A Study Of Matthew's Gospel Chapter 8, Part 4
Introduction To Matthew 8
The Demonstration Of Power Available In The Kingdom Of God
In the previous chapters in parts 2 and 3 we discovered the quality of life in the kingdom of God, characterised by the fruits of the spirit.
We come now to the demonstration by Jesus, of the power of the kingdom through the gifts of the spirit.
Was Jesus Really The Son Of God?
The Man Healed of Leprosy
The chapter begins with a man ill with the dreaded disease of leprosy, coming to Jesus and worshipping him. He knew that he was no ordinary human being! No doubt he had seen and heard him for some time. Jesus accepted his worship, which is something that no human can accept. The man also came in faith, for he declared that Jesus could heal him if we willed it.
Jesus is always willing if we come in faith.
Despite the natural risk of catching the disease, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, showing the supernatural act of God. He was healed immediately!
Once he was healed Jesus respected their law (which was still valid as Jesus hadn't yet died to bring in the New Covenant) by telling him to show himself to the priest and offering the appropriate gift, but otherwise Jesus wanted no publicity about it, wanting all the glory to go to God alone. He had authority by doing the father's will in not desiring human acclaim or presenting himself as a miracle worker.
See that you tell no one.— Matthew 8v4
How The Roman Centurion Received From God
In this account of the centurion at Capernaum, what did he do right to receive a miracle?
- He came in humility, with a sense of his own sinfulness in stating that he was not worthy.
- He, like Jesus, was a man under authority. He submitted to the will of his superiors, as Jesus did to God. He also knew that his word was final when he commanded his own officers.
- He had great faith and believed that Jesus only needed to speak the word and his servant would be healed, for Jesus had authority over sickness. This was one of only two occasions when Jesus marvelled (verse 10)- in this instance it was at the centurions great faith, the other occasion was because of the people's unbelief (Mark 6v6).
When we submit to God's will, we too have authority.
Jesus affirmed that as he had believed, so it would be done.
Verse 13- And the servant was healed in the same hour.
Peter's Mother In Law Is Healed
Here we are specifically told that it was Peter, the apostle's mother in law who was sick in bed with a fever. Jesus was a guest in their home and as usual, he healed any there that were sick. Maybe we should ask why we want to be healed from sickness. Is it to live for ourselves or to serve Jesus as this lady did.
Again, Jesus touched her as he healed her, so that she got up and ministered to them.
Casting Out Demons With His Word
Unlike as we have seen already that when he healed the sick he touched them, but when he cast out evil spirits from those that were possessed, he spoke the word of authority, he rebuked them and cast them out.
Do we know the Word and have that authority too?
Here we see another fulfilment of prophecy from Isaiah, where he took their infirmities from them, he drove them out.
Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows..— Isaiah 53v4
Quality Not Quantity
Here Jesus had the opportunity to minister to the crowds and enjoy their following, but not being keen on great gatherings, he left them in order to disciple the few who were serious about following him.
The Cost Of Following Jesus
Jesus had nowhere to lay his head
The scribe who came to Jesus must have known much about God and the law and declared that he would always follow him, yet Jesus didn't make is sound easy or even attractive. He wanted him to know the cost, that if he truly followed him, he would have to break from material things and even relatives, (in answer to the second disciple). Certainly under the Old Covenant, God's blessings were shown by great wealth and earthly success, but he was bringing in a new kingdom with the indwelling Holy Spirit, where spiritual growth in the kingdom of God surpassed worldly prosperity,- which itself would often hinder spiritual growth.
This is a hard (and yet liberating) gospel, that is often ignored today.
How Did Jesus Calm The Storm?
Everything obeyed him because he obeyed his father perfectly!
- Jesus had authority over the storm, for he submitted to the will and conditions of God.
- Jesus was at rest in the storm for he had his confidence in God and not in himself.
God may allow or even cause storms in our lives in order to show us our lack of faith, but once they have accomplished their desired end, he will calm them.
If God be for us, who can be against us?— Romans 8v31
Demons Submit To Jesus' Authority
The demons recognised Jesus' authority and power immediately and were afraid of him, for they knew that he would defeat them on the cross at Calvary, giving his disciples this authority in his name. They showed how much they wanted a body to indwell, for they pleaded with Jesus to let them go into the pigs.
Sadly after the farmers had told everyone in the city what had happened, they were more interested in losing their pigs and material things, than the amazing healing of the two demon-possessed people.
It is interesting to note that these farmers may have been profiting illegally from their pigs, which were called unclean by God in Leviticus 11v7,8 and forbidden as food for the Jews.
And so they urged Jesus to leave.
The next part of Matthew's Gospel tells us more of the demonstration of the power of God, by the gifts of the Spirit at work through Jesus.
© 2020 Christine Hulme