Friday, May 30, 2014

Jesus Returns To Capernaum

Matthew 8:1-15

“When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” (Matthew 8:1-4)

People had flocked to hear Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount from all over Israel and the surrounding areas.   Because they all traveled afoot, they could travel together and thousands went with Jesus.  It wasn’t like today, with everybody in separate vehicles.

On the way they met a man with leprosy, a medically incurable disease at the time.  The leper knew that Jesus had healed others and as he stated, Jesus was able to heal him if he chose to do so.  He recognized that while Jesus had the power, he was under no obligation to heal his leprosy.  He demonstrated bot faith and humility in his approach, making no demands. 

Jesus responded that he would do so and commanded that the man be clean.  The leprosy immediately disappeared, and Jesus instructed the man follow go to the priest and follow guidelines for being declared free, as described in Leviticus 14:1-33 as a testimony to the priests of God’s healing.

“And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.  For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” (Matthew 8:5-9)

When they arrived at Capernaum, a Roman centurion met him and asked him to heal his servant who was suffering from palsy, a loss of voluntary control of muscles, often accompanied with uncontrollable jerking or twitching. 

The centurion knew how opposed the Jews were to associating with gentiles and how upset they would be if Jesus came to his house, so when Jesus offered to go heal the man, the centurion told him it would not be necessary.  As a centurion, he had the power to order his men to do a job and they obeyed him.  He recognized Jesus had far more power than he did and could simply give the order without going to his house, thus avoiding the complications going would involve. 
“ When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:10-12)

Jesus was amazed that a Roman, with little or no history of seeing god work could so readily accept his power while the Jews, who had been taught about it for their entire lives found it hard to accept.  He prophesied that the gentiles would come to God for salvation in far greater numbers than the Jews.  Many of the Jews would be cast into hell weeping because of the unbelief.  The prophecy has proven true over the centuries.

“And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” (Matthew 8:13)

Jesus honored the man’s faith, promising that what he had believed would happen.  The servant was healed at that time.

“And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.  And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.” (Matthew 8:14-15)

When they got to Peter’s house, Peter’s mother in law had a serious fever.  Jesus touched her hand and the fever was healed instantly.  As a result, she was able to get up and feed them.  For centuries the Catholic Church has taught that priests cannot marry.  They have also taught that Peter was the first Pope and that he was never married. This passage clearly contradicts that last tradition, that he was not married, and Paul backs it up in I Corinthians 9:5. 

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