Getting to Know Jesus: Matthew 9

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As we arrive in chapter 9 of Matthew, we continue to read about how Jesus interacts with people and handles opposition.

If you are just now joining in this study, you can read Getting to Know Jesus: Matthew 1 here.

We just left off at chapter 8 where Jesus was asked to leave the region of the Gadarenes for sending a demon from a man into a herd of pigs. If Jesus was powerful enough to stop the stormy sea in chapter 8, wasn’t He also powerful enough to know what kind of opposition was waiting for Him on the other side of the sea? Didn’t He know He would just have to turn around and leave?

But Jesus still went there.

He knew there was a need. He went toward the need.

Opposition was not strong enough to keep Him from healing somebody.

He knew those demon-possessed men needed exorcism that they could not do on their own. So He welcomed them when they approached. He wasn’t afraid of the rejection He knew He might face from others. He went where sickness and death awaited His healing power. I just love that.

Jesus always puts others above Himself.

In verses 1-8, Jesus leaves and crosses back over the sea. Just as He arrives, He is met by a group of guys who are carrying their paralyzed friend on a stretcher. This man needed healing. And he needed his friends to help him get to the place where he can be healed.

Jesus notices their faith. And He heals him.

I used to read this passage assuming that Jesus healed the man on behalf of his friends’ faith only.

But as I read this and think more about the logistics, the man must have also had a lot of faith to let his friends pick him up, put him on a stretcher, carry him away from his original location and then take him to this emerging teacher/healer who everybody was talking about. He had a say in what was happening. So his faith was on display as well. It wasn’t just his friends who had faith. He did too. And he was humble enough to let his friends help him by taking him to the one man they knew had healing power. He wasn’t afraid to ask for help. Jesus saw the collective effort of both the friends of the paralyzed man and the paralyzed man himself.

And “their” faith was rewarded through blessing the one who needed healing in that moment. How powerful.

In verse 2, notice that Jesus heals after “seeing their faith.”

In chapter 8, Jesus also healed a man after “hearing…[his] great faith.” So far, Matthew is revealing to the reader that when Jesus hears or sees a person’s faith, He acts. He answers. Jesus is aware of the faith manifested around Him by people. We will continue to see this as we read through Matthew. The word “faith” is used in Matthew’s gospel 13 times: 6:30, 8:10, 8:26, 9:2, 9:22, 9:29, 14:31, 15:28, 16:8, 17:20 (2x), 21:21, 23:23.

But Jesus also notices “little faith” as well. This phrase is used 5 times in Matthew’s gospel: 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20.

And while Jesus points out “little faith,” He doesn’t call anyone out to condemn them but rather to teach them how to cultivate more faith and encourage them to believe. It is meant to be constructive not destructive.

In this chapter, “faith” is very significant because we are now starting to see how Jesus responds to a person’s faith: He heals and He forgives sin. We will see this play out in various scenes.

In verse 3, the scribes scowl at Jesus accusing Him of blaspheming for trying to forgive sins.

What I don’t understand is why the scribes are even there listening to Jesus if they don’t like Him. It seems they are trying to find fault in Him.

But Jesus confronts the scribes’ thoughts in verses 4-6 asking them “which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ .” Before, I’ve never understood what Jesus was trying to say here. It never made sense to me that Jesus would admit it’s easier to say the thing that He didn’t say the first time. It’s obviously easier to say “Get up and walk,” even in Aramaic which is the language Jesus would have been speaking. So why would He use that as an argument for His rationale to choose to say “your sins are forgiven”?

But Jesus is a lot smarter. He’s pretty brilliant in fact. He knows what He’s doing. So at first, His logic can confuse me but as I read it I’m starting to see what He’s doing.

Jesus makes this argument to make a point.

He wants them to know that He said “your sins are forgiven” on purpose.

It doesn’t matter what’s most practical for Him to say. It doesn’t matter what makes sense for Him to say when He heals someone. Jesus acknowledges that it’s easier to say “Get up and walk.” He could have said that if he wanted to. But He didn’t want to say that.

Jesus says “your sins are forgiven” in verse 6 on purpose for the very reason that He states: “so you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins.”

Jesus just established His authority and power.

Matthew includes this story to let the reader know that Jesus can forgive sins. His audience of Jewish people would have been hesitant to accept this. They only believed that God, or Yahweh, could forgive sins. But now Matthew is revealing Jesus as the one who forgives. This is yet another clue for Matthew’s audience to believe Jesus is the Messiah they had been waiting for.

