This morning as I was wandering through my Bible, I was drawn to read about Jesus’ ministry. He is my hero! I ended up in the gospel of Matthew, which is my favorite gospel book. I lit upon chapter 8 where I realized this was a day of miracles that Jesus performed everywhere He went. According to John 20:30 “There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through His name.” And John 21:24-25 says “This disciple (John) is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true. There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.”
This is just a day in the life of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s follow Jesus around on this day of miracles!
“After He had come down from the mountain large crowds followed Him. A leper now came up and bowed low in front of Him. Sir, he said, “if you want to, you can cure me.” Jesus stretched out His hand, touched him and said, “Of course I want to! Be cured!” And his leprosy was cured at once. Then Jesus said to him, “Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them.” (Matthew 8:1-4)
Jesus had just finished His teaching on the mountain on the Beatitudes. People were already amazed at His teaching and the authority He displayed. Naturally, they all followed Him when He was finished speaking. Imagine, Jesus walking with this great crowd of people following Him and a man with leprosy walks right up to Him. Back in those days, he could have been killed for getting around people. Lepers were not allowed to mingle with people. They were confined to leper colonies outside the city. This guy had some faith to brave such a large crowd of people. Thankfully, Jesus’ teaching on the mountain had softened them.
The leper said, “If You want to, You can cure me.” What was Jesus’ response? “Of course, I want to!” And that is His response today. He is the same yesterday, today and forever according to Hebrews 13:8. To me, this puts to rest the argument that healing died out with the Apostles. Jesus has always and will always be the Great Physician and what’s more, HE WANTS TO!
After this miracle, Jesus went on to Capernaum and when He got there a Roman centurion came up to Him. “A centurion came up and pleaded with Him. “Sir, he said, “my servant is lying at home paralyzed, and in great pain.” Jesus immediately said, “I will come Myself and cure him.” The centurion said “Sir, I am not worthy to have You under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: do this, and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, He was astonished and said to those following Him, “I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this.” Then He said to the centurion “Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.” And the servant was cured at that moment.” (Matthew 8:5-13)
Here we have a Roman soldier of great authority ask for a miracle. A man who was not in covenant with God like the Jews were. A pagan who worshiped many gods. Yet He recognized the authority and power that Jesus had from God. And He BELIEVED it. Notice that Jesus’ response was immediate. He said, “I’ll come heal him Myself.” He was fully prepared to go to a gentile’s house and heal his servant. But the centurion recognized that at Jesus’ WORD, his servant would be healed. That is some awesome faith! Jesus thought so too because forever this man was commended for his great faith. He spoke the Word and the servant was immediately healed. Just one word from Jesus and a situation is forever changed.
Right after the centurion’s servant was healed, Jesus went into Peter’s house to eat. “And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on Him” (Matthew 8:14-15)
He leaves one spot and then another opportunity comes along for a miracle! In the Middle-East, hospitality is everything. When someone came to your house, whether they were invited or not, they had to be cared for in a grand way. A full meal had to be prepared, water to wash up was provided. Cool drinks were provided. Remember in Genesis when the Lord visited Abraham? He was scrambling to get something for the unexpected guests to eat!
“Yahweh appeared to him at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and bowed to the ground “My Lord, he said “I beg You if I find favor with You, kindly do not pass your servant by. A little water shall be brought; you shall wash your feet and lie down under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you shall refresh yourselves before going further. That is why You have come in your servant’s direction. They replied, “do as you say.” Abraham hastened to the tent to find Sarah. “Hurry,” he said, “knead three bushels of flour and make loaves.” Then running to the cattle Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then taking cream, milk and the calf he had prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.” (Genesis 18:1-8)
That was a lot of work! They didn’t have a fine grocery store they could run to or a McDonald’s down the street to go grab a meal for the guests. They had to hand make the bread, kill the calf and cook it, milk the cows and get the cream out. Then Abraham waited by the tree in case they needed anything else. That is hospitality!
So naturally when Jesus and the rest of the disciples came to Peter’s house, his mother-in-law was concerned because she couldn’t minister to the guests because of the fever. Jesus knew her distress and He touched her so she to fulfill the hospitality that was required of her in this culture. She got up and immediately started tending to the guests as was the custom.
