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Jesus on a Healing Spree (Matthew 8:1-17)

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Jesus on a Healing Spree”

(Matthew 8:1-17)

Series: God’s Fulfilled Promise [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

March 3, 2019

The Passage

Matthew 8:1-17

1 When he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. 2 Right away a man with leprosy came up and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 Then Jesus told him, “See that you don’t tell anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, pleading with him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony.”

7 He said to him, “Am I to come and heal him?”

8 “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. 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.”

10 Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. 11 I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that very moment.

14 Jesus went into Peter’s house and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 So he touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve him. 16 When evening came, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed. He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick, 17 so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: He himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.

Introductory Comments:

Have you ever heard a really good speaker at a conference or seminar and you see a long line of people lining up at the end to speak to him or her? There’s something about hearing someone share something moving that makes people want to be around that speaker.

Well, here we are after the Sermon on the Mountainside. Jesus has just preached the most famous sermon in human history. We see from this passage in verse 1 that “large crowds” followed Jesus after He finished preaching His sermon. 

We learn that these crowds were not following Him in vain. Jesus was getting to work doing great things for the kingdom of God. 

So, let’s look at this passage together this morning. Before we do, let’s go to God in prayer.

(Prayer)

As we see the large crowds following Jesus we must remember how revolutionary Jesus’ teaching was. He really shook things up, so many are probably wondering what He will do or say next. 

As a result, many come to Him for healing. 

We must also remember that one of Matthew’s main goals in writing his gospel is to demonstrate that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promised Messiah. 


So, here, Matthew is showing us that Jesus is not just a good teacher, He’s also a miraculous healer. 


In your notes, you will see that we have three healings and three truths at which we will look. 

First, . . .

Healing #1: The leper (2-4) [on screen]

Let’s review verses 2 through 4. 

2 Right away a man with leprosy came up and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 Then Jesus told him, “See that you don’t tell anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Notice that “right away” a man with leprosy came to Jesus. We don’t know for sure, but Jesus may not have even made it out of the vicinity of the mountainside when this man approached Him. 

Leprosy in Jesus’ day referred to a variety of different skin diseases, which were pretty much considered incurable. 

Someone with leprosy, also called a leper, was not well received by the rest of society. They were outcasts. They were untouchables. 

Yet, this man thought that he would take a shot at going to Jesus for healing. 

Notice first that he humbly kneeled before Jesus demonstrating that Jesus had authority. 

Notice second that he submitted to Jesus’ will. He said, “If you are willing.” The man wanted to be healed, but he submitted his request to whatever Jesus wanted. He didn’t say, “If you are able.” He said, “If you are willing.” He knew that Jesus was able and He submitted to the will of Jesus. 

Notice third that he had faith that Jesus could heal him. He said, “If you are willing, youcanmakemeclean.”

He was humble, he submitted to Jesus’ will, and he had faith. 

After the man’s request, Jesus simply touched the man and healed him. Jesus said “I am willing,” and He touched the man. That’s all it took to bring absolute healing to a man that was an untouchable to society. 

This man’s life was radically changed by the touch of Jesus!

How many of you have been changed by the touch of Jesus?

(pause)

Jesus then instructs the man to go straight to the priest to show the priest that he is healed. 

This was, first of all, in line with the instructions of the Old Testament. 

Furthermore, this was evidence to the priest of the work of Jesus. 

Jesus doesn’t want to brag about Himself in public; He doesn’t want to make a big spectacle; He simply asks the man to obey the law, tell the priest of His healing, and worship God through an offering. 

(pause)

There’s another healing in this passage . . .

Healing #2: The centurion’sservant (5-13) [on screen]

Look at verses 5-13. 

5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, pleading with him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony.”

7 He said to him, “Am I to come and heal him?”

8 “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. 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.”

10 Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. 11 I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that very moment.

The first healing miracle was very impressive. However, Jesus impresses even more with this one due to the great faith of the man that is requesting the healing. 

This man was a centurion. A centurion was an officer over Roman soldiers. This centurion had obviously heard of Jesus and was coming to Him for a special request. 

The man is asking Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant and Jesus is willing to do so. Yet, the man understands authority. He knows that Jesus has authority to heal people miraculously. He knows that Jesus has great authority! So, he asks Him to heal the man from afar. 

He says just as I can say something to someone else and get it done because of the authority that I have, so also you can simply speak and my servant can be healed. 


Illustration: We all remember as young children saying to our siblings, “Come out of the bathroom,” and nothing happens.  Then we say, “Dad said to come out of the bathroom.” That carried a different weight, didn’t it?

