Matthew 8:30

The personality of devils or demons has been called in question, and the examples of demoniacal possession recorded in Scripture have been construed as cases of insanity. But the narrative before us refuses to be thus treated. Here clearly are intelligences who can know, reason, speak, and pray, and who can exist separately from the subject of possession, and after expulsion from men can enter and possess inferior animals. Note -


1. They are formidable in power.

(1) This is evident from their appellatives (see Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15).

(2) From their exploits. See the history of Job. Did not Satan transport the body of Jesus from the wilderness to the pinnacle of the temple, and thence to the mountain summit (see Matthew 4:5, 8)?

(3) From the example of these demoniacs. No man could bind them (see Mark 5:3, 4).

2. They are formidable in number.

(1) Else how could they tempt so constantly the 1,400,000,000 living men? Their number must be great if all the wicked men that have died are demons.

(2) Their name is "legion." A Roman legion numbered six thousand men (see Mark 5:9).

(3) Things singly insignificant in numbers become formidable. Frogs and flies in multitudes became Egyptian plagues. In relation to the swarms of demons marshalled by Satan he is called Beelzebub - "Lord of flies."

3. They are formidable in their military order.

(1) This, too, is suggested in the name of "legion." They are officered into principalities, powers, world-rulers of darkness, and spiritual rulers of wickedness in the heavens (see Ephesians 6:12).

(2) They are efficiently marshalled. Some are devils of pride; some of coveteousness; some of sensuality; some of profanity; some of malice. Those who are led by any propensity to evil are possessed by a demon apt to stimulate it. Is your familiar an "unclean spirit"?

4. They are formidable in their inveterate malignity.

(1) They are proud spirits. What but inveterate malignity could induce them to ask leave of God to work mischief?

(2) The more so when they know that for the mischief they work they will incur a terrible retribution. Devils are not yet in hell. Their time of torment is the day of judgment (cf. ver. 29; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 20:1-3, 10).

5. They are formidable because of their passion for enshrinement in humanity.

(1) Out of humanity they are troubled and uneasy (cf. Matthew 12:43). It is "torment" to them to be ejected from humanity (ver. 29).

(2) They prefer enshrinement in the body of a beast to being houseless. Satan enshrined himself in a serpent. These demons. entreated to be allowed to enter into the swine.

(3) They make havoc wherever they crone. The evil disposition of the heart is a tomb in which a demon dwells.


1. Disastrous because assimilating.

(1) This is more evident in Mark's account, in which the plural and singular are so mingled that it is difficult to know whether the demons or the demoniac speaks (cf. Mark 5:6-10).

(2) This possession is the more deplorable as it diabolizes the Godward side of humanity.

2. Disastrous because dissocializing.

(1) These demoniacs were driven from society into the solitude of the tombs.

(2) Sin breaks up homes and friendships.

(3) It destroys commonwealths.

(4) The rich man in bell did not desire the company of his five brethren.

3. Disastrous because infuriating.

(1) It is suicidal. These demoniacs cut themselves with stones (see Mark 5:5). The priests of Baal cut themselves with knives (1 Kings 18:28; see also Leviticus 19:28; Jeremiah 16:6). Sin is moral suicide.

(2) It is fratricidal. "Cain was of that wicked one, and slew his brother." These demoniacs were the terror of passengers (ver. 28). "One sinner destroyeth much good."


1. Demons confess him their Superior.

(1) This is remarkable in their history since the experiment in the wilderness. There it was, "If thou be the Son of God." Here it is, "What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God?"

(2) They tremble in the presence of their Judge. "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" They were preconscious of their casting out. That casting out they regarded as a presage of their time of final judgment (cf. John 12:31; John 14:11).

2. He may listen to a devil's prayer.

(1) He consented to the prayer of these demons that they should be suffered to enter into the swine. He consented to the prayer of Satan that he might torment Job.

(2) Why should he not? He can work gracious purposes by the most unlikely agency. His consent to the prayer of the demons was a judgment upon the sin of the swine-dealers.

(3) The injury wrought upon the fig tree, that upon the traffickers in the temple, and this upon the swine-dealers, were severally presages of future vengeance.

