Matthew Chapter Eight
Then, in chapter 8, the Lord begins in the midst of Israel His patient life of testimony, which closed with His rejection by the people whom God had so long preserved for Him, and for their own blessing.
He had proclaimed the kingdom, displayed His power throughout the land, and declared His character, as well as the spirit of those who should enter the kingdom.
But His miracles,  as well as the whole Gospel, are always characterised by His position among the Jews and God's dealings with them, till He was rejected. Jehovah, yetthe man obedient to the law, foreshewing the entrance of the Gentiles into the kingdom (its establishment in mystery in the world), predicting the building of the church or assembly on the recognition of His being Son of the living God, and the kingdom in glory; and, while detecting as the effect of His presence the perversity of the people, yet bearing on His heart with perfect patience the burden of Israel.  It is Jehovah present in goodness, outwardly one of themselves: wondrous truth!
First of all, we find the healing of a leper. Jehovah alone, in His sovereign goodness, could heal the leper; here Jesus does so. "If thou wilt," says the leper, "thou canst." "I will," replies the Lord. But at the same time, while He shews forth in His own Person that which repels all possibility of defilement-that which is above sin-He shews the most perfect condescension towards the defiled one. He touches the leper, saying, "I will, be thou clean." We see the grace, the power, the undefilable holiness of Jehovah, come down in the Person of Jesus to the closest proximity to the sinner, touching him so to speak. It was indeed "the Lord that healeth thee."  At the same time He conceals Himself, and commands the man, who had been healed, to go to the priest according to the ordinances of the law and offer his gift. He does not go out of the place of the Jew in subjection to the law; but Jehovah was there in goodness.
But in the next case we see a Gentile, who by faith enjoys the full effect of that power which his faith ascribed to Jesus giving the Lord occasion to bring out the solemn truth, that many of these poor Gentiles should come and sit down in the kingdom of heaven with the fathers who were honoured by the Jewish nation as the first parents of the heirs of promise, while the children of the kingdom should be in outer darkness. In fact the faith of this centurion acknowledged a divine power in Jesus, which, by the glory of Him that possessed it, would (not forsake Israel, but) open the door to the Gentiles, and graft into the olive-tree of promise branches of the wild olive-tree in the place of those which should be cut off. The manner in which this should take place in the assembly was not now the question.
He does not however yet forsake Israel. He goes into Peter's house, and heals his wife's mother. He does the same to all the sick who crowd around the house at even, when the sabbath was over. They are healed, the devils are cast out, so that the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled: "Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses." Jesus put Himself in heart under the weight of all the sorrows that oppressed Israel, in order to relieve and heal them. It is still Emmanuel, who feels for their misery and is afflicted in all their affliction, but who has come in with the power that shews Him capable of delivering them.
These three cases shew this character of His ministry in a clear and striking manner. He hides Himself; for, until the moment when He would shew judgment to the Gentiles, He does not lift up His voice in the streets. It is the dove that rests upon Him. These manifestations of power attract men to Him; but this does not deceive Him: He never departs in spirit from the place He has taken. He is the despised and the rejected of men; He has nowhere to lay His head. The earth had more room for the foxes and the birds than for Him, whom we have seen appear a moment before as the Lord, acknowledged at least by the necessities which He never refused to relieve. Therefore, if any man would follow Him, he must forsake all to be the companion of the Lord, who would not have come down to the earth if everything had not been in question; nor without an absolute right, although it was at the same time in a love which could only be occupied by its mission, and by the necessity that brought Him there.
The Lord on earth was everything or nothing. This, it is true, was to be felt morally in its effects, in the grace which, acting by faith, attached the believer to Him by an ineffable bond. Without this, the heart would not have been morally put to the test. But this did not make it the less true. accordingly the proofs of this were present: the winds and waves, to which in the eye of man He seemed to be exposed, obeyed His voice at once-a striking reproof to the unbelief that woke Him from His sleep, and had supposed it possible for the waves to engulf Him, and with Him the counsels and the power of Him who had created the winds and waves. It is evident that this storm was permitted in order to try their faith and manifest the dignity of His Person. If the enemy was the instrument who produced it, he only succeeded in making the Lord display His glory. Such indeed is always the case as to Christ, and for us, where faith is.
