Matthew 8:27
But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) The men marvelled.—This use of so vague a term as “men,” as applied to the disciples, is so exceptional as to suggest the thought that there were others in the boat with them. The marvel was not without a “great fear” (Mark 4:41). The Presence among them was mightier even than they had thought, and the elements, which seemed far more removed from human control than leprosy or fever, were yet subject to His sovereignty.

The spiritual application of the miracle lies so near the surface that it has almost become one of the common-places of sermons and hymns. And yet there is a profound fitness in it which never ceases to be fresh. The boat is the Church of Christ, and it sails across the ocean of the world’s history to the “other side” of the life beyond the grave. The wind is the blast of persecution, and the Lord of the Church seems as though He were asleep, and heard not the cry of the sufferers, and the disciples are faint-hearted and afraid. And then He hears their prayer, and the storm of the persecution ceases, and there is a great calm, during which the Church goes on its way, and men learn to feel that it carries more than Cæsar and his fortunes.

8:23-27 It is a comfort to those who go down to the sea in ships, and are often in perils there, to reflect that they have a Saviour to trust in and pray to, who knows what it is to be on the water, and to be in storms there. Those who are passing with Christ over the ocean of this world, must expect storms. His human nature, like to ours in every thing but sin, was wearied, and he slept at this time to try the faith of his disciples. They, in their fear, came to their Master. Thus is it in a soul; when lusts and temptations are swelling and raging, and God is, as it were, asleep to it, this brings it to the brink of despair. Then it cries for a word from his mouth, Lord Jesus, keep not silence to me, or I am undone. Many that have true faith, are weak in it. Christ's disciples are apt to be disquieted with fears in a stormy day; to torment themselves that things are bad with them, and with dismal thoughts that they will be worse. Great storms of doubt and fear in the soul, under the power of the spirit of bondage, sometimes end in a wonderful calm, created and spoken by the Spirit of adoption. They were astonished. They never saw a storm so turned at once into a perfect calm. He that can do this, can do any thing, which encourages confidence and comfort in him, in the most stormy day, within or without, Isa 26:4.The men marveled - Wondered, or were amazed.

What manner of man - What kind of a personage. How unlike other men! What a vast display of power! and how far exalted above mortals must he be!

Jesus spake to the winds; rebuked their raging, and the sea was suddenly calm. The storm subsided; the ship glided smoothly; danger fled; and in amazement they stood in the presence of him who controlled the tempests that God had raised; and they felt that "he" must be God himself, for none but God could calm the heaving billows and scatter the tempest. No scene could have been more grand than this display of the power of Jesus. The darkness; the dashing waves; the howling winds; the heaving and tossing ship; the fears and cries of the seamen, all by a single word hushed into calm repose, present an image of power and divinity irresistibly grand and awful. So the tempest rolls and thickens over the head of the awakened sinner. So he trembles over immediate and awful destruction. So, while the storm of wrath howls, and hell threatens to ingulf him, he comes trembling to the Saviour. He hears; he rebukes the storm, and the sinner is safe. An indescribable peace takes possession of the soul, and he glides on a tranquil sea to the haven of eternal rest. See Isaiah 57:20-21; Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7.

Mt 8:23-27. Jesus Crossing the Sea of Galilee, Miraculously Stills a Tempest. ( = Mr 4:35-41; Lu 8:22-25).

For the exposition, see on [1237]Mr 4:35-41.

Ver. 23-27. It is apparent that the evangelists did not set down all the motions and actions of our Saviour in order, as done by him: whether therefore this was the same motion, and over the same sea, of which mention was made before, is uncertain, nor much material for us to know. Nor yet whether the storm which here arose was in the ordinary course of providence, or raised on purpose for our Saviour to show his power in quieting it. It is enough for us to know that a great storm did arise. It is expressly said that our Saviour was asleep; hereby he showed himself to be truly man, subject to like infirmities with us, sin only excepted, Hebrews 4:15. That the disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish, argued both their faith in his power, and their frailty in not considering who was with them in the ship, one who, though his humanity was asleep, yet was He who watcheth over Israel, who never slumbereth nor sleepeth. Our Saviour saith unto them,

Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? The prevalence of fears in us upon imminent dangers will not argue no faith, but will argue a weak faith; which yet he that will not break a bruised reed, nor quench a smoking flax, will not discourage. He will therefore give them a proof of his Divinity;

he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, let them know he was their Lord, and commanded them to cease,

and there was a calm. It is he that rebuketh the waves of the sea when they roar, and stilleth the ragings of the people.

The men, either the sea men, or the passengers, or both,

marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him? Surely this is more than a man, that can command winds and seas. But the men marvelled,.... Mark says, "they feared exceedingly"; and Luke, "they being afraid, wondered": they were filled with astonishment and fear, or reverence: there was such a shine of majesty, such a lustre of divine power appeared in this affair. The other two evangelists seem to refer this to the disciples, which Matthew seems to ascribe to the men, the mariners that were in the ship; it is likely it had the same effect on both; and both were abundantly convinced of his deity and dignity, saying,

what manner of man, or person

is this? For the word "man", is not in the text; of what qualities, perfections and powers, is he possessed? Surely he must be more than a mere man; he can be no other than the mighty God,

that even the winds and the sea obey him: which can be said of no other, than the most high God: never was such a thing heard of, that the winds and sea should be rebuked by a mere creature, and should obey. That man must be infidel to "revelation", that can read this account, and deny the deity of Christ; to one or other of these he must be drove, either to deny the truth of the fact, and the circumstances of it, or believe that Jesus Christ is truly and properly God, as the disciples and mariners did.

