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Cleansing a Leper

After he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. And a leper[a] approached and bowed low before him,[b] saying, “Lord, if[c] you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched[d] him saying, “I am willing. Be clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you do not speak to anyone,[e] but go, show yourself to the priest, and bring the offering[f] that Moses commanded,[g] as a testimony to them.”[h]

Healing the Centurion’s Servant

When he entered Capernaum,[i] a centurion[j] came to him asking for help:[k] “Lord,[l] my servant[m] is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible anguish.” Jesus[n] said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied,[o] “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof! Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.[p] I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes,[q] and to another ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave[r] ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”[s] 10 When[t] Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth,[u] I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel! 11 I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet[v] with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob[w] in the kingdom of heaven, 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness,[x] where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”[y] 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; just as you believed, it will be done for you.” And the servant[z] was healed at that hour.

Healings at Peter’s House

14 Now[aa] when Jesus entered Peter’s house,[ab] he saw his[ac] mother-in-law lying down,[ad] sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then[ae] she got up and began to serve them.[af] 16 When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word,[ag] and healed all who were sick.[ah] 17 In this way what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled:[ai]

He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.”[aj]

Challenging Professed Followers

18 Now when Jesus saw a large crowd[ak] around him, he gave orders to go to the other side of the lake.[al] 19 Then[am] an expert in the law[an] came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”[ao] 20 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky[ap] have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”[aq] 21 Another[ar] of the[as] disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”[at]

Stilling of a Storm

23 As he got into the boat,[au] his disciples followed him.[av] 24 And a great storm developed on the sea so that the waves began to swamp the boat.[aw] But he was asleep. 25 So they came[ax] and woke him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die!” 26 But[ay] he said to them, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked[az] the winds and the sea,[ba] and it was dead calm. 27 And the men[bb] were amazed and said,[bc] “What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”[bd]

Healing the Gadarene Demoniacs

28 When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes,[be] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way.[bf] 29 They[bg] cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone![bh] Have you come here to torment us before the time?”[bi] 30 A[bj] large herd of pigs[bk] was feeding some distance from them. 31 Then the demons begged him,[bl] “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”[bm] 32 And he said,[bn] “Go!” So[bo] they came out and went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned in the water.[bp] 33 The[bq] herdsmen ran off, went into the town,[br] and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then[bs] the entire town[bt] came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.


