Matthew 8

2 To worship means to pay divine honors, to reverence with supreme respect, to have intense love for, to idolize (paraphrase of Webster's definition). The filthy and diseased leper recognized Jesus as God. He also saw God as approachable and loving. The leper already believed that Jesus could heal him, so he only asked if Jesus would be willing to do so.
3 Jesus proved that God is kind and compassionate. God is willing to help us out when we ask in faith for things that are in His will. In this case, God healed the man's physical ailment immediately. Some people still receive miraculous healings after praying in faith. Others are not healed immediately, and it may be God's will that they not be healed until the Resurrection. However, the physical healings are only a picture of the spiritual healing that Jesus provides. Everyone who believes that Jesus has taken away his sins through His death on the cross and begins a relationship with Him will be spiritually healed.
4 Lev 13 has extensive details about the diagnosis for leprosy (skin disease). The first part of Lev 14 describes the ceremonial cleansing that is to be done for anyone who is cured of leprosy. Jesus wanted this man to follow the Law of Moses concerning this cleansing. This would be a testimony to the religious leaders about Jesus' authority to heal disease on earth. Jesus did not want this man to spread the news of his healing to others because Jesus' primary work was to teach, not to heal. Luke 5 reveals that the man was disobedient, and this hindered Jesus' work.
5 A centurion is a Roman soldier, but this one was very different from most (Luke 7). When he found that he had an urgent need, and recognized Jesus as the only possible solution, he goes to Him (actually messengers went on his behalf).
7 Most Jews (especially the nationalist Jews) would have hated the soldier because he was a Gentile and a symbol of the occupying force. Yet Jesus does not let these prejudices get in the way of His work. He is willing to go.
8 The soldier, in a display of great humility, does not want to bother Jesus too much, and respects the Jewish policy not to become "defiled" by entering a non-Jewish household. Instead, he shows great faith in Jesus, recognizing that He is not an illusionist, but has real power to heal, even from a distance.
9 The soldier recognizes that Jesus is like a commanding officer of the spiritual world. Whenever Jesus gives a command, it is done. He is respectfully asking that Jesus give the command to heal his servant, already having faith that it will be done.
10 This is not saying that Jesus was surprised by something unexpected. Instead, He is expressing His exasperation of the lack of faith in people who should know better, and the astonishing pleasure of finding fleck of gold in an unpromising streambed.

The Jewish people had God Word and an elaborate religious institution. Yet, most of the people did not recognize Jesus as God in the flesh. This Roman soldier, on the other hand, was undoubtedly raised a pagan, and would not have been allowed to participate in the Jewish religious services, even after acknowledging God and supporting the local religious group financially. Yet, with his limited exposure to God, he recognized Jesus instantly as Him.

11 The Jews would have been astonished when they heard this. They felt that they would all go to heaven simply because they were descendents of Israel. However, Jesus contradicts this and says that many Gentiles from all over the world will go to heaven while many descendents of Israel will be cast out.
12 While the descendents of Israel were supposed to be sons of the kingdom, they sold their birthright (reconciliation and relationship with God) for a cheap imitation (religious self-righteousness).

This is one of many descriptions of hell: dark, sad, and filled with bitter pain. It is a place separated from God, His love, His goodness, and His kingdom.

