January 10

Matthew 8:1-17


The word “save” in the Greek is sozo. It means “to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health. heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. Sozo includes a physical saving and a spiritual saving, translated “to give new life” and “to cause to have a new heart.” The saving work of Jesus gives us eternal life through the new birth; the saving work of Jesus also continuously makes us whole, restoring us according to His original and intended design as one created for glory. 


In Matthew 8:17, Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53:4, saying “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Matthew quotes this after he writes of all the people being healed and delivered from spirits. In Isaiah, verse 4 comes before verse 5, which is, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Physical healing is part of Jesus’ ministry. It’s part of His rescue, our “sozo” salvation.



In Matthew 8, we see Jesus’ willingness and eagerness to heal. In verses 1-4 we read of a healing of leprosy, a disease that gets into the skin and nerves, as well as eyes and respiratory system. It’s painful and deadly. Leprosy is still around today, but it’s treatable with medicine. We should be thankful for medicine; but there something greater than medicine, and His name is Jesus. We should do our best to care for ourselves, but we should be careful not to be arrogant and stop relying on God. In Bible times, there was no cure for leprosy. If you had leprosy, you had to separate from your family, friends, and neighbors because the disease can be highly contagious. You often would suffer in a leper colony. In the Bible, if people walked by someone with leprosy, the leper had to shout, “Unclean, unclean” as a warning to stay away from them, knowing they could spread pain and harm to others. My favorite part of this story is that Jesus was willing and eager to touch the untouchables – the ones no one else would come near. Jesus was confident that whatever issue He would encounter, He would be protected. He was bold with His love; He was bold with His power. 


I believe physical healing is part of the salvation Jesus continues to offer us today because of what He accomplished at the cross. He doesn’t have to come down and take those stripes on His back again. It was finished, and now salvation is ours – in spirit, soul, and body. I also believe some people can be hurt or damaged in their heart. They experienced a trauma – a loss, a wrong, even abuse or neglect; and even if the trauma is over, the damage is still there. They may even be aware that they are damaged, guarded, and could see themselves as a threat to others. They might even warn you to stay at a distance or try to chase you off as their way of saying, “Unclean, unclean” – if you get near me, you could get hurt because I am a mess. 


As in the story of the Good Samaritan, there are religious people that will walk by the hurting Jew, not wanting to get messy, not wanting to take that risk. Jesus taught His disciples to minister to the poor, the hurting, the blind. He taught them compassion. 


Is Jesus willing to heal you? Yes. 

What if you wonder if you are worthy? If He died for you while a sinner, won’t He heal you?

What if God has a purpose in sickness? Sickness doesn’t come from God. 

What if God wants you to learn a lesson? What kind of father would harm or torment a child?

What if God doesn’t want you well? Would God have His Son suffer for nothing? 



In verses 5-13 Jesus heals a paralyzed man with a word. Here’s what we know: 


  1. The one requesting help for the paralyzed man was a Roman, not a Jew. The Jews lived underneath the Roman government, but there was a definite divide in social status between a Jew and a Roman.
  2. Not only was the man a Roman; but he was in the Roman army. He was a centurion, having military rank over 100 men. It took 60 centurions to make up 1 legion. 
  3. We don’t know how, but the Gentile soldier knew of Jesus. He knew Jesus worked miracles. 
  4. The Roman traveled to Capernaum to find Jesus, searching for Him. When He found Jesus, the Roman pleaded with Jesus for help. The man humbled himself. 
  5. The man not only believed that Jesus was the answer; he also pursued Him and relied on Him as the answer. His actions in the search show his reliant faith. 
  6. The centurion had a reverence for Christ. He didn’t want to ask him to make the journey to his home, respecting His time. 
  7. The centurion recognized that Jesus had authority over sickness. Perhaps He knew that Jesus had authority as a teacher, a spiritual leader, or even the Messiah. 
  8. The centurion understood that if someone in authority gave a command, an action would follow. 
  9. The centurion understand that words had power, and that sickness could be driven out by Jesus’ words. 
  10. The centurion’s faith was greater than any Jew that Jesus had encountered. Jesus said that many, meaning Gentiles, would come from the east and west to be in the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom that was founded upon Jewish patriarchs. Jesus also said many Jews would not respond to Him in faith, obedient surrender, and they would be into the torment of Hades. 
  11. Then Jesus gives the man directions. He said “go your way.” The man obeyed by faith. 
  12. Jesus said “let it be done for you.” As soon as Jesus said those words, the servant was healed in that instant (see also John 4:50-53). 
  13. The power of God can work from a distance. 



