Matthew 8:5-13 The Centurion’s Servant Healed

Roman Centurion

The Roman Centurion’s Faith

Jesus entered into Capernaum. I wonder how long after the mountain top teaching this was. Was this still early in Jesus’ ministry? Did He enter in with a crowd or just Him and His disciples? Was He famous enough by now that even the Roman army knew of Him and were keeping watch on Him? Did the centurion come to Him right away or after He had been in town for a bit? Was Jesus teaching and doing miracles before the centurion approached Him?

The centurion came to Him asking for His help. Luke records that the centurion sent his request through another one of his servants. Regardless of who delivered the message, the request came from the centurion. Something must have convinced the centurion that Jesus could, or would, help him. Maybe the centurion had heard of Jesus’ compassion for the sick and he was appealing to Him on those grounds. Maybe his servant was Jewish and he thought that would motivate Jesus to heal him. The bottom line was he was desperate! He loved this servant and his servant’s suffering had touched him so deeply that he would do whatever it took to take away his servant’s pain. Just like God and Jesus loved us and were moved by our suffering. Read more »

Matthew 8:1-4 Jesus Heals the Leper

He touches the untouchable

He touches the untouchable

Jesus just finished His mountain top sermon. Matthew tells us that great crowds followed Him. It is not surprising after hearing what He had to say. Matthew doesn’t say Jesus healed anyone while on the mountain. I wonder why? Did Matthew simply not mention any healings or did Jesus concentrate on the message and no one approached Him for healing? I can’t imagine Jesus turning down anyone who approached Him in need.

I wonder how long it was between Jesus’ message and His meeting with this leper. The man obviously had heard of Jesus’ healing power. Was he on the mountain when Jesus was teaching? He couldn’t have been in the crowd because of his condition, but could he have been hiding on the outskirts of the crowd?

Wherever he had been he had to have courage to approach Jesus. Lepers were not supposed to approach anyone. They were supposed to warn anyone from approaching them too. This man didn’t. He broke all the rules to get help. Even in his desperate search for help he didn’t presume Jesus would heal him. He didn’t assume he was worthy of Jesus time and effort. He asked Jesus for his help. He recognized Jesus ability to heal and asked about His willingness to heal him. Read more »

Matthew 7:28-29 Jesus Finishes His Teaching on the Mountain

Road to Beatitudes

Road to Beatitudes

Jesus has come to the end of His message and the people are astonished! Jesus taught with such authority and understanding. This was so different than how they were used to being taught. I wonder how they were used to being taught. I wonder what they were thinking as they left the mountain that day. Did they talk about what they had heard? How many people stayed for the full message? How many people decided to follow Jesus after that message? Did any of his close disciples come from this mountain top group?

I noticed something while we were on the mountain top that I would like to share with you. I have been thinking about this for over a week and was waiting until there was a break in the action to share it with you.

Last Saturday I started off writing about how Jesus had opened His message. He started out sharing all the blessings that were available to His followers. We call them the Beatitudes. They are the blessings for the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry and thirsty for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness sake. Read more »

Matthew 7:13-27 Jesus Wraps Up His Message With Four Warnings

Jesus is my foundation

Jesus, my firm foundation

Jesus is getting close to the end of His message. My bible helps lump the rest of the sections together. I can certainly see their logic. So I think I will too. Jesus uses four illustrations in His concluding remarks. In each of these illustrations Jesus uses He is contrasting two polar opposites. Those who listen to Him and do His and his Father’s will, and those who reject Him.

In the first illustration Jesus uses a road and a gate. Jesus says that MANY will enter the wide gate with the easy road. Well, who wouldn’t want to take the easy way out? He says that the other way is hard and the gate is narrow and it is not easy to find. That one looks like too much work. IF it was just the gate and the road that we had to choose between, I’m sure we would all want to go on the easy hike. But it’s not. It’s what is on the other side of the gates that makes the difference. The narrow gate leads to life. The wide gate leads to destruction. And these are EVERLASTING choices. There are no do overs once you get beyond the gate. Before the gate you have many chances to change your mind, but not after. Choose wisely, because this is a decision that will stay with you for all of eternity. Read more »

Matthew 7:12 Jesus Sums Up the Law & the Prophets

Sum (Law + Prophets) = Golden Rule

Sum (Law + Prophets) = Golden Rule

Jesus’ teaching today gives us what we now call “The Golden Rule.” No it’s not he who has the gold makes the rules, although that often is the case. But it is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Jesus says this sums up all the law and all the prophets.

This is such a straightforward concept. I sounds simple too, but this is where all those tough parts we have gone over lately come back to us. Concepts like forgiveness, loving your enemies, retaliation, judging others, and giving to the needy are contained in this single command from Jesus Himself.

I know I am going to mess up and need forgiveness. If I expect it from another, or from God, I have to give it to others; even when they don’t deserve it or don’t even ask for it. If they don’t say “I’m sorry” do I still have to forgive them? Jesus said, yes you do. Unforgiveness hurts you more than it hurts anyone else. The other person may not even know that you are angry with them. Your unforgiveness may not impact them at all. But it is eating you alive and putting a block in your relationship with God. If you can’t forgive, you won’t truly believe that God can forgive. Read more »