1When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.
1When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.
In the previous chapters (Matthew 5-7) the Lord has preached which principles govern the coming kingdom. He presented to His disciples – and over their heads to the crowds (Mt 5:1-21When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.2He opened His mouth and [began] to teach them, saying,) – the constitution of that kingdom. In it He exposed the heart of man in his inner motives and called upon His followers to show the characteristics of the King in their lives. This has astonished the crowds (Mt 7:2828When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;) and now they follow Him. In the next two chapters (Matthew 8-9) we see the signs of the King or the kingdom in which He shows works of His power.
The stories in these chapters are not in chronological order. Mark gives that order in his Gospel. Here the events are ordered in a way that show that the promised Messiah is present. The people must be able to recognize Him through this. He is Emmanuel, God with us, Who does good to His people. In Him a God of grace and mercy makes Himself known. In all of the events we learn more and more about the Lord Jesus Himself. In every event the glory of His Person shines.
From the ranking of the first three events we learn the layout of God’s plan with Him and His people. The cleansing of the leper (verses 2-42And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”3Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.4And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”) represents the faithful remnant of Israel that believes in Him now that He is on earth, however weak that faith may be. Because His people reject Him, we see in the Roman centurion that the way is open for the introduction of the Gentiles (verses 5-135And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him,6and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”7Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.”8But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.9For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does [it].”10Now when Jesus heard [this], He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.11I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline [at the table] with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;12but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”13And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that [very] moment.). In the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, we see that He has returned again to Israel, which is seen in the house, and the remnant is able to serve Him (verses 14-1514When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.15He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and served Him.).
2And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
The first work of His power that Matthew describes is the cleansing of a leper. While the crowd will have shrunk back in horror as the leper approached, the Lord does not walk away in horror. The man is convinced of the power of the Lord Jesus, but not so much of His grace. However, the Lord receives him full of grace. He acts directly by stretching out His hand, touching Him and speaking the word of power to cleanse. On His word of power, the leper is cleansed. Someone who touches a leper becomes himself unclean. But the blessed Redeemer comes so close to man, that He can remove the uncleanness without being defiled.
In Leviticus we have ceremonies for cleansing (Lev 14:1-321Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,2“This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest,3and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp. Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper,4then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed.5The priest shall also give orders to slay the one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water.6[As for] the live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over the running water.7He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field.8The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes and shave off all his hair and bathe in water and be clean. Now afterward, he may enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for seven days.9It will be on the seventh day that he shall shave off all his hair: he shall shave his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and be clean.10“Now on the eighth day he is to take two male lambs without defect, and a yearling ewe lamb without defect, and three-tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil;11and the priest who pronounces him clean shall present the man to be cleansed and the aforesaid before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting.12Then the priest shall take the one male lamb and bring it for a guilt offering, with the log of oil, and present them as a wave offering before the LORD.13Next he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, at the place of the sanctuary—for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy.14The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put [it] on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.15The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour [it] into his left palm;16the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the LORD.17Of the remaining oil which is in his palm, the priest shall put some on the right ear lobe of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the guilt offering;18while the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s palm, he shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf before the LORD.19The priest shall next offer the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from his uncleanness. Then afterward, he shall slaughter the burnt offering.20The priest shall offer up the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be clean.21“But if he is poor and his means are insufficient, then he is to take one male lamb for a guilt offering as a wave offering to make atonement for him, and one-tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, and a log of oil,22and two turtledoves or two young pigeons which are within his means, the one shall be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering.23Then the eighth day he shall bring them for his cleansing to the priest, at the doorway of the tent of meeting, before the LORD.24The priest shall take the lamb of the guilt offering and the log of oil, and the priest shall offer them for a wave offering before the LORD.25Next he shall slaughter the lamb of the guilt offering; and the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put [it] on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.26The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his left palm;27and with his right-hand finger the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times before the LORD.28The priest shall then put some of the oil that is in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on the place of the blood of the guilt offering.29Moreover, the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s palm he shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement on his behalf before the LORD.30He shall then offer one of the turtledoves or young pigeons, which are within his means.31[He shall offer] what he can afford, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. So the priest shall make atonement before the LORD on behalf of the one to be cleansed.32This is the law [for him] in whom there is an infection of leprosy, whose means are limited for his cleansing.”), but not for healing. Leprosy can only be healed by God (cf. 2Kgs 5:77When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending [word] to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.”). The Lord Jesus is God.
