Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 3, 2008
The Messiah Performs Miracles
Influenza, arthritis, asthma, ulcers, emphysema, diverticulitis, glaucoma, aneurysms, cataracts, AIDS, cerebral palsy, bronchitis, hemophilia, mono-nucleosis, phlebitis, mumps, measles, coma, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, diabetes, sinusitis, chicken pox, small pox, pulmonary embolism, polio, endometriosis, tuberculosis, meningitis, epilepsy, diphtheria, leukemia, arterio-sclerosis, lupus, SIDS, croup, gangrene, gall stones, myeloma, eczema, myopia, lymphoma, kidney stones, jaundice, psoriasis, hypo & hyper thyroidism, deafness, blindness, melanoma, appendicitis, rickets, scurvy, cholera, pertussis, scarlet fever, yellow fever, rocky mountain spotted fever, encephalitis, the plague, leprosy, typhoid fever, hepatitis, lyme, rabies, cancer.
Disease. This is only a very short list of the diseases that afflict mankind. Some are a nuisance, some painful, some debilitating, some lethal. One of the tragic results of Adam’s sin and its resulting curse on the world is disease. Mankind has always feared it, and always sought to battle it. Our own societies’ fear and battle with disease is seen in just the amount of our incomes – personal and national – that go into health care.
At the time when Jesus was walking on the earth, disease had an even greater hold upon mankind than now. Medical knowledge was limited. Medical technology nearly non-existent, and even basic preventive measures were lacking. Many diseases that we now consider to be of little threat due to modern anti-biotics and drugs used to be fatal. Suffering pain and debilitation from various diseases was common as was shortened life spans.
Into this wretched world came Jesus, perfect God becoming perfect man in order to take upon Himself the curse of mankind’s sin. Part of that curse of sin are the diseases afflicting mankind. This morning we are going to look at several examples of Jesus exercising His authority over not only disease, but also demons, nature, sin and even death. It is not just the miracles that Jesus performs that demonstrate His deity, but the manner in which He does them.
“And when He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Jesus has come down from the mountain on which He had given the Sermon on the Mount and the people are still following Him. He would be by the shore of the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum and from somewhere a leper comes up to Jesus. The Mosaic law had many regulations concerning those that had leprosy including that a leper had to live away from everyone else (Numbers 5:2,3). When they did venture out they had to wear clothes that were torn, cover their heads and mouths and cry, “unclean, unclean” (Leviticus 13:45). This both prevented the spread of an infectious disease and prevented people from being contaminated by a person who was ceremonial unclean. Leprosy, now known as Hansen’s Disease, would often result in gross deformities so that a person with it would look hideous. These things produced a great fear in people so that they would often throw rocks at lepers who came too close. For those reasons, most lepers stayed at a distance (i.e. Luke 17:12). It was a bold move on the part of this leper to approach Jesus.
This leper comes to Jesus and humbly bows down to Him and then makes his request, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” The Greek grammar indicates that the man had no doubt that Jesus could cure him from his leprosy. This is quite a statement of faith on his part since the only known case at that time of such a healing was that of Namaan the Aramean at the time of Elisha. The leper’s only uncertainty is if Jesus would be willing to heal him, and so he humbly makes his request.
That is a good example to all that would come to Jesus. We do not come demanding. We are to come with faith that He is able, and then request that He will do according to His will and not our own, even as this leper did.
Jesus answers in verse 3. “And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Note carefully that Jesus’ touched him. The word for touch here is not touch like a tap on the shoulder, but a touch as in a firm grip, and the word tense suggests that as Jesus reached out to this leper, the leper responded are reached out to Jesus. The man of righteousness reached out to touch a person who was the epitome of being unclean. Any other person that would do this would become unclean, but not Jesus, because His righteousness is internally generated. Jesus’ touch cleanses the unclean. The point proven in that the leper was immediately healed and made clean.
Jesus then instructed the leper to fulfill the Mosaic law, vs. 4, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” Jesus’ instructions accomplish two things. First, they demonstrate that He came to fulfill the law, not break it. Second, this man became a living testimony to the religious leaders that something significant was beginning to happen. Jesus wanted positive testimony presented to the religious leaders before his growing public ministry would began to raise their jealousy against Him.
