Matthew Chapter 8
Miracles are Signs of Divine Authority
(Read Matthew 8:1-13)
Jesus performed many miracles to demonstrate his claim that he is the Son of God (John 20:30-31). They were not performed selfishly or senselessly. Miracle is sermon in action. It is a sign that points to something beyond itself. The miracles were not done to impress people or to force others to submission. They often followed a message (John 5:14-24). During Christ’s ministry, large crowds followed him. Suddenly a leper came to him and kneeling before Jesus said, “Lord if you will you can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2). Jesus touched him and immediately his was healed. Jesus told him to show himself to the priest in obedience to the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 13). Jesus is able and willing to heal the sick. He does not want anyone to perish in their sins (1 Timothy 2:4). Touching the leper shows how merciful is our Lord. This could make Jesus ceremonially unclean. But he was willing to touch the leper to identify with him (Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4). He did not heal the leper to attract people or become popular but to prove that he is the Messiah (Matthew 11:1-5). A centurion came to Jesus and requested him to come and heal his servant who was paralyzed and greatly afflicted. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him”. He said “I am not worthy to have you into my home, just say a word and my servant will be healed. I am of a man of authority in the Roman military”. Jesus said to the Roman officer “Go your way, what you have believed has happened”. The young servant was healed that very moment. Jesus marveled at his faith and said, “I have not seen such faith even in Israel”. Only other time Jesus marveled was at the unbelief of his own people (Mark 6:6). The kingdom blessing was not limited to Israel. Jesus is the Savior of the world. The entry into his kingdom does not come through ethnicity but through faith in Jesus (Matthew 8:10). Faith is the attitude of trust that allow God to do whatever he may choose to do. Augustine said, “I never had any difficulty to believe in miracle since I experienced the miracle of change in my own heart”. Christ is able to save sinners.
The Cost of Discipleship:
(Read Matthew 8:14-27)
Rest of the chapter gives the account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, the calming of the storm and healing of two demon-possessed men. In the Jewish culture women were not regarded important socially. Yet Jesus had compassion on Peter’s mother-in-law who was suffering from high fever. Jesus healed her and she got up and served him. God saves sinners to serve him and others (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ came to remove the social and cultural barriers. He brings about reconciliation between God and sinners. Jesus also healed many demons possessed people. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53:4 “He took our infirmities and bore our sickness”. Jesus emphasized on the cost of discipleship to the scribe who wants to follow him (Matthew 8:20-22). The scribes are scholars of the Law. Our great commission is to make disciples. A disciple should be willing to make Jesus the priority in his life with total devotion to him. The “Son of man” is the title Jesus used frequently to show that he is the Messiah (Daniel 7:13). True disciples follow Jesus unconditionally. While crossing the lake in a boat the disciples got fearful thought they were perishing in the storm. Jesus rebuked the wind and waves. And suddenly all was calm. Considering his power, the disciples wonder what kind of man Jesus must be. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. Jesus is the creator of the universe, and he controls all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). The disciples marveled at his authority and said, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him” (Matthew 8:27). Jesus is able and willing to help us in our troubles.
Jesus healed the Two Demon-possessed Men:
(Read Matthew 8:28-34)
Two demon possessed men recognized Jesus and said, “Thou Son of God, why are you bothering us before the appointed time” (Matthew 8:29). Demon recognizes who Jesus is. The demonic power cannot withstand against Jesus. The demons knew that they will be destroyed completely someday. Jesus graciously brought his victory to the demon possessed men ahead of time (Matthew 8:30-31). Wherever Jesus goes, he brings God's powerful reign and blessing. Demons requested to send them away into the herd of pigs. Jesus granted their request. The whole herd of pig rushed down to the sea and perished. The herdsmen fled and told everyone what happened. The entire town begged Jesus to depart their town and leave them alone. This is picture of depraved people who live in disobedience to God. Demons can torment believers but cannot possess them. Christ can restrain demons because He conquered Satan and Demonic powers by his death and resurrection. Since believers are in Christ, they have nothing to fear from Satan and demonic powers (1 John 4:4). Demons still exist to promote evil and create hardship. We can withstand the demonic power by the spiritual armor God has provided (Ephesians 6:10-20). There is no power compare with the power of our God. Take courage in your battle against sin and Satan.