He is also the Lawgiver. Therefore, He tells the cleansed one to go to the priest to fulfil the cleansing regulations written down by Moses. The deeper reason for this is that for the religious class the cleansing of the man must be a clear indication that God is present among them. The priest who had previously declared him unclean will now see that the man has been healed, and only God can have done that. Since the Lord Jesus did the cleansing, the priest should come to the conclusion that God is present in Him among his people.
As it is with leprosy so it is with sin. Leprosy is a picture of the outwardly breaking, pernicious power of sin that is also contagious for others. Leprosy, like sin, makes someone repulsive, unfit to live for God’s glory and the blessing of others. Miriam, Gehazi and Uzziah or Azariah became lepers as a visible proof of the pride and greed that was in their hearts (Num 12:10-1510But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam [was] leprous, as [white as] snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she [was] leprous.11Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account [this] sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned.12Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb!”13Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “O God, heal her, I pray!”14But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again.”15So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.; 2Kgs 5:2727Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper [as white] as snow.; 15:55The LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death. And he lived in a separate house, while Jotham the king’s son was over the household, judging the people of the land.; 2Chr 26:16-2116But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.17Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the LORD, valiant men.18They opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the LORD God.”19But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the altar of incense.20Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he [was] leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the LORD had smitten him.21King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son [was] over the king’s house judging the people of the land.).
No one can take away sin except the Son of God (1Jn 3:55You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.). Sin is an obstacle to functioning as a disciple. The Lord wants to take away every hindrance with us, so that we can follow Him.
5And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does [it].” 10Now when Jesus heard [this], He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline [at the table] with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that [very] moment.
The main character in this event is a Gentile centurion who appears to have a remarkable faith in the Lord Jesus. His faith became public because one of his servants was lying paralyzed at home in severe pain. The centurion seeks the Lord and pleads with Him for his servant. The servant’s situation illustrates that sin can totally paralyze someone and cause him enormous pain. As in the previous event, here too there is no man who can offer a solution. The centurion realizes that only the Lord Jesus can help. The servant can’t do anything at all. In this way, we can also run to Christ and implore Him for the benefit of others who are unable to do so themselves.
The Lord answers sympathetically to the centurion’s appeal. He wants to come and heal him. Then it turns out that the centurion has a special view of himself and of the Lord. In comparison with the Lord, he feels unworthy of Him taking a step through his door with him. At the same time, he sees the great power of the Lord in His Word. He appeals to that. He does not need to come, because He is also able to heal through His word full of power (Psa 107:2020He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered [them] from their destructions.
). He does not need to be physically present, for He is the Omnipresent. While He is talking to the centurion, He is also with his servant.
In what the centurion says of himself, it turns out that on the one hand he is subject to others and, on the other hand others are subject to him. Those others who are subject to him, he may command something to be done with a word and they obey Him. He also recognizes this with the Lord Jesus. He too is under the authority of Another, God, and He can command others and is obeyed.
What the centurion says impresses the Lord Jesus. This is a mystery that makes the glory of His Person greater and greater. This faith of the centurion is brought about in him by Christ Himself. At the same time, He sees the faith of the centurion as his. His amazement is mainly caused by the fact that he is a Gentile centurion and not someone from His own people. He even has to conclude that He has not found such great faith in Israel.
