Matthew 8:34
And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they sought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) The whole cityi.e., the population of Gadara or Gerasa (more probably the former), according to the reading which we adopt in Matthew 8:28. St. Mark and St. Luke add, that they found the demoniac “clothed, and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus,” in the clinging gratitude of faith. The narrative half suggests the thought that the garment which he now wore as the outward sign of a new self-reverence had been supplied by the pity of the disciples.

Besought him that he would depart.—It was characteristic of the wild, half-heathen population that they were led to look on the Prophet who had wrought so great a work as a Destroyer rather than a Saviour, and therefore shrank from His presence among them. Not so with the demoniac himself. He felt, with a faith which was real, though weak, as if he were only safe while close to his Deliverer. He followed Him to the boat, and as He was in the act of embarking (Mark 5:18), prayed that he might be with Him. But this was not the discipline which was needed for his spiritual health. Retirement, renewed fellowship with his kindred in his own house, the quiet witness borne there that the Lord had had compassion on him—this was better for him than the work of a more avowed discipleship. And so he went his way “proclaiming,” or “preaching,” what Jesus had done for him—a true evangelist to a people whose panic terror showed that they were as yet in darkness and the shadow of death.

8:28-34 The devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Saviour; they neither have, nor hope for any benefit from him. Oh the depth of this mystery of Divine love; that fallen man has so much to do with Christ, when fallen angels have nothing to do with him! Heb 2:16. Surely here was torment, to be forced to own the excellence that is in Christ, and yet they had no part in him. The devils desire not to have any thing to do with Christ as a Ruler. See whose language those speak, who will have nothing to do with the gospel of Christ. But it is not true that the devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Judge; for they have, and they know it, and thus it is with all the children of men. Satan and his instruments can go no further than he permits; they must quit possession when he commands. They cannot break his hedge of protection about his people; they cannot enter even a swine without his leave. They had leave. God often, for wise and holy ends, permits the efforts of Satan's rage. Thus the devil hurries people to sin; hurries them to what they have resolved against, which they know will be shame and grief to them: miserable is the condition of those who are led captive by him at his will. There are a great many who prefer their swine before the Saviour, and so come short of Christ and salvation by him. They desire Christ to depart out of their hearts, and will not suffer his word to have place in them, because he and his word would destroy their brutish lusts, those swine which they give themselves up to feed. And justly will Christ forsake all that are weary of him; and say hereafter, Depart, ye cursed, to those who now say to the Almighty, Depart from us.The whole city came out - The people of the city probably came with a view of arresting him for the injury done to the property; but, seeing him, and being awed by his presence, they only besought him to leave them.

Out of their coasts - Out of their country.

This shows:

1. That the design of Satan is to prejudice people against the Saviour, and even to make what Christ does an occasion why they should desire him t leave them.

2. The power of avarice. These people preferred their property to the Saviour. They loved it so much that they were blind to the evidence of the miracle, and to the good he had done to the miserable people whom he had healed.

It is no uncommon thing for people to love the world so much; to love property - even like that owned by the people of Gadara so much as to see no beauty in religion and no excellence in the Saviour; and, rather than part with it, to beseech Jesus to withdraw from them. The most grovelling employment, the most abandoned sins, the most loathsome vices, are often loved more than the presence of Jesus, and more than all the blessings of his salvation.

Remarks On Matthew 8

1. The leprosy, the disease mentioned in this chapter, is a suitable representation of the nature of sin. Like that, sin is loathsome; it is deep fixed in the frame; penetrating every part of the system; working its way to the surface imperceptibly, but surely; loosing the joints, and consuming the sinews of moral action; and adhering to the system until it terminates in eternal death. It goes down from age to age. It shuts out men from the society of the pure in heaven; nor can man be admitted there until God has cleansed the soul by his Spirit, and man is made pure and whole.

2. The case of the centurion is a strong instance of the nature and value of humility, Matthew 8:5-10. He sustained a fair character, and had done much for the Jews. Yet he had no exalted conception of himself. Compared with the Saviour, he felt that he was unworthy that he should come to his dwelling. So feels every humble soul. "Humility is an estimate of ourselves as we are." It is a willingness to be known, and talked of, and treated just according to truth. It is a view of ourselves as lost, poor, and wandering creatures. Compared with other people with angels, with Jesus, and with God - it is a feeling by which we regard ourselves as unworthy of notice. It is a readiness to occupy our appropriate station in the universe, and to put on humbleness of mind as our proper array, 1 Peter 5:5.

