Matthew 8

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‘Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour’ (Matthew 8:13 NKJV).

January 10, 2017

This was the centurion according to Luke’s gospel that had built the synagogue in Capernaum (Luke 7:5). He was probably the commander of the Roman garrison in Capernaum and was very familiar with the Jewish religion and culture. He came to Jesus asking Him to heal his servant. Jesus immediately agreed to go to the centurion’s home and heal his servant. But the Roman commander insisted that he was “not worthy” of having the Lord enter his home and that if only He would “speak a word” he knew that his servant would be healed. This expressed both his awareness of Jewish reluctance to enter a Gentile’s home (Not specifically forbidden by Moses, but had become a Pharisaic practice), and his faith that Jesus had the authority to heal. The centurion went on the explain his understanding of Christ’s authority, saying it was similar to how he could command his soldiers and they obeyed. Christ commended the centurion’s faith and sent him on his way, having healed the servant according to the centurion’s request. When the centurion returned home he found that his servant had been healed at the very “same hour” that Jesus had spoke.

Oh, to have such faith! To believe that Christ has authority over all things and that His Word has the power to command all things to obey.

‘And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”’ (Matthew 8:22 ESV)

January 11, 2016

This was the response that Jesus gave to the man who expressed interest in following Jesus, yet asked for a delay in reporting to duty in order to bury his father. It seems a harsh response, but it clarifies the priority of which the call of Christ demands. Jesus asks those that would follow Him to leave all behind and to put Him first. But before jumping to judge Christ’s reply too harshly, consider the possible meanings:
1) Christ is not banning His followers from attending funerals. He is taking away excuses from those that would delay following. (How many have told a teacher that they missed school on a test day because their great aunt died?).
2) Christ is making a connection between being spiritually dead and physically dead when He says let the dead (spiritually) bury the dead (physically). In contrast, Christ’s disciples are to be involved in the ministry of bringing the spiritually dead to life.
3) When the disciple asked for a delay in following, so that he could bury his father, it didn’t necessarily mean that his father had died. He may have meant that he wanted to stay home until his aged father died, before following Jesus. He didn’t feel that he could answer Christ’s missional call until his father was dead.
4) It also may have been a reference to the possibility that his father had already died, but the son now felt constrained to enter into the year-long Jewish burial practice of that day. According to this practice, the body would be laid out on one side of a burial crypt until it decayed, then the bones would be placed in an ossuary box and put with the other boxes on the other side of the crypt nearly a year later.
Regardless of the setting, Jesus knew the man’s heart and gave the very response to the man’s request that was needed to expose it. He was asking him the same question He later asked Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15).

“So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” (Matthew 8:27 NKJV)

January 11, 2015

At first the disciples were afraid of the storm outside the boat, then they were afraid of the Man inside the boat. “Who can this be?” They wondered. He commanded and the sea and even the demons obeyed Him. He demonstrates authority over both the seen and the unseen creation. Who but God could do such things? Yet, having the Son of God in our life does not guarantee the absence of storms. Storms will come. The guarantee is that He will never leave nor forsake us. Perhaps the storms of life help us to understand who Jesus is. Not just in our heads, but in our hearts. We finally experience the reality that we have believed: Jesus is greater than any storm.
Take your eyes off the storm and turn them upon Jesus.

And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV)

January 10, 2015

Notice the approach of the leper. First, he came to Jesus, second, he worshiped, third, he asked for the Lord’s will, then finally, he expressed his faith that the Lord was completely able to heal and make him clean. We can learn much from the order and attitude of the leper’s “prayer.”
Then notice Christ’s response. First, he touched the leper. Don’t miss this. He could’ve just healed him from a distance like He did the centurion’s servant. Leprosy was a devastating disease. It made one unclean, so that they were excluded from Temple worship. Lepers were excommunicated from the community. They were required to yell, “Unclean!” as they approached to warn others away. The disease was progressive and caused sores and white scales to appear, damaging the skin, nerves and eventually muscle tissue. Extremities (nose, ears, fingers, toes, etc.) would die and rot away over time. No one would touch them for fear of catching the disease. Yet, Christ touched the leper, expressed His willingness to heal him, then with a word, said, “Be cleansed.” And he was.
Christ was willing not only to heal us from a distance, but to come to us, touching us, and taking our sin upon Himself and thus cleansing us from all unrighteousness. Christ is willing and able to save those who come to Him.