Friday, July 22, 2011

Matthew: Chapter 8

After laying out the divine heights of the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus descended the mountain to the depths of need in the 'Promised Land.'  Chapters 8 and 9 include a dozen miracles representative of the thousands Jesus performed.  It is fascinating to focus on the miracle, the method and the spiritual lessons of each. 

The first miracle involved leprosy--a disease which progressively destroyed life.  Leprosy is commonly used as an analogy of sin and it is easy to see why.  In that day, a leprous person was cut off from all contact with others.  Jesus healed the leper with a touch.  Can you imagine the joy of a gentle touch after years of isolation and rejection?  The leper's request for healing is a good reminder to us:  "If you will..."  It is not always the will of God to give healing; not because He is unloving but because His plans are greater than our understanding.

The next miracle involved an absent servant of a Roman official.  The Centurion's view of authority left him no doubt that Jesus could heal his treasured servant.  He was right!  Faith was indeed the victory.  Matthew proceeds by telling of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law.  There is no indication of a request being made but the response is enlightening:  she began to serve.  It appears that she extended hospitality to others in need of a miracle the same night! 

In the midst of the miracle accounts, Matthew shares some of Christ's teachings on discipleship.  Following Christ comes at a cost.  There are no guarantees of rest or resources, and Jesus must be the priority!  The One who sets the standards and has the power is worthy.

Matthew then proceeds with more miracles.  The winds obey Christ, and the motion of the water is stilled.  The laws of nature are set and ruled by Jesus Christ.  Not only the earthly realm heeds Him, the demons know and obey Jesus.  No dialog is recorded between the demons and Christ.  They speak to Jesus but He only commands them to 'Go.'  Their departure was immediate--and costly to the community.  How heartbreaking that their focus was on the cost and not the Christ.  May that never be our view.

Quick note:  I'll be out of town for a day or so at a family wedding.  See you when we get back.  Blessings.

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