Now the reality of this power, and the manner of its operation, are forcibly proved by that which follows.
The Lord disembarks in the country of the Gergesenes. There the power of the enemy shews itself in all its horrors. If man, to whom the Lord was come in grace, did not know Him, the devils knew their Judge in the Person of the Son of God. The man was possessed by them. The fear they had of torme nt at the judgment of the last day is applied in the man's mind to the immediate presence of the Lord: "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" Wicked spirits act on men by the dread of their power; they have none unless they are feared. But faith only can take this fear from man. I am not speaking of the lusts on which they act, nor of the wiles of the enemy; I speak of the power of the enemy. Resist the devil and he will flee from thee. Here the devils wished to manifest the reality of this power. The Lord permits it in order to make it plain, that in this world it is not merely man that is in question whether good or bad, but that also which is stronger than man. The devils enter into the swine, which perish in the waters. Sorrowful reality plainly demonstrated that it was no question of mere disease or of sinful lusts, but of wicked spirits! However, thanks be to God, it was a question also of One who, although a man on earth, was more powerful than they. They are compelled to acknowledge this power, and they appeal to it. There is no idea of resistance. In the temptation in the wilderness Satan had been overcome. Jesus completely delivers the man whom they had oppressed with their evil power. The power of the devils was nothing before Him. He could have delivered the world from all the power of the enemy, if that only had been in question, and from all the ills of humanity. The strong man was bound, and the Lord spoiled his goods. But the presence of God, of Jehovah, troubles the world even more than the power of the enemy degrades and domineers over mind and body. The control of the enemy over the heart-too peaceful, and alas! too little perceived-is more mighty than his strength. This succumbs before the word of Jesus; but the will of man accepts the world as it is, governed by the influence of Satan. The whole city, who had witnessed the deliverance of the demoniac and the power of Jesus present among them, entreat Him to depart. Sad history of the world! The Lord came down with power to deliver the world-man-from all the power of the enemy; but they would not. Their distance from God was moral, and not merely bondage to the enemy's power. They submitted to his yoke, they had become used to it, and they would not have the presence of God.
I doubt not that that which happened to the swine is a figure of that which happened to the impious and profane Jews who rejected the Lord Jesus. Nothing can be more striking than the way in which a divine Person, Emmanuel, though a man in grace, is manifested in this chapter.
 The miracles of Christ had a peculiar character. They were not merely acts of power, but all of them of the power of God visiting this world in goodness. The power of God had been often shewn specially, from Moses, but often in judgment. But Christ's were all the deliverance of men from the evil consequences sin had brought in. There was one exception, the cursing the fig tree, but this was a judicial sentence on Israel, that is, man under the old covenant when there was great appearance but no fruit.
 I subjoin here some notes, made since this was written, as throwing, I think, light on the structure of this Gospel. Matthew 51 gives the character required for entrance into the kingdom, the character which was to mark the accepted remnant, Jehovah being now in the way with the nation to judgment. Chapters 8, 9 give the other side-grace and goodness come in, God manifest, His character and actings, that new thing which could not be put into the old bottles-still goodness in power, but rejected, the Son of man (not Messiah) who had not where to lay His head. Chapter 8 gives present intervention in temporal goodness with power. Hence, as goodness, it goes beyond Israel, as it deals in grace with what was excluded from God's camp in Israel. It includes power over all Satan's power and sickness and the elements, and that in taking the burden on Himself, but in conscious rejection. Chapter 8:17-20 leads us to Isaiah 53:3, 4, and the state of things calling for the wholly following Him, giving up all. This leads to the sad testimony that, if divine power expels Satan's, the divine presence manifest in it is insupportable to the world. The swine figure Israel thereupon. Chapter 9 furnishes the religious side of His presence in grace, forgiveness, and the testimony that Jehovah was there according to Psalm 103, but there to call sinners, not the righteous; and this was especially what could not suit the old bottles. Finally, this chapter practically, save the patience of goodness, closes the history. He came to save Israel's life. It was really death when He came: only, wherever there was faith in the midst of the surrounding crowd, there was healing. The Pharisees shew the blasphemy of the leaders: only the patience of grace still subsists, carried out towards Israel in chapter 10, but all found to be of no avail in chapter 11. The Son was revealing the Father, and this abides and gives rest. Chapter 12 develops fully the judgment and rejection of Israel. Chapter 13 brings Christ as a sower, not seeking fruit in His vineyard, and the actual form of the kingdom of heaven.