  1. Matthew 8:2 tn Grk “And behold, a leper.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).sn The ancient term for leprosy covers a wider array of conditions than what is called leprosy today (Hansen’s disease). In the OT the Hebrew term generally referred to a number of exfoliative (scaly) skin diseases (when applied to humans). A person with one of these diseases was totally ostracized from society until he was declared cured (Lev 13:45-46). In the NT the Greek term also refers to a number of skin diseases, but there is some evidence that true leprosy (Hansen’s disease) could be referred to, since that disease began to be described by Greek physicians in Alexandria, Egypt around 300 B.C. and thus might have been present in Judea and Galilee just before the time of Jesus.
  2. Matthew 8:2 tn Grk “a leper approaching, bowed low before him”; or “a leper approaching, worshiped him.”
  3. Matthew 8:2 tn This is a third class condition. The report portrays the leper making no presumptions about whether Jesus will heal him or not.
  4. Matthew 8:3 sn Touched. This touch would have rendered Jesus ceremonially unclean (Lev 5:3; see also m. Nega’im 3.1; 11.1; 12.1; 13.6-12).
  5. Matthew 8:4 sn The command for silence was probably meant to last only until the cleansing took place with the priests and sought to prevent Jesus’ healings from becoming the central focus of the people’s reaction to him. See also 9:30; 12:16; 16:20, and 17:9 for other cases where Jesus asks for silence concerning him and his ministry.
  6. Matthew 8:4 tn Grk “gift.”
  7. Matthew 8:4 sn On the phrase bring the offering that Moses commanded see Lev 14:1-32.
  8. Matthew 8:4 tn Or “as an indictment against them.” The pronoun αὐτοῖς (autois) may be a dative of disadvantage. The antecedent of the pronoun is not specified and is not entirely clear, though it probably refers to a wider audience that just the priests to whom the Mosaic offering is brought.
  9. Matthew 8:5 sn Capernaum was a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It existed since Hasmonean times and was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region. The population in the first century is estimated to be around 1,500. Capernaum became the hub of operations for Jesus’ Galilean ministry (Matt 4:13; Mark 2:1). In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. Not until 1968, however, were remains from the time of Jesus visible; in that year V. Corbo and S. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological campaigns that lasted until 1985. This work uncovered what is thought to be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of the first century synagogue beneath the later synagogue from the fourth or fifth century A.D. Today gently rolling hills and date palms frame the first century site, a favorite tourist destination of visitors to the Galilee.
  10. Matthew 8:5 sn A centurion was a noncommissioned officer in the Roman army or one of the auxiliary territorial armies, commanding a centuria of (nominally) 100 men. The responsibilities of centurions were broadly similar to modern junior officers, but there was a wide gap in social status between them and officers, and relatively few were promoted beyond the rank of senior centurion. The Roman troops stationed in Judea were auxiliaries, who would normally be rewarded with Roman citizenship after 25 years of service. Some of the centurions throughout the region may have served originally in the Roman legions (regular army) and thus gained their citizenship at enlistment. Others may have inherited it, like the apostle Paul did (cf. Acts 22:28).
  11. Matthew 8:5 sn While in Matthew’s account the centurion came to him asking for help, Luke’s account (7:1-10) mentions that the centurion sent some Jewish elders as emissaries on his behalf.
  12. Matthew 8:6 tn Grk “and saying, ‘Lord.’” The participle λέγων (legōn) at the beginning of v. 6 is redundant in English and has not been translated.
  13. Matthew 8:6 tn The Greek term here is παῖς (pais), often used of a slave who was regarded with some degree of affection, possibly a personal servant. See L&N 87.77.
  14. Matthew 8:7 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  15. Matthew 8:8 tn Grk “But answering, the centurion replied.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokritheis) is redundant and has not been translated.
  16. Matthew 8:9 tn Grk “having soldiers under me.”
  17. Matthew 8:9 sn I say to this one ‘Go!’ and he goes. The illustrations highlight the view of authority the soldier sees in the word of one who has authority. Since the centurion was a commander of a hundred soldiers, he understood what it was both to command others and to be obeyed.
  18. Matthew 8:9 tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. 1). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. Also, many slaves in the Roman world became slaves through Rome’s subjugation of conquered nations, kidnapping, or by being born into slave households.