“That evening they brought Him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah: He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases from us.” (Matthew 8:16-17)
As evening comes the people knew Jesus was in the area and brought their loved ones for healing and deliverance. There is no telling how many people were brought to Him. Remember He had delivered that powerful message of the beatitudes on the mountain and the people had seen Him heal the leper and the centurion’s servant. They had already heard about His miracle power before He came to their area. They took advantage of the opportunity to grab the hem of Jesus’ garment while He was there! What was Jesus’ response? “He cast out the spirits with a word and cured ALL who were sick.” The demons fled before the face of God–Jesus, the Son of God. Sickness cannot stay in His presence!
After all this, the crowd got bigger and bigger. People are drawn like a moth to a flame by the power of God! Matthew 8:18 says “When Jesus saw the great crowds all about Him He gave orders to leave for the other side.” He gets into the boat to go to the other side of the lake–to the country of Gadara. All of a sudden this violent storm broke loose on the Sea of Galilee. Verse 25 says “so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But He was asleep.” Jesus is not concerned with external forces because He knows who He is! The poor disciples were not so confident though–they were terrified. There they were in the very presence of God Himself, who is the Creator of all and still terrified at the waves. How many times have I done the same thing? Knowing my Creator intimately, yet still scared of external forces coming against me. What did Jesus do? He rebuked the winds with a word. And everything became very peaceful.
I have been on the Sea of Galilee in Israel and what struck me the most was the incredible peace on that body of water. The peace spoken by Jesus over that lake is still in effect today. Truly His Word is forever!
“When He reached the country of the Gadarenes on the other side, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs–creatures so fierce that no one could pass that way. They stood there shouting, “what do you want with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torture us before the time?” Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off and made for the town, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs. At this, the whole town set out to meet Jesus, and as soon as they saw Him they implored Him to leave the neighborhood.” (Matthew 8:28-34)
You know, when it comes to money, people will forget everything else–including a great miracle right before their eyes. These two men were completely possessed by a legion of devils. They were so violent that no one dared to try and pass by them! They were terrorizing the neighborhood. Here Jesus comes along and runs the devils out of the men to bring them to sanity AND to help the people in the area return to a normal life. What do they do? They beg Him to leave the neighborhood! Why would they do this? Because He had ruined their investments in the pigs. There were about 2000 pigs that perished. All their money was gone. Jesus had turned their world upside down and they were not happy. Sometimes there is a loss in order to gain something better.
So what does Jesus do at this request? “He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came to His own town.” Then some people appeared, bringing Him a paralytic stretched on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.” And at this, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, “why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,–He said to the paralytic–“get up, and pick up your bed and go off home” And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.” (Matthew 9:1-8)
After the episode in Gadara, Jesus went back to His own town, Capernaum. When He got there, people came to Him to heal a paralyzed man. He responded to their faith. God will ALWAYS respond to real faith–ALWAYS. Jesus always goes to the root of the problem. The root cause of the man’s paralysis was some sin in his life. Jesus forgave the sin because of his faith in Him. Jesus could and can forgive sins because He is GOD. He is the Creator. The crowd knew that Jesus had power and authority because it was in their face as a reality. But they did not recognize Him as God. How could they? Nobody knew of the plan of salvation. Nobody was aware of the great mystery coming to pass in their midst. It was hiding in plain sight.
This was a day of miracles. It was most likely the norm for Jesus during His earthly ministry. Everybody recognized the power of God and wanted to be near it. The supernatural is irresistible to people. Every time He turned around there was a great need. There was great faith shown to Him so that He marveled. Faith pleases God so much. The really good news is that He STILL does miracles every single day–if people come to Him in faith. That is the key. Through this day His response was I will! I want to! His response to our faith is the same. I will! I want to!
Aside from the wonderful miracles we have seen today, the real blessing is knowing Jesus personally. To count Him as your friend is the greatest treasure you can have. The song says “what a friend we have in Jesus.” This is a true statement! There is nobody like Him. Listen to the words of this song and be blessed today if you know Jesus personally!
Don’t know Him?