3. tie may listen to a rebellious sinner's prayer.

(1) The Gadarenes besought him to depart out of their borders. They would rather have demons and swine among them than the holy Jesus. He heard their prayer.

(2) Let the blasphemer beware. His horrible prayers may be answered. The imprecation, "His blood be upon us, and upon our children," had a terrible response in the wars of the Jews and in the horrors of their long captivity.

(3) Let the rejecter of the gospel beware.

4. He may refuse the prayer of a saint.

(1) The Gadarene, now no longer a demoniac, but a grateful believer, entreated that he might be with his Deliverer (see Mark 5:15), but was refused (Mark 5:18, 19). The bodily presence of Jesus he must not have; but his spiritual presence he may enjoy. (:0 Jesus had other work for him to do (Mark 5:19, 20). He was to go home, where he was best known, and there to let his light shine.

(3) Let us not be discouraged if our prayers are not answered precisely as we desired. God answers our prayers to our utmost advantage. - J.A.M.

There met Him two possessed with devils.
I. The IMMEDIATE CONNECTION of the world of darkness WITH the evil heart.

II. The GREAT POWER of the inhabitants of darkness OVER the evil heart.

III. The UTTER IMPOTENCY OF MAN TO DELIVER THE POSSESSED from the power of the inhabitants of darkness.


1. Beware of tampering with evil.

2. The wish of evil will ever be self-destructive.

3. If Jesus has cured you show it by causing joy where you have caused so much misery — in your home.

(F. Wallace.)

Pulpit Analyst.

1. Its contagiousness.

2. Its anti-social tendency — "Neither abode in any house."

3. Its embrutalization of character.

4. Its dread of righteousness.


1. It is begun in expulsion, not repression, of evil principles and desires.

2. God accounts as nothing whatever material loss may be incurred in its effectuation. Souls more than swine.

3. Its moral and spiritual results have a counterpart and external evidence in improved material and social condition.

4. The surest proof of the reality of its accomplishment is renunciation of personal preferences in obedience to Christ's commands.

(Pulpit Analyst.)

American Homiletic Monthly
(ver. 29): —

1. Bad men must sooner or later acknowledge their deserts.

2. They believe that a "time" for punishment of their sins will come.

3. A guilty conscience dreads the presence of Christ.

(American Homiletic Monthly)


1. The possession.

2. The dwelling of the man — among the tombs. A melancholy madness.

3. The fierceness of the demoniac — he could not be bound.


1. The grace displayed in expelling the demons from the man. The devils saw their Master.

2. The justice manifested in the entrance of the demon into the swine.


1. The swineherds flee to carry the tidings. Fear gives wings to their feet.

2. The demoniac comes and sits at Jesus' feet.

3. The Gadarenes entreat Christ to depart, and He goes.

4. The recovered demoniac seeks to be allowed to follow Christ, and is refused.Learn: —

1. Let us shudder at the malice, power, and misery of fallen spirits.

2. Fly for refuge to the power and grace of Christ, and dread the thought of desiring Christ to depart.

3. See the place and duty of those whom Christ has healed.

(J. Bennett, D. D.)

1. That this was not a work of authority done by our Master in His own country. He had passed from His own country. Truth knows no limitations; a man that has it owes it to mankind.

2. The sad spectacle that met our Lord was a man in ruins.

3. The moment our Saviour came into the presence of this man. he brought a distributing force. Two spheres came together that were antagonistic. Evil claims its rights, liberty. This is the keynote of the opposition in modern society to every attempt to make men better.

4. We should oppose these malign influences front self-interest, and in self-defence. It is not going away from our own affairs when we attempt to break down everything that is destroying the industry and virtue of society. We are bound to meddle with the demonized part of society. Men ought to stand on the ground of goodness and assert the dignity of rectitude over immorality.


