By The Jesus Bible
JESUS’ POWER OVER DISEASE
Matthew 8 begins with three stories of Jesus’ healing miracles. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus healed many people; in doing so, he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 53:4: “He took up our pain and bore our suffering.” Not only did Jesus heal physical infirmities while he was on earth, but he also healed all infirmities, physical and spiritual, through his death on the cross. The stories of Jesus’ healing miracles are precursors to his ultimate healing miracle on the cross.
The key phrase worth noting in the story of the man with leprosy is “Lord, if you are willing” (Mt 8:2). As a leper, this man was a social outcast because leprosy was thought to be highly contagious. This man was incredibly bold even to approach Jesus in light of his disease, yet he did so confidently. He knew that having faith was no guarantee that Jesus would heal him, but he knew Jesus could heal him (Da 3:17 – 18).
The next story shows, for the first time in the Gospels, Jesus interacting with someone who was not Jewish. As a Gentile, the centurion had little reason to interact with, let alone believe in, Jesus. However, he showed faith similar to that of the leper in asking Jesus to heal his servant. The centurion, a man in charge of roughly 80 to 100 soldiers, rebuffed Jesus’ offer to come into his home. He knew that if Jesus would only say the word, his servant would be healed, which even further showed his confidence in Jesus’ power. Jesus was astonished at the faith of the centurion: “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Mt 8:10).
These two stories are remarkable in Scripture specifically because they tell stories of two individuals’ great faith despite the supposed odds against Jesus acting on their behalf. The social outcast and the Gentile showed more faith in Jesus than he had seen before, and they reaped the rewards of their faith and trust.
Jesus, help me to have faith like that of the man suffering from leprosy and the centurion. Help me to approach you boldly and confidently, laying my requests at your feet while also completely accepting your will. Amen.
1 When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 Behold, a leper came to him and worshiped him, saying, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be made clean.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 Jesus said to him, “See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered, “Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed, “Most certainly I tell you, I haven’t found so great a faith, not even in Israel.
4 Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted.
17 If it happens, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
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