Miracles Mt. 8:14-27 pt. 1
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 8:14–8:27
Mt. 14 - 27 When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”
18Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 22But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
23When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
It's great to be back in Matthew's gospel this morning. At that conference they kept saying the creed; Every word inspired. Every word preached. Ouch. We've got a lot of catching up to do.
We've been talking in these last few weeks about miracles. Since Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, He's embarked on miracles. Every kind of miracle.
And we've said the purpose for the miracles is defined. John makes no bones about it. He clearly states; Jn. 20:30 - 31 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
The miracles are the signature of God that these things are true. We believe because of the miracles.
And a secondary purpose which is almost identical to the first one. The written word of God, inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, was attested to us, proven by the provenance of miracles. Revelation was given to men who wrote and miracles were part of the proof.
When the revelation, the canon of the scriptures was finished. The miracles ceased. It's written down in history. And it makes sense. God speaks. There are miracles surrounding that. God finishes speaking, once for all, and the miracles cease. This finished book is our miracle. It's full of them.
But I want to clarify. I don't want any mis-understanding about the cessationist position that I hold.
While I believe that God is no longer doing miracles through men who were empowered to do those things with a direct purpose, the scriptures were being written by their generation, I do not at all believe God has ceased to do miracles.
I do not limit God. At all! He is the God of miracles, and He does His pleasure at all times.
Every time I get into this pulpit, trust me, I pray for miracles. I'm not up here because I think I've got something important to say. I'm up here because of a grounded belief that this book contains within it's words, the miraculous power of God to affect and change lives.
I believe the words of this book can quicken the souls of men from death to life. I believe the words of Isaiah 55:8 - 11
8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
The reason I get in this pulpet and teach these words from this book is because I believe with all my heart in the miracle that I just read to you. The Word of God will accomplish His good pleasure. Lives will be changed. We will together witness miracles better than any physical ones.
Lives will be changed. You folks will be edified. Built up in your Holy Faith. Made strong so that you can do the work of ministry inside and outside this church.
What I've just described, based in this book, is nothing short of miraculous. It is God having His way with His people doing His will for His glory, right smack in the middle of Satan's kingdom. This book can make that happen. That's a miracle.
And I believe that God in heaven hears our prayers and acts upon them. Supernaturally. Those are miracles. Every response of God, to our prayers, whether yes, or no, is a miracle.
I believe in miraculous physical healings. I do not believe in faith healers. But I believe God is still in the business of healing the physically sick, when it aligns with His purposes for our good. I've witnessed one this week!
One final miracle I believe in. I've alluded to it already. Regeneration. The gospel has within it the power to bring dead men to life.
In Romans 1, Paul says; 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The gospel is the seed. It has the power of God Almighty built into it. Any time, Any time it comes in contact with good soil, a miracle happens. It grows. It explodes into life. Miraculously.
Is that helpful? Miracles ceased when the apostles had finished writing the canon of scripture we call the New Testament. Men empowered to do miracles. Over. Finished. Canon of scripture; finished. Miracles; finished.
But our God continues to work miracles in our lives, every day. We don't have miracle workers doing physical miracles like we're reading about here in Matthew. But God is working miracles in our hearts as we grow closer in our walk to Him.
Liberal theologians a century ago wanted to get rid of miracles. As the industrial age progressed, miracles, and indeed the supernatural seemed to be a stumbling block to modern thinking men. Our minds had expanded too much to believe any longer in the fables in the Bible.
A hundred years and more on, there is a great divide. The Bible is an offense to modern people. After 200 years of real science (and I'm not so sure what we've digressed to now is real science, where any theory that discounts a supernatural God is automatically true without the proofs that science originally required) we've come to a place where the Bible automatically removes those who believe it from accepted academia.
So, if you're a politician and you want to make a laughing stock out of your opponent, ask him if he believes in a literal 6 day creation. Oh! One of them.
I just wanted you to know, I'm definitely "one of them". I believe totally in the supernatural God that this ancient book declares.
Matthew makes it easy. He's so transparent in a way. When I look at the method of Matthew in how he's presenting these truths about Jesus the messiah, I see right through Matthew to the God who was in the room inspiring his mind and his pen as he wrote.
Either Matthew was more brilliant than any man who ever lived to write at this level, or a supernatural God is writing these things through Matthew. Of course, there's some of both here. Matthew was brilliant. And God directed every word, using Matthews brilliance and even his personality to create the inspired Word of God.
In these chapters immediately after the great manifesto of the Kingdom, the Sermon on the mount, and especially in what we read this morning I want you to see one over-riding truth before we look at the individual verses.
Here it is, and it's most curious. Curious isn't a good word. It's so deep it's beyond finding out. How's that. It's a truth that for now will remain only slightly revealed to us.
