Saturday, May 11, 2024

2024.05.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 8:1–17

Read Matthew 8:1–17

Questions from the Scripture text: From where did Jesus come down (Matthew 8:1)? Who followed Him? Who came in Matthew 8:2? What did he do? What did he say? What did Jesus do (Matthew 8:3)? What did Jesus say? With what result? How quickly? What did Jesus tell him not to do (Matthew 8:4)? Where did Jesus tell him to go? To show himself to whom? And to offer what? For what purpose? Where did Jesus enter in Matthew 8:5? Who comes to Him? What does the centurion do? What does he tell Him about (Matthew 8:6)? What does Jesus say that He will do (Matthew 8:7)? How does the centurion respond about himself (Matthew 8:8)? What does he ask instead? What does he say will happen? What is the centurion under (Matthew 8:9)? What does being under authority do for his words, with those who are under his own authority? How does Jesus react in Matthew 8:10? To whom does He speak? What does He say that He has not found? Where? From where does He say many will come (Matthew 8:11)? With whom does He say they will sit down? Where? But about whom does He speak in Matthew 8:12? Where will they be sent? What will happen there? Now to whom does Jesus finally speak in Matthew 8:13? What does He tell him to do? What does HE tell him has happened? What does the evangelist say happened? At what time? Where did Jesus come in Matthew 8:14? What did He see? What did He do (Matthew 8:15)? What did the fever do? What did she do? What time of day came in Matthew 8:16? Whom did they bring to Him? What did He do? How? What else did He do? To how many? Why does Matthew 8:17 say this happened? Whose prophecy did it fulfill? What, specifically, had He prophesied (cf. Isaiah 53:4)?

How did Jesus attest to Himself? Matthew 8:1–17 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these seventeen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Jesus attested to Himself by miraculous healings.

Jesus’s willingness and power to cleanse, Matthew 8:1-4. Matthew follows the telling of the sermon with the telling of three miracles. Jesus’s works were no less impressive than His words. He comes back down from preaching to the few, and once again great multitudes follow Him (Matthew 8:1). But it is a leper that the text zooms in upon. He begins by worshiping the One that he already knows to be willing and able. He is so deferential to Christ as not even to ask directly for cleansing, simply expressing his confidence that Jesus’s own willingness will surely decide the matter, because of how powerful Jesus is. This is a great example to us. Let us come to Jesus especially with worship. Let us speak to Him primarily of the glorious truth about Himself!

Jesus responds not only by willingness and power, but compassion. Who knows how long it had been since this man felt human touch? But Jesus touches him in Matthew 8:3. And Jesus assigns him a special task. He wishes for the man not to spread the Word generally—already there are great multitudes following Him. Instead, He gives this man the specific mission of being a testimony to the priests. He has compassion even for the priests!

Jesus’s authority and exclusivity, Matthew 8:5-13. The incident with the centurion brings Jesus’s authority to light. The centurion recognizes that it comes from a great source indeed. Notice that the centurion does not think that his soldiers hear him so much because he is in authority, but because he is under authority. When he gives a soldier a command, the empire gives that soldier a command. He recognizes this about Christ with respect to the whole of creation and providence; Jesus’s authority is the authority of God. 

Matthew 8:10 presents a marvel: Jesus marveled! The core of His response is to His followers about believers and their faith. The same God Who had given faith to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was now giving great faith to people from the nations (Matthew 8:11). But among those who are covenant children, many will perish for the lack of this faith (Matthew 8:10b, Matthew 8:12). Visible covenant membership cannot save. Only Jesus can save, and therefore only faith in Him can give salvation. He mentions the faith one more time, in telling the centurion that what he believed is granted (Matthew 8:13).

Jesus’s taking our infirmities and sicknesses, Matthew 8:14-17. At Peter’s mother-in-law’s house, the Lord Jesus again heals with just a touch in Matthew 8:15, and just a word in Matthew 8:16. The diseases that are consequences of the fall, and works of devils, flee before Him. This is because He had come not only to identify with us and suffer like us, but to remove our suffering. Those who are healed here are not necessarily saved, but the evangelist tells us that His healing them was testifying that He is the One of Whom Isaiah spoke in Isaiah 53. For the permanent healing and salvation of those who suffer on account of the fall, it will cost the Lord Jesus the offering of His soul unto the suffering of God’s wrath on the cross. The authority of His sermon, and the sure efficacy of His forthcoming sacrifice, are attested by the healings that the Spirit tells us about here. 

Whatever you suffer in body or soul, the Lord Jesus is willing, powerful, and compassionate to heal you. Salvation is in Him alone, and the salvation in Him is complete. Trust in Him Who took our diseases!

What have you suffered, from which you have been healed? What are you suffering now? How can you know that you will be healed from all of it forever? Why is this only true for those who believe in Christ?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for taking our infirmities and sicknesses at the cost of the cross. Give us faith, forgive us our sins, and grant that we might testify of You to others, we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP30 “O LORD, I Will Exalt You” or TPH533 “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”

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