Thursday, November 14, 2013

Matthew 8

Jesus begins to establish His power as the Messianic King through miracles of healing and casting out demons.   There are five miracles in this chapter:  Jesus cleanses a leper, Jesus heals a centurion's servant, Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law and others, Jesus calms the storm, Jesus heals two demon -possessed men.  These miracles show He has power over all things and all people.

Matthew 8:1-17 - Jesus' Authority Over Disease

The Leper

A man with leprosy came to Jesus for healing.  Anyone with leprosy was not allowed to come into contact with people, because it was very contagious and deadly.  This leper was very bold and didn't worry about others thought.  He was humble and didn't doubt that Jesus could heal him.  "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." - Matt. 8:2.  Jesus reached out His hand and touched him and said, "I am willing.  Be clean." - Matt. 8:3.  Jesus accepts all those who seek His cleansing.  Jesus was filled with compassion for him.  After healing him Jesus told him to go and not tell anyone, but to show himself to the priest.  The priest would examine him and pronounce him clean so he could be restored to society. 

Jesus knew the man could not keep quiet and had to tell everyone of this miracle in his life and that it would cause great hardship for Jesus in the future.  Jesus does the same for us.  He knows we mess up and don't always obey, but still he put His life on the line for us at the cross.

The leper acknowledged his need.  He trusted Jesus.  He worshipped Jesus.  We are all lepers before God.  Sin makes a person unclean.  Our sin contaminates others.  We need God to cleanse our sin.  We may be good and moral, but before God we are filthy rags.  God provides a remedy for sin.  Like the leper you need to acknowledge you are unclean, believe Jesus has to power to cleanse you, have faith that He has justified you to be clean before Him, and then thank God.  Nothing you are repulses Him.

Have you asked Jesus to cleanse you?
D0 others know the grace Jesus has given you?

The Centurion

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Gentile centurion came to Jesus and told him his servant was paralyzed and was suffering.  He told Jesus to just say the word and the servant would be healed.  The centurion had great faith and was not afraid to ask for help.  He felt unworthy in Jesus' eyes.  He cared about his servant showing he was a compassionate leader.  Jesus noticed his great faith and said, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matt. 8:1-12.

The centurion displayed extraordinary compassion and love for his servant as well as extraordinary faith in Jesus.  His faith gave Jesus great joy and praised him publicly for it.  Because of the centurion's great faith, he would enjoy a special meal with the Jewish patriarchs.  Jesus promised that people from every corner of the would join in the feast, but warned the Jews not to assume they would be welcomed simply because of their ethnic heritage.  Faith is the only way to belong to God's kingdom.

What have you done lately to show your faith and trust in Jesus?

Jesus Heals Many Others

Jesus continued in healing people.  He saw that Peter's mother-in-law was ill with a fever.  He touched her and the fever left.  Then she got up and began to serve Jesus.  Her illness was  not as serious as the leper, but He took the time and healed her.  This shows  Jesus' love and compassion for even the smaller things.

Many people who were demon-possessed were brought to Jesus.  He drove out the spirits and healed all the sick fulfilling the Isaiah prophesy.  "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." - Matt. 8:17, Isaiah 53:4. 

Matthew 8:18-22 - Jesus' Authority Over People

A teacher of the law came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." - Matt. 8:19.  But Jesus told him, "the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." - Matt. 8:20.  Another told Jesus that he wanted to go first and bury his father, but Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." - Matt. 8:22. 

He is saying here is that it's not going to be easy to follow Jesus not will it be a perfect life and that Jesus comes first above everything else.  Following Christ always brings changes to a person's life style.  Anyone who chooses Christ will be an enemy of Satan and his demons.  The time is now to follow Jesus.  If you are not a child of God, don't put it off.  You don't know what tomorrow will bring.  Do it now!

Are you waiting for when the time is right to follow Jesus?  The time is now!

Matthew 8:23-27 - Jesus' Authority Over Nature

Then Jesus and his disciples got into the boat and without warning a furious storm came up.  The disciples where afraid and called out for Jesus to save them.  Then Jesus showed His humanity by realizing they were afraid and He calmed the storm.  He showed compassion and love for them.  They were amazed at His power.  They lacked faith and trust in Jesus to protect them.  If they had realized who Jesus really was, they would have not been afraid.

What storm have you faced that God used to build your faith?

Matthew 8:28-34 - Jesus' Authority Over Forces of Evil

After Jesus calmed the storm they arrived on the other side of the lake,  two violent demon-possessed men came out from tombs.  They ask Jesus, "'What do you want with us, son of God?' they shouted.  'Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?'" - Matt. 8:29.  They then begged to be sent into a herd of pigs so Jesus drove them out into the pigs.  The demons knew who Jesus was, they were afraid of Him, they knew His time had not yet come, and they knew their fate would be Hell. 

We are in spiritual warfare.  Satan and his demons are very real.  Hell is real.  Even the demons fear it.  That is why they ask Jesus if He had come to torment them.  They knew judgment awaited them.  They would rather be cast into pig than be cast into Hell.  All things, including Satan, his demons, and people who follow him were created by and are subject to Christ and await final judgment and the Lake of Fire.

We need to not remain ignorant. We need to know that Satan is not on our side.  He is the enemy of Jesus which makes him our enemy.  Without Jesus we don't stand a chance against him.

The townspeople did not thank Jesus nor did they consider the two men who were restored as of any value.  Instead they pleaded for Jesus to leave their region.  They were afraid of Jesus' power.  They lost 2,000 pigs because of Him.  This shows their indifference to the saved men and their greed.  Does this sound like some people today?

What do you fear?
Who or what controls you? - drugs, lack of discipline, refusal to forgive, love of money?
Have you confessed your sins to God?
Who holds the authority over your life?

I hope the lessons in these miracles has made you stop and think.  Jesus has authority over all things and all people.  See you next week for Matthew 9.

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