Matthew 8


The Man With Leprosy

 1When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

 3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

I’m not sure if verses 2-3 are supposed to work on multiple levels, but I always liked that passage in the context of cleansing us of our sins, as in, “Lord, if you are willing, you can cleanse me of my sins.”  If we ask that in sincerity Jesus will reply, “I am willing.  Be clean!”  And immediately we’ll be clean.

The Faith of the Centurion

Notice how excited Jesus is with the faith of the Roman Centurion.  The Jews hated the Romans, but Jesus was impressed with his faith and healed his servant.  The healing was done immediately without Jesus even being present.

 5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

 7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

 8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

 10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I 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. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

Jesus mentions “weeping and gnashing of teeth” many times.  It is a symbol of deep regret and pain. 

Jesus Heals Many

We don’t read anything about the Apostle’s wives, but Peter was obviously married. 

14When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

 16When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
   “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

The Cost of Following Jesus

Jesus wasn’t being harsh with the man who wanted to bury his father.  The father wasn’t dead yet or the man wouldn’t have been there talking to Jesus (Jews were typically buried within a day of dying).  Jesus was pointing out that we may have to make great sacrifices to follow him.  Sometimes Christians share all the joys of being a believer but don’t mention the costs.  Jesus warned his potential followers of the cost of being a disciple.

 18When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

 20Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

 21Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

 22But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

 26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

 27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

What a spectacular miracle – controlling the weather!

The Healing of Two Demon-possessed Men

Demons are real.  The level of demonic activity may have been more acute at the time when Jesus walked the earth.   

 28When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

 30Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

 32He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

These people valued their livelihoods more than the healing of these men.  Even if people see miracles they may not believe in Jesus. 

What passages stood out to you, and why?