The Man With Leprosy
8:2-4pp — Mk 1:40-44; Lk 5:12-14
1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosycame 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 cured 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.”
The Faith of the Centurion
8:5-13pp — Lk 7:1-10
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will go 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.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, 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.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
Jesus Heals Many
8:14-16pp — Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-41
14 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 carried our diseases.”
Matthew is the book of the King.
Up to now, we have seen the PERSON of this King.
- Chp 1: Genealogy
- Chp 2: Birth
- Chp 3: Baptism
- Chp 4: Temptation
- Chp 5-7: His Principles
- Chp 8-9: His Power (here we can see 10 miracles of Jesus – mostly healings – physical/spiritual)
It is very natural – what good are his credentials/principles – if he doesn’t have the power to accomplish his will.
Why did Jesus perform miracles?
- Jesus wants to meet human needs. God is good. He is conscious about our temporal well-being – not only our eternal joy/happiness/peace.
- He wanted to prove his claim as Messiah.
- He was fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah 53:4 “He took up our iniquities and carried our sorrows.”
- He was revealing the saving truth. These miracles are sermons IN ACTION.
Today, in the reading, he healed many.
- Gentile’s servant
- A woman (mother-in-law of Peter)
All of these are “outcasts” according to the Pharisees. (Many prayed at that time, “I give thanks to God that I’m a MAN, I’m a JEW, I’m FREE – and not those others.”)
Healed the leper
- In Chapter 5, when he saw many crowds, he taught them on the mountain side.
- In Chapter 8, he came down from that same mountain – still large crowds followed him.
In that situation, a leper came and said, “Lord, heal me.” Jesus touched him and healed him.
In the ancient world, leprosy was the most terrible disease of that time (kind of like skin cancer – it decays all parts of the body progressively – every part loses feeling, parts fall off, eyes become staring eyes, the voice becomes hoarse).
Long ago, Korea had lepers. There was a saying, “If a leper eats a baby, he will be healed.” So, if a leper appeared in a village, all the people cursed him, closed their doors and windows, and watched carefully. They treated lepers worse than animals, as if they were dead. They were completely separated and banished from ALL society. They could never participate in any social or religious activities. And if they walked on the street, they had to yell, “I’m unclean! Don’t come near me!”
From this story, we need to note that the leper approached Jesus.
1. This man came to Jesus will courage, passion, enthusiasm, zeal, desperation.
There were MANY people there – he was FORBIDDEN to go. It was possible for the people to riot against him and kill him. But he wanted to become a person again so badly, to be reunited with his family/home, he needed to approach Jesus.
Also, in this sinful, adulterous generation, we need passion and courage to approach Jesus.
2. This man came with confidence, assurance, faith, trusting.
IF Jesus willed, he could make him clean. He had confidence that Jesus would accept him as he was, even though his own family members cast him out. Jesus could do something no one else could do.
In our lives, there is no uncurable, unforgivable thing before Jesus.
3. He came in humility, with a broken heart.
He didn’t ask directly, he said, “IF you are willing…” This means, “I have no right to ask you, but have pity on me.” In your divine condescension, you will give me your grace.
Even today, God gives grace to the humble, but rejects the proud and arrogant.
4. He came with reverence and worship in his heart.
He knelt before Jesus. Note that word. KNELT. Greek = proscunane (prostrate) – translated as “kneeling” and “worship”. In the NIV, and ESV, this is “knelt” but KJV, NASB translate as “worship”. Living Bible = “knelt AND worshiped”. In this translation, Living Bible is the best. He felt that he was in the presence of God.
Do you feel you are in the presence of God?
- Jesus reached out and TOUCHED him, and cleansed him. He could have done it without touching him. We know everyone shunned him, but Jesus touched him in unclean robes.
- Jesus BECAME unclean willingly (Leviticus…)
- Jesus took the uncleanness from his body into himself. This is Jesus’ sermon in action. Leprosy = sin, sin is deeper than leprosy. Both spread, defile, isolate. Both bring death in the end.
- Jesus came down from heaven to earth and became a man and touched our sinful souls and took our sin upon him. Isaiah 53:6? “We all have gone astray…”
- 2 Corithians 5:21? “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us….”
- 1 Peter 4:22? “Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to him…”
When Jesus touched him, whole, perfect, healing happened. Salvation is like this. If we are saved really, truly, we must obviously continually work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. But the INITIAL salvation happens only by his power, immediately, wholly, perfectly.
Question to yourself: Do you believe, think that even today, Jesus is touched, moved, or impressed by our great faith? I hope so.
Centurion is an officer of 100 soldiers in the Roman army at that time. From a human perspective, it was very difficult for him to come to Jesus. He was a fighter, a Gentile. Jesus was a man of peace, a Jew. At that time, the Jews hated the Romans, and thought of them as unclean.
This man came, not for himself, nor family members, but for his servant – maybe his slave.
Jesus said, “Yes, I’ll go.”
Centurion was probably shocked by his quick response. He knew the principle of authority through experience – so he knew Jesus had authority to heal with a word.
Jesus honored his faith and praised his faith highly. “Many will come to the feast in the kingdom of heaven, but the subjects will be cast out into hell.”
This means “I am for EVERYBODY.” There is no difference from Jews and Gentiles. Jews with NO faith will be rejected. Gentiles WITH faith will be accepted.
From this story we can see many lessons, but the most important lesson = we must understand and apply the principle of authority and the chain of command.
TRUE authority = nothing to do with physical distance, nor physical presence.
In the world, Brazil is the farthest country from Korea – but the Korean ambassador is under the authority of the Korean President. If the President wants something, she need only call. This is true in the physical world, but in the spiritual world, it is MORE.
The greater the leader, the less necessary his presence to fulfill his will. (Good for Twitter)
True authority comes out from authority. Authority comes from “author”. Jesus is the author of authority.
God created the heavens and the earth with just a word. God made something out of nothing. Man makes nothing out of nothing. Only God has the authority.
When God created Adam, he gave Adam ALL authority over Creation. When Adam disobeyed the authority of God, immediately he lost all authority over Creation.
Do you want authority over your children, students, etc? The more we obey the authority of Jesus, the more authority we will be given. The less we obey the authority of Jesus, the less authority we will be given.
If you obey the authority of Jesus, you will obey his word and act on it.
This is true faith by which Jesus will be astonished and surprised.
Peter’s mother-in-law probably had a type of malaria at that time.
If we are healed by Jesus, we must wait on him.
That is why church is called a “worship SERVICE”.
From this passage, Jesus has healed all kinds of diseases and all kinds of humans. He is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. Even still today, his authority and power over all diseases, disabilities, mentalities is available. Do you believe? It will be done as you believe.
Put your trust in Jesus and act on his word, and Jesus will do his work in us.
May God bless us with his word.