Friday, November 11, 2022

A Study of Matthew - Chapter 8

by Stan Feldsine (

In the preceding chapters, we have the birth of the King. The genealogy verified Jesus's descendancy in line to the throne.

Matthew then validates who Jesus is by identifying specific Messianic prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

John and Jesus then subsequently announced that the King was present which meant that the Kingdom was at hand.

In Jesus' first public ministry, he presents the character and standards for the Kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount.

The sermon is now followed by the presentation of the King to the people. The King begins by authenticating His Kingship with miracles of healing and is recorded in Matthew 8 and 9.

Matthew 8:1-4 - Jesus Cleanses a Leper

Mat 8:1-4 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. (2) A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." (3) Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (4) Then 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."

During the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount a large crowd had gathered to hear Jesus speak. As He made His way down the mountainside, the crowd followed Him. As He makes His way, He performs several healings.

The first healing He performs on His way to Capernaum is for that of a leper. Lepers were required to live outside the cities.

Lev 13:45-46 "Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' (46) As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

Num 5:1-4 The LORD said to Moses, (2) "Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has a defiling skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. (3) Send away male and female alike; send them outside the camp so they will not defile their camp, where I dwell among them." (4) The Israelites did so; they sent them outside the camp. They did just as the LORD had instructed Moses.

This person bowed to Jesus in an apparent attitude of worship. It is not known how he might have known about Jesus, but from somewhere he had developed faith and belief that Jesus would heal him if He willed it. There was no doubt on the leper's part that Jesus COULD heal him, only whether or not He WOULD heal him.

Jesus was becoming famous for His healing and that fame may have reached the man.

Mat 4:23-25 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (24) News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. (25) Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Jesus of course was willing, and reached out and touched the man in compassion, and with mercy did heal him immediately. Jesus showed that divine love was superior to Mosaic injunctions against touching lepers. It should be noted that Jesus did not consider the man sinful, needing forgiveness of sins in order to be healed, but He only considered the man unclean. Leprosy was not a sin, just a disease.

Jesus told the man not to tell anyone of the healing, only to go and make an offering at the temple according to the law.

Lev 14:1-4 The LORD said to Moses, (2) "These are the regulations for any diseased person at the time of their ceremonial cleansing, when they are brought to the priest: (3) The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease, (4) the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed.

Read Lev 14:1-32 for the entire portion of the law regarding cleansed lepers.

As it turns out, the man could not contain himself and began telling everyone about what had happened, resulting in Jesus being unable to enter towns openly. It seems likely that the reason for Jesus telling the man not to tell people about his healing was to ensure he did not get distracted and fail to present his testimony to the religious leadership, and to prevent the crowds from either inundating Jesus or perhaps turning against Him.

Mar 1:44-45 "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." (45) Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

The healing of the man with leprosy was a precedent. Although the Mosaic Law provided regulations for the possible healing of a leprous person, they had never been implemented, for never before had their ever been a case of someone with leprosy being healed.

Till now, the Jewish people had been hearing of and been following after Jesus in great crowds. There was no indication that they believed Jesus to be the coming Messiah, only that He was a person who had a teaching and healing ministry, and they wondered by what authority Jesus spoke these things. The healing of the leper though was another matter. Could Jesus actually be the Messiah?

Mat 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, (29) because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

The religious leaders of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees had not been paying much attention to Jesus. By sending the healed man to the priests to confirm his healing, Jesus was placing this precedent setting healing of leprosy square in the seat of the religious leaders calling them to investigate what Jesus was doing.

He wanted them to make a decision about the Kingdom. Either Jesus was the King, or He was not. With such a unique healing in evidence, Jesus could no longer be ignored. It is a result of this healing of the Jewish man with leprosy that drew out the religious leaders to begin paying attention to Jesus. The investigation of the religious leadership begins with the healing of the leper.

Luk 5:17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.

Matthew 8:5-9 - The Centurion's Slave Healed

Mat 8:5-9 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. (6) "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly." (7) Jesus said to him, "Shall I come and heal him?" (8) The 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. (9) For 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."

With the healing of the centurion's servant, Jesus shows that He is "no respecter of persons". He is willing to heal a leper as well as someone in societies elite, a centurion's slave.

Luke records that the centurion actually sent Jewish elders to bring the request to Jesus. The centurion was apparently well respected by the Jewish elders, as they spoke highly of the centurion.

Luk 7:1-5 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. (2) There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. (3) The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. (4) When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, (5) because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."

According to Luke, the centurion did not want Jesus to be troubled to come to his house, he claimed that he was not worthy of having Jesus come to his house. All he needed Jesus to do is just say the word from where He was. The centurion was showing a level of faith greater than that of the Jewish religious leaders, and Jesus was amazed. And of course, Jesus healed the servant from a distance.

Luk 7:6-10 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. (7) That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. (8) For 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." (9) When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." (10) Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

It is notable that Matthew's and Luke's accounts differ in whether or not the centurion met Jesus himself or sent Jewish Elders to do that. Rather than thinking of this as a contradiction, this can be seen as normal inspiration, where Matthew's focus is on the contrast between Israel's unbelief and the centurion's belief. The manner of the meeting was not important to Matthew, whereas Luke had a different focus. This would be a normal difference between witnesses seeing and recording the same event.

Matthew 8:10-13 - Faith and the Kingdom

Mat 8:10-13 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. (11) I 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. (12) But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (13) Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that moment.