The Centurions’ Servant
The next person Matthew presents as coming to Jesus is also someone that would be looked down upon by the self righteous zealots of Judaism. In verse 5 we find that as Jesus enters Capernaum He is met by a Centurion who entreats him concerning his young slave boy. The lad is in such bad shape that he cannot come himself for he is paralyzed, in great pain and near death (Luke 7:2). Luke 7 gives additional detail about this story including the Centurion’s good character and how some Jewish elders even spoke in favor of him and that Jesus should fulfill the Centurion’s request. Jesus’ response in verse 7 is that He would come and heal the lad.
However, the Centurion is an extremely humble man. Though as an official in the Roman occupying force he could have considered himself superior to any of the Jews, he clearly saw his unworthiness before Jesus. His response to Jesus in verses 8 & 9 is truly remarkable for reveals his belief about Jesus.
8 “But the centurion answered and 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, too, 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].” This Centurion has both great humility and great faith. He understood the nature of authority and recognized Jesus’ authority to heal without even having to be present.
Verse 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 “And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline [at the table] with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; let it be done to you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that [very] hour.”
Jesus commented about the Centurion’s great faith and that there would be Gentiles in the Kingdom of Heaven while there would be Jews who would be cast out. He then healed the servant from a distance as the Centurion had requested. Only God could heal in such a manner. Hucksters, false prophets and those who are empowered by Satan must be present in order to work their trickery, false miracles and supernatural phenomena. The Centurion understood that God was working through Jesus.
The next person that Jesus healed was a woman. Women were generally held in low esteem in Jewish culture at that time. Verse 14, “And when Jesus had come to Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.” 15 And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and waited on Him.”
Two important things from this passage to point out. First, Jesus does not heal partially. There is no recovery time. She went from being so sick that she was in bed to getting up and serving them as she would have desired to do because she was the hostess of the house.
Second, notice that Peter has a mother-in-law. Contrary to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, Peter was married. Paul comments in 1 Corinthians 9:5 that Peter was traveling with his believing wife.
Matthew 18:16,17 points out that Jesus “healed all who were ill 17 in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.” Jesus proved he had authority over disease just as had been prophesied. He healed fully. He could heal from a distance, and if He did touch someone who was unclean from disease, He was not made unclean, but instead he healed and cleansed the unclean person who had a disease. (See: Jesus’ Authority Over Disease)
Calming the Sea
The next miracle in Matthew 8 demonstrates Jesus’ authority over nature. Man has always wanted to control nature, but all he can still do is report what happens and hazard a guess at what might happen. He can only try to be prepared and then react to nature whether it be a solar flare, earthquake, volcano, tsunami or the weather. Man has attempted to cause it to rain by “seeding” clouds, but even with debatable and minimal results, he can do nothing about stopping the rain or the wind. Jesus can.
Look at Matthew 8:23. “And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to [Him,] and awoke Him, saying, “Save [us,] Lord; we are perishing!”
The particular words and grammar used in this story here and in the parallel passages in Mark 4 and Luke 8 indicate that this was a very violent storm, and they were in grave danger of being swamped. In the midst of this Jesus was tired and calmly sleeping in the stern of the boat. The disciples, though several of them were fisherman with great experience in sailing on the Sea of Galilee, had come to the end of their abilities to cope with the storm. They woke Jesus up and cried out to Him to save them for the impending disaster. They show faith in that they believed He could save them, but they were not prepared for how He would do it.
26 “And He ^said to them, “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?” Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm.”
The disciples were frightened because they could no longer handle the situation and their faith was not yet great enough to calmly trust God in the midst of such a storm. They had already seen Jesus perform many miracles, but they were not prepared for Him to exercise His authority over the winds and waves by commanding them to stop. Please note that Jesus rebukes the winds and the sea and not any demonic force. The result is that they immediately stopped. This does not mean the storm passed over or that the winds and waved died down. They stopped immediately which could not happen except by God’s direct intervention for the laws of physics which demand that once the waves have been generated the force in them must be dissipated. No wonder the disciples were amazed and responded in verse 27, saying, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
Only a man who is in fact God could do this, and Jesus is God in human flesh. We should not marvel at Jesus’ authority over nature since He is the one that created it. Colossians 1:16 tells us, For by Him (Jesus) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (See: Jesus’ Authority Over Nature)
The Gadarene Demoniacs
The next miracle Matthew records demonstrates Jesus’ authority over supernatural beings.
28 And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; [they were] so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road.