Also, now that we’ve already been introduced to Jesus’ power to heal in chapter 8, Matthew is beginning to associate not only faith with forgiveness of sins like we’ve seen in this chapter, but also healing with forgiveness of sins. So as we keep reading, we will make this connection. When Jesus heals, he also forgives. When Jesus interacts with a person who believes in Him and comes to Him for help, He will forgive sins. Healing is both physical and spiritual.

Matthew’s narration in verse 7-8 is very significant.

He illustrates the simple obedience of the paralyzed man to get up and walk, and the subsequent glory channeled to God because of it. The crowds are amazed that this paralyzed man got up and walked. And they immediately start praising God for “giving such authority to men”. Matthew doesn’t say that the crowds gave glory to Jesus – even though Jesus was indeed worthy. Rather, Matthew directs all the credit to God. Matthew is telling the reader here that Jesus brings God glory. Jesus is on God’s side. Jesus is not there to bring glory to Himself. He’s there to bring glory to God. So they too should align themselves with Jesus and bring glory to God.

I love verse 9 in this chapter.

We meet Matthew. And Matthew is so focused on making Jesus the primary character in his gospel that he doesn’t even give himself a long scene in his story. Nor does he talk about himself in the first person. He introduces his encounter with Jesus in the 3rd person saying, “He [Jesus] saw a man named Matthew…”. Matthew captures his conversion story in one verse. Jesus asks. He responds. Simple as that. This is quite powerful. Matthew could have taken more time to talk about his own experience with Jesus if he wanted to and it would have been fine. But this just shows Matthew’s heart in wanting to keep Jesus the focus. Matthew writes to reveal Jesus. And all other characters are meant point to Him and all that He has done.  Matthew was forever changed when He met Jesus. And it is evident in the way that he tells his story as well as this entire gospel.

In verses 10-13, Matthew immediately invites Jesus into his home. He couldn’t help himself. They eat a meal together along with the disciples and some of Matthew’s friends, mostly tax collectors.

And once again, Jesus faces opposition.

Almost every time Jesus accomplishes something good for the benefit of another, He faces opposition from those who are not on God’s side. This time, He experiences opposition from the Pharisees.

But something I noticed after doing this below part of this study is that the Pharisees didn’t oppose Jesus this time. This time, they went after His disciples. They asked His disciples why He was eating with “sinners.” That’s interesting. They didn’t even go to Jesus, the one they were attacking, but went after the more vulnerable ones. But Jesus heard. And He takes control. He responds.

And I love how Jesus responds to opposition.

He’s calm and He’s not easily shaken.

He responds differently to each. The Pharisees were well-read on the Old Testament scriptures, being Jewish religious elite. Jesus knew this. So He responds to them by telling them, “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The italicized part is from a scripture in the Old Testament book of Hosea 6:6, which they would have been familiar with.

Jesus responds to their opposition by reminding them what they should already know.

They should already know that God is merciful and pursues people relentlessly just as is depicted in the book of Hosea. They shouldn’t be criticizing Him for pursuing “sinners.” If they knew the book of Hosea, they should have been excited to see Jesus pursuing sinners just like God illustrated through Hosea in that book.

He’s pointing to their hearts, ultimately. Just like he did in chapter 5. Revealing that their hearts are bad.

In verses 14-17, Jesus goes on to face more opposition. This time it is from John the Baptist’s disciples who ask Jesus why He and his disciples do not fast. Jesus knows that this is not malicious opposition.

It is really just a misunderstanding.

So Jesus explains to them why they do not fast by means of analogy, comparing his disciples to wedding guests and Himself to a groom. The wedding guests cannot be sad while the groom is with them just like there is no need to fast for the sake of seeking God when God in the flesh is right there with them. He uses two more analogies pointing to the reality that there is a new way of doing things because something new has come: Himself.

In verses 18-26, just as Jesus was talking to them regarding all of this, a man comes up to Him.

But Jesus doesn’t turn him away to continue talking. He stops what He was doing. And He listens.

As He listens, Jesus learns that this man’s daughter is very sick and about to die. But once again, this man believes that Jesus can heal as he says, “…but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus notices his faith. And He goes with the man to heal her.

But on the way, Jesus is interrupted again.

Quietly and unassuming, a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years comes up to touch the tassel on the back of His robe in verse 20. Matthew includes her words: “If I can just touch His robe, I’ll be made well.” What faith. I love how the ones who everyone else despised always felt safe approaching Jesus. Jesus welcomed everybody. He loved everyone the same. May we as well.

