4. Salvation by grace through faith, 8:1-9:34

ii] What it means to follow Jesus


Following the day in the life of Jesus Matthew recounts a boat trip with Jesus. First, he records the approach of two men, "a scribe" and "another of his disciples", both of whom seek to follow Jesus as a disciple. Jesus responds by implying that discipleship is not fun and games. A triad of miracle stories follow: the stilling of the storm, the healing of the Gadarene demoniacs, and the healing of the paralytic.


Following Jesus as a disciple entails a determined faith in his ability to overcome the powers of darkness for our forgiveness, and thus the full appropriation of the promised blessings of the covenant.


i] Context: See Matthew 8:1-17. There is some debate over the contextual arrangement of Jesus' teaching on discipleship, v18-22. Most commentators arguing that it serves to introduce the miracle of Jesus stilling the storm, a narrative serving as a parable on discipleship. As noted below, Jesus' instruction on discipleship teaches that dedication to doing is beyond us, while on the other hand, the stilling of the storm teaches that faith in Jesus' doing is the way of discipleship. So indeed, the two pericopes / episodes are linked, but not in the business of doing, but rather, in the business of believing.


ii] Structure: Three miracle stories:

Dedicated discipleship, 8;18-22;

Jesus stills the storm, 8:23-27;

(a chiastic structure has been noted in this passage)

The healing / exorcism of the Gadarene demoniac, 8:28-9:1;

The healing of the paralytic, 9:2-8.


iii] Interpretation:

With a view to the teaching unit on discipleship, 9:35-10:42, many commentators argue that Matthew has arranged this narrative unit to give insight into the nature of discipleship. The introductory sayings, v19-22, certainly head us this direction. Bornkamm, addressing the stilling of the storm, suggests that it is "a kerygmatic paradigm of the danger and glory of discipleship." Yet, Matthew has not forgotten the problem posed by the Great Sermon, of a covenant people, possessing the kingdom (the beatitudes), yet unable to be covenant compliant (unable to do the righteousness that exceeds that of the Scribes and the Pharisees) and so living in a house built on sand. Faced with the curse of the law, the child of God is driven to find cover in the one who has built his house on rock, to find security in the one who takes upon himself our weakness and removes our infirmities. Covenant compliance is found in Christ, by grace through faith, and not works of the law.

How then does a believer proceed in the Christian life? Matthew seems to answer this question in the passage before us. First, we are introduced to two fair-weather disciples whose commitment is challenged by Jesus. Commentators generally see this incident as a call to cross-bearing discipleship, of a cost in terms of time, talent and tinkle. Yet, Matthew's focus on discipleship is not works orientated, but faith orientated; for Matthew it is not "trust and obey", but TRUST. Discipleship entails placing ourselves in the care of the one who carries the cross for us, the one whose exousia, "power / authority", overcomes the dark leviathan reaching out from the deep to destroy us, v23-27, whose authority overcomes the maddening darkness that would possesses us, v28-34. Our separation from God is overcome by the one who forgives our ever recurrent sins, 9:1-8. For Matthew, discipleship entails carrying the cross of faith, of trusting, believing in a Lord who, on our behalf dispels the darkness, frees us of its grip and washes us clean.

When it comes to Jesus' instructions on discipleship, he uses his idealistic demands to force a reliance on faith, faith in the faithfulness of Christ, cf., Gal.3:24-25. Jesus is not establishing the cost of discipleship in v18-22, of cross-bearing, but rather prompting reliance on the cross-bearer, Jesus himself. We too easily forget Jesus' words "my yoke is easy and my burden is light", Matt.11:30. This is not to deny that Jesus' ethical instructions give shape to love, the fruit of faith, but guidance is not the prime function of God's law.


iv] Synoptics:

The destination of the boat trip is noted in v18, but before Jesus and his disciples can embark, two (fair-weather ???) disciples indicate a desire to join in. This pericope is usually allocated to Q and recored in more detail by Luke in a different setting, cf. Lk.9:57-60. With the boat trip underway the company encounter a storm which Jesus stills. Mark is usually identified as the source of this pericope, but it is interesting to note the numerous similarities with Luke's account of the stilling of the storm. It is suggested that Matthew and Luke were working off an earlier text of Mark, but as argued elsewhere in these notes, there is a good chance they were all working off a common oral tradition shaped by regional peculiarities. A chiastic ring structure is noted by some commentators, see Luz, D&A. The central focus of the the ring is the disciples address to Jesus, and Jesus address to the disciples. They next arrive on the shore of the Gedarenes where Jesus heals two demoniacs, an exorcism integrally linked to the stilling of the storm and recorded in all three synoptic gospels (note the common theme - Jesus' exousia, "power /authority" exercised over dark powers). The differences in Matthew's account, when compared to Mark and Luke, are more indicative of a different source than a Matthean redaction, eg., a change from one demoniac to two. Finally, in 9:1-8, they set sail for Capernaum where Jesus heals a man with palsy. This miracle is more fully recorded in Mk.2:1-12 and Lk.5:17-26. Again, Matthew is not restrained by Mark's sequence of events, using his own arrangement to teach a truth. An arrangement of three couplets can be noted in this miracle / conflict story: v2a / 2b; 3 / 4-6; 7 / 8.