  19. Matthew 8:9 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
  20. Matthew 8:10 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  21. Matthew 8:10 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  22. Matthew 8:11 tn Grk “and recline [at a meal].” First century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away. The phrase “share the banquet” has been used in the translation to clarify for the modern reader the festive nature of the imagery. The banquet imagery is a way of describing the fellowship and celebration of participation with the people of God at the end. Cf. BDAG 65 s.v. ἀνακλίνω 2, “In transf. sense, of the Messianic banquet w. the idea dine in style (or some similar rendering, not simply ‘eat’ as NRSV) Mt 8:11; Lk 13:29.”
  23. Matthew 8:11 tn Grk “and Isaac and Jacob.” One καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
  24. Matthew 8:12 tn The Greek term translated “darkness” (σκότος) is associated with Tartarus in Aeschylus, Eumenides 72; other references to the darkness of death and the underworld can be found throughout the classical literature as far back as Homer. BDAG 932 s.v. σκότος 1 states: “Of the darkness of the place of punishment far removed fr. the heavenly kingdom (Philo, Exsecr. 152 βαθὺ σκότος. Cp. Wsd 17:20; PsSol 14:9.—σκ. κ. βόρβορος ‘gloom and muck’ await those who are untrue to the Eleusinian Mysteries, Ael. Aristid. 22, 10 K.=19 p. 421 D. Of the darkness of death and the underworld in Hom. and the Trag. As the domain of evil spirits PGM 36, 138; Theoph. Ant. 2, 7 [p. 110, 5]) τὸ σκ. τὸ ἐξώτερον the darkness outside Mt 8:12; 22:13; 25:30.”sn Not to be missed here is the high irony that those who would be expected to participate in God’s eschatological kingdom (the sons of the kingdom) instead end up separated from God, experiencing remorse in the outer darkness.
  25. Matthew 8:12 sn Weeping and gnashing of teeth is a figure for remorse and trauma, which occurs here because of exclusion from God’s promise.
  26. Matthew 8:13 tc ‡ Most mss read αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) after “servant.” It is unlikely that the pronoun was accidentally overlooked by such diverse witnesses as א B 0250 0281 ƒ1 33 latt bo. More likely is the probability that Western, Byzantine, and some other scribes added the word for clarification (so C L N W Γ Δ Θ 0233 ƒ13 565 579 700 1241 1424 M syh sa). NA28 has the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
  27. Matthew 8:14 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  28. Matthew 8:14 sn There is now significant agreement among scholars that the house of Simon Peter in Capernaum has been found beneath the ruins of a fifth-century Byzantine church some 84 ft south of the synagogue. At the bottom of several layers of archaeological remains is a first-century house that apparently was designated for public viewing sometime in the mid-first century, and continued to be so in subsequent centuries. For details see S. Loffreda, “Capernaum—Jesus’ Own City,” Bible and Spade 10.1 (1981): 1-17.
  29. Matthew 8:14 tn The referent of “his” is somewhat ambiguous although context makes it clear that Peter is in view. In addition, the parallels in Mark 1:30 and Luke 4:38 both specify that it was “Simon’s” [i.e., Peter’s] mother-in-law.
  30. Matthew 8:14 tn Or “struck down with a fever”; Grk “having been thrown down.” The verb βεβλημένην (beblēmenēn) is a perfect passive participle of the verb βάλλω (ballō, “to throw”). Given the general description of the illness (“fever”), the use of this verb indicates the severity of the woman’s condition.
  31. Matthew 8:15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then.”
  32. Matthew 8:15 sn Though the nature of the serving is not specified, context suggests these would be the typical duties associated with domestic hospitality. The woman’s restoration from her illness is so complete that these activities can be resumed right away, a point emphasized in the parallel account in Luke 4:39.
  33. Matthew 8:16 sn The expression with a word underscores Jesus’s authority over the demonic spirits, but also recalls the centurion’s comment on authority in Matt 8:8.
  34. Matthew 8:16 sn Note how the author distinguishes healing from exorcism here, implying that the two are not identical.
  35. Matthew 8:17 tn Grk “spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying.” The participle λέγοντος (legontos) is redundant and has not been translated.
  36. Matthew 8:17 sn A quotation from Isa 53:4.
  37. Matthew 8:18 tc ‡ Codex B and some Sahidic mss read simply ὄχλον (ochlon, “crowd”), the reading that NA28 follows; the first hand of א, ƒ1, and a few other witnesses have ὄχλους (ochlous, “crowds”); other witnesses (1424 sams mae) read πολὺν ὄχλον (polun ochlon, “a large crowd”). But the reading most likely to be authentic seems to be πολλοὺς ὄχλους (pollous ochlous, “large crowds”). It is found in א2 C L N Γ Δ Θ 0233 ƒ13 33 565 579 700 M lat; it is judged to be superior on internal grounds (the possibility of accidental omission of πολλούς/πολύν in isolated witnesses) and, to a lesser extent, external grounds (geographically widespread, various textual clusters). For reasons of English style, however, this phrase has been translated as “a large crowd.”