For this woman wasn’t about to let Jesus pass her by. She had enough faith to touch even just His robe, convinced that she would be healed forever.

Jesus notices. He heals her.

And again, Jesus points out this woman’s “faith” in verse 22 as He heals her.

So far in this chapter, Matthew has written the flow of the narrative with Jesus being interrupted a lot. But each time, Jesus makes time for that person. He wants to make time for that person. So Jesus takes time to heal this woman even when He was on the way to heal somebody else. And I love this pattern that Matthew illustrates. This pattern of action really reveals Jesus’ love in a way that mere words would not express.

Then Jesus continues on to the man’s house to heal his daughter.

And Matthew says that Jesus heals the girl with a touch in verse 25.

In chapter 8, Jesus also healed a woman with a touch. Healing touch is a repetitive occurrence in Matthew. As we progress we will also see others who are healed by Jesus’ touch. Jesus heals in this way 7 separate times in this gospel: 8:3, 8:15, 9:20-21, 9:29, 14:36, 17:7, 20:34.

In verses 27-31, Jesus heals 2 blind men with a touch also.

They had been following Jesus since He left from the house where He healed the man’s daughter. They must have heard about his healing power. And they believed in Him. In fact, they call Him “Son of David” in verse 27, saying, “Have mercy on us…” Matthew identified Jesus as the “Son of David” from the beginning in Matthew 1:1.But this is the first time we have read someone identifying Jesus as “Son of David.” And it’s a blind man who does it. Wow. How powerful.

It’s amazing that the blind men call Jesus “Son of David.” They are blind, yet they see far better than anyone else can at this point. This contrast of blindness and seeing will continue in this gospel. Most who see Jesus with their physical eyes cannot see Him for who He really is. They don’t yet get it. But the ones who are blind can actually see Jesus for who He is.

But what I don’t fully understand is why Jesus tells the men in verse 30 not to tell anyone that He healed them. He didn’t say this to the other people that He healed in this chapter. This one has stumped me and I just don’t know. If anyone wants to share insight please comment below. I would be glad to hear.

In verses 32-34, a demon-possessed man, unable to speak, is brought to Jesus.

Once again, we see someone who was brought to Jesus by others, just like the paralyzed man’s friends brought him to Jesus in verse 2. And Jesus heals him. He drives out the demon. Then the man is able to speak again. But the Pharisees criticize Jesus and ridicule His power, saying it must be “the power of demons that He drives out the demons.” But Matthew doesn’t record Jesus saying anything to the Pharisees about their opposition this time. Jesus moves on to many towns and villages..

Lastly in verses 35-38, chapter 9 ends with Matthew telling us about Jesus’ general travels going preach, teach and heal. Then Matthew tells us that Jesus “felt compassion” for the crowds when He saw them because they were “weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.” So Jesus tells His disciples to pray for workers to be sent into the harvest. Jesus sees a need. And He asks for His disciples to pray. In the process, He’s teaching His disciples what it means to prioritize people, just like He does.

So many times in this chapter, Jesus is about to head somewhere and He is interrupted by people who need Him. So He stops. He doesn’t pass them by. He stops. He always puts others above Himself. I have really been moved by this while studying this chapter.

As we continue, let us enjoy this gospel as a story that is both teaching us about Jesus and showing us what it looks like to minister to people. And I pray our hearts will be open and receptive to God’s Word.

Summary of Matthew 9

Jesus leaves the region of the Gadarenes; Jesus heals a paralyzed men brought to Him by the man’s friends; Jesus’ faces opposition from the scribes; Jesus meets Matthew and asks Him to follow Him; Matthew follows Jesus and invites Him to his home for a meal; Jesus faces opposition from the Pharisees; Jesus is questioned by John the Baptist’s disciples regarding fasting; Jesus is met by a man who wants Jesus to heal his daughter; Jesus goes with him to heal her; Jesus is approached by a woman who touches His robe and He heals her; Jesus goes on to heal the man’s daughter; Jesus is followed by 2 blind men whom who heals; Jesus is met by a demon-possessed man who is brought to Him and He heals him; Jesus faces opposition from the Pharisees; Jesus is met by a demon-possessed man who is brought to Him and He heals him; Jesus faces opposition from the Pharisees; Jesus and His disciples go on to many other regions to preach, teach and heal.

