Matthew chapter 7 ended with the people who had listened to Jesus preach His Sermon on the Mount in awe. They were impressed by how He spoke with authority, not like the teachers of religious law. Those last two words, “religious law” are key. Religions tend to put emphasis in rites and rituals when what you really need is FAITH. In chapter 8, we’ll see Jesus healing sick people physically and spiritually. We’ll even see Him calm a storm. Let’s dig in…
Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. [Leviticus 14] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
Touching an Untouchable
Leprosy was a highly contagious skin disease. A person with leprosy lived in a leper colony and was an untouchable. This leper probably heard Jesus speak with authority and asked Him if He’d be willing to heal him. Jesus, showing compassion, touched the untouchable and healed him. He then instructs him to go to the priest to go through the purification necessary so he could worship at the temple again. Jesus not only healed him, but gave this man his life back. He’d be welcomed not just at the temple, but into society again.
The Faith of a Roman Officer
5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer (Centurion) came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.
A Roman centurion, a Gentile, recognized Jesus’ authority. He had faith enough to believe that all Jesus had to do was say the word and his servant would be healed. That amazed Jesus. That a Gentile (non-Jew), had more faith that the Jews who heard His message. We see this in the Book of Acts when the Apostles start converting Gentiles. Verse 12 is similar to Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus says that not everyone who thinks they’re getting in will get in to the Kingdom of God. Here He goes into detail on where these faithless people will end up — hell. “…thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
There are probably Jews in hell along with many Catholics and Progressives who are weeping and crying out, “Why! I did what I was told! I followed the religious laws! Why am I here?!”
Unfortunately, by then it will be too late. Going on….
Jesus Heals Many People
14 When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. 15 But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.
16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. 17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,
“He took our sicknesses
and removed our diseases.” [Isaiah 53:4]
The Cost of Following Jesus
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.
19 Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
21 Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”
Are YOU Ready to Follow Jesus?
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
Storms don’t scare me. I’ve lived through six hurricanes in my lifetime. (That’s why I live in Arizona!) The storm didn’t phase Jesus. He slept right through it! Or He was very tired! Figure this, Jesus gets into a boat with His disciples to go to the other side of the lake. That alone should have given the disciples assurance that they would make it to the other side. The storm overpowered their faith.
Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men
28 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 came out of the tombs and were so violent that no one could go through that area.
29 They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”
30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”
32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.Matthew 8 NLT
The townspeople were more concerned that they lost their livelihood (the pigs), rather than by the miraculous healing of the demon possessed men. They were more than likely Gentiles. Jews wouldn’t raise pigs, as they were considered unclean animals at the time.
Also note, that the demons knew that Jesus was the Son of God. So just knowing who Jesus is doesn’t save you!
In chapters 5-7, we heard Jesus speak with authority. Here in chapter 8 we see Jesus healing with authority. Moreover, it wasn’t just physical healing like the leper, the centurion’s servant or Peter’s mother-in-law. No, it was also spiritual healing of demon possessed men.
We are all infected with a virus called DEATH.
Without the power of the King, we are lost.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…