Jesus has authority over everything. Everything! He has total authority over disease. He touches the leper and the laws of thermodynamics shift into reverse. Instead of that touch transporting disease and wreckage to Jesus, the reverse happened. The leper was healed.
He has authority to command disease from a distance. No different than God in heaven telling a disease to leave. The centurions house boy is healed by a word, and Jesus isn't even in the room.
He has authority over demons. They must obey Him. Immediately. His command is cause to them. They have no choice but to obey His voice.
He has authority over the physical creation. He speaks to the wind and it ceases. He speaks to the waves and they cease to be.
Do you see that I'm closing in on the one thing that He doesn't exercise His authority over? Men. Men. And women. And children. People.
Now be careful to understand me. I didn't say He doesn't have authority over us. Every human created in the image of God.
Matthews final words in this book about the authority of Jesus over everything are these; Mt. 28:18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
He holds the authority in His hand over every created being in heaven and on earth. Every knee will bow before Jesus. Every one. Some day. But not now.
In Matthews book, he takes great care to show us that Jesus has authority over everything. He speaks and everything in creation obeys. Except men.
Here's the gospel. The good news. God created men in His image to glorify Him. A big trainwreck happened in Genesis 3 and men fell. This earth was subjected to the pain of being the abode of Satan who rules the nations of fallen men who are in rebellion against the creator.
They reject His authority. They hate Him. He has a plan for their lives. Destruction and hell. Pretty simple.
Except for one thing. He loves them even though they hate Him. So He begins to reveal Himself to lost men. He works through one nation to reveal truth in the darkness. He gives them a book of His laws which they can look into like a mirror and see just how evil they really are.
Then He sends His son, who completes His book, perfectly, one perfect life, and that Son dies the death that we deserved and gives that perfect life to us. Flip - Flop. He takes my sin. I take His righteousness.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 6:23
That's the gospel. The good news for a fallen planet held captive by Satan to sin. There's a way out. Destruction is planned for this place, but there's a way out.
That brings me full circle back to Matthews gospel. Jesus has authority over everything. Except men.
God in His inscrutable wisdom that is far above our resources to understand has allowed men to choose. Death or life. Satan's kingdom, or God's kingdom.
Why? Why did He do it that way. Why not use His authority to just sweep everybody into His Kingdom?
These are deep questions. Smarter men than me by far have been shipwrecked here. I guess you could call me a free will Calvinist.
We have a little clue in an obscure Psalm. Psalms 32:8 - 9
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
Understanding, intelligence, seems to be the divide. God created us in His image. We have a level of understanding, of intelligence that seperates us from the rest of creation. Spirit beings, demons and angels have intelligence also, but for reasons we don't yet know, are treated differently.
God doesn't want worship from creatures that have to be forced with a bit and bridle. God is glorified when we see our condition, we recognize with our intelligence our sin, our fall from grace, and we choose to accept His offer of grace and leave Satan's kingdom behind and cross over, at any cost, into His.
And there is cost. There is always cost. Nobody makes this transaction without incurring cost. And this is the cost. In order to be in His Kingdom, you have to become His slave. You have to be subject to the King.
Matthews book is about authority and submission. Jesus has authority over everything. Everything in creation ultimately submits to Him. But as He walks through this world, men are different. He heals them. He loves them. He feeds them. He prays for them. But He doesn't force them to worship Him.
Mt. 11:28 - 30 28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
In this book, that Matthew has written, but God really wrote it, but Matthew wrote it, but God was there overseeing every word, every tense of every verb.....in this book, intermixed with the miracles, we keep having these interactions with men.
A great multitude has followed Jesus. We could analyze motives forever. They were out to see a spectacle. To see miracles first hand. Nothing before or since compares to what this man said and what this man did. He was spectacular.
Do I think those folks will be in heaven. No. Most of them stop short of a commitment to be subject to the authority of Jesus.
Let's look at our passage this morning with these thoughts fresh in our minds.
14When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.
This is such a hopeful passage for us who pray for healing for those close to us.
Mother-in-law / son-in-law relationships are complicated. We leave father and mother, and cling to our spouse. Right. But that former authority never is completely gone. It hovers.
I had the dearest in-laws ever. Every memory is sweet. It was easy to love them, and to pray for them. Family dynamic. A most excellent one.
We can only imagine what it was like to have Peter as a son in law. Obviously she's living under Peter's roof. We don't want to read a bunch of stuff into this that isn't revealed. Did Peter intercede with Jesus for his mother-in-law? Maybe. A happy wife is a happy life, right?
