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Matthew 8:1-17

Jesus Our Healer

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • September 2, 2018

We are going to look at the first seventeen verses of Matthew 8 and discover the heart of our Savior for those who feel isolated, vulnerable, and desperate because they need His healing touch. Along the way, we will also learn what it means to have a faith that pleases Jesus.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Jesus Our Healer

Matthew 8:1-17

Introduction

ILLUS – A doctor’s prescription to save a man’s life

1.There is something about an illness, a sickness, or a disease that can unsettle the soul.

2.Once there is a diagnosis, the patient often feels isolated, vulnerable, and desperate.

3.Tonight, we are going to look at the first seventeen verses of Matthew 8 and discover the heart of our Savior for those who feel isolated, vulnerable, and desperate because they need His healing touch. Along the way, we will also learn what it means to have a faith that pleases Jesus.

Matthew 8:1-17

Context

1.In Matthew 8, we find Jesus in the northern end of the Sea of Galilee by His hometown of Capernaum.

2.He had just finished His Sermon on the Mount in which He told the people of Israel that to enter the kingdom of heaven, they must be transformed in the inner man, a transformation that happens when a person has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

3.After the Sermon on the Mount, we are told that the crowds were amazed by His teaching because “He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes”. (7:29) 

4.The events that unfolded next, demonstrated Jesus’ power and authority. He had spoken as one having authority, now Jesus revealed His power and authority over all of creation in Matthew 8-9.

5.There are ten miracles recorded in these chapters, each with powerful applications for our lives. We will focus on the first three this evening.

I. Jesus has the Authority to Make Us Clean

These verses record an amazing, yet touching event that has sparked much debate.

But Jesus explained the purpose behind what happened, so it’s essential for us to understand it too.

To understand what Jesus was referring to, we must first understand some things about leprosy.

A. Leprosy is a picture of sin

1. Leprosy was an incurable disease. Without divine intervention, those infected were sentenced to a lonely, torturous existence which ultimately led to their death.

2. Some forms of leprosy begin with little nodules that ulcerate and eventually produce a foul discharge. The eyebrows and hair fall out. The hands and feet ulcerate and eventually the whole body becomes a mass of leprous growths. The vocal cords also become infected so that one’s voice becomes hoarse. This form of leprosy lasts approximately nine years and ends in mental decay, a coma, followed by death.

Quote: “It’s doubtful that there is any disease that so completely reduces the human being in his body to so foul and hideous and repulsive a wreck.” (Dr. S. Lewis Johnson)

3.In Leviticus 13, we see that leprosy is a picture of what sin does to a person.

a.It goes deeper than the skin 3)

b.It spreads (7)

c.It defiles those infected (44-45)

d.It isolates one from God and man (46)

Those infected were not permitted to attend any of the prescribed feasts or sacrifices. They lived outside of the camp and whenever they came upon another person, they had to move away and shout, “Unclean! Unclean!”

e.Any defiled clothing was destroyed by fire (52)

4.Because of their sin, the nation of Israel was pictured as being defiled with leprosy.

Isaiah 1:5-6, Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil.

APPL – So leprosy is a picture of what sin has done to all of us. Spiritually speaking, we are all lepers in need of a supernatural intervention, a divine touch.

B. Jesus is willing and able to cleanse us

1.Perhaps the leper stood at distance when Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount and there was a spark of hope in his heart when he heard Jesus say, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

2.As Jesus came down from the mountain, the leper gained enough courage to ask, to seek, to knock. If Jesus was willing, he knew he would be healed.

3.So, this hideous, foul-smelling, despised creature bowed down in worship and called out to Jesus with a hoarse voice said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

4.Personally, I find what happens next to be one of the most moving interactions in the Bible for we are told that before Jesus spoke, Jesus touched the worshipping leper, a man who had not been touched since the priests had declared him unclean years earlier.

a.To touch a leper meant defilement.

b.Yet, Jesus touched the defiled one and was not defiled because all that Jesus touches is cleansed!

c.Then the leper heard the words from our Savior’s lips that ministered to his soul and changed his existence on earth for the rest of his life, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (3)

APPL“I am willing; be cleansed.” Here we see the heart of our Savior. Sin makes a mess of our lives. It defiles, it isolates, it destroys.

  • Often, we feel the need to clean up our own mess with the hope that we may somehow impress God enough that He will bless us.
  • But Jesus tells us to give Him our mess. We can’t really clean our mess up anyway.
  • And once we confess our need for His cleansing touch, we hear Him say, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Touching words that change our existence both now and for all eternity! 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

APPL – Unfortunately, there have been some who have wrongly interpreted Jesus’ words to mean that all people will be healed, making it the focal point of their “healing ministries”. In fact, they will go so far as to say that if a person is not healed it is due to sin in their life.

ILLUS – The death of my friend’s wife…

Does God heal today? Absolutely!

ILLUS – Praying over a man stricken with malaria

Does God always heal? No!

