Study Guide

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

Magic for Amateurs, Miracles for the Messiah

  • For his first performance of grandeur, Jesus cures a leper. But he immediately instructs the ex-leper to not tell anyone. Hmmm. 
  • Instead, Jesus instructs him to show the temple priest that he's now cleaned.
  • The second miracle is pretty spectacular, mostly because Jesus isn't even in the same location as the miracle. Now that takes skill. 
  • A Roman soldier asks Jesus to cure his paralyzed servant but says he's not worthy to have Jesus in his home.
  • For the first time in the Gospel, we see Jesus amazed. He says he hasn't seen faith like this in all of Israel. And thanks to the soldier's faith, his servant gets the Dr. Jesus Special (i.e., he's healed).
  • While visiting Peter's home, a whole hoard of sick people is brought to Jesus to be cured. (One of them is Peter's own mother-in-law—it's nice to have friends in high places.) Obviously Jesus cures them all.
  • Jesus takes a quick break from all his miraculous activities and responds to a scribe and a disciple who want to follow him by saying, "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" and "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead" (8:20-22). He's indicating how hard it is to actually be a true disciple. 
  • Now back to our regularly scheduled miracles.
  • Jesus displays his powers over nature as he calms a storm. This actually causes Jesus to question his disciples' little faith because they were scared of sinking despite having Jesus in the boat with them. Now it's their turn to be amazed at his awesome power.
  • Enter the demons. Well actually, demoniacs—people who are possessed by demons. (We like to think they're demonic maniacs. Or really scary Animaniacs.)
  • So these two demoniacs come up to Jesus and start shouting at him asking him—whatcha gonna do about it, Jesus? Then they actually beg Jesus to cast them out into a herd of swine...which he promptly does. Poor pigs end up throwing themselves into the sea and die.
  • When the townspeople get wind of what went down, they aren't too pleased with Jesus being there and request that he leave.

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