And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.…
I. THE MAN'S REQUEST. We cannot wonder that his mind should shrink at the thought of the devil's returning in the absence of our Lord. He may have heard of such cases. "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man...the last state of that man is worse than the first." Thus the soul rescued from Satan is frequently for a time unable to rejoice, but appears to "receive the spirit of bondage again to fear." Our feelings, after any unexpected deliverance or event, are such that we find it difficult to believe its reality. Go, tell the mother who has heard of the shipwreck of her child, that her son who was dead is alive again, she is with difficulty persuaded of its truth. And when so much is at stake we should fear for those who do not sometimes fear for themselves. Can the Christian, harassed by rising corruption, beset with temptation, feel no concern?
II. OUR LORD'S ANSWER. We might have supposed, after the great salvation Jesus had wrought for him, He would not have been reluctant to grant him any favour, especially when the request was dictated by gratitude.
1. The reply showed the modesty of the Saviour.
2. Also His compassion for the man's friends. Mercy to one member of the family should be an encouragement to all the rest.
3. And the great object which every man truly converted to God will keep perpetually in view is, the promotion of the Divine glory, and the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, in the salvation of those around him. The wife of his bosom, the parent, the brother, or the child; reason, as well as affection, points out these as the first objects of our concern. Religion does not petrify the feelings, and make us to be so absorbed in seeking our own safety, as to be indifferent to the fate of those about us; the grace of God does not annihilate the sympathies, or snap the bonds of nature; no, it strengthens and refines those sympathies, deepens the channel in which the affections flow, and purifies and consecrates the stream. But are there not some, who, instead of entreating Jesus that they may go with Him, are saying of the world and of the flesh, We have loved these, and after them we will go? But, fellow sinners, be persuaded it is the way of transgression, it is hard.
(S. Bridge, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.