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Matthew 8:1-34
Yeshua's Miracles
Last Updated 5/26/00

CHAPTER 8:1-34 TEXT:

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

8:1 And, behold, there came a leper ... shew thyself to the priest

This meaning of this verse is missed in modern Bible commentaries. Many Bibles cross reference this section to Leviticus chapter 13 and 14 and what they call the "laws regarding leprosy." Although the link to Leviticus is correct, the common interpretation of the ailment being "leprosy" is incorrect. For instance, the Geneva Study Bible even has a caption in chapter 14 entitled, "The Law Concerning Leprous Houses."

Of course the idea of a house having leprosy is absurd. The text of Leviticus clearly shows this is not the disease of leprosy:

  • None of the physical skin conditions described are those of leprosy
  • The method of examination and treatment is not that for leprosy
  • Leprosy does not appear on clothing and walls of homes

The affliction spoke of in Leviticus is known in Jewish Bibles as tzarrat. (The first two letters are pronounced like the double z in "pizza.") Scripture shows that this was a specific disease inflicted directly by God Himself, for hidden sin among the people. It is taught in Judaism that tzarrat was directly associated with the sin of lashan hara (an evil tongue). This was when people would speak evil of others, behind their backs. In the book of Numbers, chapter 12, we see Moses own sister, Miriam, afflicted with tzarrat when she spoke against Moses.

Another point to note in this section is that Yeshua commanded the man not to tell anyone but to inform the priests. As already mentioned, He was following Torah by instructing the man to go see the priest.

A question to consider is: Why does Yeshua (here and later on as well) tell people not to spread the word of His miracles? We will address this in the next section of this study.

Going back to the subject of "tzarrat." There is another interesting story in the "New Testament" that seems to be related to this sin-related condition. One could ask, "Who more than anyone else, was speaking lashan hara against the Messiah and his followers?

This was Sha'ul (Paul/Saul), of course.

In Acts chapter 9, we read of Paul's encounter with Yeshua. He is stricken with an ailment that blinds him. The details of this affliction are given when it comes to an end:

Acts 9:18 - And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

The Greek word for "leprosy" as found in the "New Testament" is lepra, from the root lepis, meaning a flake or scale. (Strongs #3014, 3013). This is the word used to describe the "scales" that Paul received on his "road to Damascus." It is also the word used to describe the man healed by Yeshua in verses 8:1-4. Thus, an argument could be made that Paul was stricken with Tzarrat, which was healed through his encounter with Yeshua.

While we are on the subject of Paul's "conversion" (as some call it), it is important to note that Paul did not lose all of the knowledge he had acquired in his training as a Pharisee. His problem was the same as he would later note concerning his fellow Pharisees:

Romans 10:2 - For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge

The word "knowledge" is epignosis (Strongs #1922) meaning to have full discernment. Paul, like the other Pharisees, had abundant understanding of the Scriptures. (They had "knowledge" in this sense.) However, it required the illumination of God's Spirit to take that understanding and turn it into wisdom -- the wisdom that then showed him that Yeshua was the goal of the Torah. We will cover this in detail in our upcoming Romans study.

8:5 ... there came unto him a centurion

The centurion clearly knew the Torah and Jewish culture to recognize that Yeshua was the Messiah. Many gentiles of that day were attracted to the faith of Israel. In Scripture and other writings, we see gentiles in various stages of practice and growth in the faith of Israel. Some were known as "God-fearers," who acknowledged that the God of Israel was the one true God, and followed some of the Torah commandments. They would not be on an active path of conversion. Others would be actively learning and taking on more of the Torah, with the intent of full conversion.

The issue of the necessity of conversion (taking on all of the Torah) for gentiles coming to faith in Yeshua would become a point of discussion in the early Messianic community as we see in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts as well as in some of Paul's writings.

Although conversion to Judaism and taking on all of the Torah is not a prerequisite to faith for gentiles, God makes it clear that gentiles have and will always have a relationship to Torah and the faith of Israel. In fact, those who claim to be of the faith of God are warned about separating themselves from God's Sabbath and Israel's covenant - the Torah:

Isaiah 56:1-7 - Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Scripture is clear that at the end of days it will be gentiles that come into the faith of Israel, and its Messiah, Yeshua -- NOT Jews entering into some gentile "church" that has replaced the faith God established with Israel:

Zechariah 8:23 - Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Isaiah 54:2,3 - Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Deteronomy 32:43 - Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

8:12 ... But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out

Although many Jews rejected Yeshua at that time and throughout history, Paul (in Romans, chapters 9 through 11), warns gentiles, not to boast againt the natural branches (the Jews) as God can easily cast out the gentiles to put them back in. As Paul teaches in Romans, there is always a remnant of faithful Jews, and in the end, all of Israel will be saved. This subject will be dealt with extensively in our Romans study.

8:16 ... they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils

There are moments in history when significant spiritual activity occurs. When Moses was born, there were miraculous events and an increase of demonic activity -- much of it geared to killing Moses. The same occured just prior to the arrival of Yeshua. This is seen noy only in the Gospels, but also in the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The book of Revelation paints the same picture occuring prior to the return of the Messiah, in the period of time known as "the Great Tribulation."

8:22 ... let the dead bury their dead

The man's father was not dead yet. The request to "bury the father" was a Hebrew idiom meaning, "Let me take care of all the affairs of my family." However, God required an instantaneous response. The Kingdom offer was present with Yeshua. Anyone placing the physical cares of this world ahead of the spiritual concerns of God was not worthy to take part in the latter.

8:26 ... Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea

There is an interesting section found at Qumran, in a fragment that deals with a priest that is to appear in the future, whose righteousness brings light to his generation, but who also arouses fierce opposition (1):

4Q541 - The hid(den mysteries) he shall reveal (...) (for the one) who does not understand he shall write (...) the Great Sea shall be quiet because of him.

Although a literal-level connection can clearly be made to "the sea being made quiet," this terminology (the "sea") is rooted in deep Jewish mystical teachings regarding the end times. We will address this over the summer in our Revelation Study.

8:29 ... art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Even the demons know their time is limited. However, they were also aware that the Kingdom offer had not yet been accepted, and thus "correctly challenged" Yeshua.


1. The Dead Sea Scrolls a New Translation, Wise, Abegg and Cook, 1996, HarperSanFrancisco, p. 260.


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