Welcome back to another fantastic Bible Study on Matthew chapter 8. We have been going through the book of Matthew searching the scripture for treasures. We have found many things in this study so far. Right now we are going to focus on the more spiritual side of things. I feel right now it is needed to remember the true consequences of what is happening right now. So without further floundering, lets just get into the word.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
8 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.Matthew 8:1 KJV
Remember we were just talking about Jesus sermon on the mount. So now he has left the mountain. He most likely was preaching there a number of months. So do not be confused with this being one sermon on the mountain. There were most likely several and the points in the Bible were comprised of the sermons. I also want you to note that there was a number of people following Jesus. That is a point we will come back to later.
2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped 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.Matthew 8:2-3 KJV
Now notice how Jesus reacted to this particular leper. He cleansed this nameless man. So why did Jesus heal this man without any questions. If you noticed he saw him as not a lord but Lord. This is not anything he announced yet. Rather he made it a point to conceal who he really was at this time. Yet, this name knew him as Lord.
Leprosy is a bacterial disorder. It causes lesions and boils to form on the skin. It can even effect the eyes and nerves of a person. Advanced stages of leprosy look absolutely awful. Naturally no one quite knew how leprosy in the ancient world. There were some that had an idea of it being transmitted by touch. So they were considered unclean, sinful. Many actually believe it was in fact caused by some grievous sin against God, the gods if you were a gentile.
The idea of Jesus touching this man is anathema to the character of Jesus from a human understanding. A clean thing cannot touch something dirty or else it is not clean anymore. Jesus demonstrates to us however, he is like soap. He cleanses this name irregardless of any issues he had. Why? Because he called him Lord not only with his lips, but by his heart as well.
We too are in worse condition than a man with leprosy. We have a genetic disease in us called Sin. We too must be purged by Christ. We have defeated leprosy in our modern era but Sin is another story. For that only God is the cure.
4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.Matthew 8:4 KJV
Now this might seem like an odd request of Jesus. However this is required by the law. Leviticus 14 goes over this in great detail. Now having him do this also serves another purpose. This is Jesus revealing that God is in fact among them. A priest will surely recognize the workings of God. The fact he is to go straight to the priests suggests that they know of his condition. It also suggests that he is indeed cured as a leper in the temple courts it a big no no.
The Faith Of A Centurion
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.
There is another account of this where I go into more detail however for our purposes here I want to point out the centurion is a gentile. He would have no reason to approach Jesus in regards to his servant yet, he believes in him. The word servant also is something to make a little bit of huff about. It literally means boy or young boy. So this is a child we are talking about. Not an adult as some would suggest to you.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
Jesus does not even hesitate. He goes immediately to heal this boy. This however, is also very bad, Jesus is heading to a gentiles home. That is unclean for a rabbi to do. It goes to show what is sacred is not always what we believe to be sacred.
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.
Now this centurion not only once again sees him as Lord, acknowledging his authority, but he goes on to point out his own authority showing that he understands the nuances of what Jesus is doing. He does not want Jesus to defile himself by going under his roof. He recognizes that Jesus command alone could cure the boy.
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.
Jesus points out to the Hebrews in the area that this man gets exactly who he is. He in a way rebukes the people of Israel for not knowing who he is.
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.
There is a distinction being made here for the people of Israel and the gentiles. Some will go into heaven and others will go into the outer darkness. The outer darkness is not necessarily hell but it is clearly a place you don’t want to go. I think of the verse about the wall, and the people crying out to Jesus saying Lord Lord and Jesus turns them away. I am assuming those people will be forced out into that very same outer darkness.
Yet here is the great news. Jesus predicts that even us gentiles are saved through him. We will sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven, meaning we will indeed be saved.
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.
Most likely the child was well looked upon by the people. The condition most likely lasted him quiet a while. So when Jesus came along the Centurion must have heard rumors of his abilities by this time. Remember he was in the mountains for a while. People had to be testifying of him or else how did the Centurion know? It also suggests he had understanding of the Jewish messiah. The fact that he knew him as Lord tells you that. He was not the ordinary Centurion.
Jesus Heals Many
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.
Take note, Peter was married. Catholics I know you love that don’t you. I am sorry to jab that one so hard and twist it on the way out, but your eyes need to be opened.
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.
It would appear this is not a direct quote from scripture but I believe this is what is being referenced here.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.Isaiah 53:4
Surely Christ was giving us an allusion as to what was coming for him. For us we can now look back and know what was planned for him. It is sad that the people following Jesus and also the apostles could not see what was to come. However Gods plans are the great mysteries of our existence. Only he knows the true nature of his plans. Even now there are things we will not understand. It is by Him alone that chooses to reveal the things of Him to us.