Jesus has authority so He could simply speak to make things happen, and the centurion understood that. 

Jesus takes the first great miracle and does one better by healing someone without even touching them!

While accomplishing this healing, Jesus also points out that this centurion man is different. 

The centurion is not Jewish; he’s a Gentile. Not only that, he’s an officer in the Roman army, who are oppressing the Jewish people. 

This man would not have been well liked by the average Jewish person. Yet, Jesus not only grants his request, Jesus commends the centurion’s great faith. Jesus says, “I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith.” Matthew says that Jesus was amazed by this man’s faith. Think about that: Jesus was amazed. 

Then, Jesus says that heaven will be filled with many from allover the world. We see in verse 11 that He gives this picture of people from all over eating at a banquet in heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs of Judaism. Conversely, He says in verse 12 that many who claim Judaism as their heritage, or the “sons of the kingdom” will be thrown out into darkness where there will be great suffering. Does that remind you of chapter 7 where Jesus says that He will say to some, “Depart from me?”

This passage is a reminder that Jesus is willing to offer blessing and healing to any that come to Him in faith; and no one receives forgiveness automatically, no matter who you are. 

So, the centurion’s servant was healed. 

Matthew tells us that when Jesus spoke the words, the man’s servant was healed at the very moment. 

(pause)

The third account of healing is . . .

Healing #3: Peter’smother-in-law (14-15) [on screen]

Let’s look at verses 14 and 15. 

14 Jesus went into Peter’s house and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 So he touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve him.

This is a short and straight-forward account of Jesus healing someone else. 

It almost seems routine in light of the other two accounts. However, we must not forget the miracle of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law simply by touching her!

She had a fever, which is quite common, and He simply touched her hand and the fever left her. 

Even a mere fever is important to Jesus. Jesus noticed her fever and He healed her. 

We see evidence that she was completely healed, right? She felt so much better, that she got up and began to serve Jesus. 

Those of us that have gotten over having a fever know that this is not normally what happens after we get over a fever, right? Once we get over the fever it still takes us a couple days to get going again. We’re not immediately integrated back into normal society. 

By God’s grace, He often heals many of us through natural means. It’s a process that takes some time, it’s not instant. Know this church: Jesus can heal us supernaturally and instantly!

Peter’s mother-in-law was changed instantly!

Jesus was, and is, a miracle worker!

These are the three main healings which we find in this passage. 

However, we notice in verse 16 that Jesus didn’t stop there. Look at verse 16. 

16 When evening came, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed. He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick,

Many people heard about the work of Jesus and brought to Him those who were demon-possessed and sick. Jesus healed people both spiritually and physically. 

He brings all sorts of healing. He can heal us spiritually, physically, psychologically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and more. Jesus has more power and authority than anyone in the history of the world. He’s the only one who can bring ultimate healing!

Have you gone to Jesus for healing? Jesus can heal you. 

This is a long passage but before we conclude, I’d like for us to draw three truths from these healing accounts. 


First, . . .

Truth #1: Jesus’ healings fulfilled prophecy  [on screen]

Look at verse 17. 

17 so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: He himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.

Remember, when Matthew is writing his gospel account he wants to make sure that we see Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy. So, he points us to the prophecy of Isaiah. 

The Messiah would be a man that could take away diseases and weaknesses, and Jesus certainly did that. 

Jesus accomplished the ultimate healing when He gave His life on the cross so that we could be healed from the curse of sin and set free to live new life. At the same time, what we’re reading in Matthew 8 is before the crucifixion of Jesus. So, Jesus also had healing power simply because He had the power of God! He could simply speak the words or touch someone and they would be healed. 


When Jesus heals us, we’re drawn to Him as Savior, and not merely as Healer. We’ll see more of that as we journey through the book of Matthew. 

This is a fulfillment of that which was prophesied about Jesus. He was a healer and He is still a healer today!

Second, . . .

Truth #2: Jesus’ healings highlighted faith  [on screen]

We see multiple evidences of faith among the people in this passage. 

Large crowds followed Jesus because they had faith in Him. 

The leper came to Jesus and professed confidence that Jesus could heal him. 

The centurion acknowledged that Jesus could heal from afar with a simple spoken word, and Jesus said that He had not seen great faith like that. 

In verse 16 we see that many were brought to Jesus for healing because people had faith that Jesus could heal them. 

Faith is the common ingredient in these healings. The people had faith in Jesus because they recognized the authority in His teaching, they observed His unique divinity in His life, and they witnessed His miraculous healing of others. 

