Matthew 8: What Can We Learn about Jesus Here?
Matthew 8 is a miracle heavy chapter, and they were of course a major part of the evidence that Jesus was who He said He was. I want to focus today on Jesus healing a man with leprosy.
Mat 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
Mat 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Mat 8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Mat 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
I first want to point out that there were great multitudes already following Him. It seems that Jesus had group of followers already, but He was willing to give time to one specific person.
Second, the man who came to worship took the Biblical approach to Jesus. He said that if Jesus was willing, He could cure his leprosy. I think that we often come to God demanding things. This man understood that ultimately God’s will is what was important. It wasn’t a question of power. Jesus had more than enough power to heal the man, and we see the evidence of that because He did. However, the man made an important qualification. He wanted what God wanted rather than what he earnestly desired. Clearly, he wanted to be healed, but he put his own desires behind those of Jesus. I think that is important for us.
Finally, it is interesting that the final thing Jesus told the man to do was obey the Law. Didn’t Jesus come to abolish the Law? Not true. First of all, Jesus had not sacrificed Himself yet at this point, so following the Law made sense. Second, Jesus came to fulfill the Law. It is not that the Law was bad or somehow wrong, and Jesus came to straighten it out. That would be a problematic assumption given that the Law came from God. I don’t think that we as Christians need to follow the Old Testament Law and it is not sufficient for salvation, but I am not surprised in this situation that Jesus would have told this man to follow it.
Those are just a few thoughts on this passage. What do we see of Jesus from it? We see a Savior who cares about individual people, is powerful, is understood to be God and one aligned with God’s will and is not abolishing the Law but fulfilling it.