Text - 8:18

True discipleship, 8:18-9:8: i] Dedicated discipleship, v18-22. Luke, in 9:57-62, gives a fuller account of this pericope with some interesting differences. Commentators generally make the point that discipleship is costly, "the cost of", Morris, D&A, Cox, Carson, that it is demanding, "the demands of", Gundry. What Matthew suggests is that cross-bearing worthy of a child of God is beyond us. So, what we need to do is depend on Jesus, the perfect cross-bearer, for an eternal right-standing in the sight of God - freedom, forgiveness.

de "-" - but/and. Indicating a step in the narrative.

idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "when [Jesus] saw" - [jesus] seeing [the crowd]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

peri + acc. "around [him]" - Spacial; "around, near."

apelqein (apercomai) aor. inf. "[he gave orders] to cross" - [he commanded] to go. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus commanded.

to "the [other side of the lake]" - [to] the [beyond = other side of the lake]. The article serves as a nominalizer, turning the adverb peran, "beyond", into a substantive.


a) Example #1: We do tend to mark down the approach of this scribe (the address, "teacher = rabbi", is not overly strong, and the word "scribe" is not used in Matthew for disciples, but in v21 Matthew states "another of his disciples" which comment lifts the status of this "scribe"), but it may be wholehearted and genuine since Jesus' response does not necessarily indicate a lack of commitment / dedication on his part. Most assume his approach is rejected, so D&A, but this seems unlikely.

proselqwn (prosercomai) aor. part. "then [a teacher of the law] came" - [and] having come [one scribe]. The participle may be taken as adverbial, temporal, as NIV, or attendant on eipen, "said"; "a scribe came up and said to him", ESV. Literally "one scribe" = the indefinite "a certain scribe", ie., eiJV = tiV

autw/ dat. pro. "[and said]" - [said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

soi dat. pro. "[I will follow] you" - Dative of direct object after the verb "to follow." To "follow" is to follow as a disciple and thus learn from the teacher.

o{pou ean + subj. "wherever [you go]" - This construction introduces an indefinite local clause.


"Jesus' reply reflects his poverty and complete freedom from earthly ties", Morris. He is unencumbered, "devoid of all middle -class security", Schweizer. The count the cost implication of discipleship, in the terms of imitating Christ, fails to accept the fact that few believers ever come close to imitating Christ. Jesus' unencumbered perfection is what is on display here, not our compromised imperfection; discipleship entails identifying with this man of sorrows through faith.

autw/ dat. pro. "[Jesus replied]" - [and jesus said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

tou ouranou (oV) gen. "-" - [the foxes have holds and the birds] of heaven [nests]. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, idiomatic, "the birds of heaven = the air" = "the birds which fly in the air."

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point, as NIV.

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "[the Son] of Man" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. Jesus' favored messianic title, referring to Daniel's Son of Man, the one who receives glory and power at the right hand of the Ancient of Days, Dan.7:13-14. The title was not widely understood as a messianic title, given that the term could just mean "man", so assisting the messianic secret.

pou + subj. "[has no place to lay his head]" - [does not have] where [he may lay the head]. A deliberative construction formed by the interrogative particle "where?" and the deliberative subjunctive klinh/, "he may lay."


b) Example #2: A second "disciple" asks for a reasonable concession to fulfill a family duty. This is actually another prod to the "self-righteous" which serves to reinforce the point that covenant commitment is all about receiving, rather than doing - living by faith rather than works of the law. If you think its about doing rather than receiving, then consider what that would involve: first, to be Mr. Goody Two Shoes, you would need to attend the poor, not family funerals; second.........., cf., Matt.19:21.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, here indicating a step in the narrative.

twn maqhtwn (hV ou) gen. "[another] disciple" - [another] of the disciples [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. The genitive autou, "of him", is adjectival, relational. It is not found in some of the major manuscripts, presumably left out so as to not convey the impression that the "teacher of the law", v19, was a disciple, although he probably was.

