Matthew 8:2 “And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.””
This low on the social status leper understands who Jesus is better than the elite religious leaders do and even better than Jesus’ own disciples at times. It’s no wonder that Jesus responds the way he does
“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
Application: When I pray, it’s not a matter of whether God is able but rather if He is willing, if it is His will, therefore I should always remind myself and remember to sincerely pray “if it be Your will”.
Matthew 8:8 “But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
Now a centurion, a man who was a Roman officer over 100 men, approaches Jesus and he (a man who has authority and importance, opposite end of social spectrum of the leper) submits himself to a poor jewish teacher and says “I am not worthy”. In terms of social status the reverse would have been perceived to be true. But the Roman officer seems to see who Jesus truly is, this is how I should see Jesus.
Application: I should see Him as able (like the leper did) and I should see Him as vastly more important and worthy than I am (as the centurion did).
Jesus response – “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”
Interesting that these two examples of faith and trust in Jesus come right on the heels of the sermon on the mount. These two are shining examples of how to live out chapters 5-7.
Matthew 8:29 “And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?””
These demons somehow know that this is not the time for them to be judged. Somehow they understood that their time for torment was going to be coming at a later date. They somehow knew that the 1st appearing of Christ was not going to include judgement, this was too soon to be that time. This is a common response of demons, they are shocked and horrified when they bump into Jesus. Also interesting that demons seem to know good theology, they know that this is not their time for judgement.
Important to remember that Jesus is more powerful than demons. They are scared of him not the other way around, They fear him, he does not fear them.
Romans 6-8 there is an interesting contrast between those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh “set their mind on the things of the flesh” (8:5-8). But those who are trying to walk in the Spirit cry “Who will set me free from this body of death?” (7:24).
Which am I? How do I view the flesh? Am I setting my mind on the things of the flesh or am I seeking to be set free from the flesh? Am I presenting my members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness or am I presenting my members to God as instruments of righteousness (6:13)?
In Joshua 7 Israel only sends 3,000 men to fight with Ai, and they are defeated. But the defeat is tied to sin in the camp (i.e. Achan) and not the amount of soldiers sent.
In Joshua 8 God tells Joshua to go take Ai because God has given it to him. Israel sends 30,000 mighty men by night to take Ai.
I think there is a lesson here. God was going to give Ai to Israel, he promised that. But Joshua sends 10x’s more men than before. God’s sovereignty does not negate our responsibility. Like John Owen said to Cromwell’s soldiers “Put your trust in God and keep your gun powder dry”