But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 8:27. Οἱ ἄνθρωποι] Meaning the people who, besides Jesus and His disciples, were also in the boat, not the disciples[434] included (de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek), seeing that the specially chosen ἄνθρωποι (Matthew does not at all say ΠΆΝΤΕς) most naturally denotes other parties than those previously mentioned, viz. “quibus nondum innotuerat Christus,” Calvin. Fritzsche’s homines quotquot hujus portenti nuntium acceperant is incorrect. From the nature of the case, and by means of the connection with Matthew 8:28, Matthew represents the astonishment and the exclamation as coming immediately after the stilling of the tempest, and in the boat itself.

ὅτι] seeing that. Giving the reason for the ποταπός (qualis, see on Mark 13:1).

The narrative itself must not be traced to a misconception on the part of the disciples, who are supposed either to have attributed the cessation of the storm to the presence of Jesus and His observations regarding this condition of the weather (Paulus), or to have misapprehended the Lord’s command to be still, addressed to the storm within them at the moment when that which raged without was over (Hase). As little should we have recourse to a symbolical explanation of the fact, as though it had been intended to exhibit the superiority of the friend of God to the war of the elements (Ammon), or to represent the tranquillity of the inner life that is brought about by the spirit of Christ (Schleiermacher). But if Strauss has classed the narrative in the category of mythical sea stories, Keim again, though feeling sure that it is founded upon fact, is nevertheless of opinion that the actual event has been retouched, beyond recognition, with the colouring and in the spirit of the psalms (such as cvi, cvii), while Weizsäcker sees in it nothing more than an evidence of the spiritual power with which, in a case of outward distress, Jesus so works upon the faith of His disciples that they see themselves transported into a world of miracles; the miracle, he thinks, resolves itself into the extraordinary impression produced by what had taken place. It is to do manifest violence to the clear and simple account of the Gospels, to adopt such expedients for divesting the narrative of its supernatural character, as Schenkel also has had recourse to, who thinks that, after the pilot had despaired, Jesus, with assured confidence in His destiny, stood up, and, after rebuking and allaying the fears of those around Him, assumed to Himself the direction of the boat. The text renders it necessary to insist on treating the event (Neander, Steinmeyer) as miraculous—as a proceeding the cause of which is to be found in the divine energy dwelling in the Lord (Luke 11:20)—in a powerful exercise of His authority over the elements, which there should be no more difficulty in admitting than in the case of His other miracles in the sphere of nature (the feeding, Cana) and upon the bodily organism (even when dead).

[434] According to Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25, it was the disciples who uttered the exclamation. Possibly a more original part of the tradition than the statement in Matthew, which presupposes a wider reflection than Mark’s account, that statement being that what the exclamation asked the disciples already knew. Moreover, the preference, in all essential respects, is due to Matthew’s account; comp. Weiss in d. Stud. u. Krit. 1865, p. 344.Matthew 8:27, f οἱ ἄνθρωποι: who? Naturally one would say the disciples with Jesus in the boat, called men to suit the tragic situation. But many think others are referred to, men unacquainted with Jesus: “quibus nondum innotuerat Christus” (Calvin); either with the disciples in the boat, and referred to alone (Jerome, Meyer) or jointly (De Wette, Bleek), or who afterwards heard the story (Hilar y, Euthy., Fritzsche: “homines, quote uot hujus portenti nuntium acceperant,” and Weiss). Holtzmann (H. C.) says they might be the men in the other ships mentioned in Mark 4:36, but in reality the expression may simply point to the contrast between the disciples as men and the divine power displayed.—ποταπόςοὗτος, what manner of person? The more classic form is ποδαπός = from what land? where born? possibly from ποῦ and ἄπο, with a euphonic δ (Passow). ποταπός, in later use, = of what sort? vide Lobeck, Phryn., p. 56.—This story of the triple tradition is a genuine reminiscence of disciple life. There was a storm, Jesus slept, the disciples awoke Him in terror. He rebuked the winds and waves, and they forthwith subsided. The only escape of naturalism from a miracle of power or Providence (Weiss, Leben Jesu) is to deny the causal sequence between Christ’s word and the ensuing calm and suggest coincidence. The storm sudden in its rise, equally sudden in its lull.27. the men] the disciples, and other fishermen who were also on the Lake: see account in Mark.Matthew 8:27. Ὑπακούουσιν Αὐτῷ, obey Him) Cf. Mark 1:27. The winds and the sea acknowledge no other control.[383]

[383] In the original, “Venti et mare alias libera.”—Bengel is very fond of the adverb “alias,” and frequently employs it emphatically.—(I. B.)Verse 27. - But (Revised Version, and) the men. Perhaps the disciples ("Sic als Menschen staunch," Nosgen), but probably those to whom the boat belonged (ver. 23, note), the crew. It seems very far-fetched to explain it of all men who heard of the miracle. Marvelled. As the multitudes (Matthew 9:33; but contrast Matthew 14:33). Saying, What manner of man is this? (Ποταπός ἐστιν οϋτος). Parallel passages, "Who then?" (τίς ἄρα;). The term indicates the slightness of their knowledge of his character (probably not his origin, which, according to Phryn. [Wetstein], would be ποδαπός; though it may be doubted whether the distinction can be pressed in Hellenistic Greek). They seem, with Nicodemus, to have recognized that holiness was an essential condition of performing miracles (John 3:2), but not to have realized that this condition was satisfied in Jesus. That even the winds and the sea obey him. "Him," emphatic (αὐτῷ ὑπακούουσιν). The miracle! has been seen to be a parable of the security of the ship of the Church since at least the days of Tertullian ('De Bapt.,' § 12). (For the comparison generally of the Church to a ship, compare especially Bishop Lightfoot on Ignatius, 'Polyc.,' § it.)
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