Miracles, Demons, & ‘Please Go Away!’
Reading Matthew chapter 8 in the Bible this morning.
In thirty-four verses, Matthew 8 tells of seven different accounts of people encountering Jesus.
The chapter begins with Jesus healing a man with a skin disease. The guy says, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus replies, ‘I am willing. Be clean!’ He’s healed. Jesus then tells him to keep it on the down-low.
Then a Roman military officer, a Centurion, approaches Jesus telling him that a servant of his is experiencing terrible suffering. This guy isn’t even Jewish. He’s a Gentile – despised by the Jews. He busts into their religious bubble and pleads for help. Jesus agrees to help. The guy asks Jesus to, ‘…just say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ Jesus does, and he’s healed.
Jesus then says he’s astonished by the man’s level of faith. A Gentile!!! He’s not even in the club, the click, or goes to the church with the sweet logo.
Later Jesus goes to Peter’s house and heals his mother-in-law of a fever by merely touching her hand.
As evening comes, verse sixteen says that many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drives out the spirits and heals ‘all’ the sick. This event wasn’t a healing service where one out of 500 comes forward claiming undocumented healing.
Everyone who’s sick is healed.
Then a couple of guys tell Jesus that they’ll follow him wherever he goes. His reply is a bit harsh as he describes how following him isn’t about being with the cool kids; it’s difficult.
Then another little thing happens, while in a boat in the middle of a lake he commands a storm to stop. Now, this isn’t as basic as telling the wind and rain to pause, or is it? Beyond the boat and the lake, would causing this ‘complete calm’ require the counter-clockwise circulation of the low-pressure system to change and turn clockwise, creating a high-pressure system which in turn creates calmer weather? Turning stormy seas into tranquil waters?
To cap it off, two guys full of demons approach him, and he casts out a boatload of spirits who then jump all over a herd of pigs causing them to plunge off the side of a cliff. The community of pig farmers then begs Jesus to go away. He’s destroying their local commerce.
When it comes to applying Scripture to everyday life, what do we do with Matthew 8? Do we pray for the sick, cast out demons, and speak to hurricanes? Maybe.
One thing I’m sure of, we can Do Something Simple with Matthew 8.
We bow in reverence to the Son of God.
If all of this is true, this is no ordinary man. Jesus isn’t merely a great teacher, insightful religious leader, or just one who shows what it looks like to love well. This man is Christ the King, God in the flesh, the Lord of all.