Here's what we do know, and it's at the end of verse 15. Her illness was hindering what was really in her heart to be doing. She wants to serve the King. That's what's in her heart but she's too weak with this illness to do it.
The desiring was there, but the way was not. And Jesus enters the room, and with a touch, she is well. And immediately she serves.
Is there a picture of normative salvation here for us? I don't want to be a parable pusher, finding all kinds of weird things to suit my purposes that really aren't there. I'll probably err on the side of caution.
But is this a picture of what salvation should look like.
We love God, and want to serve Him, but we have an impediment. Sin. It makes us too weak to be any good to the saviour. And then, with a touch from him, we're mended. Do we get up and immediately serve Him. Is that what we see in the churches?
This mother-in-law fell under His authority immediately and with the highest motives. Love for the Saviour.
16When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.
Who is the "they" in this verse? It goes back to vs. 1 in this section.
1When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.
I wonder how long the line was? Everybody in Palestine with everything from an ingrown toenail to very serious things. And the demon possessed also.
The word "brought" is interesting. As if they would have to be brought by others. Again a lesson for us. Who are we bringing to Jesus. These troubled folk apparently had those who loved them enough to make sure they got an audience with Jesus.
Demon possession is a subject that the ancients seemed to know more about than we do now. Modern people are more uncomfortable with this than the ancients were.
Evil spirits that enter into a person and somehow control their personality. It's all very supernatural.
The Bible pictures a whole world of spirit beings that we can't see, but they're here doing Satan's bidding. They are ranked organizationally.
Paul tells us something of this in his letter to the church at Ephesus; Eph. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Demons. Angels that were cast out of heaven because they followed Satan in his rebellion.
Modern secular people sort of make fun of the whole idea. Irrational.
And yet, if you could have spiritual eyes to see what's really there, I wonder what we'd see. Mental illness? Unexplainable events of wickedness? Widespread. On the increase. I'm a believer.
Jesus had those eyes. and He cast out the spirits with a word
One thing about demons. Evil spirits. They know who Jesus is. And they know He has authority over them that they must obey. I guess that's 3 things.
He spoke the worlds into existence. Such is the power of His words. He just utters one word and the demons are cast out.
Were the folks thus healed here instantly saved as a result? Not necessarily. In Luke 11 we have this interesting account that gives a little window into the spirit world; 24“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25“And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26“Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
These miracles were to cause belief. But most of the people in this large crowd went home the same way they came, lived out their lives, and ultimately perished. They enjoyed the show and went home.
And always the case for those who are privileged to have a taste of God's truth, and then decide not to act on it, not to go all the way with it, the second case is worse than the first.
Any time truth is understood, but not acted on, there is a spiral downward.
6b . . and healed all who were ill.
He healed everyone who was ill that evening. Nobody in that line got turned away.
His miracles of healing were creative. Dismissing damaged human cells and tissue and replacing it with perfect whole cells and tissue. Removing viruses and making bodies instantly well. Things only the one who spoke creation into place could do.
There just isn't any other resource for this kind of healing.
And then, Matthew does something devastating. He takes these miraculous acts, never before or since seen or done by anyone else in the history of the world, and he ties them inextricably to one very familiar passage in the old testament.
He says; 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”
Let there forever be no mistake. The one who did these miracles is THE one spoken of in Isaiah 53. The miracles are the sign post. Isaiah 53 is the reality.
You say; "Well, what about all the other guys that healed the entire land of Palestine eradicating disease in an entire region. Maybe it was one of them that Isaiah's talking about."
Yeah, right. Make no mistake. No one ever had the authority to do these miracles like Jesus, and Matthew right here forever ties these miracles to the person that Isaiah 53 is talking about. Jesus. Isaiah 53 is about Jesus.
Let me read you just the beginning portion of that prophecy that Matthew says here, once and forever, is all of it about this Jesus.
Isa. 53:1 - 6 The Suffering Servant
1Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
3He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
Believe because of the miracles, but then go read Isaiah 53 to learn what the reality of the signs is.
He bore our physical illnesses away, but that was just a picture of the deeper reality. He bears our iniquity, our sin, our transgressions away.
How fabulous for those who had their diseases healed that evening in Capernaum. But what an unspeakable magnitude better, to have your spiritual sickness healed.
It's one thing to have authority over physical created things in the world, but it's a whole magnitude better to have authority to forgive sin. That miracle is available for anyone who will receive Jesus as Lord.
We'll pick this up next week in vs. 18.
More in The Gospel of Matthew
March 26, 2017The Authority and Commission of Jesus Mt. 28:16 - 20
March 19, 2017Jesus IS Alive! The Tomb is Empty Mt. 28: 1 - 15
March 12, 2017The Burial of Jesus Mt. 27:55 - 66 pt. 2