autw/ dat. pro. "[said] to him" - Dative of indirect object.

apelqein (apercomai) aor. inf. "[allow me] to go" - [lord, allow me first] to go [and to bury my father]. The infinitive, as with qayai, forms a dependent statement of perception expressing the man's desire, namely, to go and bury his father. Interestingly, Luke uses the participle apelqonti to introduce a similar construction, although translators will sometimes treat it as adverbial or adjectival. Luke has Jesus' command first, "follow me", which seems a logical lead in to the request. It seems illogical for Matthew to change the position of the "follow me", so indicating he is not using Luke as his source.

kai "and" - Turner suggests that the conjunction here is final; "allow me first to go in order to bury my father."


Jesus' uncompromising response is generally viewed in cross-bearing discipleship terms: "the claims of the kingdom have a first priority. ...... those who do not recognize the prior claims of the kingdom, which have precedence even over family obligations, are spiritually dead, and may be left to bury their (physically) dead", Argyle; "The claims of the kingdom are absolute and immediate", Nixon; "Jesus demands that discipleship take absolute precedence over everything else", D&A; "A follower who leaves everything and accepts Jesus itinerant life and his work on behalf of the kingdom of God must live this opposition as a sign", Luz; etc., etc. Are not commentators at this point guilty of "tying up heavy loads and putting them on people's shoulders"? cf., Matt.23:2-4. Jesus' idealist ethic does set direction for the Christian life, but that's all. Seeing that family is the pinnacle of God's creative design it is unlikely that Jesus would initiate a policy designed to undermine family responsibilities. Jesus certainly had the wit to "let the dead bury their own dead." We see this well illustrated in encounters with his family during the three years of his ministry, cf., Matt.12:46-50. We, on the other hand, particularly if married and with children, will need to rest by faith in the uncompromising perfection of Jesus, for we have neither the wit nor the opportunity for perfection, we but do what we can and leave the rest to our Lord. As a personal aside I admit, with deep sadness, that I did not attend the funerals of my grandparents because of some ministry commitment or other. I now look back with shame at my puritanical stupidity. Was my absence in any way honoring to Christ? Not at all!

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - [but jesus says] to him. Dative of indirect object. The present tense of legei, "says", is a historic / narrative present, so "said to him."

moi dat. pro. "[follow] me" - Dative of direct object after the verb "to follow."

qayai (qaptw) aor. inf. "bury" - [and allow the dead] to bury [the dead]. The infinitive as apelqein and qayai in v21. The harshness of the statement can be softened, eg., "Your business is life not death. Follow me. Pursue life", Peterson. Yet, it is likely Jesus intends his words to cut deep; they are confrontational.

eJautwn gen. pro. "their own [dead]" - of themselves. The genitive is adjectival, relational / possessive; rare usage in the NT. "That business can take care of itself", Manson.


ii] Stilling the storm, v23-27. The story of Jesus stilling the storm is found in all three synoptic gospels, Mark and Luke in different settings, but all three follow with the healing of the Gadarene demoniac, two demoniacs in Matthew's case. The two stories together reveal Jesus' authority over the dark powers; those powers of the deep that seek to destroy, those powers of possession that seek to control. In the context, the story line reminds disciples who have hkolouqhsan, "followed" (cf., v23) Christ rather than self, that they will face a seismoV, "shakedown / furious storm", cf., v24. Yet, in the end, the powers of the dark domain cannot overcome or constrain the believer united in faith to Christ. In Christ we are secure and free, unless we are debilitated by a deiloV, "cowedly fear", fostered by oligopistoV, "little faith", cf., v26.

autw/ dat. pro. "then he" - [and] he. Dative in agreement with the participle "having embarked."

embanti (embainw) dat. aor. part. "got [in the boat]" - having embarked [into the boat]. The dative participle is usually viewed as adverbial, introducing a dative absolute construction, best treated as temporal, as NIV; "when he got into the boat", ESV. Olmstead suggests that it may be adjectival, attributive, limiting "he" (Jesus), "and he who was getting into the boat, his disciples followed him."

autw/ dat. pro. "[followed] him" - [the disciples of him followed] him. Dative of direct object after the verb "to follow after."


seismoV (oV) "a furious storm" - [and behold] a [great] shake, shakedown = storm [came about]. Nominative subject of the verb "to come about." The choice of this word is possibly significant; see above.

en + dat. "on [the lake]" - Local, expressing space; as NIV.

w{ste + inf. "so that" - so that [the boat to be covered]. this construction introduces a consecutive clause expressing result; "with the result that"; "such a violent storm blew up on the lake that the boat was engulfed in the waves", Barclay.