The Cost Of Following Jesus
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
Jesus is clearly not having this multitude of people following him. Jesus literally gets on a boat and crosses the sea traveling to the other side. For some reason Jesus did not want to have crowds of people around him. He is troubled by them it seems. I believe the real reason is it simply was not in God’s plan and it would slow him down. He was on a mission and he had appointed times for all things. He has to be in the right place at the exact right time.
19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
The term master here is didaskale (διδάσκαλε), in our modern language that would be like calling someone a Teacher. Now we know from Luke that his heart was not really in this. He wanted to follow Jesus but really was not into the the immediacy of his job. Jesus response was perfect.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
Basically Jesus is saying he is going out and regardless of the living situation or the hunger or any of the conveniences of life, he will go without any of them. These people clearly did not understand the urgency of Christs mission because this is what another man asks next.
21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
So basically, he is asking Jesus to wait because he needs to bury his father. Now we do not know if his father is dead or not. He very well could be asking if he could wait for his father to die! I lean to the latter because of the speed at which people bury their dead.
22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
Now, Jesus clearly is not for waiting. Once again this is a testament to the urgency of his mission. He had places to be and a short time to do it.
This is something to remember. It is not important what happens to the body after death. It is not the person, just the vessel which carries them. Once the spirit has left a person, they are no longer that person. It is an issue of the world now. Let the spiritually dead, bury their dead. That is not to say don’t bury your dead but don’t give them some extravagant funeral. Its pointless. It will not bring them back either. Bury them and be done with it.
Jesus Calms A Storm
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
I believe these kinds of storms in the Bible are supernatural. These guys are fishermen. They are familiar with these storms. The Galilean sea is prone to random storms out of nowhere. However there reaction is different as seen below.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Now they came to Jesus and awoke him. They know how to deal with this sort of thing. Why didn’t they handle it? It was too extreme for them to handle. They thought for sure they were going to die. In fact it was described as a tempest. Seismos (σεισμὸς) a storm, or commotion, or even a great shaking. This was not a normal storm.
Christ when he was awoken, seems almost disturbed by them. The reason for his annoyance is because Jesus said they were going to the other side. They should have trusted him but clearly the men did not know exactly who he was yet.
He rebukes the winds and the sea. What is he rebuking? I believe that they were dealing with demons or fallen angels or unclean spirits who were working evil. Now maybe he rebuked nature, but that would defy what we know about nature. Then again he is God after all. Both are plausible but you will notice a clear motif even from Genesis about evil being in the sea.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Now you have an argument for Jesus rebuking nature here. They did not notice any spirits. However would they?
Jesus Heals Two Men With Demons
28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Bible scholars are divided by this verse. Many of them suggest that since they crossed the sea the other incidents mention by Mark and Luke also speak of this man. While others say they were separate incidents. I am of the belief that they were separate incidents. They do not describe the same thing. Certain details of the events leads me to this ideal.
Now before we continue we must deal with the difference between a demon and a fallen angel and an unclean spirit. These are all different entities. Unclean spirits are spirits for whatever reason are evil. I am not entirely sure when they fell.
Fallen angels are very powerful beings able to fight the angels of God. Lucifer or Satan is one such fallen angel. Chief among them. Michael never speaks an ill word to Lucifer and does not question his power. Clearly he and the fallen angels retain some of the powers they had when they were angels of God.
This leads us to demons. The are the children or humans and fallen angels, Nephilim and Rephaim. The technology used to create them is unknown. However by some method by it physical, supernatural, or by some unknown method they were born as giants. They are supposedly ate people for lack of food. When they died there spirits we demons. The angelic and human nature of there soul caused them to be earthbound. I would imagine this would be a rather terrible predicament. They ALWAYS seek embodiment. This means they do not have bodies of there own. In the case of the Rephaim they were the living dead. By now there bodies have long been decayed. There is a rant about technology being used to embody hosting demonic spirits but ill spare you.
Now clearly these men who were possessed where enjoying themselves some tombs. They were among the dead. It is not clear why they chose this location. They would not allow others into this area. Which means that these demons are territorial.
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
These demons recognized who Jesus was immediately. They are in fact worried that Jesus came to torment them. See these demons know there fate. They are going to suffer eternal punishment. They very knowledgeable about that time. So, there reaction seems to be like Oh crap, Jesus has come to torment us early!
Now they ask to go into the swine. Why? There are many thoughts but all of them are wanting in my opinion. The fact of the matter is Jesus permits it. The swine sensing the demons entering them they ran away, or did the demons run into the sea? Ether way they entered the sea and drowned. This is strange for a number of things. What exactly is with the sea and demonic entities? I don’t have a clue.
33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
This is an odd thing too and one of those details why I believe they are different cases. I believe we have an unrecorded case. One of the spirits is clearly the focus of this passage. The other I don’t think the book records.