Matt. 8:18-34 (Verse 19)




Large crowds were following Jesus;

Perhaps, the largest crowds the area had ever seen.


He performed miracles all day long.

He was very tired.


He decided to take a boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

He was moving toward the boat when a certain Scribe came running up to Him.


“Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” (Verse 19).



That’s quite a commitment, “Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”

It seems to me that Jesus should have said, “Come on.”


“I want all the followers I can get.”

But He didn’t.


He said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of        

man hath not where to lay his head” (Verse 20).

He was saying, “I don’t even have a house or a bed.”


“It will cost you to follow me.”

“Count the cost.”


This is the problem.

Too many people make commitments they don’t keep.


It would be nice to have a thousand members in this Church.

But what good is a thousand members that don’t attend?


Jesus wants us to make a commitment.

But what good is a commitment that we don’t keep?


An elderly pastor told his young replacement, “Keep this Church as small as you          


He didn’t mean don’t take in members.


He meant don’t take in members unless they have counted the cost.

Make sure they’re saved first.


Church membership is worthless unless the Church member meant it when he said, “Master,

I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Examine your commitment.


Was it real?

Or was it mostly talk?


It’s very important for us to understand the difference between SAYING we will follow Jesus,

And actually following Jesus.

The evidence of salvation is not what we say.

It’s what we do.


Suddenly, a second man came running up to Jesus.

In essence, He said, “I’m will follow you too.”


“But I have to bury my father first” (Verse 21).

It seems to me that Jesus should have said, “I’m sorry you lost your father.”


“You have my sympathy.”

“Go bury your father and hurry back.”


But He didn’t.

He said, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” (Verse 22).


Dr. Adam Smith tried to hire a guide to show him around the Middle East.

The guide said, “I have to bury my father first.”


The strange thing about this is that the guide’s father was alive and well.

He was sitting right there when the guide said it.


Dr. Smith found that the guide meant “I have to take care of my father until he dies.”

Funerals are important.


Few doubt that Jesus would have let this young man attend his father’s funeral when he died.

But Jesus was saying, “Don’t put off following me for other things.”


“Following me comes first.”

Some people want to say, “I will follow Jesus later on.”


“Right now, I have to concentrate on my career, my education, my crop, take care of

my family, etc.

Nothing is more important than following Jesus.


Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

“And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”


He wasn’t asking us to dishonor our parents.

Or to shirk our responsibilities to our children.


But He was saying, “Following me comes before anyone or anything else.”

Jesus left the two men standing there.


He got into the boat.

His disciples followed Him.


The boat left shore.

Jesus went to sleep.


“And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea;”

Not an ordinary tempest.


A great tempest.

I personally believe Satan was trying to drown Jesus and His disciples.


He didn’t want Jesus to go to the cross.

He didn’t want the Disciples to preach the gospel.


He didn’t want you to get saved.

He didn’t want you to follow Jesus.


The boat rocked furiously.

Luke said it was taking on water.


But Jesus didn‘t wake up.

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish” (Verse 25).


They woke Him up.

They called Him “Lord.”


Is Jesus your Lord?

If you aren’t following Him, He’s not your Lord.


If He’s your Lord, you can’t be lukewarm about your Church attendance and


You can’t do our own thing and run your own life.


You have to humble yourself.

If He’s your Lord, His will is your will.


Anyway, Jesus woke up and calmed the winds and the sea.

The word Luke used for “calmed” is our word “muzzled.”


That’s what some people do to vicious dogs.

They muzzle them.


That’s what Jesus did to the winds and the sea.

He muzzled them.


But let’s notice something here.

The Disciples were following Jesus when a storm came into their life.


Those who follow Jesus are opposing Satan.

Those who oppose Satan will quickly have Satan opposing them.


If we follow Jesus, a storm will come into our life.

It happened to Peter.


It happened to Paul.

It happened to the Disciples.


It will happen to us.

Now, I want you to notice what the Disciples did when the storm came up.


They didn’t forget who was in the boat with them.