The faith of the Gentile centurion is characteristic of all those who believe and do not belong to Israel. Israel will only believe when they see the Messiah and He touches them. That touch is there with the leper (verse 33Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.) and also in the next story, with Peter’s mother-in-law of Peter (verse 1515He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and served Him.). The faith of the gentiles is characterized by faith in His Word without Him being physically present. By this faith many from the ends of the earth will share in the glorious blessings of the kingdom of heaven, together with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Lord personally guarantees this with the statement “truly I say to you”.
The same “truly I say to you” also applies to the reverse. As surely as the believing Gentiles will participate in the kingdom, so surely will those for whom it was originally meant have no part in it because of their unbelief. Many of the poor Gentiles will come into the kingdom of heaven to recline at the table with the fathers who are venerated by the Jewish people as the first fathers of the heirs of the promise.
The children of the kingdom, on the other hand, will be in outer darkness. Instead of being led into the light and the blessing they will be cast out into a totally opposite place. In the outer darkness, they will weep on account of the suffering and will gnash their teeth because of their remorse for the blessing they have forfeited.
14When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and served Him.
The third case of healing takes place in a house. It is the house of Peter. The Lord is a Guest there. Where He is, sickness and death cannot continue to exist. So shall it be when He reigns on earth (Isa 35:10b10And the ransomed of the LORD will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.). He sees the need. We do not read that He speaks a word, but that He touches her hand. The healing follows in the blink of an eye and completely. A time of recovery is not necessary.
Matthew does not recount that the Lord is asked to heal. We do read that in the Gospel according to Mark (Mk 1:3030Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they *spoke to Jesus about her.). Here healing is an act that results from His presence. We have here again a proof that He is the Messiah “Who heals all your diseases” (Psa 103:3b3Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Fever is a disease that makes someone restless. There is a lot of activity, but it is uncontrolled and the only result is that man is getting weaker and weaker. He is not able to give any help to others. If the Lord has healed her, that changes completely. She can stand up and serve Him.
He also wants to set us free from all meaningless pursuits that only consume our strength without anything happening that is to His honor. To do this, He must touch our hand, just like with her. The hand is the symbol of activity, of being busy. If He is the power behind our activities and not some or other consuming fire within us, we are able to serve Him.
16When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17[This was] to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”
The Lord remains busy until the evening for those in need. There are “many who were demon-possessed” and that in the land of God. The people must have greatly fallen away. At the word of His power the evil spirits depart. There is no resistance here. Besides the spiritual suffering through demons, there is also a lot of physical suffering. He also heals those who suffer in this way. All these things indicate that instead of being blessed through obedience, the people have brought a curse upon themselves through disobedience. But Christ is present to take away the consequences of the curse from people who come to Him in faith.
The quotation from the prophet Isaiah shows how and in which spirit the Lord accomplishes the healing. While He helps the people, He feels all their needs and illnesses at their deepest. He carries the burden of them in His spirit, while He gets rid of them by His power. The miracle shows His Divine power, but there is also the Divine sympathy that enters into the depths of the need of those He comes to help.
Taking on the weaknesses and carrying the diseases does not refer to the cross, but to His life on earth. The quotation from Isaiah does not say that the Lord carried the diseases on the cross and that a believer should therefore no longer be ill. Just as the Lord sympathizes with weaknesses, He sympathizes in cases of disease.
He cannot sympathize with sins. For that He had to go into death. He cannot identify himself with someone who sinned and thus support such a person in that path. He can identify himself with someone who is ill to support such a person in his suffering. He identifies Himself with someone who is ill in the same way as with someone who is imprisoned for His Name (Mt 25:36-4036naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You [something] to drink?38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them], you did it to Me.’).
18Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side [of the sea]. 19Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air [have] nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 22But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
A crowd gathers around the Lord. They are all attracted by His good works. But He knows their hearts and knows that they only want to benefit from His goodness. The proofs of His goodness have been provided and now it is time to leave that place. He orders His disciples to go to the other side the sea. There He must also do His work.