The country of the Gadarenes (also called “Gerasenes” or “Gergesenes)” is on the North-east shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 6 miles southeast across the sea from Capernaum. Jesus and His disciples travel there and as they come out of the boat and start up the hill they pass by a graveyard where they are met by two demonized men. These men were influenced by demons so that they were mentally deranged and actually living in a graveyard. Their place of residence matched their condition of being defiled and unclean. Mark 5 and Luke 8 describe one of the men in greater detail showing he was deranged, masochistic and had superhuman strength. Previous efforts to capture them had failed. The people in the area were afraid of using the road that passed by the cemetery where they were living.
These demonized men come out of the tombs and come before Jesus crying out (vs 29) “What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” It was the demons dwelling within the men that were saying this. The men did not know that Jesus was the Son of God, but the demons did know. Demons are fallen angels and so they recognized Jesus’ spirit thought they had not previously encountered Him in human flesh. Demons know that they will be judged by Jesus, and these demons are wondering what Jesus was going to do with them. Luke 8:31 tells us specifically that they were afraid that Jesus was going to cast them into the abyss as other demons had been (1 Peter 3:19). Did Jesus come to torment them before the time when Satan and all his host will be cast in to the lake of fire after the millennium (Rev. 20:2f)? The demons begin to entreat Jesus not to cast them into the abyss (Luke 8:31) or to send them to another country (Mark 5:10). Matthew 8:30 remarks that “there was at a distance from them a herd of many swine feeding. 31 And the demons [began] to entreat Him, saying, “If You are [going to] cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
There is no indication why the demons wanted to go into the herd of pigs except that they saw this as a better option than being cast into the abyss. It is safe to assume that they knew Jesus would not grant them going into some other person, so possibly they thought Jesus would accept this option since they were unclean and the swine were also considered unclean by Jewish law. We know from both Mark and Luke that there were many demons, even calling themselves by the name, “Legion, for we are many.” We also know from Mark there was about 2,000 pigs in that herd. These men had many demons in them, and now that they were about to be cast out of the men, they request Jesus to let them go into the swine.
In Matthew 8:32 we find that Jesus grants their request simply commanding them, “Begone!” And they came out, and went into the swine, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.” (The first case of deviled ham). The demons were in rebellion against God, but like captured enemy soldiers, they had no choice but to obey Jesus when in His presence because He is God.
Apparently this was all too much for those keeping the pigs and those in the nearby city. Matthew 8:33-34 records their reaction. 33 “And the herdsmen ran away, and went to the city, and reported everything, including the [incident] of the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they entreated [Him] to depart from their region.” Mark and Luke both tell us that when the people from the city arrived to meet Jesus, they also saw the formerly naked demoniac sitting down, clothed and in his right mind. They already knew about the report concerning the swine and they realized what Jesus had done in casting the multitudes of demons from the man. They understood that Jesus was no ordinary man resulting in them being “gripped with a great fear” (Luke 8:37).
They had the Son of God in their presence, but instead of welcoming Him and seeking to learn from Him, they let their fears control they and they sent Him away. Mark 5 tells us that Jesus instructed the formerly demonized man to “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” And the man did just that throughout the region of Decapolis. (See: Jesus’ Authority Over the Supernatural)
The Paralytic’s Sins
Jesus returns to Capernum and once again people are flocking to Him. Mark 2 gives us more detail than Matthew’s condensed story here in Matthew 9 about what occurs next. Mark tells us that so many were gathered there that there was no longer room even near the door. To this crowded place come four men carrying a paralytic man lying on a bed. They could not get into the house through the door, so they went up the outside stairs to the roof where they dug an opening in the roof and then lowered their friend into the house. That they would go to all this trouble to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus demonstrated they believed Jesus could help.
We pick up the story in Matthew 9:2. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus’ words were carefully spoken for He was well aware that there were some Scribes present and that they believed that physical afflictions were caused by either the individual’s sin, or perhaps the sins of the parents if they had been born in that condition (See John 9). That premise is not always true, such as in the case of Job, but it may have well been true for this man, for Jesus addressed his problem by telling him, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.”
That caught the attention of the scribes and they said among themselves, “This [fellow] blasphemes.” They did not believe Jesus could do this because they correctly understood that only God could forgiven sins (Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:18,19) and they did not believe that Jesus was God.