 One who touched a leper became himself unclean, but the blessed One did come thus close to man, but removed the defilement without contracting it. The leper knew His power, but was not sure of His goodness. "I will" declared it, but with a title which God only has to.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Matthew》
Multitudes follow Christ. (1) He heals a leper. (2-4) A centurion's servant healed. (5-13) Cure of Peter's wife's mother. (14-17) The scribe's zealous proposal. (18-22) Christ in a storm. (23-27) He heals two possessed with devils. (28-34)
Commentary on Matthew 8:1
(Read Matthew 8:1)
This verse refers to the close of the foregoing sermon. Those to whom Christ has made himself known, desire to know more of him.
Commentary on Matthew 8:2-4
(Read Matthew 8:2-4)
In these verses we have an account of Christ's cleansing a leper, who came and worshipped him, as one clothed with Divine power. This cleansing directs us, not only to apply to Christ, who has power over bodily diseases, for the cure of them, but it also teaches us in what manner to apply to him. When we cannot be sure of God's will, we may be sure of his wisdom and mercy. No guilt is so great, but there is that in Christ's blood which atones for it; no corruption so strong, but there is that in his grace which can subdue it. To be made clean we must commend ourselves to his pity; we cannot demand it as a debt, but we must humbly request it as a favour. Those who by faith apply to Christ for mercy and grace, may be sure that he is freely willing to give them the mercy and grace they thus seek. And those afflictions are blessed that bring us to know Christ, and cause us to seek help and salvation from him. Let those who are cleansed from their spiritual leprosy, go to Christ's ministers and open their case, that they may advise, comfort, and pray for them.
Commentary on Matthew 8:5-13
(Read Matthew 8:5-13)
This centurion was a heathen, a Roman soldier. Though he was a soldier, yet he was a godly man. No man's calling or place will be an excuse for unbelief and sin. See how he states his servant's case. We should concern ourselves for the souls of our children and servants, who are spiritually sick, who feel not spiritual evils, who know not that which is spiritually good; and we should bring them to Christ by faith and prayers. Observe his self-abasement. Humble souls are made more humble by Christ's gracious dealings with them. Observe his great faith. The more diffident we are of ourselves, the stronger will be our confidence in Christ. Herein the centurion owns him to have Divine power, and a full command of all the creatures and powers of nature, as a master over his servants. Such servants we all should be to God; we must go and come, according to the directions of his word and the disposals of his providence. But when the Son of man comes he finds little faith, therefore he finds little fruit. An outward profession may cause us to be called children of the kingdom; but if we rest in that, and have nothing else to show, we shall be cast out. The servant got a cure of his disease, and the master got the approval of his faith. What was said to him, is said to all, Believe, and ye shall receive; only believe. See the power of Christ, and the power of faith. The healing of our souls is at once the effect and evidence of our interest in the blood of Christ.
Commentary on Matthew 8:14-17
(Read Matthew 8:14-17)
Peter had a wife, yet was an apostle of Christ, who showed that he approved of the married state, by being thus kind to Peter's wife's relations. The church of Rome, which forbids ministers to marry, goes contrary to that apostle upon whom they rest so much. He had his wife's mother with him in his family, which is an example to be kind to our relations. In spiritual healing, the Scripture speaks the word, the Spirit gives the touch, touches the heart, touches the hand. Those who recover from fevers, commonly are weak and feeble some time after; but to show that this cure was above the power of nature, the woman was at once so well as to go about the business of the house. The miracles which Jesus did being noised abroad, many thronged to him. He healed all that were sick, though the patient was ever so mean, and the case ever so bad. Many are the diseases and calamities to which we are liable in the body; and there is more, in those words of the gospel, that Jesus Christ bore our sicknesses and carried our sorrows, to support and comfort us under them, than in all the writings of the philosophers. Let us not grudge labour, trouble, or expense in doing good to others.
