The Messiah is Busy: Matthew 8
In this chapter Jesus is busy in the lives of people. Matthew shares how the King has compassion for all, especially the least, the rejected, the endangered, and the hurting.
First we observe Jesus healing a leprous man who asks to be healed. To have leprosy in Jesus’ day meant separation from friends, family, and the community at large. A leper had to announce his leprosy to those around him, so that others would not come in contact with the communicable disease. A leper might as well as hung a scarlet “L” around their neck. Jesus heals the leper by TOUCHING him. To those around, Jesus risked getting the disease as well as being ceremonially (religiously) unclean.
Next a Centurion – an officer of the occupying Roman force – seeks Jesus’ help. This man was an enemy of the Jews, surely Jesus would not help him. Yet, the Centurion’s faith was strong enough to know that Jesus did not need to travel to see the sick servant, but could speak and the disease would be gone. Jesus, remarks about the faith this Roman displayed and how such faith shamed Jesus’ own countrymen. The servant received healing the moment Jesus spoke “Go, let it be done for you as you have believed.” (Matt 8:13). Matthew next shares that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law along with others oppressed by demons and those who were sick. Jesus is busy.
In the later half of this chapter, Matthew shares an event with a storm at sea that made the disciples afraid. Jesus calms the storm and the disciples express amazement at what Jesus is capable of and who Jesus must be. Matthew also narrates events surrounding two other demon possessed men whose demons cry out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the time?” Jesus casts these demons into a herd of pigs that then drowned themselves.
Jesus is busy. Jesus is amazing. Jesus is one to follow. But following Jesus is not as simple as one might think. Take note of what Matthew tells his readers in the middle section of this chapter: Matthew 8:18-22
“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Jesus says following Him is an “all or none” deal. You follow Him with all that you are and all that you have or you are not really following.
What does that look like in 2018?