Jesus has demonstrated repeatedly that He is the Messiah, that He does have the power of God, and that He is God Himself. Do you believe that?

The people had faith in Jesus. Do you have faith in Jesus? Do you have faith that Jesus really is miraculous? Do you have faith that Jesus can heal?


We’ll come back to this in just a minute. 


Let’s look at . . .

Truth #3: Jesus’ healings demonstrated power  [on screen]

Sometimes we read so much about Jesus working miracles that we forget how utterly astonishing the power of Jesus is. 

Jesus demonstrated great power in His healings. There is no power on all the earth like the power of God!

He can heal a fever with a touch, He can heal paralysis by a spoken word, He can cleanse a leper, He can open the eyes of the blind, He can heal broken relationships, He can cure selfishness, He can erase a history of racism, He can ease pain, He can cleanse sexual defilement, He can soften a hard heart, He can create the entire earth simply with His spoken word, He can rise from the dead, and He can one day raise us from the dead as well so that we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. He has power!

Jesus has great power and He put it on display in Matthew chapter 8. 

Can you see His power, church? Have you experienced the power of Jesus?

Concluding Comments:

There are a lot more peripheral issues that we could cover from this passage today. It’s a long passage. 

We could talk about how Jesus ministered to three groups who were not valued by Jewish society: lepers, Gentiles, and women. 

We could talk more about how verses 10-12 give us a foundation for missions and taking the Gospel to all groups of people. 

We could talk a lot more about demon-possession.


We could discuss how all healing, through natural means, through medicine, and through the miraculous, is from God. 


We could talk about how Matthew’s account compares to the accounts of healings in the other Gospels.

We could talk about whether or not Jesus heals every time someone has an affliction, which we’ll talk about later in Matthew’s Gospel.


There’s a lot to be said here, but there’s not a lot of time, so let’s look at the main point of today’s passage. 

Here’s the bottom line for this week:

Bottom Line: Have faith in Jesus and His great power! [on screen]

We can have faith in Jesus and we can trust that He has great power!

You can go to Him for healing of any and every kind. 


Jesus has demonstrated again and again that we can have faith in Him and that He has all power. 

Have faith in Him. 

Consider these two ways to challenge yourself this week:

Weekly Challenge:

  1. Go to Jesus for healing. [on screen]

Are you suffering from something? Go to Jesus for healing!

Listen, I’m not saying don’t go to a physician as well. Medicine is a gift from God. But go to Jesus also! Submit your request to Him and just like the leper say, “Lord if you are willing, please heal me.”

Jesus may very well heal you right there on the spot. Jesus may heal you through natural means that He’s given us. Jesus may say, “My child, I want you to wait to until the ultimate healing will be demonstrated when I come again and every pain and disease is wiped away and healed forever.” In any case, go to Him for healing and have faith that He can heal you. 

More than any other healing, we should go to Him for healing from our sins. The greatest need that we have for healing is the healing of our sinful hearts. The good thing is the greatest healing that Jesus does is healing of sinful hearts. 

It does no ultimate good for us to be cured of physical blindness but still be spiritually blind. It does no good for us to overcome a heart attack when our hearts are still spiritually hard. 

Go to Jesus for all healing and experience the greatest healing in the forgiveness of your sins!

  1. Have faith in Jesus.  [on screen]

Do you have faith in Jesus? Do you really believe that He can do all things?

Ask God’s Holy Spirit to increase your faith in Jesus?

Listen church, as impressive as these healings are in Matthew 8, this is just child’s play for Jesus. Jesus can accomplish anything!

Some of you have something in your life right now that you think cannot be fixed. Let me tell you, Jesus can fix it!


Jesus can heal you from a relationship problem, an addiction, a physical ailment, an emotional hurt, spiritual confusion, the effects of betrayal, the suffering of abuse, a headache, a toothache, and heartache. He can heal you, so have faith in Him! Trust Him!

Trust Him to heal in His timing, in His way, according to His will, and for His glory. 

Have faith in Jesus. 

Closing:

As we conclude today I simply want to point you to Jesus. Go to Jesus. 


Those of you who have been Christians for dozens of years, go to Jesus now. Reflect upon His healing in your life. Ask Him for more healing if you need it. 


For those of you who have never been changed by Jesus, go to Him today. 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Ask folks to indicate if they need healing)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – The Savior is Waiting

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Join us tonight at 5:30 PM for our study of world religions and Christian cults. Tonight we will study Jehovah’s Witnesses. See you at 5:30.

Let’s dismiss by singing The Family of God. 

(Sing The Family of God)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.