12 November 2013

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 8

After the Sermon on the Mount, many people began following Jesus. He was making some radical statements and performing some miraculous signs to prove He was the promised Messiah...no wonder so many people wanted to follow Him!

But Jesus didn’t perform miracles just to get people to follow Him. His miracles demonstrated His divine power and authority. Jesus’ miracles also revealed spiritual truths. They showed that He has authority over bodies, souls and worlds.

At the beginning of Matthew 8, Jesus first heals a leper. Leprosy is a terrible disease. People who suffered from it also were subject to religious and social laws that forced them to live away from their families. The Jews saw this disease as a mark of God’s displeasure and as a punishment of sin.

In this story, a leper kneels before Jesus, acknowledging that He was God. Jesus touches the man, and immediately the leprosy disappears. This miracle is a picture of how Jesus cleanses us from sin. Jesus does not become sinful by touching us, but we become righteous by touching Him.

Next, Jesus heals a paralyzed servant. A centurion, who was a Gentile and a ranking officer in the Roman army, came to Jesus asking Him to heal his ailing servant. The centurion had great faith and knew Jesus only had to speak a word for his servant to be healed. He knew that when Jesus spoke it was God speaking. Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith and healed his servant from a great distance.

Another way Jesus shows His authority over disease is by healing Peter’s mother-in-law. She is confined to her bed and is sick with a fever. Women did not have a high position in society at this time, yet Jesus noticed Peter’s mother-in-law and healed her completely. To show her appreciation, she immediately got up and served Jesus.

The healing of our bodies is wonderful, but the healing of our sinful souls is even more wonderful. Jesus’ authority over sickness points to His authority over sin.

Jesus asks for a commitment to following Him. Next, He challenges two men who want to follow Him. The first man wanted to make a commitment without understanding the cost. He was too quick to promise. He was not willing to make a sacrifice for Jesus.

The second man said he would follow Jesus after he buried his father. The man’s father probably was still alive because people were buried on the day they died. The man wanted to take care of family obligations before he served Jesus. This man was too slow to perform.

Jesus calls us to have a genuine faith. True disciples follow Jesus wherever He goes. Following Jesus is not always comfortable. Jesus doesn’t just want me to be happy, comfortable and fulfilled. He wants to challenge my faith in Him.

Next Jesus tells His disciples to get in a boat. He knew a storm was coming. As Jesus was sleeping, the storm hits. The disciples were afraid. They woke up Jesus and asked Him to save them. With just a word, Jesus stopped the storm.

The disciples were in the middle of God’s will, yet the storm still came. But Jesus was with them. Satan would love to capsize our faith, but Jesus is in the storm with us.

When they reached the other side of the lake, two demon-possessed men approach Jesus. They were violent, naked and threatening to other people. They knew who Jesus was and called Him the Son of God. Jesus casts the demons into pigs. And the pigs run off a cliff. This miracle should have drawn the people to Jesus. But instead the people reject Jesus and beg Him to leave their village.

Things to Think About

  • What am I willing to sacrifice to follow Christ?
  • Where is God testing my faith to get me to follow Him more closely?
  • Will I focus on the storm or on the Savior who is with me in the storm?
  • Only Jesus has the power to completely restore broken lives.

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