uJpo + gen. "-" - by [the waves]. Usually expressing agency, but possibly a rare use expressing means, "the boat was covered by means of the waves." Harris suggests that when used of a thing uJpo + gen. expresses cause, "because of the waves." "The waves were breaking right over the boat", REB

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point; Jesus was acting "contrary to what might have been expected", Morris.

autoV pro. "he" - he [was sleeping]. Emphatic by position and use; "he, rather than the rest of the passengers / crew, was sleeping (imperf. = durative action)." Mark tells us that Jesus was in the stern of the boat sleeping on a cushion.


proselqonteV (prosercomai) aor. part. "[the disciples] went [and woke him]" - [and] having approached [they aroused him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to wake", but possibly adverbial, consecutive, expressing result; "as a result the disciples went and woke him up".

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "saying" - The participle is best treated as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the disciples arousing Jesus, namely, "saying", as NIV.

swson (swzw) aor. imp. "save us" - [lord] save us [we are drowning]. Mark has "do you not care that we perish." Matthew's "save" reflects his continuing focus on the problem facing God's people / the disciples, namely, their state of sin and thus judgment / destruction / being engulfed by Satan into the dark domain. The disciples call for a miracle, but for Matthew, the call is for salvation. The answer to the problem is faith, reliance on the uncompromising perfection of Jesus and his power / authority to save. Note how the lack of an object intensifies the disciples' desperation.


autoiV dat. pro. "-" - [and he says] to them. Dative of indirect object. Again Matthew uses a narrative / historic present to indicate a minor scene change, legei, "says", so "said".

oligopistoi adj. "little faith" - [why are you fearful] the ones of little faith. The adjective serves as a substantive, vocative, "O you of little faith", part of a rhetorical question introduced by ti, "why .....?" Mark focuses on Jesus' authority over the wind and waves, while Matthew's account focuses on "the faith of the disciples in a difficult situation", D&A. Their cry apollumeqa, "we perish", demonstrates "fear" driven by "little faith." Peterson opts for "faint-hearts", but the problem is "little faith / not much faith", "where is your trust?", Junkins; "fear" and "little faith" are not synonymous. They are certainly linked, particularly, as Carson notes, cowardice and unbelief are the qualities of those who are destined for the lake of fire, Rev.21:8. "Little faith" is not quantitative; it's not that the disciples faith was weak, but rather that they didn't trust Jesus for their security in the face of the storm. Jesus saves, and so to survive the day when the storm beats against our house and we face the great ptwsiV, "crash" (7:27), we need only rely / rest in faith on the one whose authority extends over the dark powers of the deep, over the great leviathan who would rise up against us.

tote "then" - Temporal adverb introducing a temporal clause.

egerqeiV (egeirw) aor. pas. part. "he got up" - arising, getting up. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he rebuked", as NIV.

th/ qalassh/ (a) dat. "the waves" - [he rebuked the winds and] the sea. As with anemoiV, "winds", dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to rebuke." Literally "rebuked ...... the sea", but "the waves" encapsulates the sense of the command.

galhnh megalh "[it was] completely calm" - [and there was] a great calm. Nominative subject of "there was." In the OT, the cosmic forces of evil that threaten God's people lurk in the darkness of the sea, and from there they constantly invade the realm of light. At the eschaton, Yahweh will be victorious over the sea, Isa.17:12-14, 50:2-3. In that day the raging powers of darkness will be subdued and there will be peace, perfect peace.


de "-" - but/and. Indicating a step in the narrative, here the conclusion of the scene.

anqrwpoi (oV) "the men" - It is interesting that "men" is used to identify those who were amazed and commented on the miracle; we would have expected "disciples", or Mark's "they were afraid."

efaumasan (qaumazw) aor. "were amazed" - marveled, wondered, were amazed. The word is often used in the synoptic gospels of a pre-faith response which leads either to faith or unbelief.

egonteV (legw) pres. part. "asking" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "were amazed, "were amazed and said", but it may be taken as adverbial, modal; "marveled, saying", ESV.

potapoV pro. "what kind of" - what kind of, sort of [is this]? Interrogative pronoun. This pronoun is much stronger than just "who?" The answer is obvious - no ordinary person. In fact, only Yahweh rules the raging sea and stills the waves, Ps.89:8-9.

oJti "-" - that [even the winds and the sea obey him]. Possibly introducing a causal clause, although more reason than cause, so providing the reason for the question; "since even the winds and the sea obey him." Chamberlain suggests that it is consecutive, expressing result; "with the result that ......." BAGD suggests that here oJti is used alone for eiV ekeino oJti, "with regard to the fact that"; "in consideration of the fact that ....", Morris, although Morris, as with Zerwick, thinks reason is more likely.