Matthew 9:4-8 records Jesus’ response. 4 “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, and walk’? 6 “But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– then He ^said to the paralytic– “Rise, take up your bed, and go home.” 7 And he rose, and went home. 8 But when the multitudes saw [this,] they were filled with awe, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”
Jesus does have the authority to forgive sins and He proved the point by healing the paralyzed man immediately and completely so that the man even had the strength to pick up his bed and take it home with him. The multitudes understood the significance of this and gave praise to God. (See: Jesus’ Authority Over Sin)
We do not find the religious leaders joining in the celebration. As time progressed they would become increasingly hard hearted toward Jesus so that they would deny the miracles or claim they were done by the power of Beelzebul (Satan – Matthew 9:34; 12:14). Their blasphemy against the obvious work of the Holy Spirit was the only sin Jesus would not forgive.
The Synagogue Official’s Daughter
The story begins with Jairus, the chief official of the synagogue in Capernaum, coming to Jesus and falling down at His feet to entreat him concerning his 12 year old daughter saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; [please] come and lay Your hands on her, that she may get well and live” (Mark 5:23). Jesus then started toward Jairus’ house, but the multitudes were pressing against Him and it was difficult to travel.
In the midst of this crowd a woman that had lived with a hemorrhage for 12 years came up and touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. Though she had not been able to find a physician that could heal her in all those years, she was healed instantly when she touched the edge of Jesus’ coat. Jesus was immediately aware that someone had done this and asked “Who is the one who touched Me?” When the woman realized that she had not escaped unnoticed, she came and fell down before Jesus and confessed what she had done and why. Jesus then responded “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (Luke 8:48).
Once again we find that Jesus does not become unclean when someone unclean touches Him. Instead, they become clean and are healed.
While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, someone came from Jairus’ house and told him that his daughter had died and not to trouble the Teacher anymore. Jesus heard this and told him, “Do not be afraid [any longer;] only believe, and she shall be made well” (Luke 8:50).
When they arrived at Jairus’ home the professional mourners were already present, and, as according to Jewish custom of the time, there were flute payers and a crowd in noisy disorder with loud weeping, wailing and lamenting. Their purpose was not to comfort, but to proclaim the agony of the loss. Jesus told them, “Depart; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they [began] laughing at Him” (Matthew 9:24). These professional mourners were shallow people who could wail and lament one moment and turn to laughter the next at a statement they thought to be ludicrous. However, Jesus prevailed and He entered the house with only Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother. Jesus “took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Child, arise!’ And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately; and He gave orders for [something] to be given her to eat” (Luke 8:54,55). The parents were amazed, and though Jesus told the parents not to tell anyone what had happened, the news of it spread throughout the land.
Jesus could raise people from the dead. This was not an isolated incident either. Luke 17:12-17 record that Jesus had stopped a funeral and raised the young man that had died and given him back to his mother. John 11 records the resurrection of Lazarus after he had already been dead three days. Jesus’ power to raise the dead is one more proof that He is indeed God in human flesh. (See: Jesus’ Authority Over Death)
What do you believe about Jesus? His authority over disease, demons, nature, sin and death all prove His deity. Sometime later when John the Baptist was in jail and beginning to wonder if Jesus was the Expected One, Jesus sent word to him saying, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 [the] blind receive sight and [the] lame walk, [the] lepers are cleansed and [the] deaf hear, and [the] dead are raised up, and [the] poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:3,4). Jesus’ miracles and preaching proved His identity. Some people believed the obvious while others rejected it for all sorts of reasons including not being able to face the ridicule of those that did not believe. The same is still true today. There are many that come to the very logical conclusion that Jesus demonstrated that He was God, but even so, they refuse to place their faith in Him and become a true Christian because they do not want to face the ridicule of co-workers, friends or family. I guess it then boils down to whether you want live for the present or eternity. How sad that so many still exclude themselves from heaven because they are more concerned about the suffering that may occur in this life at the hands of unbelievers. They will have all of eternity to regret it. Don’t let yourself be one of them.
– 2/3/2008 A.M.
The Messiah Performs Miracles – Matthew 8,9 & Selected
___________ is one of the tragic consequences of Adam’s sin
Jesus demonstrated He had ______________ over disease, demons, nature, sin and even death
Mosaic Law restricted lepers from being _______ anyone else (Numbers 5:2,3,)
Lepers were considered unclean and anyone touched by them would become _________ (Leviticus 13:45)
The leper did not doubt Jesus could __________ him, only whether He would or not
Jesus touched the leper and healed and _________ him.