There is nothing sadder; and, sad to say, nothing more common. No one can see great desolation by conflagration without having a kind of commercial sympathy. The consumption of so much property, the waste and ruin of so many costly structures, is painful to behold. No man can learn that a storm has swept the sea, and that fleets and merchantmen have been wrecked or foundered, without a certain sadness. And yet all the ships on the sea might sink, and all the buildings on the globe might be burned, and the united whole would not be as much as to shatter one immortal soul. There is nothing in old dilapidated cities, there is nothing in temples filled with memorials of former glory, that tends to inspire such sadness and melancholy as to look upon a dilapidated soul, whose powers and faculties are shattered and east down.


It is not going away from our own affairs when we attempt to break clown everything that is destroying the industry, and order, and virtue, and the well-being of the young in society, and corrupting society itself. Every man is to a very great extent dependent for his own prosperity upon the average conditions of the community in which he lives. A man is very much like a plant. If you put a plant in a pot of poor earth, there is no inherent force in the plant by which it can grow. The atmosphere, too, which surrounds the leaf has much to do with the health and growth of the plant. But suppose plant should be endowed with momentary intelligence, and should cry out and protest that it was potted in bad earth, and surrounded by poisonous vapours? and suppose the earth should say, "Mind your own business, and I will mind mine," and the atmosphere should say, "You take care of yourself, and I will take care of myself"? It would be very much like these enemies to society saying to us, when we raise our voices against them, "Mind your own business." That is just what we are doing. We are minding our own business. Our business is to breathe and to grow, and we must have pure air and good soil. And if we are living in a community where we find our roots starved, and our leaves poisoned, we have a right to take care of ourselves and defend ourselves. A man depends for his prosperity and happiness upon the average condition of the community in which he lives. A man that lives in a virtuous community is like a man that lives on some mountain side, where the air is pure. A man that lives in a corrupt community is like a man that lives where the air is impure. And for the sake of our own well.being,and the well-being of our households, we have a right to resist these men who are destroying society by corrupting it.


Let a man start a mill for grinding arsenic, and let the air be filled with particles of this deadly poison, and let it be noticed that the people in the neighbourhood are beginning to sneeze and grow pale, and let it be discovered that this mill is the cause, and do you suppose he would be allowed to go on grinding? -No man would shut up his establishment at once. And yet. men open those more infernal mills of utter destruction — distilleries, and wholesale and retail dens for liquor; and you can mark the streams of damnation that flow out from them; and yet nobody meddles with them. One man is getting carbuncles; another man is becoming red in the eyes; another man is growing irritable, and losing his self-control: another man is being ruined both in body and mind; multitudes of men begin to exhibit the signs of approaching destruction; and the cause of all this terrible devastation may be traced to these places where intoxicating drinks are manufactured and sold. You would not let a man grind arsenic; but you will let a man make and sell liquor, though arsenic is a mercy compared with liquor.


Esaias, Isaac, Isaiah, Jacob, Jesus, Peter
Capernaum, Gadara, Galilee, Sea of Galilee
Afar, Distance, Feeding, Herd, Large, Pigs, Swine, Taking, Vast
1. Jesus cleanses the leper;
5. heals the centurion's servant,
14. Peter's mother in law,
16. and many others;
18. shows the cost of following him;
23. stills the storm on the sea;
28. drives the demons out of two men possessed;
31. and tells them to go into the pigs.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 8:30