  38. Matthew 8:18 tn The phrase “of the lake” is not in the Greek text but is clearly implied; it has been supplied here for clarity.
  39. Matthew 8:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then.”
  40. Matthew 8:19 tn Or “a scribe.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
  41. Matthew 8:19 sn The statement I will follow you wherever you go is an offer to follow Jesus as a disciple, no matter what the cost. There is nothing wrong with this profession, but it is unlikely that the speaker had fully thought through all the implications of such a sweeping commitment to follow Jesus.
  42. Matthew 8:20 tn Or “the wild birds”; Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).
  43. Matthew 8:20 sn According to Matt 4:13 Jesus made his home in Capernaum, so in spite of the common interpretation of this statement he was not technically homeless. More likely Jesus’ reply here has to do with the increasing opposition and rejection he and his disciples are encountering, so the question amounts to this: Does the man who wants to follow him understand the rejection he will be facing? The implication is that he does not.
  44. Matthew 8:21 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  45. Matthew 8:21 tc ‡ Most mss (C L N W Γ Δ Θ 0250 ƒ1, 13 565 579 700 1424 M al lat sy mae bo) read αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) here, but the earliest witnesses, א and B (along with 33 it sa), lack it. The addition may have been a motivated reading to clarify whose disciples were in view. NA28 includes the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.
  46. Matthew 8:22 sn There are several options for the meaning of Jesus’ reply Let the dead bury their own dead: (1) Recent research suggests that burial customs in the vicinity of Jerusalem from about 20 b.c. to a.d. 70 involved a reinterment of the bones a year after the initial burial, once the flesh had rotted away. At that point the son would have placed his father’s bones in a special box known as an ossuary to be set into the wall of the tomb. (See, e.g., C. A. Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries, 26-30.) Thus Jesus could well be rebuking the man for wanting to wait around for as much as a year before making a commitment to follow him. In 1st century Jewish culture, to have followed Jesus rather than burying one’s father would have seriously dishonored one’s father (cf. Tobit 4:3-4). (2) The remark is an idiom (possibly a proverbial saying) that means, “The matter in question is not the real issue,” in which case Jesus was making a wordplay on the wording of the man’s (literal) request (see L&N 33.137). (3) This remark could be a figurative reference to various kinds of people, meaning, “Let the spiritually dead bury the dead.” (4) It could also be literal and designed to shock the hearer by the surprise of the contrast. Whichever option is preferred, it is clear that the most important priority is to follow Jesus.
  47. Matthew 8:23 sn See the note at Matt 4:21 for a description of the first-century fishing boat discovered in 1986 near Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
  48. Matthew 8:23 sn The evangelist’s observation that Jesus’ disciples followed him into the boat continues the theme of discipleship (following Jesus) from the preceding context. Here the disciples are probably to be understood as only the Twelve, and even that would have required a boat of moderate size.
  49. Matthew 8:24 sn The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden and violent storms, caused by winds blowing down the ravines from the surrounding heights.
  50. Matthew 8:25 tn The participle προσελθόντες (proselthontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  51. Matthew 8:26 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
  52. Matthew 8:26 tn Or “commanded” (often with the implication of a threat, L&N 33.331). The verb indicates strong disapproval or even censure (BDAG 384 s.v. ἐπιτιμάω 1).
  53. Matthew 8:26 sn Who has authority over the seas and winds is discussed in the OT: Pss 104:3, 7; 135:7; 107:23-30; also 106:9. What is portrayed here is a power struggle, and the text leaves no doubt who is in control. When Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea he demonstrated his authority over nature, making by implication a statement about who he was.
  54. Matthew 8:27 tn It is difficult to know whether ἄνθρωποι (anthrōpoi) should be translated as “men” or “people” (in a generic sense) here. At issue is whether (1) only the Twelve were with Jesus in the boat, as opposed to other disciples (cf. v. 23), and (2) whether any of those other disciples would have been women. The issue is complicated further by the parallel in Mark (4:35-41), where the author writes (4:36) that other boats accompanied them on this journey.