Commentary on Matthew 8:18-22
(Read Matthew 8:18-22)
One of the scribes was too hasty in promising; he proffers himself to be a close follower of Christ. He seems to be very resolute. Many resolutions for religion are produced by sudden conviction, and taken up without due consideration; these come to nothing. When this scribe offered to follow Christ, one would think he should have been encouraged; one scribe might do more credit and service than twelve fishermen; but Christ saw his heart, and answered to its thoughts, and therein teaches all how to come to Christ. His resolve seems to have been from a worldly, covetous principle; but Christ had not a place to lay his head on, and if he follows him, he must not expect to fare better than he fared. We have reason to think this scribe went away. Another was too slow. Delay in doing is as bad on the one hand, as hastiness in resolving is on the other. He asked leave to attend his father to his grave, and then he would be at Christ's service. This seemed reasonable, yet it was not right. He had not true zeal for the work. Burying the dead, especially a dead father, is a good work, but it is not thy work at this time. If Christ requires our service, affection even for the nearest and dearest relatives, and for things otherwise our duty, must give way. An unwilling mind never wants an excuse. Jesus said to him, Follow me; and, no doubt, power went with this word to him as to others; he did follow Christ, and cleaved to him. The scribe said, I will follow thee; to this man Christ said, Follow me; comparing them together, it shows that we are brought to Christ by the force of his call to us, Romans 9:16.
Commentary on Matthew 8:23-27
(Read Matthew 8:23-27)
It is a comfort to those who go down to the sea in ships, and are often in perils there, to reflect that they have a Saviour to trust in and pray to, who knows what it is to be on the water, and to be in storms there. Those who are passing with Christ over the ocean of this world, must expect storms. His human nature, like to ours in every thing but sin, was wearied, and he slept at this time to try the faith of his disciples. They, in their fear, came to their Master. Thus is it in a soul; when lusts and temptations are swelling and raging, and God is, as it were, asleep to it, this brings it to the brink of despair. Then it cries for a word from his mouth, Lord Jesus, keep not silence to me, or I am undone. Many that have true faith, are weak in it. Christ's disciples are apt to be disquieted with fears in a stormy day; to torment themselves that things are bad with them, and with dismal thoughts that they will be worse. Great storms of doubt and fear in the soul, under the power of the spirit of bondage, sometimes end in a wonderful calm, created and spoken by the Spirit of adoption. They were astonished. They never saw a storm so turned at once into a perfect calm. He that can do this, can do any thing, which encourages confidence and comfort in him, in the most stormy day, within or without, Isaiah 26:4.
Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34
(Read Matthew 8:28-34)
The devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Saviour; they neither have, nor hope for any benefit from him. Oh the depth of this mystery of Divine love; that fallen man has so much to do with Christ, when fallen angels have nothing to do with him! Hebrews 2:16. Surely here was torment, to be forced to own the excellence that is in Christ, and yet they had no part in him. The devils desire not to have any thing to do with Christ as a Ruler. See whose language those speak, who will have nothing to do with the gospel of Christ. But it is not true that the devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Judge; for they have, and they know it, and thus it is with all the children of men. Satan and his instruments can go no further than he permits; they must quit possession when he commands. They cannot break his hedge of protection about his people; they cannot enter even a swine without his leave. They had leave. God often, for wise and holy ends, permits the efforts of Satan's rage. Thus the devil hurries people to sin; hurries them to what they have resolved against, which they know will be shame and grief to them: miserable is the condition of those who are led captive by him at his will. There are a great many who prefer their swine before the Saviour, and so come short of Christ and salvation by him. They desire Christ to depart out of their hearts, and will not suffer his word to have place in them, because he and his word would destroy their brutish lusts, those swine which they give themselves up to feed. And justly will Christ forsake all that are weary of him; and say hereafter, Depart, ye cursed, to those who now say to the Almighty, Depart from us.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Matthew》
 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
See thou tell no man|-Perhaps our Lord only meant here, Not till thou hast showed thyself to the priest-who was appointed to inquire into the case of leprosy. But many others he commanded, absolutely, to tell none of tho miracles he had wrought upon them. And this he seems to have done, chiefly for one or more of these reasons: 1. To prevent the multitude from thronging him, in the manner related Mark 1:45. 2. To fulfil the prophecy, Isaiah 42:1, that he would not be vain or ostentatious. This reason St. Matthew assigns, Matthew 12:17, etc. 3. To avoid the being taken by force and made a king, John 6:15. And, 4. That he might not enrage the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, who were the most bitter against him, any more than was unavoidable, Matthew 16:20,21.