14 This verse, and 1 Cor 9:5 indicate that Peter was married before he met Jesus. Nothing else is mentioned about her other than that she traveled with Peter.
15 Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, and in gratitude she served them. This describes a complete healing. Instantly she was in perfect health and full of energy.
16 Jesus had gained a reputation by this time, and many people came to be healed.This is not the only place in Scripture where demons are credited with all kinds of illnesses. In our modern society such illnesses are seen as only biological, physical, genetic, or chemical problems within the body. I am not discounting the many discoveries of illnesses and disorders, but I am saying that cause and effect may not be precisely what we think it is. For instance, we know from the Bible that sickness and death would not exist if sin hadn't entered the world. It is quite possible that God has allowed demons to use various mechanisms to inflict people with physical or mental disorders. Jesus would cast out the evil spirit(s), and at the same time dismantle their weapons. I am sure there are even deeper levels of demon possession, even to the point of a demon taking full control of a human body. With our modern, materialistic eyes, however, this might be attributed to other causes.
17 In the previous picture we see Jesus taking the burden and curse of sin away from people. On the cross, we will see Jesus bear the curse Himself. The magnitude and reality of sin seem difficult to grasp for us because sin is not a physical thing we can touch, see, or measure. Even though we see the effects of sin, we don't see how profound and far reaching it really is.
18 Even though He was "popular" in this region, Jesus knew He needed to travel to other towns as well.
20 The scribe was probably well off and Jesus might have been suggesting the life of a traveling preacher would be too hard for him. This may also have been taken as a warning that anyone who followed Jesus would have a difficult life.
21 It is not clear whether this disciple's father had just died, was on the edge of death, or the man simply didn't want to travel far from home until there was no one left to come home to.
22 Those who follow Jesus gain life, while those who stay away are spiritually dead already and are simply waiting for their bodies to die.
23 Jesus' true followers were committed to go with Him. I don't know how big this boat was, but obviously only a relative few out of the "multitudes" was willing to go with Him.
24 Jesus had probably fallen asleep before the storm, and it did not wake Him. Even though He is God, His fleshly body was as weak as ours are. He would get exhausted, just as we do.
25 The storm was violent enough to frighten the men. Most of them were rugged fishermen who had no doubt weathered several storms in smaller fishing boats.
26 Why are we afraid of "storms" in our lives when we have God on board? Even when we feel that the circumstances are overwhelming and that God is "asleep," we should recognize that He will not allow us to be physically harmed or spiritually tested outside His Will. I am not saying that we should not pray and ask for guidance, but we should not approach God in a panic.To their credit, when the disciples had fears and doubts, they went to the right place for answers. How often we try to solve problems on our own when only God can handle them.
27 When God does answer our prayers we should marvel at His work and praise Him. God may not always work this dramatically, but we can still be amazed at how He uses the little things to bring us to greater faith and trust in Him.
28 Mark and Luke speak of one demon possessed man, but they do not say there was only one. Most commentators reconcile these accounts by saying there were two men, but only one was the spokesman.
29 The demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God. They knew that He had the authority to judge and punish them and there was a specific date and time for this judgement to take place. Most people appear to be oblivious to these things, even after God has made these things clear to us in His Word. Related topics are found in James 2:19 and Mat 7:21.
30 This area was either non-Jewish, or was inhabited by apostate Jews. Jews following the Mosaic Law would be appalled at the idea of raising or eating swine.
31 This is a strange picture: the demons are pleading for mercy. What seems even stranger is that Jesus appears to grant their request.

Demons are spiritual beings, but these particular demons were especially desirous to inhabit physical bodies. These leeches did not care what kind of body they inhabited, but they were obviously distressed at the possibility of being permanently exorcised.

The question of how so many demons could fit in a body is similar to the ludicrous exercise which tries to determine how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Since they are spiritual beings, they do not have three-dimensional volume limitations like physical beings. It is clear that demons and angels have locations within time and space, but while they can interact with the physical universe, they are not confined to all of its limitations.

The Bible gives us no clear indication of demonic lifestyle or working organization. Neither does the Bible give any clear explanation for the how or why of demon possession, but it is clear in that such possessions can happen.

32 True to their nature, demons cause their host to exhibit self-destructive behaviors. The swine "go insane" and "commit" mass suicide.
33 The men tending the swine were close enough to see and hear all that was happening. The demon-possessed stampede frightened the men badly and they ran away.
34 When the town heard how Jesus had destroyed the herd of swine (and thus the swine-herder's business), they all begged Him to leave. It is sad that the town ignored the miraculous exorcism. They were far more concerned about the lost swine than the men who had been saved. It is even more tragic that they unwittingly asked God to leave them. The people were obviously ignoring the Law of Moses. While Jesus' salvation work frees us from the dietary restrictions in the Law, at this time the disobedience to the dietary laws was just one symptom over their overall rejection of God.