  55. Matthew 8:27 tn Grk “the men were amazed, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) has been translated as a finite verb to make the sequence of events clear in English.
  56. Matthew 8:27 sn Jesus’ authority over creation raised a question for the disciples about his identity (What sort of person is this?). This verse shows that although the disciples followed Jesus, their understanding of who he was at this point was incomplete.
  57. Matthew 8:28 tc The textual tradition here is quite complicated. A number of mss (B C (Δ) Θ sys,p,h) read “Gadarenes,” which is the better reading here. Many other mss (א2 L W ƒ1, 13 565 579 700 1424 M al bo) have “Gergesenes.” Others (892c latt syhmg sa mae) have “Gerasenes,” which is the reading followed in Luke 8:26. The difference between Matthew and Luke may be due to uses of variant regional terms. Of the three readings, Gergesa is most likely the right location for this exorcism (the only region close to the Sea of Galilee and with a steep bank [κρημνός in Mark 5:13]) but almost surely a secondary reading in all the Synoptics. As Baarda articulated, this variant is quite possibly due to a conjecture made by Origen, a reading which then made its way into sevral mss (Tjitze Baarda, “Gadarenes, Gerasenes, Gergesenes and the ‘Diatassaron’ Traditions,” in Neotestamentica et Semitica: Studies in Honour of Matthew Black, ed. E. Earle Ellis and Max Wilcox [Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1969], 181-97). sn The region of the Gadarenes would be in Gentile territory on the southeastern side of the Sea of Galilee across from Galilee. Luke 8:26 and Mark 5:1 record this miracle as occurring “in the region of the Gerasenes.” “Irrespective of how one settles this issue . . . the chief concern is that Jesus has crossed over into Gentile territory, ‘opposite Galilee’” (J. B. Green, Luke [NICNT], 337). The region of Gadara extended to the Sea of Galilee and included the town of Sennabris on the southern shore—the town that the herdsmen most likely entered after the drowning of the pigs.
  58. Matthew 8:28 sn Unlike the portrayal of the demoniac in the parallel passage in Mark 5:5-6 which evokes some pity for the afflicted man, Matthew’s account merely suggests the demoniacs were a public nuisance: they were extremely violent and rendered the road impassable.
  59. Matthew 8:29 tn Grk “And behold, they cried out, saying.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.
  60. Matthew 8:29 tn Grk “what to us and to you?” (an idiom). The phrase τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί (ti hēmin kai soi) is Semitic in origin, though it made its way into colloquial Greek (BDAG 275 s.v. ἐγώ). The equivalent Hebrew expression in the OT had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” (Judg 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his own, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” (2 Kgs 3:13, Hos 14:8). These nuances were apparently expanded in Greek, but the basic notions of defensive hostility (option 1) and indifference or disengagement (option 2) are still present. BDAG suggests the following as glosses for this expression: What have I to do with you? What have we in common? Leave me alone! Never mind! Hostility between Jesus and the demons is certainly to be understood in this context, hence the translation: “Leave us alone….”
  61. Matthew 8:29 sn The question reflects the view that there was an appointed time in which demons would face their judgment, and they seem to have viewed Jesus’ arrival on the scene as an illegitimate change in God’s plan regarding the time when their sentence would be executed.
  62. Matthew 8:30 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  63. Matthew 8:30 sn The commercial raising of pigs indicates that this is not Jewish territory (cf. m. B. Qam. 7:7, “They do not rear pigs anywhere”).
  64. Matthew 8:31 tn Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  65. Matthew 8:31 sn No explanation is given in the text for the relationship between the demons and the herd of pigs. Some have suggested a link between the uncleanness of demons and the ceremonial uncleanness of pigs within Judaism. Less likely is the suggestion that pigs as sacrificial animals in the non-Jewish world somehow alludes to worship of demons.
  66. Matthew 8:32 tn Grk “And he said to them.”
  67. Matthew 8:32 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate a conclusion and transition in the narrative.
  68. Matthew 8:32 sn Whatever the relationship between the demons and the pigs, the destructiveness of the demons is certainly emphasized by the drowning of their new hosts.
  69. Matthew 8:33 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  70. Matthew 8:33 tn Or “city.” But see the sn on “Gadarenes” in 8:28.
  71. Matthew 8:34 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
  72. Matthew 8:34 tn Or “city.” Here the term is a metonymy for the inhabitants.

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