Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Matthew - Chapter 08 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. As Jesus came down the mountain, he was followed by large crowds.
    2. Suddenly a man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus. He said, "Lord, you have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to."
    3. Jesus put his hand on the man and said, "I want to! Now you are well." At once the man's leprosy disappeared.
    4. Jesus told him, "Don't tell anyone about this, but go and show the priest that you are well. Then take a gift to the temple just as Moses commanded, and everyone will know that you have been healed."
    5. When Jesus was going into the town of Capernaum, an army officer came up to him and said,
    6. "Lord, my servant is at home in such terrible pain that he can't even move."
    7. "I will go and heal him," Jesus replied.
    8. But the officer said, "Lord, I'm not good enough for you to come into my house. Just give the order, and my servant will get well.
    9. I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, 'Go!' and he goes. I can say to another, 'Come!' and he comes. I can say to my servant, 'Do this!' and he will do it."
    10. When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, "I tell you that in all of Israel I've never found anyone with this much faith!
    11. Many people will come from everywhere to enjoy the feast in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
    12. But the ones who should have been in the kingdom will be thrown out into the dark. They will cry and grit their teeth in pain."
    13. Then Jesus said to the officer, "You may go home now. Your faith has made it happen." Right then his servant was healed.
    14. Jesus went to the home of Peter, where he found that Peter's mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever.
    15. He took her by the hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and served Jesus a meal.
    16. That evening many people with demons in them were brought to Jesus. And with only a word he forced out the evil spirits and healed everyone who was sick.
    17. So God's promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said, "He healed our diseases and made us well."
    18. When Jesus saw the crowd, he went across Lake Galilee.
    19. A teacher of the Law of Moses came up to him and said, "Teacher, I'll go anywhere with you!"
    20. Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens, and birds have nests. But the Son of Man doesn't have a place to call his own."
    21. Another disciple said to Jesus, "Lord, let me wait till I bury my father."
    22. Jesus answered, "Come with me, and let the dead bury their dead."
    23. After Jesus left in a boat with his disciples,
    24. a terrible storm suddenly struck the lake, and waves started splashing into their boat. Jesus was sound asleep,
    25. so the disciples went over to him and woke him up. They said, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
    26. But Jesus replied, "Why are you so afraid? You surely don't have much faith." Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to calm down. And everything was calm.
    27. The men in the boat were amazed and said, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him."
    28. After Jesus had crossed the lake, he came to shore near the town of Gadara and started down the road. Two men with demons in them came to him from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one could travel that way.
    29. Suddenly they shouted, "Jesus, Son of God, what do you want with us? Have you come to punish us before our time?"
    30. Not far from there a large herd of pigs was feeding.
    31. So the demons begged Jesus, "If you force us out, please send us into those pigs!"
    32. Jesus told them to go, and they went out of the men and into the pigs. All at once the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
    33. The people taking care of the pigs ran to the town and told everything, especially what had happened to the two men.
    34. Everyone in town came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged him to leave their part of the country.

Matthew - Chapter 08

Entered: January 25, 2005

Entered: December 05, 2009
In this chapter Matthew is demonstrating Jesus' authority in several realms. The first is over the physical realm, healing people with various diseases. The example he used in the first four verses was the healing of a man with leprosy. Though the law of Moses prescribed an offering for cleansing that was required of those healed of leprosy, it was unheard of that anyone was ever healed of this disease. When Jesus healed the man he told him to go straight to the priest and present himself as healed from his leprosy. He was not to tell anyone else. By law, the priests were to examine him. They would need to determine that he truly had the disease and also that he truly was healed. Jesus' purpose in sending the man to the priest was that it be a testimony to them. They could not ignore the man, and maybe by examining his claim they would come to believe.

The second realm of authority Matthew pointed to was with Gentiles. A Roman centurion demonstrated even greater faith than Jesus had seen among the Jews when he asked Jesus to simply give the command and his servant would be healed. The man addressed Jesus as "Lord," recognizing He was a person of authority, and also recognizing that for a person of authority it was not necessary to be present for the healing to take place. A person of authority could simply give the command. A further teaching of this account made it clear that lineage was not the prerequisite for citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. The prerequisite is faith.

A third realm of authority shown in this chapter was over the spirit world. In particular, authority over demons, Satan's minions. This also showed His authority over Satan himself.  Two examples of Jesus' authority over demons are given. One in verses 16-22, and the other in verses 28-34.  The first example is just a passing comment. The cases of possession were evidently mild ones that caused no disturbance other than attracting the attention of the crowds. One whose attention it attracted was a scribe who expressed an interest in following Jesus. Evidently the scribe's motives were not true, though, which Jesus exposed by pointing out that He, the Son of Man, had no place to call home. If the scribe thought there would be glory in following this person who was becoming so popular, he needed to rethink that idea, and Jesus caused him to do. The second example of authority over demons, in verses 28-34, was more dramatic. If the religious leaders had difficulty in accepting Jesus' identity as the Messiah, the demons did not. They knew immediately who He was and addressed Him as the "Son of God" before He even spoke to them. They also knew they had no power over Jesus and were concerned that He would torment them. They did not want to be dis-embodied spirits and requested that Jesus allow them to enter a herd of pigs nearby instead, and Jesus obliged them. It should be noted that in every instance of scripture in which Jesus came into the presence of those possessed of demons, the demons feared His very presence. Neither do we need to fear Satan as long as we have Jesus' presence, His Spirit, in us.

The fourth realm of authority shown in this chapter was over nature. This realm may have been more awe inspiring than all the others. "What kind of man is this?" they asked, that, "even the winds and the sea obey Him!" Indeed! He was Immanuel, God with us. The One who created nature and all that is in it had no problem controlling it. He had spoken all these things into existence, He only had to speak again to calm the winds and the sea. In most instances the gospels do not follow up on such accounts to show how they affect the thinking of the disciples. But their thinking had to be impacted tremendously. They were undoubtedly storing up all these events in their memories and pondering their meanings.