Jesus Heals a Leper
1After he came down from teaching on the hillside, massive crowds began following him. # 8:1 It is best to view this verse as an extension of 7:29. Chapter and verse breaks are not part of the inspired text but were added centuries later to aid in our study of God’s Word. 2Suddenly, a leper walked up to Jesus and threw himself down before him in worship # 8:2 As translated from the Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew, and implied in the Greek. and said, “Lord, you have the power to heal me . . . if you really want to.”
3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the leper and said, “Of course I want to heal you—be healed!” And instantly, all signs of leprosy # 8:3 The word leprosy was used for various skin disorders. For Jesus to touch a leper was to render him ceremonially unclean, but Jesus wasn’t defiled by touching the leper—the leper was healed! disappeared! 4Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t speak to anyone, but go at once and find a priest and show him what has happened to you. Make sure to take the offering Moses commanded so he can certify your healing.” # 8:4 Or “as a testimony to them.” See Lev. 13–14 for the prescribed ritual for the cleansing of a leper.
Jesus Heals the Son of a Roman Officer
5When Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a captain # 8:5 Or “centurion.” in the Roman army approached him, asking for a miracle. # 8:5 Implied in the narrative. 6“Lord,” he said, “I have a son # 8:6 As translated from the Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew. The Greek is “servant.” who is lying in my home, paralyzed and suffering terribly.”
7Jesus responded, “I will go with you and heal him.”
8-9But the Roman officer interjected, “Lord, who am I to have you come into my house? I understand your authority, for I too am a man who walks under authority and have authority over soldiers who serve under me. I can tell one to go and he’ll go, and another to come and he’ll come. I command my servants and they’ll do whatever I ask. So I know that all you need to do is to stand here and command healing over my son and he will be instantly healed.”
10Jesus was astonished when he heard this and said to those who were following him, “He has greater faith than anyone I’ve encountered in Israel! 11Listen to what I am about to tell you. Multitudes of Gentiles will stream from the east and the west, to enter into the heavenly kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 12But many Israelites, born to be heirs of the kingdom, will be turned away and banished into the darkness where there will be bitter weeping and unbearable anguish.” # 8:12 Or “gnashing of teeth.” See also Job 16:9; Pss. 35:16; 37:12; 112:10; Jer. 9:9–14.
13Then Jesus turned to the Roman officer and said, “Go home. All that you have believed for will be done for you!” And his son was healed at that very moment.
Jesus Heals Everyone in Capernaum
14Then Jesus entered Peter’s home and found Peter’s mother-in-law bedridden, severely ill with a fever. 15The moment Jesus touched her hand she was healed! # 8:15 Or “the fever left her.” Immediately she got up and began to make dinner for them.
16That evening the people brought to him many who were demonized. And by Jesus only speaking a word of healing over them, they were totally set free from their torment, # 8:16 Matthew gives us six instances of setting the demonized free: 8:16; 8:28–33; 9:32–34; 12:22; 15:22–28; 17:18. and everyone who was sick received their healing! 17In doing this, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
He put upon himself our weaknesses, # 8:17 The Aramaic “wounds” or “sores.” See Isa. 53:4.
and he carried away our diseases and made us well.
18At the sight of large crowds gathering around him, Jesus gave orders to his disciples to get ready to sail back over to the other side of the lake. # 8:18 This was the eastern bank of Lake Galilee, located on the Syrian side. 19Just then, a religious scholar # 8:19 Or “expert of the Law” (scribe). These were the top religious scholars among the Pharisees, whose occupation was the systematic study of the law of Moses. approached him and said, “Teacher, I’ll follow you wherever you go!”
20Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of Man # 8:20 Or “this True Man.” See Dan. 7:13–14. has no true home in this world.” # 8:20 Or “no place to lay my head” (homeless).
21Then another man spoke up and said, “Lord, I’ll follow you, but first I must take care of my aged father and bury him when he dies.” # 8:21 Or “but first let me go bury my father.” This is a figure of speech for saying, “I can’t follow you, but I will after my father dies.”
22But Jesus said to him, “Now is the time to follow me, and let those who are dead bury their own dead.” # 8:22 Jesus requires that following him supersede any cultural or religious duty. Jewish culture in the time of Jesus gave the family the responsibility of a re-interment of the bones of the deceased into an ossuary one year after death. It is possible that this man’s father had passed away but the year had not yet completed. He was saying, “I’ll follow you after this year is completed.” Jesus is not telling him to dishonor his father by not doing a burial, but that the custom of waiting a year (tradition) must never trump following him. He is telling the man that the spiritually dead are capable of burying the dead, so nothing should keep anyone from following him.
Jesus Calms a Storm
23They all got into a boat and began to cross over to the other side of the lake. And Jesus, exhausted, fell asleep. 24Suddenly a violent storm # 8:24 Or “earthquake.” This could have been a temblor that caused tidal waves that swamped their boat. Most expositors equate this instead to the shaking of a violent storm. developed, with waves so high the boat was about to be swamped. Yet Jesus continued to sleep soundly. 25The disciples woke him up, saying, “Save us, Lord! We’re going to die!” # 8:25 See Ps. 44:23.
26But Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you gripped with fear? # 8:26 Or “Why are you so cowardly, you of such little faith?” Jesus is implying that if they had faith, they could have commanded the storm to be stilled and it would happen. Where is your faith?” Then he stood and rebuked # 8:26 This is the same Greek word that is used when Jesus rebuked demons. the storm, saying, “Be still!” And instantly it became perfectly calm. # 8:26 See Pss. 89:9; 107:23–30.
27The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, “Who is this Man? Even the wind and waves obey his Word.”
Jesus Sets Free Two Demonized Men
28When they arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, # 8:28 There are three possible locations for the region of the Gadarenes. (1) It could be only a few miles from the city of Gadara (modern-day Um Qeis). Gadara means “thorn hedge.” (2) The du Tillet translation of Hebrew Matthew has “the region of the Girgashites.” (3) Other scholars have concluded that it is the region near the town of Gergesa. two demonized men confronted Jesus. They lived among the tombs of a cemetery and were considered so extremely violent that no one felt safe passing through that area. 29The demons screamed at Jesus, shouting, “Son of God, what do you want with us? # 8:29 The demons immediately sensed the true identity of Jesus and knew a day of judgment was coming for them. Sadly, many people today have yet to realize who Jesus is and that there is a coming day of judgment for them. Leave us alone! Have you come to torment us before the appointed time?”
30There was a large herd of pigs feeding nearby. 31And the demons pleaded, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” 32Jesus commanded, “Then go!” And at once the demons came out of the men and went into the pigs. # 8:32 How amazing that Jesus answered the request of the demons. How much more will he answer your prayers. This mass exorcism is an astonishing miracle demonstrating the authority and power of Jesus. It is also amazing that the people of the town didn’t ask Jesus to remain with them. The one who can deliver two men from demonic power can also deliver a city. Then the entire herd of crazed pigs stampeded down the steep slope and fell into the water and drowned.
33The men who were herding the pigs fled to the nearby town and informed the people of all that had happened to the demonized men. 34Then everyone from the town went out to confront Jesus and urged him to go away and leave them alone. # 8:34 It is possible that the people of this region worshiped the sow goddess, called “Nut” in Egypt. In Rome she was called “Maia,” from which we get the month of May. The swine herders were possibly soothsayers and shamans. The mass suicide of these pigs proved that the Son of God had authority over the principality of that region that confronted him the moment he came into their region.