Matthew 8:2 “…a leper came and worshiped Him…”
Scripture uses the word worshiped a good bit without giving any more explanation. I’d always considered worship to be internal, from the heart, which it is. But the scripture also tells us that the Roman soldiers worshiped Christ as they were beating and mocking Him. Surely they were not acting from the heart. I then realized that the scripture was telling the actions of the persons referenced. They were bowing down to show reverence and worthiness to another. You have to read within the context to see if it is true worship from the heart. In this case it is. The leper knew Christ had the power to heal him and showed that by bowing to Him.
2 “…if You are willing…”
Statement of faith. He knew Christ had the power and the authority and choice to use it if He wanted.
3 “…put out His hand and touched him…”
Jesus didn’t have to touch the leper to heal him, but He went beyond the necessary to fulfill another need of the man. As a leper, he would not have experienced another human touch for some time. Jesus immediately showed him acceptance and redemption by touching him.
4 “…See that you tell no one…”
Early in His ministry, Jesus was focused on getting out the message of redemption. He wanted the people to awaken to their spiritual need, not just their physical. He later commented that they only came to see Him to see miracles and get fed. Certainly He had compassion on the people and healed many, but He knew their biggest need was salvation. I’m afraid we’re losing that today with the increased focus on so-called social justice. It doesn’t matter what you do for folks, if you don’t tell them about Christ so they don’t have to go to Hell, it is for nothing.
4 “…show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded…”
Fulfillment of the law. Jesus went by the rules as He said. We must realize the law isn’t separate from God, it comes from Him. He has reasons for it, not just to make us jump through hoops. Jesus was actually telling the man to do what Jesus Himself as God had already said through the law.
5 “…a centurion came to Him…”
Roman soldier having authority over a hundred other soldiers. A Gentile.
7 “…I will come and heal him”
The centurion could have asked Jesus to come heal his servant, but it’s not recorded he did. I think there is a reason. Jesus’s reply was that He would come even without the man requesting it. I think Jesus knew what was in the man’s heart and acted so it would come out for all the others to see. By offering what the man wanted, Jesus was opening the door for the man to share his faith. And he did.
8-9 “…I am not worthy…only speak a word, and my servant will be healed…I also am a man under authority…”
This man showed great understanding of who and what Jesus was, even though he was a Gentile. His authority as a soldier came because he himself was under authority and could act through that. He recognized that there was a God who had all power and that Jesus was acting as His servant. Therefore he knew Jesus had the power and authority to do what He wished.
10 “…I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
What a statement of condemnation. Here was a hated Roman soldier Gentile showing more faith in God and His servant the Messiah than anyone among God’s own chosen people. If we ask ourselves why, we see that the Gentile could recognize his bankruptcy as a person. He had nowhere to turn for salvation and was thus able to see what Christ was and what He offered. The Jews were full of pride and self-sufficiency, thinking they were OK because they were children of Abraham. They were looking for the Messiah, but only a Messiah of their own choosing.
11-12 “…many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness…”
All people are able to be saved, not just the Jews. Jesus reminds them that it’s not who you are that matters, it’s whose you are and who you know. One day all those who have been redeemed will be together, both Jew and Gentile. And unfortunately, even the unbelieving Jews will be cast out. Simply being a child of Abraham won’t save them.
12 “…gnashing of teeth”
Biting or grinding, usually out of anger or pain. He’s describing the unbearable pain of Hell which causes the gritting and grinding of the teeth. Not a pretty picture.
14 “…Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother…”
Nothing is said about the spouses of the Apostles except this mention of Peter’s wife and mother-in-law. We forget that the Apostles were just ordinary Jewish men who were probably married and probably also had children. Even though she’s not mentioned, it is highly possible that Paul was married. He mentions that he is single in some of his letters, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t married at some point. He could have been single from the beginning, but he could also have been widowed. I wonder if he was perhaps planning on getting married, as a normal Jewish man would, when He met Christ, then decided he could do more for Christ as a single man.
16 “…they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed…healed all who were sick”
The people came to be healed, not to hear Him speak. Shows what He was concerned about earlier when he told the leper not to spread the word around. Not that He didn’t want to relieve their suffering, which He did, but He wanted to fill their greatest need which is why He came.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.