kai "even" - and. An ascensive "even", as NIV, seems likely, with the second kai coordinative, as NIV.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - Dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb "to obey."


iii] The healing of the Gadarene demoniac, v28-34. This exorcism is integrally linked to the stilling of the storm. Jesus again exercises his authority over dark powers, assuring the security of believers in Christ through faith. Further to interpretation, see above. This pericope is told with some humor. The dark powers properly reside in the deep, the primeval bog, but if they can't infest humans, then at least swine will do since anything is better than being confined to the deep again. Oh how sad, they drive the swine mad and end up where they belong. In Christ we are set free! Note that Matthew's account is greatly reduced compared to Mark. D&A suggest that Matthew's account is out to make Jesus "the easy victor", but of course, Matthew may just be working off his own oral source.

elqontoV (ercomai) gen. aor. part. "when [he] arrived" - [and he] having come. Genitive absolute participle, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

twn Gadarhnwn gen. adj. "[the region] of the Gadarenes" - [to the beyond / other side, to the country] of the gadarenes. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, idiomatic / local; "the country where the Gadarenes live."

daimonizomenoi (daimonizomai) pres. part. "[two] demon-possessed men" - [two] being demon-possessed. The participle serves as a substantive, and along with "two", stands as the nominative subject of the verb "to meet", as NIV.

exercomenoi (ercomai) pres. part. "coming" - coming out. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "demon-possessed men"; "who ran out of the tombs", Moffatt.

ek + gen. "from" - out of [the tombs]. Expressing source / origin.

autw/ dat. pro. "[met] him" - Dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb "to meet."

w{ste + inf. "[they were so violent] that [no one could]" - [hard to deal with = exceedingly fierce, violent] so that [no one to have strength]. This construction introduces a consecutive clause expressing result; "with the result that." The verb to-be is assumed; "So ferocious were they that no one could travel on that road", Berkeley.

parelqein (parercomai) aor. inf. "pass" - to pass by. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verbal aspect of the infinitive "to be strong = to be able"; "no one was able to pass."

dia + acc. "[that way]" - through [that way]. A rare spacial use of this preposition.


hJmin dat. pro. "us" - [and behold they called out saying what] to us [and to you]. As with the pronoun soi, "you", the dative is adverbial, reference / respect; "what is there with respect to us and with respect to you?" The phrase expresses defensive hostility; "what have you got to do with us?" BAGD argues that the phrase is a Hebraism that has made its way into common Gk.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "[they shouted]" - [they called out] saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to call out", "they called out and said"; redundant.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[Son] of God" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. If you know the person you can control the person, particularly if you know their weaknesses. So, the demonic powers are letting Jesus know that they have his measure; it's a bluff, of course!

basanisai (basanizw) aor. inf. "to torture" - [have you come here before time] to examine by torture = torment, torture [us]. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to torture us." The torment is presumably that of being confined to the primevil bog, the deep, rather than free to roam in the company of mankind.

pro + gen. "before" - [have you come here] before [time]. A temporal use of the preposition; "before the time is ripe", Cassirer. This is an interesting statement indicating that the demons are aware of an eschatological judgment and that it it is not to come at this point in time. The "time", kairoV, takes the sense "the suitable time, the right time", Morris, although D&A suggest "the end time." That the end time is upon the demons, is evidenced by their ending up in the deep, "before the appointed / end time"; an example of Matthew's realized eschatology.


de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative / a scene change.

ap (apo) + gen. "from [them]" - [there was far] from [them]. Expressing separation, "away from."

coirwn (oV) gen. "[a large herd] of pigs" - [a herd] of [many] pigs. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / content; "a herd which consisted of many pigs."

boskomenh (boskw) pres. mid./pas. part. "feeding" - The participle here may be treated as adjectival, attributive, limiting "pigs", "a herd of pigs which were feeding", but if taken with the verb to-be h\n at the beginning of the clause then a periphrastic construction is possible, "a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them", ESV. The keeping of swine is prohibited under Jewish law evidencing that this is Gentile territory, although D&A state that "we wish to leave the issue open."


legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - [and / but = now the demons were begging him] saying. Attendant circumstance participle; redundant. Note that the verb "to beg" is imperfect indicating durative aspect, so "they pleaded with Jesus, saying ....."

ei + ind. "if" - if [you cast us out send us away into the herd of swine]. Introducing a conditional clause 1st. class where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, .... then ....." A new home is better than no home at all!!! The verb ekballw takes the sense "throw out", so "cast out."

