1. Matthew 8:1-4 – Jesus Cleanses a Leper
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
8 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Jesus had now finished delivering the Divine discourse from the preceding chapters, and a great multitude was following Him most probably to receive more instructions and teachings from Him and witness the performance of some of His miraculous acts. Leprosy in those days could very rarely be cured by natural means, similar to palsies and lunacy. It is very likely that this leper did not mix with the people , but heard of the Lord at a distance. As soon as he got a change, the leper came and worshiped the Lord, most likely kneeling or falling down before Him, saying “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Jesus put out His hand and touched him. Leprosy was a very nauseous and infectious disease, and the bare sight of a leper would always raise loathing in all who looked on him. But Jesus with great kindness and tolerance came close to him and touched him. Instead of Jesus being polluted by touching him, the leper was cleansed by the touch of Jesus. Praise God. This healing also bought about the opportunity for the leper to come back into normal society without being an outcast. This is the power of God on display and confirms the divine mission and authority of Jesus Christ.
What we can learn from this is that our souls are by nature entirely overspread with the leprosy of sin, and in the same manner we too can come before the Lord, worship Him and request for the cleansing of our sins, we can request for the healing power and grace of this Divine Savior.We have every reason to hope that His compassion will always be moved in our favor, and His power sufficient for our cure.
Christ ordered that the leper should tell no one of the healing, but to go and present himself before the priest. This command is to be understood as extending only to the time until he had made proper representation to the priest. As it says in Leviticus 14:2 “This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest.” So Christ was telling him not to delay this by talking about it, but as the first thing to obey the laws of God and to make proper acknowledgement to Him by an offering. The place where this cure was performed was in Galilee, a distance of 40 or 50 miles from Jerusalem; and it was the lepers duty to go to the priest and obtain his sanction for the reality of the cure and offer the gift that Moses commanded. The gift consisted of 2 birds alive and clean, cedar-wood, scarlet and hyssop. Leviticus 14:4 says “then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop.”
This was to be performed so that it would be a testimony to the people and not to the priest. The priest was to confirm the reality to the cure and a proof to the people that the healing is genuine. It was necessary at the time to have the testimony before he could be received in the congregation or allowed to mingle with the people. Having this, he would be restored to the privileges of social and religious life, and the proof of the miracle, to the people, would be put beyond a doubt. Similarly this is what happens when we are washed cleaned of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, our relationship with Him is restored and we can access the presence of God at any time and walk with the authority Christ has placed in us through the Holy Spirit.
2. Matthew 8:5-13 – Jesus Heals a Centurion’s servant
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 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.
The centurion was a heathen man, a Roman soldier. A centurion was the commander of a 100 men in the Roman armies. Judea was a Roman province and garrisons were kept there to preserve the people in subjection. Though this centurion was a soldier, yet he was a godly man. This teaches us that no man’s calling or place will be an excuse for unbelief and sin. We can see the centurion stating his servants case. Likewise we should concern ourselves with the souls of our children and those we know who are spiritually sick, who do not know the love of Christ and to bring them to the Lord Jesus by faith and prayers.
Notice the humbleness of the centurion, saying “I am not worthy”. This is a great expression of humility. It refers to his own view of his personal unworthiness and not merely to the fact that he was a Gentile. It was the expression of a conviction of the great dignity and power of the Savior, and of a feeling the he was so unlike Him that he was not suitable that the Son of God should come into his dwelling. This is true of how every repentant sinner feels, a feeling which is appropriate when someone comes to Christ. Jesus was marveled at this response and deemed it remarkable. Christ says “I have not found such great faith.” The centurion was confident that Christ had the power to heal and restore, so too let us be confident in Christ.
Christ then goes on to say that many shall come from the East and the West. On this particular occasion of the faith of the Centurion, who was a Gentile, the Lord makes a short digression, concerning the call of the gentiles; and suggests what was seen in the Centurion would be fulfilled in great numbers in a short while. That many people from the four corners of the Earth will come and believe Him and will sit down with Abraham, Issac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. This is signifying that the Gospel would be preached in a short time to all nations and many would believe in Him and partake of the blessings of grace, such as adoption, justification, pardon of sin etc.
This shows that the faith of the Old and New Testament saints, Jews and Gentiles are the same; their blessings are the same and so too their eternal happiness. They have the same God and Father, the same Mediator and Redeemer and influences by the same Spirit, partake of the same grace and share the same glory. The Lord goes directly contrary to the notions and practices of the Jews, who thought it a crime to sit down at a table and eat with the Gentiles, and yet Gentiles shall sit at the table and eat with the principle men, the heads of their nation, in the kingdom of heaven, and they themselves at the same time be shut out, due to their unbelief in the Messiah and due to their ignorance and error of Christ.
3. Matthew 8:14-17 – Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed and Many Healed in the Evening
Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed
14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.
Many Healed in the Evening
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.”
Christ in healing Peter’s mother-in-law, shows us that we too can receive spiritual healing. The scripture speaks the word and the Spirit gives the touch, touches the heart, touches the hand. Those who recover from fevers are commonly weak and feeble for some time after, but we see that this healing was above the power of nature. The woman was at once so well, she was able to go about the duties of the home. The miracles of Jesus went far and wide, and many thronged to Him. He healed all that were sick, no matter what the condition. Many are diseases and calamities to which we are liable in the body, but in the words of the gospel,
Jesus Christ bore our sicknesses and carried our sorrows. This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4 “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:1-12 fully states the doctrine of the atonement, or that the Messiah was to suffer for sin. In the verse quoted here, Isaiah states the very truth which Matthew declares here. The word translated “griefs” in Isaiah, and “infirmities” in Matthew, means properly, in Hebrew and Greek, “diseases of the body”. In neither does it refer to the disease of the mind, or to sin. To bear those griefs is clearly to bear them away, or to remove them. This was done by His miraculous power in healing the sick. The word rendered “sorrows” in Isaiah and “sicknesses” in Matthew means, “pain, grief, or anguish of mind”. To carry these is to sympathize with the sufferers; to make provision to take away those sorrows and bring relief.
