Matthew 8:18-34, February 02, 2020
A Matter of Your Faith
Review: 8:2-4 Healing/Cleansing of a Leper. 2 A man with leprosy came and worshipped Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” How do you imagine Jesus went about healing this leper? Recall lepers were to keep a minimum distance of six feet from those who were healthy, 150 feet if someone was downwind of the leper.
8:5-13 Healing of a Centurion’s Servant. 5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help (pleading with him NKJV). 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Again, how do you imagine Jesus spoke with the centurion? Did the centurion’s humility (v8) mark him as a recipient of the first blessing of the Beatitudes (v5:3) and the reason Jesus addressed His followers as He did in verses 11 and 12?
8:14-17 Jesus Heals Many. From two extraordinary circumstances and healings Jesus heals the Peter’s mother in law with two miracles – healing her fever and giving her strength. From one leper, one servant of a centurion, and one woman, Peter’s mother in law, Jesus healed many and drove out demons with a word. Jesus is for everyone, the untouchables (the leper), the hated (Roman soldiers and Gentiles) as well as men and women from His own people – sick or possessed. His example for us is to exclude no one in loving and forgiving.
8:18-22 Following Jesus, The Cost. The first man, why did Jesus reply speaking to His poverty? What do you think is the reason? What had the man seen? What were his likely thoughts? What was in his heart? Note: Son of Man, first usage – 65-80 times in NT, first used in Daniel 7:13. Peaking ahead, look at how Jesus used it in Matthew 9:6. Then by Stephen during his martyrdom in Acts 7:56. Jesus as the Son of Man was the second Adam – Perfect.
The second man, who wanted to wait, was Jesus’ reply harsh? Let’s consider what he was asking and why. This disciple realizes he would have to leave his home to follow Jesus. There is a reluctance to really follow Jesus all the way much like the young rich man we will read about in Matthew 19:22. He was not asking for permission to bury his father, but to stay with his father until he died. He wasn’t ready to commit to following Jesus, like many of us today.
What did Jesus mean when He said [L]et the dead bury the dead.
8:23-27 You of Little Faith. Jesus was/is the Son of Man – yet He needed His sleep. Let’s describe the boat: it was about twenty six feet in length and held about fourteen people, with oars and a mast, p;lus a small platform at the rear which over a ballast bag, which was where Jesus would be sleeping, because He had nothing else (v20).
When Jesus got into the boat His disciples followed Him – they had already made a decision and were not waiting to follow Him. They were dedicated and faithful. Then the storm. They may have been seamen, fishermen, but this might be their last time at sea, the waves were breaking over the sides of the boat. They tried all they could from their own knowledge and experience and it was not enough. They became fearful of dying of death. In their fear they awakened Jesus. He was not upset by the storm or at being awakened, but at their fear as it indicated a lack of faith. Upon Jesus calming the wind and the water, they were amazed as even nature obeyed Him. It would be along time before John would write his gospel and where we would read in John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Knowing this we know Jesus can control anything in nature including the winds and the waves. They didn’t know it and were amazed as they began to understand who and what Jesus really is.
8:28-34 Demons and Pigs. When the boat arrived on the Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee something truly odd happened … two demon possessed men came out to meet Him and only Him. They had no interaction with the others, only Jesus. A number of things stand out about their meeting with Jesus.
1) They knew who He was 2) They feared Him 3) They knew a time would come for their punishment 4) They knew He had power over them 5) Thus they knew they could not remain in the men they currently possessed and 6) They begged for mercy asking to possess the pigs, asking permission in the hope of avoiding an early start tot their eternal punishment. 7) With one word “Go” they went out of the two men and possessed the pigs who panicked and ran into the lake and drowned. Oddly when this was reported the only concern was for the loss of the pigs and no concern or appreciation of what had been done for the two men. I didn’t know what to make of this at first, but then I thought of our world today and how so many simply turn their backs on Christ when they can see His good works all around them. Then I recalled John 3:19-21 where Jesus where He teaches Nicodemus some people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. Now let’s go back to the first two men in v18-22 and talk about us.