The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 8:1-4



Preached @ Anchor Community Church on September 7th

“Hope for reformation and revival lies not in campaigns and strategy, but in the authority of Jesus. His followers must come to Him with the attitude of the leper in this account; they must recognize the sweep of His authority and petition Him for grace, for a decision to display His authority with favor.”

DA Carson


2 Things we need to remember from our introduction last year that will help put us back into the main theme of Matthew’s Gospel:

God’s Plan Was To Bless the Nations

First, from Matthew’s strange genealogy to his positive emphasis on Gentiles, it is certain that Matthew (Though being the most Jewish of the 4 Gospels) wanted us to realize that God is a God of all peoples.

God’s Plan Was to Send a King

Secondly, Matthew wants us to recognize that Jesus is clearly the fulfillment of the promise of God to send a Messiah to save His people, and re-right this fallen, broken world. 2 Samuel 7:10-13 demonstrates God’s promise that He would send someone through the line of David to be a King for His people “Forever.” “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Christ was this fulfillment as the “Seed” (Singular) that came from Abraham’s loins (See Galatians 3:8). It’s the same “Seed” promised to Adam in the garden after the fall (See Genesis 3:15).

Matthew uses the idea of the “Kingdom of Heaven/God” more than any other gospel. Jesus is truly a King as a present reality and our future hope.

We last saw Jesus preaching his 3-chapter sermon on the mount demonstrating some of His teachings regarding the new Kingdom of God.

Matthew 8 is connected to the end of Matthew 7:28-29 It’s actually an expansion of the thinking in those two verses. The connection is seen in verse one in the phrase, “When He had come down from the mountain.” Some see a reference to Moses coming down from Sinai with the law, since the context discusses the Law and Moses (See verse 4). But I feel the real emphasis is on Jesus’ “Authority.” In the sermon on the Mount, He demonstrated His authority in the way He spoke (“You have heard it was said…but I tell you”), and the way He could judge others, which clearly was a task only God can do (“Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”).

What is clear, is that His authority is not derivative from something else, and only He has the right to delegate it (See Matthew 10:1).

Big Picture: Jesus demonstrates His power and authority over every form of brokenness as the promised Messiah

Matthew does this in a Topical fashion not Chronological. This is very important to understand, because many skeptics have noted that the events as told in the other “Synoptics” (Mark/Luke) are out of order. Matthew puts his narratives in topically because He is making a point which started in Matthew 4:23 (See 9:35-36). He is demonstrating Jesus’’ teaching, Gospel and miracles/healings. Thus this first healing isn’t necessarily happening right after He came down from the mountain, but Matthew is using that phrase as a connector to what happened before it. Thus the sermon on the mount is a collection of the kind of teaching Jesus did, while chapters 8-10 are a collection of the kind of miracles and healing Jesus performed for a specific purpose.

It is important to note that Jesus’ miracles were very pointed, with the purpose to authenticate His mission and person. Later in the gospel, once the disciples believed, we see less miracles/healings mentioned, and Matthew turns his attention to the Lord’s sacrifice, demonstrating His purpose for coming (See Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10). This section is here to teach us something important about who Jesus really is.

Can Jesus Heal Today?

The big question on many minds, and not to mention a source of division within the church is, “Can Jesus still heal today? We will take a look at that briefly, since that’s not a major theme in our context.

What we do see in the first seventeen verses of Matthew 8 are three specific miracles demonstrating Jesus’ authority, but more importantly revealing three things that Jesus’ authority has power over.

Leper (Uncleanness)

Pagan/Gentile Centurion (Hatred/Nationalism)

A Woman (Prejudice/Oppression)

Matthew 8:1-17 We will learn Five Distinct Ways He demonstrates His Authority

Today, Today we will take a look at Two of Those Ways:

From the Head…

Jesus’ Authority to Heal Was An Earmark of the Messiah (Matthew 8:1-3)

Jesus’ Miracles attested to His being and mission. Jesus was fulfilling the works as promised throughout the prophets in regard to the coming Messiah (See Isaiah 61:1-4 cf. Luke 4:1-4). Jesus Himself demonstrates His identity to John the Baptist as one who cleanses and heals (Matthew 11:4-6).