     5619   measures, distance and area

Matthew 8:23-32

     5300   drowning

Matthew 8:28-34

     2030   Christ, holiness

The Touch that Cleanses
'When He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 1. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. 3. And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will; he thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.'--MATT. viii. 14. THE great collection
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Healing Christ
'Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.'--MATT. viii. 17. You will remember, probably, that in our Old Testament translation of these words they are made to refer to man's mental and spiritual evils: 'He bare our griefs and carried our sorrows.' Our evangelist takes them to refer, certainly not exclusively, but in part, to men's corporeal evils--'our infirmities' (bodily weaknesses, that is) 'and our sicknesses.' He was distinctly justified in so doing, both by the meaning of the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Swift Healing and Immediate Service
'And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose and ministered unto them.'--MATT. viii. 14-15. Other accounts give a few additional points. Mark:-- That the house was that of Peter and Andrew. That Christ went with James and John. That He was told of the sickness. That He lifted her up. Luke, physician-like, diagnoses the fever as 'great.' He also tells us that the sick woman's friends
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Christ Repressing Rash Discipleship
'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.'--MATT. viii. 19-20. Our Lord was just on the point of leaving Capernaum for the other side of the lake. His intended departure from the city, in which He had spent so long a time, and wrought so many miracles, produced precisely opposite effects on two of the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Christ Stimulating Sluggish Discipleship
'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.'--MATT. viii. 21-22. The very first words of these verses, 'And another of His disciples,' show us that the incident recorded in them is only half of a whole. We have already considered the other half, and supplement our former remarks by a glance at the remaining portion now. The two men, whose treatment by Christ is narrated, are
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Peace-Bringer in the Natural World
'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 la this, that even the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Peace-Bringer in the Spiritual World
'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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Faith which Christ Praises
'The centurion answered and said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go! and he goeth; and to another, Come I and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this; and he doeth it.'--MATT. viii. 8-9. This miracle of the healing of the centurion's servant is the second of the great series which Matthew gives us. It is perhaps not accidental that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Cross and Crown.
At last He cried, with a loud voice: "It is finished!" Perhaps not many on earth heard it, or cared about it when they did hear it; but I can imagine there were not many in heaven who did not hear it, and if they have bells in heaven how they must have rung out that day; "It is finished! It is finished!" The Son of God had died that poor sinful man might have life eternal. I can imagine the angels walking through the streets of heaven crying: "It is finished!" and the mansions of that world ringing
Dwight L. Moody—Moody's Anecdotes And Illustrations

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. viii. 23, "And when He was Entered into a Boat," Etc.
1. By the Lord's blessing, I will address you upon the lesson of the Holy Gospel which has just been read, and take occasion thereby to exhort you, that against the tempest and waves of this world, faith sleep not in your hearts. "For the Lord Christ had not indeed death nor sleep in His power, and peradventure sleep overcame the Almighty One as He was sailing against His will?" If ye believe this, He is asleep in you; but if Christ be awake in you, your faith is awake. The Apostle saith, "that Christ
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. viii. 8, "I am not Worthy that Thou Shouldest Come under My Roof," Etc. , and of the Words Of
1. We have heard, as the Gospel was being read, the praise of our faith as manifested in humility. For when the Lord Jesus promised that He would go to the Centurion's house to heal His servant, He answered, "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and he shall be healed." [2163] By calling himself unworthy, he showed himself worthy for Christ to come not into his house, but into his heart. Nor would he have said this with so great faith and humility, had
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Heaven and Hell
To-night, I shall, I hope, encourage you to seek the road to heaven. I shall also have to utter some very sharp things concerning the end of the lost in the pit of hell. Upon both these subjects I will try and speak, as God helps me. But, I beseech you, as you love your souls, weigh right and wrong this night; see whether what I say be the truth of God. If it be not, reject it utterly, and cast it away; but if it is, at your peril disregard it; for, as you shall answer before God, the great Judge
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

Twenty-Seventh Day. Activity in Duty.
"I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work."--John, ix. 4. How constant and unremitting was Jesus in the service of His Heavenly Father! "He rose a great while before day;" and, when His secret communion was over, His public work began. It mattered not to Him where He was: whether on the bosom of the deep, or a mountain slope--in the desert, or at a well-side--the "gracious words" ever "proceeded out of His mouth." We find, on one touching
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

