Contrast -- how Jesus touched the leper and Peter's mother in law and others brought to him
how he healed disease from afar in the case of the centurion's very sick servant.
Notice how Jesus was willing to become ceremonially unclean by touching a leper and also how he was willing to go against local tradition of "cleanliness" by visiting a Gentile household.
Notice how Jesus rewarded the faith of the leper and centurion. The first recognized Jesus' ability "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean," while the centurion recognized Jesus' authority -- "just say the word and my servant will be healed." Both recognized Jesus' power over sickness and disease.
Amazement -- Jesus was amazed by the non-Jewish centurion's great faith. In fact he told those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." Jesus rewarded his faith and replied, "It will be done just as you believed it would."
Matthew tied all of Jesus' healing of diseases to the prophet Isaiah by quoting: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." (Isa. 53:4)
Cost of following Jesus
Expect hard times. It's not always easy. (vs. 20)
You must follow God over your culture's expectations and traditions (even good ones) (vs. 21)
The Gentile, Roman centurion's great faith
Jesus' disciples' little faith
The disciples were so afraid of the storm.
Jesus ordered them to the other side of the lake. (vs. 18)
Jesus slept -- He trusted God to safely deliver him to the other side
The disciples thought they were going to drown
Jesus rebuked the wind and the storm ceased
Amazed again -- "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" (vs. 27)
Last story -- Jesus freed two men from demon possession. These men were so rough that chains could not hold them and they prevented people from going past them. Also they lived among tombs. (Another occasion where Jesus went deliberately to an "unclean" place to minister to the helpless.)
The demons recognized Jesus and asked, "What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"
I read this and not only was struck with the obvious fact that the demons referred to Jesus as "Son of God," but what do they mean by "the appointed time"? Do they know something about their future that others didn't know? Did they know that in the future -- at "the appointed time" -- they'd have a reckoning with the "Son of God"? When I read this I immediately thought of a passage in James 2. I may go into more depth concerning this chapter later as it pertains to living faith and how works are important in proving your faith is alive. But this is the verse that came to mind when I read Matthew 8.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
It's not like our believing in God is something "special." Even demons believe that. I believe they know more than we do and this is why they recognized Jesus and referred to some "appointed time" in the future.
So Jesus heals these demon-possessed men and the evil spirits are sent into a herd of pigs which run down a cliff and drown in a lake! The pig owners were stunned, shocked and ran into town to tell everyone what Jesus did! The town people come out to see for themselves and instead of being happy for the men delivered of devils who were hurting them, "they pleaded with [Jesus] to leave their region."
Apparently they were more concerned about Jesus destroying their livelihoods than changing human lives. I don't know. What do you think? Anyway I think it's a good lesson for us to not be so caught up in money and material things that we care more for the temporal than the eternal. People last for eternity. Things don't. Be joyful when Jesus changes lives and restores people.