Matthew, Chapter 8

Matt. 8:1-4

Matt. 8:1 "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."

Leprosy is a blood disease for which there is no known cure. A couple of chapters is devoted in the Old Testament to the subject of identification and cleansing of leprosy. The only Old Testament individuals who God cured of leprosy that we have record of are Miriam, the sister of Moses, and the captain of the Syrian army. God used Elisha the prophet to perform a miracle on the captain of the Syrian army.

The leper's faith is made manifest in that he recognized that Jesus had power to cure him of leprosy. Notice he did not say, "Lord, if you are able, make me clean." He said, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Thus, he knew the Lord was able, but he also knew that the Lord is sovereign and that he could not command the Lord to do anything. He was dependant upon the Lord's will. We all are dependant on the Lord's will when it comes to healing and providential blessings.

Leprosy is much like sin. Only the Lord can cure and heal leprosy. Only the Lord can cure and heal sin. It takes the power of God to cleanse the leper. It also takes the power of God to cleanse the sinner. When the Lord cleansed the leper, he was completely cleansed. When the Lord cleansed us from our sins, there is no more charge that can be laid against his elect. The Lord showed his amazing power in healing the leper. He simply spoke and the leper was immediately cleansed.

What the Lord told the former leper after he cleansing him is puzzling to some. The Lord told him to tell no one. This certainly defies the concept that the Lord wants the whole world to know everything that he does. The man was not to tell anyone, yet the Lord sent him as a witness to the priests. He was told, "go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." The priests through the previous 1500 years had not witnessed anyone that had been cleansed of leprosy or to come and offer the gift that Moses commanded.

Moses commanded this offering: Lev. 14:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; 4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: 7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field."

In the types and shadows of the Old Testament, the bird that was killed would represent Jesus Christ, and the bird that was let loose into the open field would be a type of the sinner. Jesus died for our sins that we be made free from the condemnation of sin.

Matt. 8:5-13

Matt. 8:5 "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

The first thing we notice about the above passage is that it was a Roman centurion that came to Jesus and requested his servant be healed of the palsy. The Roman centurion was not an Israelite. To the Jews, the Gentiles were dogs. The Jews had believed that only they were of God's chosen people. This centurion and the Lord's response to him certainly disproved the belief of many Jews.

A centurion was an officer over a hundred men. He had soldiers and servants who answered to him, and he in turn answered to higher-ranking officers. He was familiar with authority. The centurion believed in the power of God and that Jesus had the power of God. He also believed that Jesus had the power to heal his servant and that he would heal him, if it was the Lord's will. He also believed that there was no authority greater than Jesus.
The centurion also believed himself to be a sinner and said that he was unworthy for the Lord to come under his roof. He certainly was not approaching the Lord based on his own felt worthiness. He knew he was going to one who was far greater than he was and that this Jesus was altogether righteous.

He also believed that Jesus was not the God of the Jews only, but that he was God of people of all nations and that he would answer the request of people of all nations.

The centurion was also a compassionate man in that he made request for his servant. Many masters seem to care not what happens to their servants. This was not the case of this particular centurion as he had great concern for the well being and health of his servant. He went to the only one who could give him help at that time.

The centurion believed that Jesus was an everywhere present God. He believed that Jesus did not have to be bodily present to heal his servant. God is a Spirit and he is everywhere present in Spirit and nowhere absent. Thus, he believed that though the body of Jesus was not present where the servant lay, yet as God, Jesus could speak the word only and his servant would be healed.
Jesus marveled at the faith of this centurion and said that he had not found so great a faith in all of Israel. Jesus went on further to say that people would come from all directions to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God and that the children of the Kingdom (Jews) would be cast out. The significance of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that they walked with God by faith. The centurion walked with God by faith. The Jews sought to become righteous by the works of the law, whereas, today the Gentiles in the church walk by faith and depend altogether on the shed blood of a risen saviour for their righteousness.

We can all learn today by the example of the centurion and his humility, compassion, and faith.

Matt. 8:14-17

Matt. 8:14 "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. 16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."

In this portion of the chapter, Jesus is manifesting his power and that he is the Son of God. He is displaying all the power of God in which it is impossible for man to attain to or even attempt. No man has the power to heal the sick, or cast out the unclean spirits, but God only.

We learn some very important things in the above passage concerning Peter. Peter was married. Many people think that none of the apostles were married and that a minister of the gospel should not marry. This disproves that absurd assumption and shows that God does call men even when they are married. There is no scriptural basis for the assumption that men should not be married who preach the gospel or pastor churches.

Peter's wife's mother was laid and sick of a fever. Jesus showed his compassion upon her and upon all that were sick or possessed with devils. Jesus is a compassionate Saviour. He was continually showing his compassion toward his people. We have a compassionate Savior and High Priest who watches over us and cares for us.

Jesus manifested and fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning himself: Is. 53:3 "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."

Throughout the scriptures, we see a demonstration of the power of the spoken word of God. In the first chapter of Genesis God created the heaven and the earth by simply speaking it into existence. By his spoken voice, he cast out the unclean spirits, healed the sick, and raised the dead. Similarly, when we were dead in trespasses and sins, Jesus speaks spiritual life into our very being causing us to be born of the Spirit. What a great display of the power of God Jesus manifests.