Then a scribe separates himself from the crowd. He enthusiastically enlists himself with the “Master” and indicates that he will follow Him wherever He goes. It shows that he values himself highly. Knowing the Scriptures – after all, he is a scribe – and the desire to follow the Lord is not sufficient to actually be able to follow Him. The Lord says what following Him means. In order to really follow Him it is necessary that one’s own interests and self-confidence are recognized and judged. He also says that following Him is not an honor, but a reproach.
The Lord knows what is in his heart. This is a carnal Jew who thinks that by following Him he will get a good place with the Messiah. Someone who offers himself without being called, thinks that it is all equally beautiful, but it has no grip in his heart. Soon other circumstances will arise that pull his heart to other things and finally he sinks back to his own level.
Whoever offers himself to follow the Lord, that is to say, without being called, will be told what the portion of Him he wants to follow is. While He has given the foxes and the birds a place of rest, He is the homeless Son of man. Foxes and birds of the air are not the sweetest animals of the creation. They symbolize cunning and wickedness, but as creatures they are still under God’s care.
Here the Lord calls Himself for the first time “Son of man”. This title speaks either of His rejection or of His glory. Here this title speaks of His rejection.
A case other than that of the scribe is that of a disciple who “first” wants to do something else before he can follow the Lord. When the Lord calls, there appear to be immediate reservations against a direct and complete following of Him. This disciple first wants to do something that is right in itself. He shows respect for his father. But in this case, if the Lord has called, His claims must take precedence over everything, including that of family ties.
This doesn’t mean a denial of family ties. God wants us to respect them. The Lord’s call does not conflict with this either, but goes beyond it. His answer shows that this disciple used the obligation to his parents as an excuse not to follow Him straight away. This obligation forms a hindrance between Christ and his heart.
The word of the Lord “allow the dead to bury their own dead” means that this disciple can leave the burying of his father to others who are not in relationship with the Lord.
23When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25And they came to [Him] and woke Him, saying, “Save [us], Lord; we are perishing!” 26He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
Now comes the portion of the Lord’s true followers. The disciples who follow Him on board the ship have acknowledged His claims. They have left everything and follow Him. Now it will turn out that this does not mean that everything is easy. Being with the Lord does not mean that we are exempt from all sorts of trials. The opposite is true. Whoever follows Him as a disciple will face enmity. The elements of nature do their best to frighten us, and in the following story (verses 28-3428When 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] so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.29And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”30Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them.31The demons [began] to entreat Him, saying, “If You [are going to] cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.”32And 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 and perished in the waters.33The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs.34And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.) we encounter the enmity of men. Both events merely serve to impress us as disciples of the power of the Lord, which He shows just then for us.
We recognize the storm at sea in our lives. We find ourselves in situations where it seems as if we perish. Then we cry: ‘Lord, there is a great storm and the ship is being covered with the waves. It seems as if You are sleeping. We know it is not the case, but please come to our aid. Please show us that You are concerned about us! Lord, we are about to die! There is no strength in us to cope with the difficulties and needs, the sin that has become manifest.’
Then He intervenes in His grace for us. He does so with a soft reproach about our little faith. When we think about it, we understand it. How could a ship perish when He is on board? He is always in the Father’s path and He is the Lord of all things. With Him we are always and everywhere safe. Even if life is taken from us, the enemy cannot harm our soul. If the waves flood our lives, we may trust in this promise: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you” (Isa 43:2a2“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
After His soft reproach “He got up”. That is impressive. He, the Almighty God, gets up and takes action. We become afraid when we only look at the enemies, but when we look at Him, there is peace and confidence.
