Thursday, April 3, 2014

Matthew 8

1When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
·         After the sermon on the mount the great crowds began to follow and love His teachings

2And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
·         This is Matthew’s first account of a miracle, and in this the man comes and says ‘if you want, you can heal me.’ Jesus statement shows that He is also willing to save, not just able. God is willing.

3Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
·         Jesus touched the leper to heal him

4And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
·         Jesus also wanted the even to keep quiet so as not to overwhelm His ministry. The man went and blabbed, see Mark 1:45, and as a result Jesus could not enter the cities because everyone came to Him wanted to be healed rather than to hear the words of life.
·         Jesus withdrew at this point to the wilderness to wait for the fervor to die down.
·         He commanded the law to be followed from Lev 14:4-7 as a testimony to the priests that the man was cured so they would sign off on him.

5Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
·         Luke (7:3) points out that the Gentile didn’t feel worthy, and did not do this personally. He asked the other Jews and they talked him up to Jesus making him look like a worthy candidate for healing. They said he loves our nation and has built a synagogue for us
·         The servant was both paralyzed and in pain, actually on the verge of death, and the man was compassionate enough to ask Jesus, persisting even after the popularity died down.

7And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
·         Here is another remarkable thing, that Jesus deigns to listen to the request, and go to the house.
·         For the sake of the crowd and those around Him mainly it seems

8The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
·         A Jew going into the house of a gentile defiled him. The centurion did not want Jesus to become polluted, and reasoned that if He could heal with physical presence then He could heal without it too.
·         A word is enough from God to completely heal, and the centurion grasped this uniquely, being in the position of commanding his 100 men by words.
·         I am unworthy and I am a man under authority are both striking examples of humility. The man again sent friends not wanting to have Jesus suffer from being associated with a Gentile.

9For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
·         He understands that words are important because he does what others say, and because others do what he says. So since Jesus is supreme all He needs to do is tell someone to go do something and it’s as good as done.  I take ‘under authority’ to mean ‘under God’s authority’
·         He never intended to have Jesus walk, he only wanted to ask if Jesus would speak

10When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
·         This is the hint that the gospel is going to go out to the Gentiles.
·         Only one thing did Jesus marvel at, or despair at: faith. The stubborn hard hearted rejection of Him seemed to surprise Jesus, and the pure, humble trust here seems also to have amazed Him.

11And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
·         Jesus is here talking about the Gentiles coming from all directions, just like what was prophesied in Mal 1:11 or Is 59:19, for example. This reminds us of Naaman who was an honorable soldier who became a believer after healing.
·         The sons of the kingdom refer to the Jews who would not believe, who were the bloodline of Abraham. This is exactly opposite of what the prevailing notion was, that heaven would be a Jewish only affair.
·         Instead they get weeping and gnashing of teeth, which is an expression of anger and lamentation. Hell will be full of anger and sorrow, as opposed to heaven which will be of peace and no longer any crying.

13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
·         When the servant returned home he found the other well, and they looked into it and found that it was when Jesus spoke that he was healed.

14Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever.
·         Peters mother in law was healed by Jesus. It could be the same day and Peter offered that they go back to his house, and while there Jesus had overwhelming compassion on this woman and decided to heal her.

15So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.
·         Mark tell us that Jesus rebuked the high fever, and this happened after they came out of the synagogue.

16When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:   “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”
·         This comes from Isaiah 53:4. This is talking about those who had physical problems and were healed by Jesus
·         There was not much rest, they came at all times of the day and night to be healed

18And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side.
·         Jesus wasn’t really interested in healing the whole time, he came to teach.

19Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
·         Perhaps this disciple came to Him and was hoping to get rich

21Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
·         Let me go and bury my father is an expression similar to our expression of ‘put it to rest.’ The man wanted to return and put some things in order like wait until his father dies and collect an inheritance and straighten out his property, then come back and follow Jesus.
·         They buried a man the same day, so if he was really dead, they wouldn’t be having this conversation.
·         He is told instead that there is no time for that, let the mundane details be worked out by someone else, you come and seize life while you can. Those who are dead in their sins and transgressions will see to putting things to rest.
·         This was one of His disciples who balked at going into the boat across the water. Perhaps he did not want to go among the Gentiles to work there and had an excuse.

23Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.
·         Jesus leads them into the storm.
·         Again His humanity. Being tired and worn out Jesus fell asleep. On a pillow, on the back of the boat, see Peter’s notes in Mark 4:38.
·         Apparently there was a number of other little boats with them, (Mark 4:36), theirs was sinking (Mk 4:37)

25Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
·         It probably was a bad situation when they have to wake Him since they are experienced fishermen.
·         They cry out that He should save them because they are at this moment about to die, it’s not if they are going to die, it’s  a certainty that they will be lost.

26But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
·         Their faith wasn’t strong enough to believe that Jesus wasn’t going to die on that boat.
·         The reproof comes before the rebuke of the sea. First He attends to them, then He attends to the elements.

Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
·         They didn’t know what manner of man could rebuke the sea. Even Elijah who called down fire had to ask for it. This man just speaks it from His own authority
·         There was not just a calm, there was a great calm

28When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.
·         Luke points out that one of the men was from the city, likely indicating he had a prominent position there
·         This place has been found, with the ancient tombs and the steep sloping ground into the water, midway on the eastern shore.
·         The other accounts have the region Jesus was in, Matthew gives the town.
·         The tombs (just like what Jesus was buried in) were caves or cut into the rock. They were also inhabited by robbers. Jesus was having them pass through just so they could fix this man.

29And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
·         They were trying to hide out there, content to ruin the man. They tortured, and could think of no other reason Jesus would come than to do the same.
·         They fall down before Him, recognizing who He was. He then asks their name. Matthew omits these more mundane details to focus more strongly on what was really happening: Jesus as the authority was rebuking the evil spirits.
·         They freely admit there is a time of judgment coming, and are only going to live for the now nonetheless. In this way demons seem to be like people.

30Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding.
·         Peter says there were 2,000 swine, which means the region must have fed a lot of nearby Gentile towns. Probably over a far hill they could see some swine feeding.

31So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”
·         Rather than go to hell they wanted to hide in the pigs longer. They had been hiding from Jesus and wanted to continue to do so.

32And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
·         The farmers lost all their money in those pigs when they perished, which is an interesting story.
·         This just makes me have more questions than answers. Why did the pigs not tolerate the demons? Did the demons just need to destroy things and they would take it where they could get it?

33Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
·         The story is immediately spread in the whole region that Jesus is here and working miracles.

34And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
·         MacArthur thinks that they were begging Him like what Peter did, depart from me for I’m a sinful man. I think this is what Luke substantiates in his account because it’s when they see the man in his right mind they are afraid. Again Matthew shortens to the key element in the story: Jesus is holy and powerful, and gets rejected by sinful men.
·         The man also goes and spreads the word about Jesus abroad in this region.

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