James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.Matthew 8:1-9:38
CREDENTIALS OF THE KING
We have seen that the Sermon on the Mount was probably separate discourses grouped by the evangelist under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for a particular purpose. That purpose was the presentation of Jesus to the Jews as the Messiah, the King promised them in the Old Testament. In like manner, the miracles now following were probably wrought at different times but grouped by the evangelist for the same purpose. Jesus had come proclaiming the Kingdom to be at hand; He had laid down the laws of the Kingdom, and now in these mighty works we have the credentials of the King.
There are ten in all (nine being miracles of healing), to say nothing of the many unclassified ones (Matthew 8:16-17; Matthew 9:35).
THE DISPENSATIONAL VIEW
Surely God only could do these things, and He through whom they were accomplished can be none other than the One He claimed to be (Isaiah 35:5-6). Their practical teachings have been made familiar in Sunday School lessons, so that here attention may be given to their dispensational aspects. Gaebelein teaches that the cleansing of the leper stands for Jehovah in the person of Jesus among His people Israel; the healing of the centurion’s servant, absent and healed by a word, represents this Gentile dispensation still running. When its course is completed, He will enter the house again in restored relations to Israel, as symbolized in raising the sick daughter of Zion, the mother of Peter’s wife. Now come the millennial blessings to all the earth they brought Him those suffering from many diseases and He healed them all.
For the leprosy of Israel compare Isaiah 1:5-6. Only God can heal that disease, and when Jesus spake the word, and sent the healed man to the priest, why did not the latter recognize Him? He, the priest, thus becomes the type of the unbelieving nation who ultimately rejected him.
Grace now comes to the Gentiles typified by the centurion who manifests simple faith, drawing forth from our Lord the words prophetic of this dispensation. “Many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
The sick woman is typical of Israel whom the Lord has promised to heal at His second coming, and who will then become his minister (Matthew 8:8-15). With the verses immediately following, compare Isaiah 53:4. The self-seeking scribe of Matthew 8:18-20 is a type of Israel filled with selfish expectations of earthly gain and glory, after the flesh and not after the Spirit.
Coming to the latter part of the chapter, we are reminded by the casting out of the demons, that Satan, the prince of the demons, will be cast into the bottomless pit, when Christ comes a second time to deliver Israel (Revelation 20). From the dispensational point of view, the deliverance of these men foreshadows that of the faithful Jews in the tribulation, while the destruction of the swine indwelt by the demons, foreshadows the remainder of the nation rushing into the judgment awaiting them.
The healing of the paralytic (9:1-8) shows from another point of view what Christ will do for Israel when He comes again. He will pardon their iniquity (Isaiah 43:25), and heal them of their sin in soul and body (Malachi 4:2).
The important feature in the call of Matthew (Matthew 9-17) is the question of John’s disciples and its answer. The explanation is that Christ is the bridegroom, and while He was with His disciples there could be no mourning; but by and by, He would be rejected, and then it would be different. Here follows a revelation of a new order of things. The old garment is Judaism with its legal righteousness, which cannot be patched up; i.e., law and grace cannot go together in the same system of faith. The new wine is Christianity, while the old bottles are the Mosaic institutions, a figure which teaches the same truth.
The miracles of Matthew 9:18-26 are typical. Christ is coming to bring life to Israel, the daughter of Zion; but while He is coming, the Gentiles, in parenthesis as it were, touch Him by faith, and salvation comes to them in that moment.
These hints are sufficient for our present purpose if they whet the appetite to turn to larger works and pursue the subjects further.
NEW AND IMPORTANT WORDS
There are two or three words here which we meet for the first time. “Devils” is one, which in the Revised Version is rendered “demons.” There is but one devil, Satan, but there are many demons. We know nothing of their origin save that they are not to be confounded with evil angels, as for instance in 2 Peter 2:4. Any Bible dictionary will furnish information concerning them.
“Lord” (Greek, Kurios), as applied to Christ, is met for the first time. It means “master” and may be used of merely human relationships, but in the New Testament is chiefly employed as the divine title of Jesus Christ.
“Son of Man” our Lord uses of Himself about eighty times. “Son of David” is His Jewish name, “Son of God” His divine name, and “Son of Man” his racial name. This latter conveys the thought that His mission transcends in scope and result all merely Jewish limitations.
1. What is signified by the title of this lesson?
2. How many miracles are in this group and of what nature chiefly?
3. Name the miracles in their order.
4. Give a general idea of their dispensational intent.
5. Explain Christ’s references to the old garments and old wine bottles.
6. Distinguish between the devil and demons.
7. How is the word Lord commonly used of Christ?
8. What is the significance of the title Son of Man?