Friday, November 11, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 8:1-13 - Healing Leper, Centurions Servant

 by Stan Feldsine (

In the preceding chapters, we have the birth of the King, the genealogy verifying Jesus's ancestry in line to the throne, Messianic prophecies identifying Jesus as Messiah, and John and Jesus proclaiming that the Kingdom was at hand. In Jesus' first public teaching he presents the character and standards for the Kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount, followed by the presentation of the King to the people authenticated with miracles of healing and deliverance.

Matthew 8:1-4 - Jesus Cleanses a Leper

As Jesus made His way down the mountainside He performs several healings, starting with a leper. The leper bowed to Jesus in worship and faith, believing Jesus COULD heal him if He were WILLING (Mat 4:23-25). Jesus was willing and healed him immediately. Jesus did not consider leprosy an indicator of sin but only uncleanness.

Jesus told the man not to tell anyone of the healing but to go and make an offering at the temple according to the law (Lev 14:1-4). The man began telling everyone about what had happened anyway, resulting in Jesus being unable to enter towns openly (Mar 1:44-45). 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, to prevent the crowds from inundating Jesus or perhaps turning against Him.

The healing of the man with leprosy was a precedent, never before had their ever been a case of someone with leprosy being healed. Till now there was no indication that they believed Jesus to be the coming Messiah, only that He taught with authority and healed. They wondered by what authority Jesus spoke these things (Mat 7:28-29). The healing of the leper though was another matter. Could Jesus actually be the Messiah? The Sanhedrin and the Pharisees had not been paying much attention to Jesus and the healed leper caused them to start an investigation into Jesus and His teachings (Luk 5:17).

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

Luke records that the centurion 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). The centurion did consider himself worth of having Jesus troubled to 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).

Matthew 8:10-13 – Faith and the Kingdom

The centurion demonstrated significant faith 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, comfortable in their religion, perks and egos. They believed their genealogical ancestry of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was sufficient for salvation. Speaking of them, Jesus makes a reference to the feast in 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, while some will be thrown out". The Jewish leaders would have been aware of the prophecies speaking of this feast (Isa 25:6-9, Isa 65:13-14). Jesus's reference to a gathering from the east and the west is a reoccurring detail throughout scripture (Psa 107:2-3, Isa 43:5-6, Isa 49:12, Mat 24:30-31). 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.

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