twn coirwn (oV) gen. "[the heard] of pigs" - For the genitive see v30.


autoiV dat. pro. "to them" - [and he said] to them [go away]. Dative of indirect object.

de "so" - but/and. Here transitional / coordinative; "and they came out and entered into the hogs", Berkeley.

oiJ ... exelqonteV (exercomai) aor. part. "they came out" - the ones coming out [went away into the swine]. Taking oiJ with the participle, the participle serves as a substantive, so Quarles, although Olmstead suggests that oiJ, "they", is the subject of the verb "went" and that the participle is attendant on the verb, so "they came out and went into the pigs."

kata + gen. "down" - [and behold, all the herd rushed] down [the steep bank / precipitous into the sea]. Spacial; "down from." The pigs rushed down to their destruction; "with a great birre the folk was cast down", Wycliffe, Mk.5:13. A steep bank, but possibly an overhanging feature.

apeqanon (apoqnhskw) aor. "died" - [and] they died [in the waters]. "Died" = "drowned". Mk. and Lk. have "choked." The RSPCA would have something to say about this incident today, but that's only because Western culture, with its superior moral sensitivities, has difficulties accepting the often radically different culture of other races, eg., the practice of animal slaughter in the Middle-east today. This difference is even evident between city and country. The oft stated rule by country folk that to have a good working dog you have to have a bad dog cemetery, is not warmly appreciated by trendy inner-city professionals who support animal liberation.

en + dat. "in [the water]" - Local; expressing space.


oiJ ... boskonteV (boskw) pres. part. "Those tending the pigs" - the ones feeding. The participle serves as a substantive; "the herdsmen."

apelqonteV (apercomai) aor. part. "went [into town]" - [fled and] having gone away [into the town reported]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to tell, report"; "the herdsmen fled, went off to the town and reported ...", Moffatt.

kai "including" - [everything] and [the things = what]. Here possibly with the sense "namely", but it seems more likely that the conjunction here is coordinative, given that the focus of the herdsmen's report would be on what had happened to the pigs first of all, "and" then what had happened to the demoniacs, so Morris. So, the substantive adjective panta, "all = everything", is "everything that occurred" = everything that had happened to the pigs." To this their report adds kai, "and", followed by the nominalizer ta, turning the genitive construction "of the ones demon-possessed" into the second accusative object of the verb "to report", namely, "what = what had happened of (to) the demon-possessed men"; "The swine-herders fled to the city, and there they told all that had happened and the story of those who had been possessed", Knox.

twn daimonizomenwn (daimonizomai) gen. pres. mid./pas. part. "to the demon-possessed men" - of the ones demon-possessed. The participle serves as a substantive. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, as NIV; "the things that happened to the demon-possessed men."


eiV + acc. "to [meet]" - [and behold all the city came out] to [a meeting]. Here expressing purpose; the inhabitants of the local village came out in order to have a public meeting with Jesus / for a public meeting

tw/ Ihsou (oV) dat. "Jesus" - The dative of association is shaped by the verbal noun "meeting", given that the verb uJpantaw usually takes a dative, "to meet with someone"; the village came out to meet "with Jesus."

idonteV (oJraw) aor. part. "when they saw" - [and] seeing [him]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

oJtwV + subj. "-" - [they begged] so that [he might depart]. This construction usually forms a final / consecutive clause expressing purpose / result, but here it serves to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what they "begged him", namely, "get out and not come back!"

apo + gen. "-" - from [the border]. Expressing separation; "away from." As Luz notes there is no indication that the crowd is angry, just that they want Jesus to leave their region. Mark tells us that the herdsmen were fearful and this may explain the community's demand of Jesus. Economic reasons are often suggested, but there is no evidence that this was the reason. Matthew does not mention the request of the two men to follow Jesus, as recorded in Mark. For Matthew, the boat trip continues and Jesus properly returns to the people of Israel to continue his ministry.

autwn gen. pro. "their [region]" - of them. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or attributive, idiomatic / identification, "the region in which they lived", Olmstead.


embaV (embainw) aor. part. "Jesus stepped [into a boat]" - [and] having embarked, entered [into a boat he crossed over and came into the (his) own city]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "crossed over"; "Jesus got into a boat and crossed over to the other side of the lake and came to his own town", Barclay. The lakeside town of Capernaum is clearly now "his own" town, rather than Nazareth.


iv] The healing of the paralytic, v2-8. Matthew is still focused on the problem posed by the Great Sermon, namely, the impossible task of maintaining covenant standing by the performance of a righteousness that exceeds that of the Scribes and the Pharisees, and thus, as a consequence, finding ourselves under the curse of the law. In his selection of this pericope, Matthew reminds us that Jesus is willing and able, through the instrument of faith, to forgive us of all our sins, and this because "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins."

