Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "When He Came Down from the Mountainside"

“When He Came Down From the Mountainside”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
August 17, 2018 :: Matthew 8:1-17 

We’re back where we belong in the Gospel of Matthew. Last week, we skipped head of ourselves to the end of chapter 9, but this week, we’re right back where belong– right at the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

For three power-packed chapters, Jesus has taught with unparalleled authority. He has taught about the inside-out upside-down kingdom of heaven of which He is the coming King.

He’s invited us to join that kingdom and follow Him. To repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. To seek first, before anything else, His kingdom and His righteousness. And to build our lives on His authoritative teaching so that when the storms come, our lives do not crash but stand firm.

And now we find out what happens next.

What happens when Jesus comes down from the mountainside.

Here’s what happens: Jesus shows that He is the King.

If Jesus has been showing that He is the Messiah who was to come through His words in chapter 5, 6, and 7, now in chapters 8 and 9 He shows that He is the Messiah who was to come through His deeds.

There are many many miracles here in chapters 8 and 9–healings, exorcisms, control of nature, even a resurrection of a dead girl. And all of these miracles, these demonstrations of Jesus’ power point to His identity. They reveal Who Jesus really is.

And sprinkled through all of those are calls to discipleship. We’ll see that strongly next week. Jesus doesn’t just heal people. He calls people to follow Him because of Who He really is. He calls people to trust Him because of Who He really is.

This week, because we don’t have much time, we’re just going to look briefly at the first 3 short stories. They are all healing stories. Healing miracles that Jesus did after He came down from the mountainside. They might not be in chronological order. Mark and Luke put them in a different order in their gospels. The chronological order wasn’t as important to Matthew as the theological message was to him.

Matthew is committed to revealing to us Who Jesus really is. And we get that through not only hearing what He taught but seeing what He did when He came down from the mountainside.

You’ll notice that all three of these stories show Jesus’ concern for and care for and love for outsiders. For what Bill Hamel used to call, “the last, the least, and the lost.”

We saw that last week at the end of this section, at the end of chapter 9. Jesus always had an eye out for the harassed and the helpless. The outcasts, the outsiders.

Nobody was more outcast or outsider in Jesus’ day than a leper.

If you had one of those infectious skin diseases that fell under the general category of leprosy whether it was Hanson’s disease or not, you were an outcast. You were lonely and ostracized and alone. Nobody touched you. You had to live outside of the camp, outside of town.

And if anybody came near to you, you had to yell out, “Unclean! Unclean!”

Because the Law said that you weren’t just sick, you were ritually unclean.

You were defiled. And if you touched others, you would defile them. They would become unclean.

Can you imagine what that felt like?

Some of you can. Some of you carry around so much shame, you feel like this all the time.

You feel alone, and dirty, and untouchable and unlovable.

Well, this is what happened when Jesus came down from the mountainside”

#1. HE BROUGHT TOTAL CLEANSING. V.1 again.

“When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. [He was a rockstar!] A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’”

That’s interesting, isn’t it?

He kneels before the Teacher. He calls Him, “Lord.” That was a term of respect, but it was also used to refer to God in the Old Testament. Does this leper guy know Who Jesus really is? He seems to. He seems to worship Him. At the very least, he trusts Him completely. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

He doesn’t say, “Lord, if you can, please heal me.”

He says, “You can, if you will.” That’s faith!

And Jesus does the most amazing thing. The last thing you might expect this Jewish man named Jesus to do.

He touches the leper! V.3

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”

Isn’t that amazing?!

Jesus didn’t become unclean. The man became clean!

That’s amazing! That’s the opposite of how it was supposed to work. If you touched a leper, you became unclean. But Jesus touched a leper and they became clean.

Totally clean.

Totally you can take it to the bank you are clean.

That’s the point of verse 4.

Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you don't tell anyone. [I’m not looking for publicity here.] But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’”

This is the real deal.

Leviticus 13 and 14 give Moses’ instructions for what to do when you think you’ve been healed of your leprosy.

And this guy gets to go do it. And it’s 100%.

Total cleansing.

You know what that means?

It means that he can enter into society again.

He won’t be an outcast. He won’t be an outsider any longer.

He can be touched. He can be included.

He’s clean!

All because of Jesus.

Can you imagine what that would be like?

You know leprosy in the Old Testament was a picture or a symbol for sin.

It wasn’t sin itself. Uncleanness was not sinfulness. But it was visual parable of sinfulness and how sinfulness is sickness and defiling and affects others.

So when there is healing like this and cleansing like this, it is a picture of salvation.

And when we are cleansed from our sins, we are brought into fellowship not just with God but others. So this total cleansing is a picture of the total cleansing we can have when we come to Jesus by faith and all of the blessings that come with it.

Now in the second story, there is another kind of outcast. This time it’s a Gentile, a Roman Centurion, a military leader over a 100 soldiers.

Now he may have been in charge of his regiment but he was a long way from home and the Israelites were not happy to have him around. As a Gentile he was an outsider. Way outside.

