Matthew 8:18-27

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

JESUS’ TEST FOR DISCIPLESHIP

AND HIS STILLING THE WIND AND WAVES

INTRODUCTION:

 

The narrative about Jesus in Matthew chapters 8 and 9 includes His cleansing of a leper, His healing of the centurion’s servant, His healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, His test for discipleship, His stilling of the winds and waves, His casting out demons at Gadara, His healing of a paralytic man, His call of Matthew, His answer to the Pharisees about eating with tax collectors and sinners, His answer to the Pharisees about fasting, His healing of Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood, His healing of two blind men, His casting out a demon from a dumb man, and His compassion for the multitudes.

We have already seen –

    I.     JESUS’ CLEANSING OF A LEPER – 8:1-4

We have also already seen –

  II.     JESUS’ HEALING OF THE CENTURION’S SERVANT – 8:5-13

In addition, we have already seen –

 III.     JESUS’ HEALING OF PETER’S MOTHER-IN-LAW – 8:14-17

Finally, we have already seen –

 IV.     JESUS’ HEALING OF THOSE POSSESSED WITH DEMONS AND ALL THAT WERE SICK – 8:16-17

We move on to –

    I.     JESUS’ TEST FOR DISCIPLESHIP – 8:18-22

 

Jesus saw large crowds around Him; and in an apparent attempt to thin out the crowd, He ordered His disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Before they entered the boat, a scribe approached Jesus, who told Jesus that he would follow Him wherever He went. In order to see if the scribe really meant what he said, Jesus advised him that He had no place He could call home. It was a message indicating that following Him would not be easy. Jesus’ popularity would be short-lived, and following Jesus would not bring any fame to this scribe. Another of Jesus’ disciples then asked His permission to go home and wait for his father to die before following Jesus. Jesus told this disciple that the time to follow Him was now.

 

Matthew 8:18-22 – (18) Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. (19) And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (20) 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. (21) And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (22) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

 

In verse 18 Jesus saw large crowds around Him and ordered His disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

 

Now transitions from the thought of the previous verses and takes the narrative in a slightly different direction in the sense of then.

 

When Jesus saw great multitudes about him is understood in the sense of after Jesus saw large crowds around Him. It might instead be understood in the sense of because Jesus saw great crowds around Him.

 

He gave commandment is He gave a command or He gave an order.

 

His order was to depart (i.e. to go) unto the other side of the Sea of Galilee. According to verse 28, they crossed to the territory of the Gadarenes on the east side of the Sea of Galilee.

 

Matthew 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

 

And a certain scribe is and one scribe and some scribe.

 

A scribe is an expert in the law or a scholar versed in the law. Nothing is known of this scribe other than what is said in this verse.

 

Came and said unto him suggests came and said to Jesus.

 

What the scribe said is, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest, i.e. teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.

 

It sounds as if this scribe has made a good decision to follow Jesus. At first, therefore, Jesus’ answer may seem a little surprising. It sounds as if Jesus is actually trying to discourage the scribe from following Him. Why would Jesus do this? Note Jesus’ answer.

 

Matthew 8:20 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.

 

Jesus advised the scribe that He had no place He could call home. It is a message to the scribe to indicate that following Him would not be easy. Jesus’ popularity would be short-lived, and following Jesus would not bring any fame or financial reward to this scribe. It conveys the impression that the scribe thought that following Jesus would be beneficial for his career as a scribe.

 

And Jesus saith unto him suggests and Jesus says to the scribe. What Jesus said comprises the rest of the verse.

 

The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests suggests foxes have holes in which they live and birds have nests in which they live.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to Jesus’ statement about the homes of foxes and birds.

 

Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of man.

 

Hath not where to lay his head is has nowhere (or no place) to lay (or lay down) (his) head, by which He means to sleep. Jesus did not have a permanent home in which He might live during His public ministry.