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - [and behold they brought a paralytic] to him. Dative of indirect object.

beblhmenon (ballw) perf. mid./pas. part. "lying" - having been thrown on = lying [upon a bed, couch, mat = stretcher.] The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "paralytic"; "a paralyzed man who was lying on a bed", Cassirer.

epi + gen. "on" - Spacial; "upon, on."

idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "when [Jesus] saw" - [and jesus] having seen. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV. The idea that the faith of the men carrying the paralytic secures his forgiveness has long been recognized as a rather radical application of divine mercy. We are wont to add some codicils, eg., that at least the paralytic is not hostile to the ministry of Jesus, or the more conservative view that the paralytic also has faith. It is on the basis that God works in families and that the faith of a family member can cover other members that we bring our extended family to the throne of grace for eternal mercies.

pistin (iV ewV) "[their] faith" - the faith [of them]. The word "faith" (inc. "little faith) is not a common word in Matthew, but in this narrative section, following the Great Sermon, we find half of the usages, so reminding us that covenant standing is maintained / progressed by BELIEVING rather than DOING / faith rather than works of the law. The genitive autwn, "of them", is usually viewed as verbal, subjective, although adjectival, possessive may be intended. Faith is probably exercised by the paralyzed man as well as his friends, given that he was not forceable carried to Jesus. Their faith amounted to a "deep conviction that Jesus could and would heal their friend", Morris.

tw/ paralutikw/ (oV) dat. "to the man" - [he said] to the paralytic [be confident, courageous, child]. Dative of indirect object. Arguments abound as to whether the man is actually a paraplegic, or suffering some psychosomatic paralysis. Harrison argues the word is a technical word for a paralysis caused by physical injury, but the issue is really unresolved.

teknon (on) voc. "son" - child. A familial address / "a term of endearment", D&A; "my friend", CEV.

afientai (afihmi) pres. mid./pas. "[your sins] are forgiven" - [the sins of you] are forgiven. Their is a perfect variant, but taking the present tense as original we have what Turner suggests is a punctiliar present / aoristic present; "sins receive forgiveness herewith", "are this moment forgiven", Taylor, and also Hagner, "this actually refers to the forgiveness of sins then and there." The passive could be taken as a theological / divine passive (God does the forgiving); later we are told that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins, so Jesus does the forgiving.


twn grammatewn (euV ewV) gen. "[some] of the teachers of the law" - [and behold certain] of the scribes. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

en + dat. "to [themselves]" - [said] in [themselves]. Local, expressing sphere, "said within themselves", or even modal, expressing the manner of their speaking.

ou|toV pro. "this fellow [is blaspheming]" - this one [blasphemes = speaks against god]. Nominative subject of the verb "to blaspheme." It is not blasphemous to announce God's forgiveness, but the scribes have certainly concluded that Jesus has taken upon himself a divine prerogative. It is possible that Jesus has acted in such a way as to make "himself out to be more than an intermediary", D&A. That he is more is indicated in the statement "the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins." Mark's additional "who is able to forgive sins but God alone?" emphasizes how blasphemous it is to declare forgiveness in ones own right. See iJnati below.


idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "knowing" - [jesus] knowing [the thoughts of them said]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, "because / since he knew their thoughts ...." Variant eidwV, "seeing". The genitive pronoun autwn, "of them", is usually taken as verbal, subjective; "Jesus, because he knew what they were thinking, said ...."

iJnati "why" - why [are you thinking evil in the hearts of you]? Interrogative conjunction, iJna + ti, "the reason why / to what purpose", is used here to reflect the Aramaic lema, "why?" Mark uses the more common koine Gk. ti. The sense of the question is possibly something like "why do you think so badly of me?" Jesus' action in offering forgiveness is not necessarily blasphemous, but it has certainly been read that way be the scribes; they have assumed evil of Jesus, namely, that he has taken to himself a divine prerogative. They would not assume this of their own number when offering divine forgiveness to a repentant sinner. Jesus goes on to confront their judgmental attitudes.