This General Point can be seen in at least 3 ways:

  1. Jesus’ Jesus understood this healing as the dawn of the Messianic Age

See Matthew 11:5

Leprosy was feared and thought of as a curse (Numbers 12:10; Job 18:13). Healing was rare and thought only to have come from God (Numbers 12:10-15; 2 Kings 5:9-14). Leprosy was also shameful (2 Chronicles 26:20) like the Scarlett Letter. Today’s Scarlett Letter are the Molesters and Pedophiles who society shuns completely. Jesus just doesn’t cure leprosy here, He makes the shamed man “Clean”

  1. Jesus’ touching of the man shows His empathy and authority over the disease

Law forbade the touching of unclean things. Touching the man showed Jesus’ authority over the Law. Things that defile do not defile Christ, but His touch has the power to cleanse   defilement.


His touching demonstrated His empathy with hurting people. The word “Cleaned” is used 3 times in verses 2-3. First, it is used in the “Infinitive” as the leper speaks showing a trust Jesus can, but is not assuming anything. The second time it is used in verse three it is in the “Imperative” demonstrating Jesus’ command to make it happen, and lastly it is written in the “Indicative” showing that it happened in time. Literally it went from hope to reality.

  1. Jesus’ Authority to heal is contained within Him Revealing His Mission and Purpose

I am willing, be clean.Prophets healed, but they did so through Yahweh. esus has the authority in Himself to heal.

The lepers attitude is important to healing. His attitude is an attitude of request and trust, but not assumption. To this DA Carson writes,

“Hope for reformation and revival lies not in campaigns and strategy, but in the authority of Jesus. His followers must come to Him with the attitude of the leper in this account; they must recognize the sweep of His authority and petition Him for grace, for a decision to display His authority with favor.”

Religion consistently tries to domesticate Jesus for their own purposes. They either tell Him He cannot heal, or He has to heal when they say so (See Matthew 12:38; 16:1). Again DA Carson writes, “The invading power (Authority) of the Kingdom is at Jesus’ disposal, not theirs. It is His will that is decisive, not theirs

2 Factions On Healing

One says that Jesus no longer heals, while the other says Jesus always heals according to certain formula. Ultimately we come to Christ in humility, knowing He works for His glory according to His will/purposes.

A second way Jesus’ authority is shown in our passage is:

The Authority of Jesus Is Seen In Both His Submission to the Law, and His Fulfillment of It (Matthew 8:4)

Jesus did not heal to put on a show. Jesus commanded the man to not tell anyone. His purpose wasn’t to show everyone who He was and create a big following.

Jesus commands the man to go to the Priests as a “Witness” not an offering, which would have been the normal procedure (See Leviticus 14:19). The priest who saw to this man’s case would have to admit that the leper is “Cleansed,” and he is cleansed by Jesus. The man was cleansed, he no longer needed that law, but it was the law that points to Jesus. This cleansing is a sign that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law as he said (Matthew 5:17). It is the law and the prophets that pointed to Him as the fulfillment (Matthew 11:13).

While Jesus obeyed the law, He stood over it as the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8), and as one that the Law was a witness to (8:4)

…to the Heart

By whose authority do you live? In what way(s) has our culture transformed your mind? In what way(s) are you being transformed by the renewing of your mind? We are to come to Jesus as Lord, bowed down, recognizing His authority in our lives Or we simply don’t recognize who He is and continue to live our lives under our own authority, or the derived authority of others?

Questions To Ponder

  1. In what way are we all lepers?
  2. How are Jesus’ healing powers comforting?
  3. Why didn’t Jesus heal everyone?
  4. What part does the man’s faith have in his healing?


For Further Reading

A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Craig S. Keener

The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, Michael J. Wilkins

The Gospel According to Matthew, Leon Morris

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament 1A, ed. Manlio Simonetti

Sermon On the Mount; Sinclair Ferguson



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About Anchor Long Beach

I'm the lead pastor here @ Anchor Community Church. Check us out @ and on Sundays @ 10:30 @Gant Elementary across the street from Long Beach State. I love sports, philosophy, theology and discussing interesting topics. So here are some of my thoughts, I hope to hear some of yours, but be nice :)

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