3. We have in the case of the centurion an equally beautiful exhibition of "faith." He had unwavering confidence in the power of Jesus. He did not doubt at all that he was able to do for him just what he "needed, and what he wished him to do." This is faith; and every man who has this "trust" or confidence in Christ for salvation, has "saving faith."

4. Humility and faith are always connected. The one prepares the mind for the other. Having a deep sense of our weakness and unworthiness, we are prepared to look to Him who has strength. Faith also produces humility. Jesus was humble; and believing on him, we catch his spirit and learn of him, Matthew 11:28-30. Compared with him, we see our unworthiness. Seeing his "strength," we see our "feebleness;" seeing "his" strength exerted to save creatures impure and ungrateful as we are, we sink away into an increased sense of our unfitness for his favor.

5. We see the compassion and kindness of Jesus, Matthew 8:16-17. He has borne "our" heavy griefs. He provides comfort for us in sickness and sustains us in dying. But for his merciful arm, we should sink; and dying, we should die without hope. But:

"Jesus can make a dying bed

Feel soft as downy pillows are;

continued...

Mt 8:28-34. Jesus Heals the Gergesene Demoniacs. ( = Mr 5:1-20; Lu 8:26-39).

For the exposition, see on [1238]Mr 5:1-20.

Both Mark and Luke here add much. Mark saith, Mark 5:14-20, And they went out to see what it was that was done. 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. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 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. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. Luke saith, Luke 8:37-39, 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. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and show 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. By

the whole city, or the whole country, we must understand a very great part of it.

Came out to meet Jesus: Mark expounds it, to see what it was that was done, and to pray him to depart out of their coasts. They saw him, and not him only, but him that had been possessed of the devils, sitting at his feet clothed, in his right mind. A great miracle wrought! They did not only see it, but they heard their servants, the swine herds, attesting it; they had all the external means of faith imaginable. How are they affected? The text saith, they were afraid. An awe of this great person seized them, and possibly they were afraid lest he should have done them some further evil. What is the effect of this fear? Surely they will fall down at his feet beg his grace and favour, and that he would continue with them, and be the author of more good amongst them. Though they had lost two thousand swine, yet they were delivered from the fear of him that was possessed with the devil; and that poor creature was delivered from as great an affliction as we can imagine. Nothing of all this. They came, and prayed, and besought him to go out of their coasts. Certainly, our Saviour’s knowledge of the nature of this people, and what was in their hearts, provoked him to give the devils such a liberty as he did to destroy their swine: we are ordinarily punished in the thing wherein we offend, we need no more than our ordinary wishes and prayers to ruin us: who shall hereafter tell us of a power in man’s will to do that which is spiritually good upon a moral persuasion? What higher moral persuasion could these Gadarenes have had, than the sight of Christ, and what he had done, afforded? yet (for aught appears) they were unanimous in this desire, that Christ should be gone. They do not do what was in their power to do, desiring him to stay. But oh how dangerous a thing it is for men to reject Christ! He immediately departeth, and we do not read that he came here any more. But he out of whom the devils were cast abideth with him, sits at his feet, desires he may go along with him; How great a difference there is betwixt seeing and hearing of Christ, and tasting how good he is! The poor demoniac would have left his country, and gone with him. But Christ suffered him not; probably he saw it would be more for the glory of God for him to stay; he therefore commands him to return to his house, and show what God had done for him, and how he had compassion on him. We cannot, more show our thankfulness to God, than by declaring his wonderful works, and what in particular he hath done for us. This poor man doth accordingly, and publisheth the name of Christ in Decapolis, which name comprehends a space of the country within which were ten cities, (as the word doth signify), whereof Gadara (saith Pliny) was one; from which city these people had their denomination of Gadarenes, that is, citizens of Gadara; or, inhabitants of the country adjacent to that city. And behold, the whole city,.... The inhabitants of it, not every individual person, but the greater number of them, or, at least, a very great number of them. Luke says, "the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about": for as the news was carried both into the city and country, great numbers flocked from all parts,

and came out to meet Jesus: not out of any love and respect to him, and in order to invite him, and conduct him into their city, and there receive him kindly, and treat him with due honour and reverence; but either out of curiosity to see such an extraordinary person, which, doubtless, was the case of many; or, else being terrified at the report concerning him, and distressed with their present loss, which was the case of others, went out to prevent his coming any further, lest they should suffer something worse: accordingly,

when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts; which was done not as though they thought themselves unworthy the presence of so great a person, as did the "centurion", in the former part of this "chapter", or, as Peter, when he said, "depart from me, I am a sinful man"; but as fearing, lest some greater punishment should be inflicted on them for their sins, of which they were conscious; and therefore make no complaint of any injustice being done them by the loss of their swine; though these they preferred to the presence of Christ, and even to any cures wrought, or which might have been wrought, either upon the bodies, or souls of men.