He did this by example and removed all sorrows/sin by atonement. So we see that both Matthew and Isaiah mean precisely the same thing.
4. Matthew 8:18-22 – The Cost of Discipleship
The Cost of Discipleship
18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
As we read here, one of the scribes was very quick in promising to follow Christ. He seeks to become a close follower of Christ and seems to be very resolute in doing so. Many resolutions for religion are produced by sudden conviction, and taken up without due consideration and these come to nothing. When the scribe offered to follow Christ, we would have thought the Lord would have been encouraged; one scribe might do more credit and service than 12 fisherman. But Christ is the one who looks at the heart and not the outside. He saw his heart and answered to his thoughts, and this teaches all how to come to Christ.It seems that the scribe wanted this from a worldly covetous principle; but the truth was Christ did not have a place to lay His head, and if he follows Him he must expect to go through exactly the same things, away from his usual comforts.
Another was too slow, delay in doing this is as bad as being too quick on the other hand. He asked to leave to bury his father, and after that he would be at Christ’s service. This would seem reasonable to us, but it was not right. He did not have the true zeal for the work of the Lord. Burying the dead, especially a dead father is a good work but it was not the work for that time. If Christ requires our service, everything that is the nearest and dearest must be secondary to the call of God. There will be no excuse if you heart wants to truly follow Christ.
When we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to be His followers, let us put away everything else and without any excuse make Him number 1 in our lives, to do His will and His work.
5. Matthew 8:23-27 – Wind and Wave obey Jesus
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
After a full day of ministering to the people, Jesus and His disciples got into a boat. Just as the disciples followed Christ, we too as Christians are also His disciples and must follow Him wherever he goes and leads us. We commit all our ways to Him. While they were in the boat there was a sudden change in the weather and a great storm came upon them very quickly. This is an emblem of the storms of persecution which were to assault the Church shortly. It also is a picture of the life that a Christian may face here on earth. The storm caused waves to cover the boat and threatened to sink the boat to the bottom. The disciples were in a state of desperation and helplessness, but this was a time of God’s opportunity. The disciples were terribly afraid hearing the winds roaring and watching the waves and the clouds driven by the fury of the tempest, at which point they woke Him saying, “Lord save us, we are perishing”.
It is at this point, the disciples displayed their faith in His power and at the same time their weakness in not considering who was with them in the boat. We too are like this sometimes. Being Christians, we know that Christ is always in our boat of life. But is it our little faith, just like the disciples, knowing the creator of heaven and earth is living within us, but we fumble and fall when the slightest of winds come against us. Don’t we realize we got the Almighty God on our side, and that we can always trust in Him not matter what. Christ then responds, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith.”.
Do you think God will allow you to be lost in a tempest when He is by your side? The disciples had seen their Master perform many miracles, and had very good reason to rely on His power and goodness, even in a greater danger than this. He is the one who gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, drove away palsies and fevers by speaking a word, and it is this Jesus that could easily save them all.
As a master commands His unruly servants, Christ first composed the spirits of His disciples and then the winds and the sea; and He bought calm instantly to both the disciples themselves and the roaring seas. In the midst of our storm, let us first find peace in Christ who is within us. He is our comfort in the midst of the storm, and when we have that peace in Him, we will withstand anything that comes against us.
Up to this point, Christ’s miracles was generally upon diseased persons, but now He had shown His dominion over wind and water, and nature itself.
6. Matthew 8:28-34 – Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed
Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed
28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”
32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
33 Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
From reading these verse we can note that devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Savior; they neither have nor hope for any benefit from Him. Let us at this moment reflect on the depth of this mystery of Divine love; that we as fallen man has so much to do with Christ, when fallen angels have nothing to do with Him. Hebrew 2:16 says “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, be He gives aid to the seed of Abraham.” We should also note that it is not true that devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Judge, for this is the case with them and also all the children of men.
Satan cannot go any further than what God permits; they must immediately quit when He commands. They cannot break His hedge of protection round about His people. In-fact that cannot even enter into swine without his permission.
It is the devil that led us to sin, and have taken many captive. There are so many people in this world who prefer the swine before the Savior, and so has come short of Christ and salvation by Him. They desire Christ to depart from their hearts and will not allow His word to dwell within, because the word has the power to destroy brutish lusts. Let us give no place in our hearts for this, instead let us be consumed by the word of God and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
In a similar way when we are not in Christ and have not accepted His redemption for our sins, we will be commanded to depart from His presence. None of us ever want to be in this situation. Let us humble ourselves and come before Christ to seek His forgiveness and to make Him Lord of our life. We don’t want to ever be found without Him, our Savior.
If you have never given your life to Christ, and you feel the call of God in your heart. Now is the time to respond and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
You can receive remission of your sins, not by your own works, but through faith in Jesus Christ who already paid the price for us. All you have to do is to accept his sacrifice in your place as a free gift. Take this moment to declare you have accepted the free gift by saying the following prayer:
“God I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me. Amen.”
If you would like to know more about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, please contact us and we would love to talk to you about living a life with Jesus as the center of your life.
Bible reading: New King James Version (NKJV)
Resources: Various Bible Commentaries