Matthew 8

Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy

 1 Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”  3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.[a] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

Jesus, Your words “I do will it” say so much here.  I would like to think that means You always want to take away our “leprosy” when we want You to, but it doesn’t.  I hear You telling me that Your will is Yours and I must submit to it.

I hear You calling me to be like this leper.  He had faith in You, that You could cure him, but he did not assume it was what You wanted.  He asked, but was willing to accept what You wanted.

Jesus, help my lack of faith.  Give me the faith I need to trust You and kneel before You and ask You to heal all my problems.  But give me even more faith, to accept Your will and be happy to live in this life knowing that if I am not “healed” here, that You will provide the strength I need until I return home to heaven and receive my complete healing there.

Increase my faith Jesus.  Change me Lord.  Change me.

Day 62

The Faith of a Roman Officer

 5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer[b] came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant[c] lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”  7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

 8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

Jesus, I am not worthy to have You in my house either Lord.  And yet You are here.  Perhaps not physically, but You certainly are here.  I am so ashamed of the many things You have seen here.  I am sorry.

Lord, give me faith like the Roman officer.  I can’t see or feel You, so I so often don’t trust that You are indeed present and changing the lives of me and my family.  Help me to understand that everything, including the details of our lives, are under Your authority.  Open my eyes, mind and heart to Your deeds and lead me to have faith in You, even when I don’t “see” You in my living room or in my office.

Day 63

Jesus Heals Many People

 14 When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. 15 But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.  16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. 17

This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,

   “He took our sicknesses
      and removed our diseases.”[d]

The Cost of Following Jesus

 18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.  19 Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

 20 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man[e] has no place even to lay his head.”

 21 Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.[f]

Jesus, I try to remember that I have no home here on earth, but it doesn’t seem to really sink in.  If nothing here is real, or at least permanent, why to I love and keep so much stuff? Why do I chase the things of this world?

Lord, I do know that when I take time in the quiet, I do feel like a traveler here.  You have given me a desire to go home.  I know it is real and it is a gift from You.  I sure have done noting for it!  Thank-you Lord.  Now teach me to live here as You did.  Help me to travel light and not put down roots in this place I will soon leave.  Rejoice!  My home is not here!  Bring us all home soon Jesus, bring us home.

Day 64

Jesus Calms the Storm

 23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

 27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Jesus, I am so often afraid of so many things.  I look around and I see storms all the time.  Often in hind-sight I realize they weren’t really storms at all, but at the time, I am afraid.  And all the while, You are asleep in the boat.  So sure, so relaxed, so calm that the storm doesn’t even wake You up.  I want to be like that Lord.  I want to be like You.

Jesus, when the storm is raging, and those around me are panicking, give me the faith and trust in You, to remain calm.  I don’t want to be telling the world the “sky is falling”.  I want to be telling them, “its all in His hands”, and then living like I believe it. 

Lord, I can only be like You by knowing You and walking with You moment by moment.  Help me walk with You Lord.  Change me.

Day 65

Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men

 28 When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes,[g] two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.  29 They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”

 30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

 32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

 33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34

Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.

Jesus, just Your presence sent the evil spirits into panic!  You came to these men, obviously knowing all about them, to deliver them, and You did.  You set them free from a terrible bondage.  And not only them, You set all the people who lived in the area free from the harassment and fear these evil spirits brought to them.  Your presence in my life gives me protection and freedom from evil!

Yet, after all this good, the people who lived in the area turned You away.  I am not surprised.  I have done the same thing so often.  Your presence cost them some money and required them to admit You were special.  It was a lot easier to turn You away than to change their lives.  I still make that choice today.  Over and over I choose my stuff, or to go along with the crowd instead of choosing You.

Help me Lord to see these situations more clearly.  To see the choice I am really making.  To see You in my life.  Then give me the faith and courage to choose You.  Change my heart Lord Jesus. 

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 8:4 See Lev 14:2-32.
  2. Matthew 8:5 Greek a centurion; similarly in 8:8, 13.
  3. Matthew 8:6 Or child; also in 8:13.
  4. Matthew 8:17 Isa 53:4.
  5. Matthew 8:20 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  6. Matthew 8:22 Greek Let the dead bury their own dead.
  7. Matthew 8:28 Other manuscripts read Gerasenes; still others read Gergesenes. Compare Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26.