Matthew Chapter 8
Leprosy has been one of the most dreaded diseases throughout the ages. In the time of Christ, lepers were required to live in remote areas and verbally warn people from coming near. Jesus not only touched lepers (no doubt much to the horror of those who witnessed Him doing it), He healed them in doing so, if they had faith - a condition required of all, regardless of the malady (see Faith and Healing).
"8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest [see Levites], and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV)
The Roman military eventually carried out the horrendously brutal torture (a dozen or more of the evil thugs sadistically beating a bound, defenseless prisoner) and execution of the Christ. They were not often so "victorious" in genuine battle however, particularly when faced with a thinking, and therefore very lethal on a larger scale, battle commander such as Hermann in Germany - who annihilated 3 full Roman legions in Germany's Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD when Christ was a boy. There were however a few Roman troops whose time of calling had come in the time of Christ. This centurion (a commander of a hundred troops) had faith in Christ (another was Cornelius).
"8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the Palsy, grievously tormented.
8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west [see The Gatherings To Come], and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer Darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." (Matthew 8:5-13 KJV)
When Peter's mother-in-law was ill, Jesus healed her (ironically, the celibate papacy claims, fraudulently, the married Peter as their first pope - see also The Political Origin Of The Papacy). Later that evening, He healed many more of various physical and spiritual disorders - as prophesied, in this example quoted from Isaiah.
"8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house [see also Peter's Ministry], he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
8:16 When the Even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits [see also Familiar Spirits] with his word, and healed all that were sick: 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." (Matthew 8:14-17 KJV)
True Christianity is a never-turn-back journey to a New World. When a disciple hesitated, Christ told him "Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead" - meaning simply that one must accept one's calling when it comes. The others will get their chance in due time (see When Will You Be Judged?).
"8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 8:19 And a certain Scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:18-22 KJV)
The calming of the storm (see also Stilling The Storm) was simply a demonstration of how the Holy Spirit that created all things remains in power over all things (see Christ The Creator; also The Quick and The Dead).
"8:23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples [see Disciples and Apostles] followed him. 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Matthew 8:23-27 KJV)
Although skeptics have always tried to attribute demon possession with one or another form of mental illness, Christ plainly said that Demon Possession is real.
"8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with Devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters [see also Drowning]. 8:33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 8:34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts." (Matthew 8:28-34 KJV)
Matthew Chapter 9
Palsy is an abbreviation of paralysis. It was apparently a common health problem in that time, but not a problem for Christ to heal - if the person had faith. Notice carefully: "Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."
"9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, then saith he to the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 9:8 But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." (Matthew 9:1-8 KJV)
Matthew was a publican, or tax-gatherer, at Capernaum. Tax collectors were generally hated by the public, not necessarily because they were tax collectors, but rather because they were very often corrupt - hence the reason that "publicans and sinners" was a common term of disdain at that time. The choice of Matthew may have had a very practical purpose however; he was, by nature of his work, a good record keeper - a skill that enabled him to compile the Gospel book named after him.
"9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom [see Custom and Tribute]: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with Publicans and sinners?
9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Matthew 9:9-13 KJV)
The people of Judah had instituted religious fasts of their own - which were not wrong, since, as stated here, John the Baptist observed them. But Christ observed fasting in a much more "Christian" way (no pun intended) - with the Christ, not tradition, as the foremost intent (see also The Forty Day Fasts).
"9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
9:15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
9:16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." (Matthew 9:14-17 KJV)
Christ healed based upon the faith of the one seeking to be healed i.e. "thy faith hath made thee whole" (verse 22, below). Christ sometimes even healed the dead, for a purpose (see Why Were Their Deaths Interrupted?). Notice also how a woman was healed, through Christ, without Christ's specific intention to do it - it was her faith in God that was the most important factor.
"9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 9:19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
9:23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the Minstrels and the people making a noise, 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 9:25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land." (Matthew 9:18-26 KJV)
Christ's healing of the blind and deaf was at least in part symbolic of a greater healing of that sort that is to come upon the entire world - see Ears To Hear and When Their Eyes Were Opened. Notice again, "According to your faith be it unto you."
"9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
9:28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this?
They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
9:30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 9:31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
9:32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
9:33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
9:34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." (Matthew 9:27-34 KJV)
In view of how relatively few there have been who truly understand the Gospel, "the labourers are few" described here refers ultimately to those who will be in the first resurrection, at the time of Christ's return, who will serve those of the far larger resurrection later (see Resurrections).
"9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching The Gospel of The Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest [see Seasons Of The Harvest], that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:35-38 KJV)
Matthew Chapter 10
Some of Jesus' instructions to The Twelve Apostles (see also What Happened To The Apostles?) were specific to them in their time, but it also provides advice and direction for all who want to truly follow and obey The Messiah.
"10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out [see Casting Out Demons], and to heal [see Healing] all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew [see Bartholomew and Nathanael]; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot [see Was Judas Necessary?], who also betrayed him.
10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom [see also Sodomites] and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves [see also The Warning About Grievous Wolves]: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake [see The Great Tribulation]: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved [see When Will You Be Judged?]. 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [see Baal-zebub and Beelzebub], how much more shall they call them of his household?
10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [see Planet On Fire!]. 10:29 Are not two Sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men [see also Let Your Light Shine], him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven [see What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?].
10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matthew 10:1-42 KJV)
Fact Finder: What was the origin of the "go the extra mile" teaching?
See Going The Extra Mile