Healing the Centurion's Servant.
(at Capernaum.) ^A Matt. VIII. 1, 5-13; ^C Luke VII. 1-10. ^c 1 After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, ^a 1 And when he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. ^c he entered into Capernaum. [Jesus proceeded from the mountain to Capernaum, which was now his home, or headquarters. The multitudes which are now mentioned for the third time were not wearied by his sermon, and so continued to follow him. Their presence showed the popularity of Jesus, and also
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Healing Peter's Mother-In-Law and Many Others.
(at Capernaum.) ^A Matt. VIII. 14-17; ^B Mark I. 29-34; ^C Luke IV. 38-41. ^c 38 And he arose out of the synagogue [where he had just healed the demoniac], ^b 29 And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue, they came { ^c entered} ^b into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [Peter and Andrew had dwelt at Bethsaida (John i. 44). They may have removed to Capernaum, or Bethsaida, being near by, may be here counted as a part, or suburb, of Capernaum. Its name does not contradict
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Stills the Storm.
(Sea of Galilee; Same Day as Last Section) ^A Matt. VIII. 18-27; ^B Mark IV. 35-41; ^C Luke VIII. 22-25. ^b 35 And that day, { ^c one of those days,} ^b when the even was come [about sunset], ^a when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. { ^b he saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side.} [Wearied with a day of strenuous toil, Jesus sought rest from the multitude by passing to the thinly settled on the east side of Galilee.] ^a 19 And there
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Heals Two Gergesene Demoniacs.
(Gergesa, Now Called Khersa.) ^A Matt. VIII. 28-34; IX. 1; ^B Mark V. 1-21; ^C Luke VIII. 26-40. ^b 1 And they came to the other side of the sea [They left in the "even," an elastic expression. If they left in the middle of the afternoon and were driven forward by the storm, they would have reached the far shore several hours before dark], ^c 26 And they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee. ^a 28 And when he was come into the country of the Gadarenes. ^c 27 And
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A Sabbath in Capernaum
It was the Holy Sabbath - the first after He had called around Him His first permanent disciples; the first, also, after His return from the Feast at Jerusalem. Of both we can trace indications in the account of that morning, noon, and evening which the Evangelists furnish. The greater detail with which St. Mark, who wrote under the influence of St. Peter, tells these events, shows the freshness and vividness of impression on the mind of Peter of those early days of his new life. As indicating that
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Return to Capernaum - Healing of the Centurion's Servant.
We are once again in Capernaum. It is remarkable how much, connected not only with the Ministry of Jesus, but with His innermost Life, gathers around that little fishing town. In all probability its prosperity was chiefly due to the neighbouring Tiberias, which Herod Antipas [2583] had built, about ten years previously. Noteworthy is it also, how many of the most attractive characters and incidents in the Gospel-history are connected with that Capernaum, which, as a city, rejected its own real glory,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Christ Stills the Storm on the Lake of Galilee.
IT was the evening of that day of new teaching, and once more great multitudes were gathering to Him. What more, or, indeed, what else, could He have said to those to whom He had all that morning spoken in Parables, which hearing they had not heard nor understood? It was this, rather than weariness after a long day's working, which led to the resolve to pass to the other side. To merely physical weariness Jesus never subordinated his work. If, therefore, such had been the motive, the proposal to
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

At Gerasa - the Healing of the Demonised.
THAT day of wonders was not yet ended. Most writers have, indeed, suggested, that the healing of the demonised on the other side took place at early dawn of the day following the storm on the Lake. But the distance is so short that, even making allowance for the delay by the tempest, the passage could scarcely have occupied the whole night. [2899] This supposition would be further confirmed, if the evening' when Jesus embarked was what the Jews were wont to call the first evening,' that is, the time
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Essential Character of the Work of Jesus.
Jesus, it will be seen, limited his action entirely to the Jews. Although his sympathy for those despised by orthodoxy led him to admit pagans into the kingdom of God--although he had resided more than once in a pagan country, and once or twice we surprise him in kindly relations with unbelievers[1]--it may be said that his life was passed entirely in the very restricted world in which he was born. He was never heard of in Greek or Roman countries; his name appears only in profane authors of a hundred
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Christ the Son of Man.
"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matt. viii. 20). "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" (Matt. xvi. 13). "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life" (John iii. 14). It is a matter of profound gratitude that our Saviour was a man. "The Son of man," as well as "the Son of God," was essential to His great work
Frank G. Allen—Autobiography of Frank G. Allen, Minister of the Gospel

Kingo's Church Hymns
Kingo's church hymns naturally differ from his spiritual songs. They are more objective in form and less fiery in spirit. Most of them follow their themes quite closely, reproducing in many instances even the words of their text. Kingo is too vital, however, to confine himself wholly to an objective presentation. Usually the last stanzas of his hymns are devoted to a brief and often striking application of their text. He possessed to a singular degree the ability to express a thought tersely, as
Jens Christian Aaberg—Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark

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