ILLUS – Paul’s thorn in the flesh

2 Corinthians 12:7, 9, For this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh… And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

2 Timothy 4:20, Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.

5. Verse 4 is the key to this passage. Jesus said to the leper after he was cleansed, “present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.”

a. God gave Israel a provision in the Law so that if a leper was healed he was to bring an offering before God.

Leviticus 14:1-7, Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest, and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp. Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper, then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed. The priest shall also give orders to slay the one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water. As for the live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over the running water. He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field.

b. This ceremony was a picture of what Jesus Christ did for us.

The sacrificed bird is a picture of Christ dying for us to cleanse us from our sin.

The sprinkling of the leper seven times is a picture of us being forgiven of our sin, completely justified before God.

The bird that was set free is a picture of Christ’s resurrection and the freedom we have in Christ to live now and forever with Him and for Him.

c. Unfortunately, this provision was never used in the history of Israel. So, you can imagine the uproar this would have caused when this man appeared before the priests at the Temple!

APPL – The cleansing of the leper was a testimony that Messiah had come. It is a testimony for us as well so that we may know that Jesus is the Christ, that we may place our faith in Him who cleanses us from the guilt and penalty that our sin deserves.

II. Jesus has the Authority Over All Sickness

  • The next account is equally amazing. 
  • A Roman centurion, a leader of 100 soldiers, came to Jesus because his servant, a boy, was paralyzed, in great pain, and about to die.
  • Slaves were considered property at that time. The fact that the centurion showed concern for his slave speaks volumes about this man’s character and view of human life!
  • In addition, Luke 7:4-5 tells us this centurion was respected by the Jews because he loved Israel and even built a synagogue for them.
  • Upon hearing the request, Jesus offered to come to the centurion’s home and heal his slave. (7)
  • The centurion’s response revealed that he had an amazing understanding not only of who Jesus is but also the reason Jesus had such great authority.

A. We must submit to Christ’s authority

1. He said, “I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority.” (8-9)

2. Note his humility. Though a Roman centurion occupying a conquered people, he recognized the greatness of Jesus.

3. Next, note his sensitivity. He knew that Jesus, a Jew, would be ceremonially defiled if He entered his home.

4.Finally, note his estimation of Jesus. He recognized that authority is critical because it determines what happens. “I say to my servant, ‘Go,’ and he goes.” (9)

ILLUS – Governor Herter and the chicken lady

APPL – The key then is for us to be under authority of Jesus.

  • But to truly be under authority is to do so with a willing heart.
  • If a person is only halfheartedly cooperating, we call that “passive rebellion.” God wants us to be under His authority with all of our hearts.

Isaiah 29:13, Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service,
but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote

B. We need the kind of faith that Jesus praises

1.“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.’” (10)

a.The word “marveled” or “amazed” is used only two times in the Gospels with reference to how Jesus felt about the response to His person and ministry.

b.Here Jesus praises the faith of the Gentile centurion.

c.But in Mark 6, we’re told that Jesus did not do many miracles in His childhood hometown of Nazareth because of their unbelief.

Mark 6:6, He was amazed at their lack of faith. (NIV)

2. What is the faith that Jesus praises?

a. Faith involves knowledge. It is an intellectual knowledge of the truth.

b. Faith includes acceptance, that one accepts the truth as being true.

c. Finally, faith means personal trust. It must be embraced personally.

3. This is biblical faith. This is the faith that pleases God because it looks at the facts, acknowledges the truth as being true, and then trusts wholeheartedly, unreservedly in that truth so that the truth is applied to one’s life and changes one’s heart, mind, and soul.

Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

4.Jesus declared that this Gentile centurion would be the first of many to enter the kingdom of heaven when He prophesied that “many shall come from the east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” but “the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness” because of their unbelief. (11-12)

5.Then Jesus said, “Go your way; let it be done to you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very hour. (13)

APPL – First a leper, then the slave of Gentile centurion. Both outcasts from the community of Israel, yet Jesus cleansed and healed both!

Lastly, Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Peter. She was bedridden with a fever, but Jesus had compassion on her too and healed her. Even little things like a fever matter to our Savior!

In that day, women were not regarded highly. Yet, the third miracle recorded by Matthew was that of a woman being healed by Jesus.

Matthew, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared that each of these healings, and many more like them, were a sign, a confirmation that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. His actions were a fulfillment of prophesy.

Isaiah 53:4, Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Conclusion

Our Savior is not only concerned about our eternal destiny, He is mindful of our needs now.

Do you need His healing touch on your life? Ask, seek, and knock! Bring your mess to Him and let Him change your life and heal your heart. He will heal and He will forgive!

Matthew 8:1-17     NASB

1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."8 But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."13 and Jesus said to the centurion, "Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very moment.
Peter's Mother-in-law and Many Others Healed
14 When Jesus came into Peter's home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "he himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases."

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