They woke Him up.


He calmed the wind and the sea.

His disciples were amazed.


They marveled saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the          

sea obey him” (Verse 27)!

An ordinary man couldn’t do this.


But Jesus could.

A famous Methodist preacher named Dr. Charles Allen played golf with one of his       

Church members.


Other Church members told Dr. Allen the man was easily frustrated and very foul-mouthed

when he made a bad shot.

Dr. Allen had never heard the man say even one bad word.


He asked the man about it.

The man replied, “I control myself in the presence of my preacher.”


That prompted Dr. Allen to preach a sermon.

He said, “What a difference it would make, if Church members realized we’re in the presence of Jesus.”


If we follow Jesus, storms will come into our life.

What a difference it would make, if Church members realized we’re in the presence of Jesus.


He’s in the boat with us.

He can muzzle the storm.


“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” (Verse 28).

The boat landed in Gentile territory.

We don’t know the exact location.

But we know it was somewhere near the area called the “Golan Heights” today.


Jesus started into town.

Two demon-possessed men ran toward Him.


Their appearance is a matter of speculation.

We assume their hair was dirty and matted;


Their faces were gaunt, pale and unshaven;

Their clothes were rags.


Jesus probably heard the rattle of chains as they approached.

One man had broken chains hanging from his wrists and ankles (Mark 5:4).


The town’s people could hear their screams day and night;

Blood curdling screams that probably made the hair stand up on the back of their neck.


These men would cut themselves with sharp stones.

They were probably covered with bruises, dried blood and sores.


We cannot imagine how terrible they looked and smelled.

It was unpleasant at best.


We notice that they lived among the dead.

They came out of the tombs.


That’s where some of the mentally ill lived in those days.

Their relatives tried to take care of them.


But some were violent.

That’s why their fearful relatives took them to live in the caves of the dead.


Those who were deemed too violent were often chained to the wall.

Anyway, these men ran toward Jesus.


He asked one, “What is thy name?”

“And he answered him saying, My name is Legion: for we are many  (Mark 5:9).


A legion in the Roman army contained three to six thousand troops.

So most commentators believe each one of these men was indwelt by three to six thousand



What is a demon?

Many preachers say that a demon is a fallen angel that followed Satan in his      rebellion against



That a demon is a disembodied spirit that does the will of Satan.

In the Bible, demons:


            1) Caused mental illness (Matt. 8:28; 17:15),

            2) Caused people to go blind (Matt. 12:22),

            3) Caused people to harm themselves (Mk. 5:5),

            4) Caused people to be paralyzed (Luke 13:11),

            5) Caused people to be deaf (Mk. 9:35),

            6) They kept people from speaking (Matt. 9:3).


How do people become demon possessed?

One expert said, “there are at least six different groups [of people] that are more likely to become demon possessed than others.”


            1) Those who enter into a covenant with Satan to sell their souls.

            2) Those who dabble in the occult, Black Magic, Horoscopes, Astrology,

                Fortune Telling, Séances, and Satan Worship.

            3) Those who use alcohol and drugs.

            4) Those who practice false religions.

            5) Those who indulge in sexual abuse and promiscuity.

            6) Those who are blasphemers and morally corrupt.


Anyway, two demon-possessed men ran toward Jesus.

We don’t know how they got in the condition they were in.


They could have been born mentally ill.

They could have been terrible sinners in their community.


But living among the dead didn’t help.

Why would sin be a problem?


The Bible says sin leaves us open to the power of Satan.

Dr. Billy Graham said, “We yield to temptation.”


“It becomes easier to yield the next time.”

“Then, we become slaves to lust, passion and our own evil nature.”


He was saying, “Demon possession is a step-by-step process.”

“A person indulges in sin.”


“He refuses to repent.”

“He sins again and again.”


“And before he realizes it, Satan or one of his demons has  possessed him.”

“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” (Verse 29)?

Notice four things:


1st---The demons recognized Jesus.