 

Except for what the scribe might learn from Jesus spiritually, which would constitute real and lasting riches, the scribe would not experience any gain as a result of His following Jesus; and learning spiritually from Jesus does not seem to have been his real motive.

 

Be sure your motives for pursuing after Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength are pure.

 

Verse 21 speaks of another of Jesus’ disciples, which suggests that the scribe in verse 20 may have been a disciple of Jesus even though he may not have been saved. It is not known what happened to this scribe or whether he was, or would become, a believer.

 

Matthew 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

 

And another of his disciples said to him is then another of Jesus’ disciples of a different kind said to Him, which suggests that he was not a scribe like the previous one. What he said comprises the rest of this verse.

 

He addresses Jesus as Lord, by which he demonstrated a respectful, submissive attitude toward Jesus.

 

What he said was, Suffer me (i.e. permit me or allow me) first to go and bury my father and implies then I will come and follow you.

 

Jesus’ statement in the next verse where Jesus tells this man follow Me makes this implication clear. He wanted to do something before he would begin to follow Jesus.

 

First suggests in the first place, before, earlier, or to begin with. To go home to bury one’s dead father seems reasonable enough, but the implication is that his father was not yet dead and that he was asking Jesus’ permission to go home and wait for his father to die before he would follow Jesus.

 

To go is to go away or to depart.

 

And to bury my father implies and to bury my father in his grave. Thus, the man was seeking Jesus’ permission to put his father ahead of Jesus. Of course, nothing and no one should ever be put ahead of the Lord in our lives whether it is a car, a truck, a sport, a home, a garden, a job, retirement, or even a spouse or children.

 

Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

 

In verse 22, Jesus told this disciple that he should follow Him now.

 

But has been translated as introducing a statement in mild contrast to the man’s request to Jesus in verse 21. It might instead merely introduce a transition from the previous verse in the sense of then or now.

 

Jesus said to him introduces Jesus’ response, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

 

The tense of follow me implies keep following me or continue following me. It implies that he was already following Jesus and that Jesus was telling him to keep on doing it.

 

And let the dead bury their dead suggests and permit (or allow) the spiritually dead to bury their physically dead. Continuing to follow Jesus was more important than going home, waiting for his father to die, burying him, and then returning and following Jesus. Jesus’ time on earth was limited. It was at this time less than three and one half years. Waiting for the father to die might take longer than Jesus’ earthly ministry would last. Following Jesus now was more important than following Him later. Procrastination might result in this man’s never following Jesus. The man himself might die before his father dies which would mean that he would never follow Jesus. This was the time for him to be following Jesus.

 

Don’t be putting off pursuing after Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength until later in life.

Next, we see –

  II.     JESUS’ STILLING OF THE WINDS AND WAVES – 8:23-27

 

In verse 18 Jesus gave command to depart to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. After a couple of interruptions, Jesus entered a ship followed by His disciples. After leaving land, a great storm arose. It was so bad that the waves covered the ship while Jesus was sleeping. His disciples awoke Him and urged Him to save them because they perceived that they were in grave danger. After Jesus asked them why they were afraid, He calmed the sea. Jesus’ disciples had never seen anything like this and were absolutely amazed, wondering what sort of man He could be, Whom even the winds and sea obeyed.

 

Matthew 8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

 

And when he was entered into a ship suggests at the time that He entered the boat.

 

The ship is most likely a relatively small fishing boat used on the Sea of Galilee.

 

His disciples followed him into the boat. Mark 4:36 indicates that there were also with him other little ships; so the boat Jesus was in was not alone. Others were also crossing the Sea of Galilee with Jesus and His disciples.

 

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

 

And behold is used to gain the reader’s attention. It is as if Matthew wrote and all of a sudden.

 

There arose a great tempest in the sea is a great storm arose (or developed) in the sea.

 

Insomuch that is so that or with the result that.

 

The ship was covered with the waves is the boat was being covered by the waves.

 

The parallel accounts in Mark 8:37 and Luke 8:23 add interesting detail.

 

Mark 8:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

 

Luke 8:23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

 

I am not much of a seaman, but I understand that it is all right for a boat to be in the water; but it becomes a real problem when too much water gets in the boat. Too much water in the boat can be dangerous. It’s like this in the Christian life also. It is all right for the believer to be in the world; but when too much of the world gets in the believer, it is a real problem for him spiritually.

 

But he was asleep is but He was sleeping. Can you believe this? The disciples are in the storm of their lives and the boat is full of water, and Jesus is sound asleep! BUT, although He was sleeping, the situation was never out of Jesus’ control; and although they were in Jesus’ very presence, the disciples still experienced a real, but amazing, trial to teach them that they could depend on Jesus in the storms of life. They could also learn that they could experience a difficult trial in spite of their being in the center of God’s will for their lives inasmuch as they were simply obeying Jesus’ command to sail with Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, even though He knew full well that this storm was coming. They were right where they belonged while experiencing what may have been the storm of their lives.

 

Are you in the middle of one of those storms right now although living in the center of God’s will for your life? Don’t panic. Trust the Lord to bring you through it and teach you something you need to learn.

 

Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

 

In verse 25, Jesus’ disciples woke Jesus and urged Him to save them because they perceived that they were about to die. They must have been shocked that He could be sleeping at such a time as this. Although they were not really in danger, it did not seem like it to them. Beside this, where could they possibly go? They were safer in the boat than they would be in the water.

 

And his disciples came to him, saying suggests and the disciples came to Him and were saying.

 

Without wasting any time, they got right to the point with Jesus when they said, Lord, save us: we perish.

 

Their addressing Him as Lord indicates that they recognized His authority.

 

The tense of save us indicates that its action is to be undertaken at once and without delay. Although there was no real need for them to panic, they had panicked. And who can blame them? Who would not have panicked right along with them!

 

They thought they were dying when they said, We perish, i.e. we are perishing. According to Mark 4:38 they also said, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

 

Matthew 8:26 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.

 

After Jesus asked His disciples why they were afraid, He calmed the sea.

 

And he (i.e. Jesus) saith unto them (i.e. to the disciples in the boat with Him).

 

Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? clearly implies that they should not have been fearful. Although from a human standpoint their fear is not surprising, they should have realized that they were in the very presence of God the Son and that their very lives were completely dependent upon Him. Likewise, the only real hope for safety and security any of us have is in the Lord.

 

Why are ye fearful? implies why are you cowardly? or why are you timid? It was a mild rebuke and should have taught them the lesson that they could depend on Him to take care of them and protect them.

 

Jesus addresses His disciples as O ye of little faith. It is literally, Little faith ones.

 

Then suggests thereupon.

 

He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea is He got up and reproved the winds and the sea or He got up and spoke seriously to the winds and the sea so that they would stop their blowing and raging.

 

As a result of Jesus’ rebuke of the winds and the sea, there was a great calm, literally, a great calm occurred (or a great calm came about). Although the text does not specifically state it, the reader is left with the impression that this great calm occurred immediately after Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea.

 

Matthew 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

 

Jesus’ disciples were amazed and wondered what sort of man He was whom the winds and sea would obey.

 

As translated, but introduces a statement in mild contrast to Jesus’ calming the winds and the sea. It might instead be intended to transition to this new thought in the sense of and, now, or then.

 

The men marveled suggests the men wondered or the men were astonished.

 

Saying expresses out loud their amazement.

 

What they were saying is, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

 

What manner of man is this? is, What kind is This One? or, What sort is This One?

 

Their amazement is that even the winds and the sea obey (i.e. are obeying or are subject to) him (i.e. to Jesus). They have never seen anything like this in their lives. It demonstrated that Jesus was no ordinary human being.

CONCLUSION:

 

Indeed, Jesus was no ordinary human being. He was God the Son Who became a man in order that He might die on the cross and save people from their sins.

 

Have you trusted Him as your personal Savior?

 

Have you made Him the Lord of your life and pursuing Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

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