Jesus in Matthew 9

Jesus leaves the place He had just arrived, the region of the Gadarenes (v. 1; 8:28)

Jesus gets into a boat to cross the sea (v. 1)

Jesus goes to His own town (v. 1)

Jesus is brought a paralyzed man by a group of men (v. 2)

Jesus sees their faith (v. 2)

Jesus acts (v. 2)

Jesus tells the paralyzed man to have courage (v. 2)

Jesus calls the paralyzed man “son” (v. 2)

Jesus tells the paralyzed man his sins are forgiven (v. 2)

Jesus is accused of blaspheming by the scribes (v. 3)

Jesus reads the scribes’ minds (v. 4)

Jesus knows what the scribes are thinking (v. 4)

Jesus addresses the scribes (v. 4)

Jesus asks them why they are thinking evil thoughts (v. 4)

Jesus asks them if it’s easier to say “your sins are forgiven” or to say “get up and walk” (v. 5)

Jesus is rhetorical (v. 5)

Jesus is smart (v. 5-6)

Jesus clarifies the reason He told the paralyzed man his sins were forgiven (v. 6)

Jesus wants all to know He has authority on earth to forgive sins (v. 6)

Jesus calls Himself “Son of Man” (v. 6)

Jesus addresses the paralyzed man (v. 6)

Jesus tells him to get up (v. 6)

Jesus tells him to pick up his stretcher (v. 6)

Jesus tells him to go home (v. 6)

Jesus’ words heal the paralyzed man (v. 7)

Jesus amazes the crowds (v. 7)

Jesus causes the crowds to give glory to God (v. 8)

Jesus is acknowledged as being given authority by God (v. 8)

Jesus keeps travelling (v. 9)

Jesus sees Matthew (v. 9)

Jesus sees Matthew’s occupation (v. 9)

Jesus initiates conversation with Matthew (v. 9)

Jesus doesn’t judge Matthew for being a tax collector (v. 9)

Jesus wants Matthew (v. 9)

Jesus asks Matthew to follow Him (v. 9)

Jesus’ invitation is accepted by Matthew (v. 9)

Jesus sees potential in people (v. 9)

Jesus is now in Matthew’s house (v. 10)

Jesus reclines at a table in Matthew’s house (v. 10)

Jesus eats with Matthew and many other tax collectors and “sinners” (v. 10)

Jesus’ disciples are also there with Him (v. 10)

Jesus and His disciples are the guests in Matthew’s home (v. 11)

Jesus’ disciples are questioned by the Pharisees for eating with them (v. 11)

Jesus hears (v. 12)

Jesus reminds them that the sick are the ones who need a doctor (v. 12)

Jesus offers a challenge to the Pharisees (v. 13)

Jesus reminds them of Hosea 6:6 (v. 13)

Jesus tells them to learn what that scripture means (v. 13)

Jesus illuminates the gap between their knowledge and practice (v. 13)

Jesus declares He came to call sinners to repentance, not those who think they’re righteous (v. 13)

Jesus is questioned by John the Baptist’s disciples for not fasting (v. 14)

Jesus asks if the wedding guests can be sad when the groom is with them (v. 15)

Jesus prophecies about the day when the groom will be taken away from them (v. 15)

Jesus uses this analogy to talk of Himself (the groom) and His disciples (wedding guests) (v. 15)

Jesus says that they will fast when He has been taken away from them (v. 15)

Jesus’ presence makes fasting not necessary (v. 15)

Jesus teaches no one patches a garment with unshrunk cloth (v. 16)

Jesus explains why (v. 16)

Jesus teaches no one puts new wine in old wine skins (v. 17)

Jesus explains why (v. 17)

Jesus teaches new wine is put into new wine skins and both are preserved (v. 17)

Jesus is interrupted by someone who needs Him (v. 18)

Jesus is approached by one of the synagogue leaders to heal his daughter (v. 18)

Jesus and His disciples go with the man to his daughter (v. 19)

Jesus is interrupted again on the way there (v. 20)

Jesus is approached by a woman whose been bleeding for 12 years (v. 20)

Jesus is touched on the back tassel of His robe by this woman (v. 20)

Jesus was sought after by this woman (v. 20-21)

Jesus was seen as a healer by this woman (v. 21)

Jesus turns around (v. 22)

Jesus pauses (v. 22)

Jesus sees the woman (v. 22)

Jesus makes time for this woman (v. 22)

Jesus doesn’t get mad at her for interrupting where He was going (v. 22)

Jesus cares (v. 22)

Jesus shows compassion (v. 22)

Jesus tells her to have courage (v. 22)

Jesus tells the woman her faith has healed her (v. 22)

Jesus heals that very moment (v. 22)

Jesus continues on with the man who needs his daughter healed (v. 23)

Jesus arrives at the man’s house (v. 23)

Jesus observes the grief (v. 23)

Jesus sees flute players (v. 23)

Jesus sees a crowd lamenting loudly (v. 23)

Jesus tells them to leave (v. 24)

Jesus declares that the girl is not dead (v. 24)

Jesus says she is sleeping (v. 24)

Jesus is laughed at (v. 24)

Jesus has the crowd put outside (v. 25)

Jesus enters the house (v. 25)

Jesus takes the girl by the hand (v. 25)

Jesus’ touch makes the girl get up (v. 25)

Jesus heals (v. 25)

Jesus’ healing of the girl spread as news throughout the whole area (v. 26)

Jesus is followed by 2 blind men just as He is leaving (v. 27)

Jesus is called “Son of David” by these blind men (v. 27)

Jesus approached by the 2 blind men (v. 28)

Jesus asks them if they believe that He can heal (v. 28)

Jesus is told by them that they do believe (v. 28)

Jesus touches their eyes (v. 29)

Jesus says let it be done according to your faith (v. 29)

Jesus notices faith (v. 29)

Jesus heals (v. 30)

Jesus opens their eyes (v. 30)

Jesus warns them not to tell anyone that He healed them (v. 30)

Jesus’ healing of the blind men spreads throughout the area anyways (v. 31)

Jesus and His disciples start to travel from there (v. 32)

Jesus is brought a demon-possessed man who was unable to speak (v. 32)

Jesus drives out the demon (v. 33)

Jesus’ healing causes the man to speak again (v. 33)

Jesus amazes the crowds (v. 33)

Jesus is despised by the Pharisees (v. 34)

Jesus is polarizing (v. 34)

Jesus starts to travel (v. 35)

Jesus goes to all of the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues (v. 35)

Jesus goes to all of the towns and villages preaching the good news of the kingdom (v. 35)

Jesus goes to all of the towns and villages healing (v. 35)

Jesus sees the crowds (v. 36)

Jesus has compassion on them (v. 36)

Jesus sees that they are weary (v. 36)

Jesus sees that they are worn out (v. 36)

Jesus sees that they are like sheep without a shepherd (v. 36)

Jesus addresses His disciples (v. 37)

Jesus tells His disciples that they harvest is abundant but the workers are few (v. 37)

Jesus tells His disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest (v. 38)

Jesus encourages prayer (v. 38)

“As Jesus went out from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ So he got up and followed Him.”

–Matthew 9:9 –

Questions for Today:

  • Why can Jesus forgive sins when He heals people?
  • What can I learn from the way that Jesus handles opposition?
  • What is significant about Jesus noticing people’s faith?
  • What can I learn from Jesus’ example of putting others’ needs above His own?
  • How do we meet the author of this gospel in this chapter and what’s significant about his story?
  • How am I getting to know Jesus better in Matthew chapter 9?

“I Found You” by Anthony Evans

Getting to Know Jesus: Matthew 8

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As we progress in our study of Matthew, we arrive this week in chapter 8. Now we read about a series of people who respond to Jesus in different ways just after He finished His sermon and comes down from the mountain.

(If you are now joining in this study, you can read Getting to Know Jesus: Matthew 1 here.)

The past few chapters (5-7) have been comprised of Jesus’ words only. In chapter 8, we start reading a combination of Jesus’ words, others’ words and Matthew’s own narration.

Immediately descending the mountain, Jesus meets a series of people desiring to be healed.

First He heals a man with a serious skin disease, then He heals the servant of a centurion, and then He heals a sick woman (Peter’s mother-in-law). The last time we read about Jesus healing people was in chapter 4, right after his 40 days in the wilderness tempted by the devil and just before He began His sermon in chapter 5. In chapter 4, the healings were briefly mentioned, but now in chapter 8 Matthew is detailing specific instances where Jesus heals. The action is slowing down so that we are following Jesus’ life and ministry more closely.

The first healing in this chapter, in verses 2-4 portrays Jesus’ heart for people.

The man asks Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” in verse 2. The man doesn’t ask Jesus if He is able to heal. No. The man is confident that Jesus can. And humble enough to hope that Jesus will do it for him. Jesus answers him simply: “I am willing; be made clean.” I love that Jesus is willing. He really cares for people.

After He heals him, He tells the man to go “show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses prescribed as a testimony to them” in verse 4.

I’ve always been a little confused about this passage.

Why does Jesus say to tell them that? Why not let the man tell them it was Jesus who healed?

What’s helped me the most in deciphering this passage has been a result of my Old Testament class this past semester. It reminds me to read the entire Bible with the Old Testament in mind.

So what I’ve found is that this “gift that Moses prescribed” is actually mentioned back in Leviticus 14:1-32.

In Leviticus 14:1-32, the Lord appears to Moses while giving him all of the Levitical laws, instructing him what should be done for a person with a skin disease “on the day of his cleansing.” The priest is in charge of the proceedings of the cleansing and makes atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one who needs to be cleansed (Lev 14:31). But now that Jesus has come, He is doing both the cleansing and the atoning (by his future death and resurrection). The Law had prescribed all of these methods for cleansing a person with a skin disease requiring much time and effort. But Jesus heals him in an instant. Jesus does what the Law and mere man cannot do. And He sends the man to the priest to show the priest that there is something now greater that has power to heal.

Matthew wants us to see that Jesus has indeed come to fulfill the Law as He declared in chapter 5 and is already doing it in the way He interacts with people.

The second healing, in verse 5, comes as a result of a centurion’s bold faith. Again, this man believes that Jesus can.

I think it’s significant that Mathew includes this scene here because of the way that centurions are depicted throughout his gospel compared to the other kinds of Roman guards.

Each time a “centurion” is mentioned, he is mentioned in a favorable way: having faith in God. In chapter 27 verse 54, Matthew includes a centurion who professes, “This man really was the Son of God.” But when “soldiers” and Roman “guards” are mentioned, it is in an unfavorable way. In chapter 27 verses 27-31, Pilate’s soldiers “stripped [Jesus] and dressed Him in a scarlet robe…mocked Him…spat at Him…” Matthew also mentions soldiers in an unfavorable light in chapter 27 verse 65, as Matthew writes about a “guard of soldiers” who work for the chief priests and Pharisees.

It is evident that Matthew portrays the centurions in a positive light and the guard of soldiers in a negative light in his gospel.

Why? I’m not sure. But it’s something to take note of while we progress in this gospel.

If you keep reading the rest of the Bible, a centurion pops up in Acts chapter 10 named Cornelius. He is said to be a God-fearing man along with his whole household. Also, there is a centurion who tries to save Paul in Acts chapter 27. So apparently this is not just a Matthean perspective regarding centurions since the writer of Acts also mentions at least some centurions as being on God’s side. It’s a small detail but I think it’s pretty cool. This was my favorite part about studying this chapter realizing this connection. It’s like an underlying gold nugget of literary brilliance in the Bible. And there tons of them to find.

The third healing is a result of Jesus’ own compassion to heal when He sees a need in verse 14-15.

The first 2 healings in this chapter resulted from initiative on behalf of the person needing Jesus to heal. But this time, Jesus sees this woman lying sick in her bed and He can’t help Himself but to restore her with a healing touch. And immediately she gets up. I love Jesus’ heart to initiate even when she didn’t. He knew the need. And He acted.

By verse 16 we notice that it is evening and Jesus has been healing people for much of the latter part of the day.

As we move along in verses 18-27, Jesus and His disciples go to the other side of the lake since the crowds were starting to accumulate. They encounter a strong storm but still arrive at the other side.

But as soon as they get to the opposite side, Jesus is met with another situation.

He immediately meets 2 men possessed by demons coming out of tombs walking towards Him. They know who Jesus is. They even call Him “Son of God” in verse 29. Contrast this with the disciples’ amazement of Jesus calming the storm, saying “What kind of man is this?” in verse 27 to these demon-possessed men who immediately recognize Jesus for who He is. A nice subtlety in Matthew’s writing.

Ironically, Jesus has already said what kind of man He is in verse 20.

When Jesus calls Himself something in Matthew’s gospel, it’s almost always “Son of Man.”

Jesus calls Himself “Son of Man” in Matthew 8:20, 9:6, 10:23, 11:19, 12:8, 12:32, 12:40, 13:37, 13:41, 16:13, 16:27, 16:28, 17:9, 17:12, 17:22, 19:28, 20:18, 20:28, 24:27, 24:30, 24:37, 24:39, 24:44, 25:31, 26:2, 26:24 (2x), 26:45, 26:64. 29x total. That’s a lot of times!

It seems that this “Son of Man” epithet would have connected with a Jewish audience.

Being familiar with Old Testament scriptures, David uses this phraseology a few times in the psalms. They might have also been reminded of Ezekiel who was called upon by the Lord as “Son of man” continually throughout the whole book of Ezekiel –almost 90 times. Daniel also talks about his vision from the Lord seeing one like a “son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” in Daniel 7:13.

So Jesus calling Himself the “Son of Man” in this gospel seems intentional, at least by Matthew, who writes this way to connect Jesus to the Old Testament, which pointed towards the coming of the Messiah. Jesus is the son of man that is not only a prophet (like Ezekiel) or the promised king (like David) but He is the Son of Man that was promised in Genesis 3:15 to arrive and fix the problem of sin and death in the world. Matthew wants the reader to notice this. He takes advantage of this “Son of Man” rhetoric to both connect with 1st century Jews who would read this gospel and let us know that Jesus is indeed the one we’ve been waiting for.

The last time we saw Jesus identified as the “Son of God” it was by the devil in chapter 4.

Matthew is so clever to include these subtle details. So we can notice how Jesus is recognized as the “Son of God” by the supernatural: evil. But humans take a while to recognize who Jesus fully is, as we read in verse 27 through the disciples’ bewilderment. God has concealed who Jesus is to humans for a reason: ultimately, Jesus must be rejected by men so that He can be sentenced to death and then raised to life. We will get to this is chapters 27-28. But we will continue to see this tension play out throughout Matthew: noticing how demons recognize Jesus for His true identity while simultaneously noticing the progression of certain people starting to recognize who Jesus is slowly.

One thing that fascinates me about the disciples is why they did not ask Jesus about the “Son of God” reference.

After hearing the demon-possessed men call Jesus that, wouldn’t they have been curious if Jesus really is the Son of God? Wouldn’t they have been confused at how those demon-possessed men could possibly know Jesus as such? They hadn’t known Jesus very long. We know that He is the Son of God but they didn’t yet. Who knows…maybe they did ask Jesus about it and Matthew just doesn’t include that dialogue in his gospel. But it still makes me wonder. It would have been such a crazy experience to follow Jesus like this before having full revelation of His identity. Yet the disciples still followed Him even though they had not been revealed everything about Him or what would happen as a result of their obedience. They didn’t know a lot. But they followed anyway. I find that encouraging.

All we know is that Jesus’ identity seems to be still concealed to them right now in chapter 8. As we read along, some will start to recognize Jesus for who He is and by the end of the gospel there will be those who are certain that He is indeed the Son of God, the Messiah.

As we read this gospel, which Matthew has written with a Jewish audience in mind, he is wanting them to understand that Jesus is powerful. That He is recognized by demons, or supernatural beings. That He is the Son of God. That He can heal. That He is the One that the Old Testament has been pointing towards this whole time. Jesus is it! Matthew wants his readers to understand this. This was aimed towards a very specific audience and it is now a gift to us that we can learn from and appreciate as a piece in the grander story of the Bible, revealing the awaited messiah that Israel had been anticipating.

So far we see two responses from people: those who are drawn to Jesus and those who are repelled by Him. Those who follow Jesus. And those who don’t. Those who believe Jesus can heal. And those who ask Him to leave.

Again, we see the 2 opposing forces play out in the way people respond. Those coming to God through Jesus and those turning away from God as they reject Jesus. Good and evil. Those on God’s side and those not on God’s side.

Next week as we continue in Matthew’s gospel, we will get to know the author, Matthew, a little more as he mentions his own encounter with Jesus in chapter 9. Until then, I pray our hearts would be open and receptive to His Word, learning more about our Jesus through the eyes of Matthew and getting excited about the story of the Bible.

Summary of Matthew 8

As Jesus finishes His sermon at the end of chapter 7, He now comes down from the mountain He was preaching on; large crowds follow Him; Jesus heals a man with leprosy; Jesus heals the servant of a centurion; Jesus heals the mother-in-law of Peter (one of his several disciples at this point); as Jesus observes the large crowds He decides to cross the sea by boat and His disciples go with Him; Jesus and the disciples encounter a storm on the sea and Jesus calms the storm as the disciples are afraid; they arrive at the other side of the sea; Jesus casts out demons from 2 men into a herd of pigs, which end up drowning in the sea after running off of a bank; the people in the town nearby hear of this and ask Jesus to leave.

Jesus in Matthew 8

Jesus comes down from the mountain he was speaking on (v. 1)

Jesus is followed by large crowds (v. 1)

Jesus attracts people (v. 1)

Jesus is met by a man with a serious skin disease (v. 2)

Jesus is asked to heal (v. 2)

Jesus is willing to heal (v. 3)

Jesus speaks purification over his disease (v. 3)

Jesus heals (v. 3)

Jesus tells the man not to tell anyone that He healed him (v. 4)

Jesus sends the man to the priest to show that He has been healed according to Moses’ prescription (in Lev. 14:1-32) (v. 4)

Jesus travels to Capernaum (v. 5)

Jesus is approached by a pleading centurion (v. 5)

Jesus is wanted by the centurion to come and heal his servant (v. 6)

Jesus tells the centurion He will come and heal his servant (v. 7)

Jesus responds to the centurion’s request (v. 7)

Jesus cares (v. 7)

Jesus is willing (v. 7)

Jesus prioritizes healing this man over whatever else he could have been doing at the moment (v. 7)

Jesus always makes time for people (v. 7)

Jesus witnesses this centurion’s bold faith as he talks to Jesus (v. 8-9)

Jesus listens (v. 8-9)

Jesus is amazed at the centurion’s faith (v. 10)

Jesus now addresses all of the people around him (v. 10)

Jesus takes time to teach others something as a result of what they just heard (v. 10)

Jesus declares He has not seen such faith of anyone in all of Israel (v. 10)

Jesus prophecies that many will come and recline at the table in the kingdom of heaven (v. 11)

Jesus prophecies that the sons will be thrown out into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (v. 12)

Jesus now addresses the centurion (v. 13)

Jesus tells the centurion to go home, as the man will be healed because of his great faith (v. 13)

Jesus acts according to one’s faith (v. 13)

Jesus goes to Peter’s house (v. 14)

Jesus sees Peter’s mother in-law lying in bed sick (v. 14)

Jesus heals her with a touch (v. 15)

Jesus is served by the woman He just healed (v. 15)

Jesus is brought many who are possessed by demons (v. 16)

Jesus drives out the demons with a word (v. 16)

Jesus heals all of the sick people (v. 16)

Jesus is recorded as fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 53:4 (v. 17)

Jesus sees large crowds surrounding him (v. 18)

Jesus says to go to the other side of the sea (v. 18)

Jesus is approached by a scribe saying he will follow Him (v. 19)

Jesus reminds him that He has no place to lay His head (v. 20)

Jesus calls Himself the “Son of Man” (v. 20)

Jesus is approached by one of His disciples asking to bury his father first (v. 21)

Jesus tells him to follow him and let the dead bury their own dead (v. 22)

Jesus informs them of the cost of following him (v. 19-22)

Jesus gets into a boat (v. 23)

Jesus’ disciples follow Him (v. 23)

Jesus and His disciples encounter a storm on the sea (v. 24)

Jesus is sleeping during this storm (v. 24)

Jesus isn’t terrified of creation; He created it (v. 24)

Jesus is woken up by His disciples (v. 25)

Jesus’ disciples ask Jesus to save them as they are terrified (v. 25)

Jesus asks them why they are fearful (v. 26)

Jesus isn’t worried over what His disciples are worried over (v. 26)

Jesus points out their small faith (v. 26)

Jesus gets up (v. 26)

Jesus takes action (v. 26)

Jesus rebukes the winds (v. 26)

Jesus rebukes the sea (v. 26)

Jesus possesses power over creation (v. 26)

Jesus creates a calm (v. 26)

Jesus amazes His disciples (v. 27)

Jesus’ power over creation is acknowledged by the disciples (v. 27)

Jesus and His disciples arrive at the other side of the sea (v. 28)

Jesus and His disciples are not destroyed by the storm (v. 28)

Jesus is met by 2 demon-possessed men coming out of tombs (v. 28)

Jesus is recognized by the demon-possessed men (v. 29)

Jesus is identified as the “Son of God” by the demon-possessed men (v. 29)

Jesus sends the demons into the pigs, just as the demon-possessed men asked him to (v. 30-32)

Jesus is more powerful than the demons (v. 32)

Jesus, sending the demons into the pigs, causes the pigs to jump off the bank into the sea, all dying (v. 32)

Jesus is met by the whole town once they hear of what happened (v. 33-34)

Jesus is asked to leave the region (v. 34)

Jesus is not wanted (v. 34)

Jesus’ power is not appreciated (v. 34)

“But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, you of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.” –Matthew 8:26 –

Questions for Today:

  • What does Jesus call Himself in Matthew’s gospel and why is this significant?
  • How does Matthew connect with a Jewish audience in the way that He writes?
  • Who do the disciples think Jesus is at this point?
  • How do we see people responding to Jesus so far?
  • How am I learning more about Jesus in Matthew chapter 8?

“Your Promises” by Elevation Worship