Jesus _____________ the unclean. The unclean ____________ make Jesus unclean.
Jesus came to _______ the law, not ______ it. The leper became a living testimony to the religious leaders
The Centurions’ Servant
Gentiles, even those in positions of power, were considered ___________ by Jewish society
The Centurion’s servant is a young boy who is paralyzed, in great pain and _____________
The Centurion is a _________ man who is well spoken of by the local Jewish elders
The Centurion had great faith & understood the nature of _______, believing Jesus had _________to heal.
Jesus remarked that the Centurion’s _______ was greater than what He had seen in anyone in Israel
Jesus healed the boy as requested, from a __________________________________
Women were generally held in ____________ in Jewish culture of that time
Jesus healed her ______________ so that she was even able to get up immediately and serve
If Peter had a mother-in-law, he must also have had a ________ (see also 1 Corinthians 9:5)
Jesus __________ who came to Him (vs. 16,17). He proved His authority over disease as ____________
Calming the Sea
Man would like to control nature, but can only ________ to it and hazard ________ at what it will do
They are in a boat on the Sea of Galiliee in the midst of a very ____________in danger of being swamped
Even the ____________ among them had come to the end of their abilities to cope.
They show faith in waking Jesus by their confidence that He would ___________
Jesus rebukes the ________________ – not any supernatural or demonic forces
Both wind and waves stop immediately and are calm in _______________ to the laws of physics
Only God could do this – Jesus is ________. He has authority over ___________ (Colossians 1:16)
The Gadarene Demoniacs
The area of Gadarene (Gerasenes, Gergesenes) was on the ____________ shore of the Sea of Galilee
Two demonized men come from out of the _____________ as Jesus is passing the graveyard
They were deranged, masochistic, and violent with superhuman strength causing ______among the people
The demons within the men ___________ Jesus was the Son of God
The demons request to be cast into a large herd of ________ instead of into the ________
Demons, like captured soldiers, had no choice but to __________ Jesus, the Son of God
The people were _______ when the heard and saw what Jesus had done. They implored Him to _______.
The Paralytic’s Sins
It was so crowded, they went to the _______, dug a hole, and lowered him to Jesus
Jesus _________ his ______, the scribes thought this was blasphemy
Jesus healed the man instantaneously to prove He also had the power to _______________.
The Synagogue Official’s Daughter
Jairus, a synagogue official, entreats Jesus to heal his 12 year old daughter who is ___________.
On the way there, a woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years touched Jesus cloak & was ___________
The girl had _______, but Jesus sent away the professional mourners and raised the girl back to ______.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count and describe the miracles Jesus does that are mentioned in the sermon. Talk with your parents about how these miracles prove that Jesus is also God.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why is mankind afflicted with disease? How do the miracles Jesus works demonstrate His deity? What restrictions did the Mosaic Law place upon lepers? Why? Why didn’t Jesus become unclean when He touched the leper? What did happened when Jesus touched the leper? What did Jewish society generally think of Gentiles? What good moral characteristics did the Centurion demonstrate? How did the Centurion demonstrate a faith that was greater than what Jesus had seen among anyone in Israel? How does Jesus’ method of healing the Centurion’s servant prove His is God and not charlatan, false prophet or using demonic powers? How does Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law demonstrate His deity? What does this story tell us about Peter? How bad was the storm described in Matthew 8:18-27? Why was Jesus able to sleep in the midst of it? Why did the disciples wake Him up? How did the miracle of calming the wind and sea demonstrate that Jesus is God? What was the reaction of the disciples? Describe the nature / activities of the Gadarene demoniacs. How were the demons able to recognize Jesus and what were they afraid He would do? About how many demons were there? What happened to them? What happened to the men they had demonized? How does this demonstrate Jesus’ deity? What was the reaction of the people from the area? How did the friends of the paralytic demonstrate their faith? Why did Jesus forgive the man’s sins? Why did Jesus heal the man? How did that demonstrate Jesus’ deity? What was the general reaction of the religious leaders to Jesus’ miracles? How did Jarius demonstrate his faith? How did the woman with the hemorrhage demonstrate her faith? How did Jesus’ healing of Jarius’ daughter demonstrate His deity? Who do you think/believe Jesus is? Why? What effect should that belief have upon your life and how you live?
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