For a testimony — That I am the Messiah; to them - The priests, who otherwise might have pleaded want of evidence. Leviticus 14:2. 5.
There came to him a centurion — A captain of a hundred Roman soldiers. Probably he came a little way toward him, and then went back. He thought himself not worthy to come in person, and therefore spoke the words that follow by his messengers. As it is not unusual in all languages, so in the Hebrew it is peculiarly frequent, to ascribe to a person himself the thing which is done, and the words which are spoken by his order. And accordingly St. Matthew relates as said by the centurion himself, what others said by order from him. An instance of the same kind we have in the case of Zebedee's children. From St. Matthew, Matthew 20:20, we learn it was their mother that spoke those words, which, Mark 10:35,37, themselves are said to speak; because she was only their mouth. Yet from verse 13, Matthew 8:13, Go thy way home, it appears he at length came in person, probably on hearing that Jesus was nearer to his house than he apprehended when he sent the second message by his friends. Luke 7:1.
 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
The centurion answered — By his second messengers.
 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
For I am a man under authority — I am only an inferior officer: and what I command, is done even in my absence: how much more what thou commandest, who art Lord of all!
 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel — For the centurion was not an Israelite.
 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
Many from the farthest parts of the earth shall embrace the terms and enjoy the rewards of the Gospel covenant established with Abraham. But the Jews, who have the first title to them, shall be shut out from the feast; from grace here, and hereafter from glory. Luke 13:29.
 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The outer darkness — Our Lord here alludes to the custom the ancients had of making their feast in the night time. Probably while he was speaking this, the centurion came in person. Matthew 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30.
 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.
 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Whereby was fulfilled what was spoken by the Prophet Isaiah — He spoke it in a more exalted sense. The evangelist here only alludes to those words, as being capable of this lower meaning also. Such instances are frequent in the sacred writings, and are elegancies rather than imperfections. He fulfilled these words in the highest sense, by bearing our sins in his own body on the tree: in a lower sense, by sympathizing with us in our sorrows, and healing us of the diseases which were the fruit of sin. Isaiah 53:4.
 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
He commanded to go to the other side — That both himself and the people might have a little rest.
 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
The Son of man — The expression is borrowed from Daniel 7:13, and is the appellation which Christ generally gives himself: which he seems to do out of humility, as having some relation to his mean appearance in this world.
Hath not where to lay his head — Therefore do not follow me from any view of temporal advantage.
 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Another said — I will follow thee without any such view; but I must mind my business first. It is not certain that his father was already dead. Perhaps his son desired to stay with him, being very old, till his death.
 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
But Jesus said — When God calls, leave the business of the world to them who are dead to God.
 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
The ship was covered — So man's extremity is God's opportunity.
 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Why are ye fearful — Then he rebuked the winds - First, he composed their spirits, and then the sea.
 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
The country of the Gergesenes — Or of the Gadarenes - Gergesa and Gadara were towns near each other. Hence the country between them took its name, sometimes from the one, sometimes from the other.
There met him two demoniacs — St. Mark and St. Luke mention only one, who was probably the fiercer of the two, and the person who spoke to our Lord first. But this is no way inconsistent with the account which St. Matthew gives.
The tombs — Doubtless those malevolent spirits love such tokens of death and destruction. Tombs were usually in those days in desert places, at a distance from towns, and were often made in the sides of caves, in the rocks and mountains.
 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
What have we to do with thee — This is a Hebrew phrase, which signifies. Why do you concern yourself about us? 2 Samuel 16:10.
Before the time — The great day.
 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
There was a herd of many swine — Which it was not lawful for the Jews to keep. Therefore our Lord both justly and mercifully permitted them to be destroyed.
 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
He said, Go — A word of permission only, not command.
 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
They besought him to depart out of their coasts — They loved their swine so much better than their souls! How many are of the same mind!
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Matthew》
Chapter 8. Miracles of Faith
Only Speak a Word
My Servant Will Be Healed
I. Healing of Every Disease
II. Different Kinds of Following Jesus
III. Cast Demons into a Herd of Pigs
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
A Man Under Authority (8:5-13)
1. In Mt 8:5-13, we read of the healing of the centurion's servant...
a. In which Jesus highly commends the centurion's faith
b. Calling his faith greater than any He had found in
2. This is not the only time we read of military personnel presented in
a favorable light...
a. There are several Biblical examples of soldiers
b. Who were outstanding in their service to God
[In our text, I believe we find why soldiers were often such notable
examples of faith and service. Before we consider why, let's first
review the examples of...]
I. SOME NOTABLE SOLDIERS IN THE BIBLE
A. JOSHUA AND CALEB...
1. These two men were soldiers who stand out
a. They tried to persuade
to trust in God, and were Israel
threatened with death - Num 14:6-10
b. In the end, they were the only ones over twenty-one who
to enter the Promised Land - Num 14:26-32 Egypt
2. Caleb was highly praised by God
a. At the time he stood fast for the Lord - Num 14:24
b. At the time he received the land promised to him - Josh
-- It is repeatedly emphasized that he "wholly followed the
Lord God of
3. Joshua was similarly remarkable
a. In his farewell address (at age 110), he takes his stand
for the Lord - Josh 24:14-15
b. His influence over his family was great enough that he knew
how they would choose
B. CORNELIUS, THE FIRST GENTILE CONVERT...
1. His piety was remembered by the Lord - Ac 10:1-6
2. In responding to the vision...
a. He immediately sent for Peter - Ac 10:7-8
b. He prepared an audience for Peter by gathering relatives
and close friends - Ac 10:24
c. He was ready to hear whatever Peter had to say - Ac 10:33
3. Cornelius and his family were obedient as implied in Ac 10:48
C. THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER, THE FIRST EUROPEAN MALE CONVERT...
1. Like Cornelius, his conversion was immediate - Ac 16:30-34
2. His family likewise obeyed the gospel
[These four Biblical examples remind me of military men I have known;
men with similar dedication to the Lord, and success in influencing
their families to follow them in their service to the Lord.
Coincidence? I think not. What I see is a particular attitude toward
authority, one found in the centurion of our text (cf. Mt 8:8-9).
Consider what is involved with being...]
II. A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY
A. THE MILITARY TEACHES THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHORITY...
1. Without a respected line of authority, chaos would develop
a. It is impossible for a large group of individuals to
function efficiently without a chain of command that is
b. Instead of united, coordinated forces, it would be every
man for himself!
2. Soldiers are taught to submit to authority immediately
a. Delay can disastrous on the battlefield, where speed can
mean the difference between life or death, victory or
b. Questioning authority, balking at keeping commands, can
easily result in one's own death and that of their comrades
3. Thus the military teaches both:
a. How to submit to authority
b. How to exercise authority over others
-- As expressed by the centurion - Mt 8:8-9
B. KNOWING HOW TO "SUBMIT" TO AUTHORITY, MILITARY MEN...
1. Often obey the will of the Lord immediately upon hearing the
a. They realize that delay can be disastrous
b. They would not hesitate to follow orders if their lives
were in danger, why hesitate when their souls are in
2. Often follow the Lord with a "whole heart"
a. They understand the need to submit to authority totally
b. If it were just a game, one might be justified to be half-
hearted, not taking things seriously
c. But warfare, whether carnal or spiritual, requires complete
devotion and total concentration to the task at hand! - cf.
3. Often influence their entire families for the Lord
a. By such careful submission to the will of the Lord, they
set a notable example for their children
b. Their children see that serving the Lord is serious
business for their father; there must be something to it
C. KNOWING HOW TO "EXERCISE" AUTHORITY, MILITARY MEN...
1. Often raise their children in subjection
a. Obedient to their parents
b. Eventually following parental in obedience to the Lord
2. This is not to say they are necessarily strict martinets, but
they exercise authority...
a. With firmness, making it advisable for a child to obey
b. With wisdom, making it natural for a child to obey
c. With love, making it with willingness for a child to obey
3. Often become elders to rule over the house of God - cf. 1 Ti
a. Having demonstrated their ability to rule over the house of
b. By first exercising authority over their own household
1. My purpose is not encourage you to enlist in the military...
a. But to suggest we would do well to remember the examples of those
in the military
b. For we are to be a people under authority, the authority of Jesus
1) An authority over all things in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
2) An authority that demands that we do what He has commanded
- Mt 28:19-20
2. In an aged marked by permissiveness, it behooves Christians to
possess a military attitude regarding authority, for we are engaged
in a spiritual warfare with Satan and his influences
a. Not submitting to the authority of God with all haste...
1) Could mean the damnation of our own soul
2) And a bad example for our children
b. Not exercising our authority as Christian parents...
1) May lead to our children taking the broad way that leads to
2) May result in delivering our children to Satan on a silver
3. How much better...
a. To be like Caleb, and "wholly serve the Lord God"
b. To be like Joshua, and declare "as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord"
-- Just as our nation says, "Uncle Sam Needs You!" so the Lord's
church says, "The Lord Jesus Christ Needs You!"
Is your faith like that of the centurion, who recognized the power of
authority when he saw it? If you have not yet obeyed the gospel of
Christ, or need to return to the Lord, follow the example of Cornelius
and the Philippian jailer and act immediately! You might save not only
yourself, but your children and friends as well!
The Challenge Of Following Jesus (8:18-22)
1. As Jesus went about His earthly ministry, He was often followed by
a. Drawn by His teachings - Mt 7:28-8:1
b. Attracted by His miracles - Mt 8:16-18
2. Some of those who followed Him wanted to become His disciples...
a. Willing to be taught by Jesus - e.g., Mt 5:1-2
b. Wanting to follow Jesus as their Lord and Master - e.g., Mt 8:19
3. Jesus would later command His apostles to make disciples of all the
a. As found in The Great Commission - Mt 28:19-20
b. Clearly Jesus wanted people to become His disciples
4. But Jesus never misled the multitudes...
a. It would not be easy to be His disciple
b. Following Him would be a challenge!
5. In our text for today's study (Mt 8:18-22), we find Jesus responding
to two individuals regarding the matter of discipleship...
a. "The hasty scribe" who wanted to become a disciple
b. "The reluctant disciple" who needed to be reminded of what it
meant to be a disciple
[This passage should remind us of "The Challenge Of Following Jesus",
taken seriously by all who would be His disciples. For instance, in
the case of "the hasty scribe" we learn...]
I. ONE MUST BE WILLING TO COUNT THE COST
A. THE SCRIBE'S OFFER...
1. He expressed a willingness to follow Jesus anywhere - Mt 8:19
2. A commendable offer, but does he know what it means?
B. THE MASTER'S REPLY...
1. Jesus informed the scribe that He was homeless - Mt 8:20
a. As an itinerant preacher, Jesus had no place to call home
b. Many a night might be spent with no roof overhead
2. To follow Jesus at that time would mean to leave all
a. As was necessary for Peter, Andrew, James, and John - Mt 4:
b. As was encouraged of the rich young ruler - Mt 19:21
C. ONE NEEDS TO COUNT THE COST BEFORE BECOMING A DISCIPLE...
1. As Jesus told the multitudes who followed Him - Lk 14:25-33
2. One does not have to become homeless to follow Jesus today,
but we must still:
a. Love Him more than family and life
b. Forsake all by making Him the Lord and Ruler of our lives
3. In our zeal to win souls, do we neglect to tell people the
cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus?
a. The cost of observing all that Jesus commands? - Mt 28:20
b. A cost that might require a radical change in one's life?
1) E.g., quitting jobs that interfere with holy living
2) E.g., leaving friends who seek to lead one astray
3) E.g., changing lifestyles, or getting out of unlawful
c. That one's repentance is fundamental to the gospel message?
- cf. Lk 24:46-47; Ac 2:38; 3:19; 17:30-31; 20:20-21
[When a person wants to follow Jesus, that is wonderful! But we should
remind people there is a cost involved, one they need to consider
before they commit.
For those who are already disciples, we must not forget "The Challenge
Of Following Jesus". In the case of "the reluctant disciple", we are
II. WE MUST BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE
A. THE DISCIPLE'S REQUEST...
1. He desires to forego following Jesus in order to bury his
father first - Mt 8:21
2. Sounds like a devoted son, what harm is there in his request?
B. THE MASTER'S RESPONSE...
1. Jesus tells him to follow Him and let the dead bury their own
dead - Mt 8:22
a. I.e., let the spiritually dead bury the physical dead
b. Others could handle such familial tasks, his responsibility
was to answer to a higher calling
2. Jesus often made it clear...to follow Him meant putting Him
a. As we saw earlier - Lk 14:26
b. As He taught His disciples in preparing them for The
Limited Commission - Mt 10:34-37
c. As He set the pattern on one occasion when His family was
seeking Him - cf. Mt 12:46-50
C. WE NEED TO PAY THE PRICE OF BEING DISCIPLES...
1. As disciples, we are taught there may be a price to pay to
a. As Paul taught the new disciples on his first journey
- Ac 14:21-22
b. As Paul wrote to Timothy at the end of his life - 2 Ti 3:
2. Far too often, disciples today want to first "bury the dead",
a. Putting family responsibilities before the Lord
1) E.g., missing services to entertain visiting family or
2) Did not Jesus tell Martha some things take precedent
over the desire to be a gracious host? - Lk 10:38-42
b. Accepting jobs when they know it will hinder their service
to the Lord
1) E.g., occupations that are so demanding, one has little
time or energy left
2) You might think them necessary to support family, but
did not Jesus promise that God will provide if you put
the kingdom first? - Mt 6:31-33
3. In our zeal to provide for our families, do we forget that we
are disciples of Christ?
a. There are many good and noble things that can be done in
relation to kin and occupation
b. But as disciples of Christ, we have a higher and more noble
calling - 1 Pe 2:9-10
1) As a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, God's own special people
2) To proclaim the praises of God who called us out of
darkness into His marvelous light
c. If we can't "bury the dead" without neglecting our service
to Jesus, then we must "let the dead bury the dead"!
1. In many places, the Lord's church suffers through neglect...
a. Attendance is sporadic
b. Service rendered is minimal
c. Discipleship is practiced only when convenient
2. There may be many reasons for this, but I suspect two head the
a. Teaching the gospel without mention of the cost of discipleship
b. Disciples who have forgotten there is a price to pay for
3. In an age of "easy believism", do not forget "The Challenge Of
a. Let "the hasty scribe" remind you to count the cost of becoming a
b. Let "the reluctant disciple" remind you of the need to pay the
price of being a follower of Jesus!
This is one of the paradoxes of Christianity: the salvation that Jesus
offers is a free gift, but it comes at a high cost. Jesus truly "paid
it all", so one cannot earn their salvation; but as our Savior and Lord
He requires that we have the servant mentality:
"So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you
are commanded, say, `We are unprofitable servants. We have done
what was our duty to do.'" (Lk 17:10)
Have you counted the cost? Are you willing to pay the price? Both are
required to follow Jesus!