But this man had faith. V.5

“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. [He probably didn’t do that very often!] ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will go and heal him.’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that very hour.”

When Jesus came down from the mountainside:

#2. HE BROUGHT TOTAL AUTHORITY.

This guy knew about authority.

He was part of a great chain of command that stretched from Caesar to him so that when he told his men to jump, they asked, “How high?” on the way up.

“I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.’”

And what’s amazing is that this Centurion thinks that Jesus has that kind of authority over PARALYSIS and SICKNESS and SUFFERING!

“Just say the word.”

And that kind of faith is astounding to Jesus.

You want to surprise Jesus when He was here back in the day?

Trust Him fully. Give Him your unlimited confidence.

Especially if you didn’t know that much about Him.

I mean this guy was a Gentile!
He didn’t have the Old Testament!
He hadn’t been expecting a Messiah for thousands of years!

“I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”

That’s a sick burn if I ever heard one.

This guy gets it. Where are you guys?

He has total faith in my total authority.

Do you?

That was the question that He was asking at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, right?

You going to enter through the narrow gate?
You going to “do the will of my Father who is in heaven?”
You going to build your life on my authoritative teachings?

Or are you going to go your own way?  On the broad road.

Saying, “Lord, Lord but actually not following Me.”

Building your life on the sand.

Jesus says, “I want more people like this guy. Who trust me completely.”

And He says that there are more on the way. V.11 again.

“I say to you that many will come from the east and the west [Gentiles!], and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the [upside-down, inside-out] kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom [the ones who should know better] will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Because they didn’t accept their Messiah.

Because they didn’t receive Him.

Because they didn’t trust Him. They didn’t entrust themselves to Him.

These people reject Jesus. They don’t have faith. So they will have agony and sorrow and anguish and eternal despair. Weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you and me.

Jesus invites us to trust Him like this Centurion did. Total faith in His total authority.

You don’t have to be Jewish.

You can be a Gentile from Pennsylvania!

All you have to do is put your total faith in His total authority.

And you will take your place at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven!

And to prove it, Jesus said, “Done.”

“Go! It will be done just as you believed it would. Because I have total authority. And his servant was healed at that very hour.”

The last story just shows how total that cleansing and that authority really was and where it came from. V.14

“When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.”

Did you know that Peter was married?

How would you like to be Peter’s wife?!

Apparently he had a house in Capernaum. And his mother-in-law lived with him.

By the way, this is another kind of outcast. I don’t mean mother-in-laws! I mean women in general.

In that society at that time in history women didn’t have much status or social standing.

They weren’t lepers or Gentiles, but they weren’t respected all the time either. In some situations they were treated worse.

But Jesus always lifts up women.

He sees women.

He respects them.

He always improves their lives.

And here He heals one. She has a raging fever. Maybe malaria? And again. He touches her. V.15

“He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.”

The point of that is not that He was worthy of her service.

The point is that she was healed so completely that she felt like making dinner!

She felt like getting up and setting the table!

This complete healing! And he’s doing that left and right at this moment. V.16

“When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.’”

When Jesus came down from the mountainside:

#3. HE BROUGHT TOTAL SALVATION.

No disease was too much for Him.

No evil spirit had any chance against Him.

You see all of that authority here? V.16 “with a word.”

There is no question about Who Jesus is.

Jesus is the Messiah who was to come!
Jesus is the Son of God!
Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of Heaven!

And Matthew says, “Jesus is the suffering servant promised in Isaiah 53.”

All of this healing? It was a foretaste of the kingdom to come.

When all of the evil spirits are gone.
When every disease is gone.
When every sorrow is gone.
When every tear is wiped away.

When there is no more pain, no more sickness, no more death.

No more orphans!

Total salvation.

That’s what this is was a foretaste of.

That’s what was going on that evening at Peter’s house in Capernaum.

King Jesus was bringing the Kingdom.

Total salvation. Body and soul and world. All made new and right again.

But we know what it’s going to take to get there, don’t we?

Jesus knew what it was going to take to get there.

Matthew knew what it was going to take get there.

That’s why He brings in Isaiah 53.

“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

When He came down from the mountainside and then went up on the mount of crucifixion.

Matthew quoted Isaiah 53:4 and he knew what came next:

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, 
yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

To bring that total salvation, Jesus went to the Cross.

Have you come to trust in Jesus for your total salvation?

All of the cleansing you need?

All of the blessings that come with that cleansing?

If you haven’t, I invite you totally trust Him now.

If you have, I invite you to totally thank Him now.

What He did for us!

He didn’t have to take up our infirmities.
He didn’t have to carry our diseases.
He didn’t have to get punctured for our transgressions.

And yet He did.

And all He’s asking from us is total trust and to follow Him with all of our lives.

That’s not too much to task.

That’s nothing!

He gave His all for us, let’s give Him all of us for Him.


***

Previous Messages in This Series:

0 comments: