Matthew 8:28-34

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

and –

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

We move on to –

 VI.     JESUS’ CASTING OUT DEMONS AT GADARA – 8:28-34

 

Matthew 8:28-34 – (28) 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. (29) 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? (30) And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. (31) So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. (32) And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. (33) And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. (34) 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.

 

We see more detail regarding this episode in the life of Jesus in the two parallel accounts in Mark and Luke.

 

Mark 5:1-201 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee [i.e. I implore you] by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave [i.e. permission]. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him [i.e. to plead with Him, to beg Him, to entreat Him] to depart out of their coasts [i.e. region, country]. 18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him [i.e. begged Him] that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not [i.e. But Jesus did not permit him], but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

 

Decapolis was a ten-city area south and a little east of the Sea of Galilee. All but one of these Gentile cities were east of the Jordan River.

 

Luke 8:26-3926 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep [i.e. the abyss – the same word is translated “bottomless pit” in Revelation of Jesus Christ 20 .]. 32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them [i.e. that He would permit them] to enter into them [i.e. into the swine]. And he suffered them [i.e. He permitted them]. 33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. 38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

 

Back to Matthew 8:28

Matthew 8:28 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.

 

And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes suggests at the time that He (i.e. Jesus) came to the other side (i.e. the other side of the Sea of Galilee) into the country (i.e. the district or the region) of the Gergesenes.

 

The Gergesenes are people from the town of Gergesa which was located on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The parallel accounts in Mark and Luke say Gadarenes (Mark 5:1 ; Luke 8:26 ). Gadara was located approximately six to eight miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee. This episode apparently took place somewhere between these two towns.

 

Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

 

Luke 8:26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

 

The country of the Gergesenes (or Gadarenes) extended to the Sea of Galilee and to the Jordan River.

 

There met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs is two demon-possessed (men) coming out of the tombs met Jesus. Mark and Luke in their gospels mention only one man and stated that he lived among the tombs.

 

Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.

 

Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

 

These two men are described as exceeding fierce (i.e. exceedingly violent, exceedingly dangerous, or exceedingly difficult to deal with).

 

So that, which suggests with the result that, no man might pass by that way.

 

No man is no one or nobody.

 

Might pass by that way suggests that no one was able to pass by along that road.

 

Although often bound with chains, he broke them and freed himself (Mark 5:3-4 ; Luke 8:29 ).

 

Mark 5:3-43 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him [i.e. torn apart by him, pulled apart by him], and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

 

Luke 8:29 (For he [i.e. Jesus] had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil [i.e. driven by the demon] into the wilderness.)

 

Luke 8:30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils [i.e. demons] were entered into him.

 

Matthew 8:29 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?

 

And behold is again used to gain the reader’s attention.

 

They (i.e. the two demon-possessed men) cried out, which suggests that they called out in a loud voice.

 

Saying introduces what these two cried out, which comprises the rest of the verse.

 

What have we to do with thee? amounts to, Why did you come to us at this time?

 

They addressed Jesus as Jesus, thou Son of God, which indicates that they knew exactly Who Jesus was.

 

They also asked, Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

 

It suggests, Did you come here to torture (or harass) us before the time (i.e. before the time God has appointed)? They know what their ultimate fate will be.

 

Matthew 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

 

And transitions to a different thought in the sense of now.

 

A good way off from them suggests far off (or far away) from them.

 

There was . . . an herd of many swine feeding is a herd of many swine (was) feeding.

 

Many is a large, but indeterminate, number. Mark mentions that there were about 2,000 swine (Mark 5:13 ).

 

Mark 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

 

Feeding indicates what this herd of swine was doing.

 

Matthew 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

 

So transitions from the thought of verse 30 and takes the narrative in a slightly different direction in the sense of now or then.

 

The devils besought him is the demons were begging (i.e. strongly requesting or imploring) Him (i.e. Jesus).

 

Saying introduces what they were begging Jesus to do.

 

If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine is a conditional statement whose structure indicates that, for sake of discussion, its condition is assumed to be true.

 

The condition is if thou cast us out, and the conclusion is suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

 

If is understood in the sense of assuming that. They expected Jesus to cast them out of the demon-possessed men.

 

If thou cast us out suggests assuming that You are going to cast us out.

 

Suffer us is permit us or allow us. The fact that they had to obtain Jesus’ permission to do something demonstrates that He had complete control over them, and their asking Him for His permission to do something demonstrated to His disciples His lordship or sovereignty even over evil spirits.

 

The demons were seeking Jesus’ permission to go away into the herd of swine.

 

Matthew 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

 

And he (i.e. Jesus) said unto them (i.e. said to the demons).

 

What He said is, Go. Not only did He give them His permission to enter the herd of swine, He actually commanded it.

 

And when they were come out is understood in the sense of after they came out (of the two now formerly demon-possessed men).

 

They went into the herd of swine is they went away into the herd of the swine. From what follows it appears that they actually indwelt these pigs just like they had previously indwelt the two men.

 

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

 

The whole herd of swine is all the herd of the swine.

 

Ran violently suggests rushed headlong.

 

Down a steep place into the sea is down the steep slope (or down the steep bank) into the sea (i.e. into the Sea of Galilee).

 

And perished in the waters is and died in the waters. It is apparent that they drowned in the waters of the Sea of Galilee.

 

Matthew 8:33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

 

And they that kept them fled is the ones who were tending them (i.e. tending the swine) fled or the herdsmen fled.

 

And went their ways into the city is and they went into the city or after they went away into the city.

 

And told every thing is and they announced all things. And what was befallen to the possessed of the devils indicates that they also announced all the things of the (two) demon-possessed (men).

 

Matthew 8:34 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.

 

And behold is used to gain the reader’s attention.

 

The whole city came out to meet Jesus is all the city came out for a meeting with Jesus.

 

And when they saw him is after they saw Him (i.e. Jesus). They besought him is they urged (Him), they appealed to (Him), they exhorted (Him), or they begged (Him).

 

That he would depart out of their coasts in order that He go away from their district (or region).

 

These people had no idea that they had squandered a tremendous opportunity for them to learn of God’s plan of salvation. This was in spite of their finding the man who had been demon-possessed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and sitting in his right mind (Mark 5:15 ; Luke 8:35 ).

 

Mark 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

 

Luke 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

 

Although the man wanted to follow Jesus, Jesus told him to go home and tell what He had done for him, which the man did (Mark 5:18-20 ; Luke 8:38-39 ).

 

Mark 5:18-2018 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

 

Luke 8:38-3938 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

 

So, why did Jesus tell the man to go and tell people what Jesus had done for him when He had told others to tell no one?

 

The man was apparently a Gentile and his preaching activity would be confined to a Gentile area where Jesus was not welcome and would not be spending a lot of time; whereas, the others were Jews living in areas where Jesus’ main ministry was centered.

CONCLUSION:

 

These people living in Gadara had no idea that they had squandered a tremendous opportunity for them to learn about Jesus and about God’s plan of salvation.

 

Don’t squander your opportunities to learn about Jesus, whether it is regarding God’s plan of salvation or whether it is about learning how to be living from the Lord.

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