Most of the Jewish religious leaders didn’t recognize Jesus.


But the demons recognized Him.

2nd---The demons asked, “What have we to do with thee?”


They were really saying, “Get out of my life.”

What a terrible mistake!


But many people don’t want Jesus in their life today.

They don’t want to be bound by what the Bible says.


They don’t want the Ten Commandments posted.

They don’t want Hot Cross Buns or license plates that say, “Choose Life.”


3rd---The demons referred to Jesus as “thou Son of God.”

They knew that Jesus is the Son of God.


James said, “The devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).

That’s amazing.


The world has had the New Testament for two thousand years.

But Satan and his demons know more about Jesus than most of humanity.


Do you think you know as much about Jesus as the demons do?

That’s something to think about.


Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to stand before Jesus and not know as much about Jesus as the

demons do?

And yet, we all know that the Church is full of Bible ignorance.


And 4th---The demons asked, “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”

The demons knew that God has appointed a time of judgment.


They knew the power of God.

And they were afraid of the power of God.


Are you ignoring the time of Judgment?

Don’t make that mistake.


Next, Matthew said, “And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.”

“So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of

swine” (Verses 30-31).

The demons wanted to play “Let’s Make A Deal.”

Demons don’t have a body.


They want to possess a body.

They even believed they would be better off to possess a pig’s body,


And live in a pig pen, than to be cast into hell.

Many people ignore the idea of being cast into hell.


But those who are cast into hell would be better off to possess a pig’s body and live in a pig


“And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd

of swine:”


“And, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and

perished in the waters” (Verse 32).

The pigs killed themselves.


Why did Jesus allow the demons to indwell the pigs when He knew the pigs would kill


I believe He was showing us what demon possession does.


Demons want to possess a body.

But demons will ultimately destroy that body.


“And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told everything, and

what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they       

besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Verses 33-34).


Those who were taking care of the pigs ran into the city to tell everyone what happened.

Word spread like wildfire.


Everyone went out to see Jesus.

Did they follow Jesus?



They saw one of the men that had been possessed by the demons sitting there, clothed

and in his right mind (Mark 5:15).


And they were afraid of Jesus.

They asked Him to leave.


Would you rather have the pigs in your life?

Or would you rather have Jesus in your life?


If you don’t follow Jesus, you have the pigs whether you realize it or not.

You just don’t realize it yet.


Jesus got into the boat.

He started to leave.


On the surface, it looks like He was going to give them up.

That’s a terrible thought.


Suppose you’re lost.

And Jesus gave you up.


It happens.

If we choose to turn our back on Jesus, we are also choosing to reap the



He will let us reap what we sow.

In the Book of Romans, Paul talks about wicked people who ignored God.


Three times in four verses he said, “God gave them up” (Rom. 1:24-28).

God will give up on you.


But I don’t think that happened here.

One of the demoniacs ran up to the boat.


He wanted to follow Jesus (Mark 5:18).

But Jesus sent him back to share his testimony with everyone he knew.


The man obeyed.

And the whole city accepted Jesus.


Then, everyone wanted Jesus to come back (Luke 8:39-40).

We’ve looked at four events.


We’ve learned four things about following Jesus.

Count the cost.


Don’t put it off.

Expect a storm.


Witness to those around you.

Rev. George Truett was invited to dine in the home of a wealthy Texan.


After dinner, his host took him to a place where they could see in every direction.

The man pointed in front of him and said, “All of those oil wells are mine.”


He pointed behind him and said, “All of those grain fields are mine.”

He pointed to his left and said, “All of those cattle are mine.”


He pointed to his right and said, “All of those trees in that beautiful forest are mine.”

He paused expecting Rev. Truett to complement him.


But Rev. Truett pointed toward heaven and asked, “How much do you have up there?”

Are you following Jesus?


How much do you have up there?

You’re not going to be down here forever.


What are you doing about living up there?

You start by attending Church on Sunday;


By putting something in the offering plate when it is passed,

And by using this altar as much as you possibly can.