Matthew, Chapter 8
Matt. 8:18 "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."
The above passage shows us that there is a cost to discipleship. There
is nothing we do or could do to become a child of God. Being born of the
spirit of God is solely and totally the work of God. It is all by the
grace of God. Being a disciple of Jesus is an entirely different matter.
The only ones who can truly become the disciples of Jesus are those who
have already been born of the Spirit. While the new birth makes us able
to become disciples, there is an effort we must put forth if we are to
become his disciples. Luke tells us more about the cost of becoming a
disciple of Christ:
1. Luke 9:57 "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a
certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou
goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the
air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first
to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury
their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another
also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them
farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No
man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the
kingdom of God."
2. Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his
own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear
his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of
you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth
the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after
he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that
behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was
not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another
king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten
thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or
else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage,
and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you
that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Based on our subject passage and the two passages in Luke we make the
following observations about becoming a disciple of Christ:
1. Even as Jesus had no certain dwelling place, (foxes have holes and
the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to
lay his head), a disciple of Jesus has no guarantee of fleshly comforts
in his attempts to follow Jesus. If we have to have creature comforts,
then we cannot be the disciples of Jesus.
2. To be a disciple of Jesus means that we must put Jesus and his
service first. Even if our natural father has passes away and is to be
buried at a certain time, if the Lord has a work for us to do, we are to
do the Lord's work and let others take care of burying our natural
3. Not only must we put Jesus first as far as our time is concerned, but
we must put him first over what we do with our family. The man who
wanted to go home and say goodbye to them in his house was putting his
family ahead of serving the Lord. This may seem like a hard thing to do,
but it shows where our greatest affection lies. Only a few times have I
had to put the service of the Lord ahead of the desires of my family.
When we are called on to do so, we must be willing to do so, if we are
to truly be the disciple of Jesus.
4. Our love to the Lord must be priority over our love to our family.
This also may seem hard. However, no one loves us or has done more for
us than the Lord has done for us. It is reasonable that He demand our
love to him be greater than our love to our family.
5. We must also bear our cross if we are to be his disciple. That is, we
must take up all of our responsibilities and burdens that go along with
being a disciple of the Lord. Unless we are willing to do this, we
cannot be the Lord's disciple.
6. The kingdom of God must be more important to us than all of our
things. We must be willing to lose, if necessary, all of our things in
order to be the disciple of Christ.
As can be seen, the cost of discipleship is great. Yet it is worth it as
the Lord has promised us that we will receive many fold for the efforts
we put forth in service to him.
Matt. 8:23 "And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed
him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch
that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his
disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
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. 27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that
even the winds and the sea obey him"
A companion passage is found in Mark: Mark 4:37 "And there arose a great
storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now
full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:
and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we
perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And
he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no
faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What
manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Being a disciple of the Lord does not exempt us from the storms and
tempest of life. A great tempest had come upon the ship and the
disciples were fearful. The ship is somewhat like the Lord's church. The
ship does okay when it is on the sea. However, it is not good when the
sea is in the ship. Likewise, the church is in the world, but it is not
good when the world is in the ship. Storms sometimes arise against the
church. These storms of affliction, conflict, or persecution can
threaten even the very existence of a local church.
The disciples were very concerned that the storm was going to sink the
ship and the water was filling the ship. Nature would suggest that the
disciples probably tried to secure the ship and make the ship safe, but
the storm was greater than their efforts. Sometimes we use human reason
in trying to solve our problems and the problems that arise in the
church. However, the storms of life can be overwhelming and we find that
our reason, logic, or efforts are not sufficient to withstand the storm.
We become fearful. The problem is we are looking to ourselves for
answers. There is no faith involved in looking to ourselves for answers.
Jesus was asleep in the hinder part of the ship. While, as the Son of
God, Jesus never sleeps, yet as the Son of man he did sleep. It
sometimes seems like when problems arise in our lives or when problems
arise in the church that Jesus is asleep. Rest assured he knows what we
are going through and will deliver us at the appropriate time.
Finally, the disciples went to the Lord and awoke him saying, "Master
carest thou not that we perish?" The Lord certainly cares about our
welfare, yet sometimes we doubt and think that he is asleep and does not
care about us. How wrong we are.
The Lord had the answer to their problem all along. He just waited until
they asked him, before he manifests it. He arose, rebuked the wind, and
said unto the sea, "Peace, be still." The tempest, which had been so
great, immediately ceased. Jesus has power over the tempest in our lives
and over the tempest that arise against the church. He can simply speak
and it will cease.
The Lord then asked the disciples, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it
that ye have no faith?" There is a "why" to our fearfulness. We are
fearful when we trust in ourselves and then face the consequences of
that misguided trust. We are fearful because we rightfully doubt our own
ability to handle our problems and are afraid of the consequences. As we
said before, it takes no faith to trust in ourselves. We have no need to
fear when we put our trust in the Lord and seek his help and guidance in
the storms of life. He alone has the power and wisdom to handle our
storms. He also has the compassion to do so and does so when we ask him.
When we experience his deliverances, we marvel, as did the disciples, at
his amazing power and wisdom and his compassion toward us.
Matt. 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. 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."
A companion text is also found in Mark: Mark 5:1 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 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. 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 to depart out of their coasts.
18 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
Some have thought that the two passages were not talking about the same
person or persons because the Matthew account speaks of two and the Mark
account only speaks of one. I am convinced they are talking about the
same person. If we understand that this man who before Jesus spoke to
him was different from the man after Jesus spoke to him, then we can see
that he was two different men but the same person. The same is true
about us when we consider who we are before we are born of the Spirit
and who we are after that we are born of the Spirit.
The Gadarene before the Lord came to him ware no clothes (Lk. 8:27),
dwelt in no house, but had his dwelling among the tombs. He was bound
with fetters and with chains but he plucked the chains asunder. Many
tried to tame him, but could not. He was a wild man. He cut himself with
stones and had a legion of unclean spirits. Before we are born of the
Spirit, we have no righteousness of our own (no clothes). We do not
dwell in the Lord's house. Being dead in trespasses and sins, we have
our dwelling among the dead (tombs). In addition, we are stench by the
filthy works of the flesh. Many try to bind us with the laws and
ordinances of their particular set of beliefs, but we just plucked them
asunder whenever we wanted to do otherwise. They (the religious systems
and their advocates) tried to tame us (train us to be obedient much like
you would train a dog), but we could not be tamed, because the natural
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. We were wild men, who
had no rule over us, because we had no fear of God before our eyes.
We were filled with a legion of
unclean spirits. Chief was the prince of the power of the air (Satan) of
whom we walked after. We had such unclean spirits as the spirits of
wickedness, pride, jealousy, arrogance, envy, hatred, adulteries, etc.
We were altogether ruled by these unclean spirits. This was to our own
destruction (the Gadarene cut himself with stones).
After that Jesus came to the Gadarene, he was sitting at the feet of
Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind (Lk. 8:35). He had been cleansed
of the unclean spirits and he desired to follow Jesus.
Likewise, after that Jesus has caused us to be born of the Spirit, we
are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus: "For he hath made him to be
sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of
God in him." We now are able to dwell in the house of the Lord and are a
part of his household. While we may walk among the tombs some times when
we walk after the flesh, yet we no longer have our dwelling among the
tombs as we have been born of the Spirit. Although the chains and
fetters of the law do not bind us, yet the love of Christ constraineth
us. We do not need the religious bonds of the works systems of men, but
are willingly bound by the love of Christ.
Like the wild ass on which the Lord rode, we are immediately tamed by
the Spirit of God to seek after God. We want Jesus to reign and rule
over us. We are no longer wild men.
The atoning blood of Christ has judicially cast the unclean spirits out
of us. We are delivered from the bondage of those unclean spirits by the
work of the Holy Spirit that gave us spiritual life.
The unclean spirits in the Gadarene were cast into the swine and
ultimately were drowned in the lake. Likewise, our sins were cast into
the lake of God's judgment and ultimately destroyed at the cross of
Aren't you glad that Jesus changed us into another man, when he
quickened us into spiritual life? Now we can go home and tell our
friends what great things the Lord has done for us.