Wherever Jesus went, the opportunity for healing was possible. He went into Peter’s house and found his mother-in-law was sick with a fever. He touched her and the power of God flowed into her body and healed her. She got up to serve them – proof she was well and able to function again. 



The people heard about Jesus and brought the sick, the oppressed, and the possessed to Him. Again, we see the power of words because Jesus cast out spirits with a word. He also healed all who were sick. Not one sick person was not healed. This fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 53:4. 


Genesis 25-26


The Messiah would come through Isaac, but Isaac’s wife was barren – a story all too familiar with Abraham’s family. The Lord did cause Rebekah to conceive, but not until Isaac asked. Prayer invites God to perform His will. 


Rebekah was pregnant with twins, which may have not been too unusual. However, the fighting inside her womb was so strong, she knew that was unusual and asked the Lord. God spoke to Rebekah prophetically, and she heard His voice. He revealed that the two sons would become two nations, one stronger than the other, and the older would serve the younger. 


Let’s recognize that the Lord has a plan for our lives even before we are born. 


Esau was born first, then Jacob. When Jacob was born, he grabbed onto Esau’s heel and pulled on it. They named him Jacob, meaning “supplanter.” A supplanter is something who takes someone else’s place. Not only did Jacob pull on Esau’s heel, but God prophesied the older would serve the younger. 


Rebekah knew the prophetic word over Jacob. Jacob lived in tents while Esau lived in fields, hunting meat. Isaac had a preference for Esau, enjoying the meals Esau would provide. Rebekah enjoyed having Jacob at home. 


Esau came home one day, famished from the physical activity, and Jacob made a stew. Esau asked for the stew, but Jacob would only sell the stew, in exchange for Esau’s birthright as the oldest son. In these early Bible days, the oldest son would become head of the family and received twice the inheritance. 


In chapter 26, a famine was forcing people to leave home and find food. As he steps out, God confirms His covenant with Abraham, and promises to keep that covenant with Isaac. The Hebrew word for “swore” in verse 3 is shaba. The origin of this verb is the noun sheba, which means seven. Seven meant full or complete. To swear, or promise, meant to completely bind oneself to their word. 


Like Abraham, Isaac lies about his marriage to Rebekah, fearing they would kill him in order to have her. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, saw Isaac being affectionate with Rebekah, and questions him. When he learns that Isaac lied and could have brought punishment on them, the king warns everyone to leave Rebekah alone. 


God prospers Isaac with by a hundredfold. His enemies saw his wealth and closed up his wells. They feared Isaac’s power, asked him to leave. Isaac needed room to grow. He kept moving away from his enemies and finally located in a wide, open space where he could expand without threatening anyone else. 


Abimelech and friends wanted to make a peace agreement with Isaac. Abimelech was a name used by many rulers, as was Pharaoh to Egypt rulers. They made a covenant agreement and shared a covenant meal.  Then Isaac found water and called the location the Well of the Oath (or seven). 


Esau took foreign wives, and they were a grief to his parents, Isaac and Rebekah. This was not the way they raised their sons, but as children grow, they make their own choices. It can be very troublesome when a child turns their back on their godly upbringing. If you have a child who has turned their back on God, don’t give up, keep praying and believing they will turn back around!


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