This fourth case of His power – after the healing of the leper, the servant of the centurion and the mother-in-law of Peter – shows His exaltedness over the power of Satan who incites the nations to hatred against Him and His own. For Him that power means nothing. He can still the storm. Only when the disciples call to Him in fear does He rise up and subject the forces of nature to His command. The winds and the sea become still at the word of their Creator (Psa 65:88They who dwell in the ends [of the earth] stand in awe of Your signs;
You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
; 89:9-109You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
10You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain;
You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
; 106:99Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up,
And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.
; 107:23-2923Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
24They have seen the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.
25For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in [their] misery.
27They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits’ end.
28Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
29He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
28When 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] so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31The demons [began] to entreat Him, saying, “If You [are going to] cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32And 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 and perished in the waters. 33The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.
The Lord had ordered to depart to the other side (verse 1818Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side [of the sea].). So He arrives there, with His disciples. The trip was not a quiet one. The area they are now entering is not quiet either. Demons who have moved in to two people terrorize the area. The home of these people is the terrain of death. They come from there, as if attracted by the power of Christ.
They cannot remain hidden. The presence of the Lord Jesus calls them to reveal themselves. When other people came, they also appeared, but that was to frighten them. Now they themselves are frightened. They know the Son of God and acknowledge His power to judge them and throw them into eternal torment. Their fate is known to them. They also know that the time for this has not yet arrived, just as Satan also knows that he still has time, even if it is short (Rev 12:1212For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has [only] a short time.”).
To give a clear testimony of the Lord’s power over the enemy, there are two demoniacs, according to the principle that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter will be confirmed (2Cor 13:11This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.). Mark and Luke occupy themselves with one of them and tell more details of the work of the evil one and of the work of the Lord in that one demoniac (Mk 5:1-201They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.2When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,3and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain;4because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.5Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.6Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him;7and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”8For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”9And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”10And he [began] to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country.11Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain.12[The demons] implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.”13Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits 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.14Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And [the people] came to see what it was that had happened.15They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened.16Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and [all] about the swine.17And they began to implore Him to leave their region.18As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him.19And He did not let him, but He *said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and [how] He had mercy on you.”20And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.; Lk 8:26-3926Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.27And 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.28Seeing Jesus, he 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 beg You, do not torment me.”29For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. 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 and be driven by the demon into the desert.30And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.31They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.32Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and [the demons] implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.33And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.34When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and [out] in the country.35[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.36Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.37And 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; and He got into a boat and returned.38But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying,39“Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.). Evil spirits want to frighten man for their power, but they can’t do anything if they are not feared. Only faith can take away this fear for his power from man.
The demons know His will. Without the Lord having said a word, they know that He will drive them out. They are illegal possessors of these people. The demons know Him and know that they have no power to resist His word. There is not one thought of any opposition against Him. When tempted in the wilderness He defeated their chief, Satan.
They point out to Him a herd of many pigs that is grazing far away. Just like demon-possession in the land of God, the presence of a herd of unclean animals is a reproach to the land of God. If Israel had walked in the ways of the law, that herd of unclean animals would not have been there. The swine are a picture of Israel.
The Lord says only one word, the command “Go!”. Without any thought or expression of opposition to Him, the demons obey and go out of the men and into the swine. When they have entered the swine, they show how much they are looking for destruction. All the swine rush down the steep bank into the sea. The demons are used in this way to carry out God’s judgment on uncleanness and to cleanse His land.
The herdsmen were unable to save the herd. Powerless, they had to watch their herd die. They have also seen the liberation of the demoniacs. Everything they have seen, they are going to report in the city. What follows is that the whole city comes out to the Lord Jesus. But when they see Him, … they implore Him to leave their region. If Divine power drives out the power of Satan, the Divine presence that is revealed there is unbearable for man. Man does not want God revealed in goodness.
For them, the presence of demons and swine is more pleasant than the presence of the Son of God. He has no stately form or majesty for them to be attracted to Him (Isa 53:22For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no [stately] form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
). Through Him they have lost their source of income. Therefore they want Him to leave, out of their area, out of their life.