules to be followed during this appeal trial. Demon possession of humans obviously would not be allowed during this trial since it prevented freedom of volition. So, these fallen angels aware of their violation, requested to indwell these swine instead of being sent to the Abyss for the rest of human history. Well, after the swine died, they were sent to the Abyss undoubtedly.
Luke 8:26-31, “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. 28 Seeing Jesus, he [the demon leader] cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I [speaking on behalf of the other demons] beg You, do not torment me.” 29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man [the man was demon possessed]. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds [demon possession gave him great strength] and be driven by the demon into the desert. 30 And Jesus asked him [the demon spokesman], “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion” [speaking for at least 2000 demons since 2000 hogs became indwelt]; for many demons had entered him. 31 They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss [a compartment in Hades for those demons who had violated the rules established regarding the Angelic Appeal Trial.”
Mark 5:13, “Jesus gave them permission, and coming out, the unclean spirits [demons] entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them, and they were drowned in the sea.”
And he said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea [of Galilee] and perished in the waters. The herdsmen ran away and went to the city and reported everything including what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they implored him to leave their region.
καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Ὑπάγετε. οἱ δὲ ἐξελθόντες ἀπῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους· καὶ ἰδοὺ ὥρµησεν πᾶσα ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρηµνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ ἀπέθανον ἐν τοῖς ὕδασιν. οἱ δὲ βόσκοντες ἔφυγον, καὶ ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἀπήγγειλαν πάντα καὶ τὰ τῶν δαιµονιζοµένων. καὶ ἰδοὺ πᾶσα ἡ πόλις ἐξῆλθεν εἰς ὑπάντησιν τῷ Ἰησοῦ, καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν παρεκάλεσαν ὅπως µεταβῇ ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν.
Luke 8:35-37, “The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. 36 Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. 37 And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear [regarding their illegal pork industry]; and He got into a boat and returned.”
The people in this town were making a lot of money in the pork industry since they could charge outrageous prices for their pork in this black market. So, they were not happy when they found out that the Lord had just caused to drown an entire herd of swine by permitting this indwelling.
Consequently, they wanted to get rid of Jesus. So, they asked Him to leave. While the industry was dealt a blow, two men who had been uncontrollable maniacs, were now in possession of their minds as believers in the Lord.