And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would {g} depart out of their coasts.

(g) Where men live as swine, there Christ does not abide, but demons.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 8:34. πᾶσα ἡ πόλις: an exaggeration of course, cf. accounts in Mark and Luke.—εἰς ὑπάντησινΙ., to a meeting with Jesus. The noun occurs again in Matthew 25:1, and John 12:13; in Matthew 25:6 ἀπάντησιν is used instead of it. εἰς ἀπαν. occurs in Sept[56] for לִקְרָאת. The two nouns are little used in Greek authors. The change from one to the other in Matthew 25:1; Matthew 25:6 implies a slight difference in meaning; ὑπάντησις = accidental chance, or stealthy meeting; ἀπάντησις = an open designed meeting. The stealthy character of the meeting implied in ὑπὸ is well illustrated in ὑπήντησαν, Matthew 8:28, of this narrative. The statement that the whole city went out to meet Jesus implies a report laying the blame of the occurrence on Him. But Matthew’s account is very summary, and must be supplemented by the statements in Mark and Luke, from which it appears that some came from the town to inquire into the matter, “to see what had happened,” and that in the course of their inquiries they met Jesus and learned what they had not known before, the change that had come over the demoniac. It was on their giving in their report to their fellow-townsmen, connecting the cure with the catastrophe, that the action reported in Matthew 8:34 took place.

[56] Septuagint.34. that he would depart] The motive for the request was fear lest a greater disaster should follow (Meyer).Matthew 8:34.[387] Παρεκάλεσαν, they besought) Those who are held fast by concern about their property, more easily and readily repel than pursue. Even avarice is timid. Or perhaps they besought our Lord with no evil feeling.[388] See Luke 5:8.[389]

[387] Πᾶσα ἡ πόλις, the whole city) Such great commotion do earthly interests cause!—V. g.

[388] At all events, though the Gergesenes besought Him with such a request, as did also their neighbours the Gadarenes, yet He left behind a leading one of those who had been possessed (Luke 8:35, viz. the man whom the men of the city had found “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind”) as a preacher of the Gospel to them. This one may have been a Gadarene, and the other a Gergesene.—Harm. p. 274.

[389] Where Peter, from humility instead of malignity, exclaims, “DEPART FROM ME, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”—(I. B.)Verse 34. - And, behold. The third of the stages (vers. 29, 32) in this incident that were apparent to all. The whole city; i.e. Khersa, from the parallel passages (ver. 28, note); all the city (Revised Version, though a similar phrase is not altered in ver. 32); πᾶσα ἡ πόλις. Not really less comprehensive, but giving a less vivid representation of one united body than ὅλη ἡ πόλις (Mark 1:33, and especially Luke 8:39); cf. Matthew 4:23, 24, ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαία εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συριάν. Came out to meet Jesus (εἰς ὑπάντησιν τῷ [Westcott and Hort margin, τοῦ] Ἰησοῦ). A distance of half a mile or so would satisfy the expression. The true reading, ὑπάντησιν (also Matthew 25:1; John 12:13), would seem to suggest the closest proximity (cf. Bishop Lightfoot on ὑπεναντίος Colossians 2:14), while ἀπάντησιν (Matthew 25:6; Acts 28:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) connotes a, contrast to the place left. Συνάντησιν, again (Textus Receptus here, and John 12:13, D, el.), emphasizes the thought of companionship. And when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts; from their borders (Revised Version). These Gerasenes, vexed at the loss of wealth, felt, like the demoniacs, that there was nothing in common between themselves and Jesus, but, unlike them, showed no consciousness of sin. Without this he could do nothing for them, so he granted their request (Matthew 9:1). St. Peter also once bade Jesus depart (Luke 5:8), but his reason, "for I am a sinful man, O Lord," showed a heartfelt desire after the deepest union with him. With the ungranted request of the man to remain with Jesus, and his subsequent preaching to these Gerasenes and others (parallel passages), St. Matthew does not concern himself.



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