What Jesus heard was the centurion's faith. The centurion believed God, he was humble enough to feel he was not worthy that Jesus come under his roof (Jesus would have disagreed), he did not need Jesus to come to His home because he believed Jesus could heal from afar. This demonstrated a significant faith on the part of the centurion, and amazed Jesus, because His own people Israel did not demonstrate such faith.

This again demonstrates the inclination of the Jewish leaders to reject change and hold to status quo. They were comfortable in their religion, and didn't want their perks and egos disturbed by Jesus and His Messianic Kingdom. They believed their genealogical descendancy from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was a sufficient source of salvation.

Again Jesus makes a reference to the Messianic Kingdom, stating, "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". The Jewish leaders would have been aware of the prophecies speaking of this feast.

Isa 25:6-9 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. (7) On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; (8) he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. (9) In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

Isa 65:13-14 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. (14) My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.

Jesus's reference to a gathering from the east and the west is a reoccurring detail throughout scripture.

Psa 107:2-3 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story-- those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, (3) those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Isa 43:5-6 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. (6) I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth--

Isa 49:12 See, they will come from afar-- some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan."

Mat 24:30-31 "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (31) And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

While some will be gathered in and accepted in the Kingdom, some will be rejected and thrown out. Those being thrown out are those that believed that they would be allowed entry into the Kingdom by virtue of being sons of the Patriarchs while rejecting the Messiah Jesus. A "place of weeping and gnashing of teeth" is a common reference to hell.

Because of the centurion's faith, Jesus healed the servant instantly at that moment.

Matthew 8:14-17 - Jesus Heals and Delivers Many

Mat 8:14-15 When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. (15) He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. (16) When 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. (17) This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases."

After healing the centurion's servant, Jesus arrives at Peter's house, where Peter's mother-in-Law lay sick. Having compassion on her, Jesus reaches out and heals her. Her healing was instantaneous and complete, allowing her to immediately get up and begin serving the guests she had in her house.

Many were brought to Jesus in the evening so that He could heal them, and He drove out evil spirits and brought healing to all of the sick. It is worth noting that there is a distinction between illness and demon possession. Illness is a result of our fallen world while demon possession is a result of sin. Demons were told not to reveal the identity of Jesus, not something you would do with an illness.

Matthew points out that all this healing and delivering ministry of Christ was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53.

Isa 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Matthew 8:18-22 - The Cost of Following Jesus

Mat 8:18-22 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. (19) Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." (20) Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (21) Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." (22) But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

Among the religious leaders investigating the ministry of Jesus, was one who believed, and offered to follow Jesus. Jesus, instead of welcoming him into the circle of disciples instructs him in the difficulty he would encounter should he do this. Jesus was not rejecting the man, but rather was just informing him of difficulties. It is possible the man became a follower, and perhaps may have been one of the 70 sent out as detailed in Luke chapter 10.

Luk 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

Another man came to Jesus but seemed more hesitant. Rather than dropping everything to follow Jesus, the man wanted to go take care of business. In this case, scripture does not indicate whether of not the mans father was already dead or not, but either way, the man was demonstrating a priority of family matters above kingdom matters.

Jesus's statement stating in hyperbole that the dead should bury the dead is understood as "let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead". The point again being that kingdom matters should take priority over earthly matters.

Matthew 8:23-27 - Jesus Calms the Storm

Mat 8:23-27 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. (24) Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. (25) The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" (26) He 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. (27) The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

The revelation to the people of who Jesus is continues. Through many healings Jesus is showing that He is indeed the King of the Messianic Kingdom. Slowly, the people are coming to this realization.

The disciples receive a revelation now and are amazed that Jesus calmed the storm. "What kind of man is this"? they asked. They too were beginning to realize that this Jesus could be the Messiah.

Jesus questioned the disciples faith, saying they had "little faith" because of their fear of the storm.

How is our faith? Are we moved by the storms of life?

Remember this storm from a few weeks ago?

Mat 7:24-27 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (25) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (26) But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (27) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

The Psalmist speaks of storms.

Psa 55:5-9 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. (6) I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. (7) I would flee far away and stay in the desert; (8) I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm." (9) Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city.

Matthew 8:28-34 - Jesus Heals Two Men With Demons

Mat 8:28-34 When 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?" (30) Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. (31) The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs." (32) He 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. (33) Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. (34) Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

The man (men) saw Jesus, ran to Him, and shouted at the top of his voice. What do we find according to this passage?

Mar 5:6-7 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. (7) He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God's name don't torture me!"

Luk 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!"

We find that the demons believe that Jesus is unquestionably the Son of God. "Son of God" is the Messianic title for Jesus. The title reflected the divinity and Kingship of Jesus, and while the people were just beginning to figure this out, the demons were well aware of who Jesus was.

The demons in the man questioned Jesus about the time for their torture. They are expecting this time to arrive, but arrive in the future. The demon in the man implored Jesus not to torture them before their time. That time is the final judgment at the end of the Messianic Kingdom. Satan and his demons, along with the AntiChrist and the False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire. This is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment where all unbelievers are judged and see the same fate.

Rev 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

So the "day of their torment" had not yet arrived, and instead, the demons are cast into a herd of pigs. These demons who brutally tormented those they possessed where cowards in front of Jesus and their coming torment.

Jesus dealt with the demons with brevity. "Go". How sure are we of our words when dealing with spiritual matters?

The area this event occurred in was predominantly Gentile. Their reaction to this event was to ask Jesus to go somewhere else. They were not concerned with the men, nor did they rejoice that they were freed, rather, they were concerned about their livelihood and the loss of their pigs.

They may have also been fearful that this man Jesus might just be a more powerful demon than those Jesus cast out.

No comments:

Post a Comment