This saying has prompted endless debate with commentators divided on which of the two is easier: eschatological forgiveness, or a miracle that can be visually substantiated. Jesus may not be implying that one is easier than the other, but rather that both are impossible for mere men. Given that both are integrally linked in scripture (Ps.103:3), then having the authority / power to do the one authenticates the person's authority / power to do the other. Jesus now does the one, namely heals, which authenticates his authority to do the other, forgive. The Son of Man / messiah has authority / power to forgive all your sins and heal all your diseases.

gar "-" - for. Here more reason than cause; explanatory, "offers support for the implicit charge Jesus has just laid at the feet of the scribes", Olmstead.

ti pro. "which [is]" - Nominative subject of the verb to-be; normally functions as a predicate nominative.

eukopwteron adj. "easier" - [for what is] easier. This comparative adjective is the predicate nominative of the two following equative infinitival clauses joined by h], "or"; "After all, which do you think is simpler; to forgive a person their sins, or to heal a permanently paralyzed person?" - Both are rather difficult for anyone other than a person with absolute divine authority!

eipein (legw) aor. inf. "to say" - to say [the sins of you are forgiven or] to say [get up and walk]. The infinitive is epexegetic / appositional, specifying / explaining "what". The genitive pronoun sou, "of you", is usually treated as verbal, subjective, "the sins which you have committed are forgiven."


iJna + subj. "so that [you may know] / [but I want you to know]" - [but] that [you may know]. This construction commonly expresses purpose, "the purpose of the action Jesus is about to perform", Morris, also Hagner, Carson, Blomberg; "I do this in order that you may know ......", as NIV. Taken this way Jesus performs the miracle in order that they may know that he, the Son of Man, has authority to forgive sins. Cadoux, JTS 42, in The imperatival use of iJna in the New Testament suggests the translation "know"; "know this that the Son of Man .....", as TNIV. This seems more in line with Jesus' ministry approach, so D&A, France. The presence of a dash in the Greek text before "he then said to the paralytic" suggests that all three gospel writers, or possibly later editors, have assumed that the first clause is addressed as an aside to the reader, either as a purpose clause or a command; "Reader, Jesus has set up this riddling question so that you might know (from what follows) that ....", or "Reader, know (from what I am reporting to you here) that .....", Nolland. The second, the main clause, is then addressed to the paralytic. So, the dash corrects an assumed syntactical problem in the tradition. Yet, it is more likely that Jesus would use the title "Son of Man" of himself; in an editorial comment we would have expected the name "Jesus". So, it is likely that the first clause is also addressed to the paralytic, although through the scribes (iJna ... eidhte, "know", is plural); "'know this that .......' Then he said to the paralytic (specifically), 'Get up, .....'" See France, p347.

oJti "that. " - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what "you" should know.

oJ uiJoV tou anqrwpou "Son of Man" - the son of man. See 8:20.

epi + gen. "on [earth]" - [has authority] upon [earth to forgive sins]. Spacial; "upon". The qualifier, that Jesus has the authority / right / power to forgive sins on earth, is explained in numerous ways. D&A suggest that the point Jesus is making is that he alone has the power and right to forgive sins on the earth in that "a greater than the temple is here." Hagner suggests that the reference to "on the earth" means "in advance of the coming of the eschaton." France makes the point that the Son of Man dispenses forgiveness in his heavenly role reigning at the right hand of the Ancient of Days, but even now, on earth, in his earthly ministry, he is "authorized to dispense God's forgiveness." Possibly, "done on earth but with full effect in heaven as well", Nolland.

tote adv. "so" - then. Temporal adverb; "then he said to the paralyzed man", Cassirer.

tw/ paralutikw/ (oV) dat. "[he said] to the paralyzed man" - Dative of indirect object.

egerqeiV (egairw) aor. pas. part. "get up" - rising up, lifting up [take the stretcher of you and go to the house of you]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperative "go away"; "pick up your bed and go home", ESV.


egerqeiV (egeirw) aor. pas. part. "then [the man] got up" - [and] rising up [he went away to the house of him]. The NIV takes the participle as adverbial, temporal, but possibly just attendant on the verb "went away"; "he rose and went home", ESV.


idonteV (oJraw) aor. part. "when [the crowd] saw this" - [and] having seen [the crowds were afraid]. The participle is adverbial, best taken as temporal, as NIV.

efobhqhsan (fobew) aor. pas. "they were filled with awe" - were afraid. The sense here may be "awe / astonishment"; "they were awestruck." Carson disagrees arguing that fear breeds praise.

ton donta (didwmi) aor. part. "who had given" - [and they extolled, glorified god] the one having given [such authority to men]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "God", as NIV.

toiV anqrwpoiV (oV) dat. "to man" - to men. Dative of indirect object. Note the plural; best understood as Jesus serving as the representative man / human. It seems unlikely that Matthew has used the plural to allude to the authority given to the church / believers to pronounce forgiveness of sins.


Matthew Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]