Matthew 8:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 8:28, NIV: When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.

Matthew 8:28, ESV: And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.

Matthew 8:28, KJV: 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.

Matthew 8:28, NASB: And when He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men confronted Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.

Matthew 8:28, NLT: When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.

Matthew 8:28, CSB: When he had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.

What does Matthew 8:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus and His disciples have traveled by boat from one side of the Sea of Galilee, probably near Capernaum, to the other side. Specifically, they have arrived in the country of the Gadarenes. Gadara and Gerasa (Mark 5:1) were Gentile cities in the region of the Decapolis, southeast of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus sailed with His disciples across the lake to get away from the crowds (Matthew 8:18).

Leaving the boat, Jesus has come ashore to an area marked by ancient tombs, perhaps in a hillside. Two demon-possessed men come out of the tombs and approach Him. Matthew describes them as so fierce nobody could pass by. Mark (Mark 5:1–20) and Luke (Luke 8:26–39), in their telling of this story, mention only one of the men and describe him as having demon-enabled supernatural strength so that he could not be bound without breaking free. He was said to be naked and living among the tombs away from all other people. Graveyards were understood to be unclean places by the Israelites.

Demon possession was understood to be a fact of life in and around Israel and in much of the ancient world. Nobody questioned the existence of demons. They had seen too many people afflicted, often violently, when occupied by demons. Demons were known to alter personalities and behaviors, as well as causing those oppressed to behave in self-destructive and violent ways. The lesser occurrences of demon possession today is likely a deliberate strategy by the Devil: disbelief in the spiritual world is a more potent weapon today than it would have been in Jesus' era.