Updated: Apr 14, 2020
CHAOS: The scene following the Sermon on the Mount is wild. In chapter 8 we read of a leper who throws himself in front of Jesus, a Roman Centurion who demonstrates more faith than any Israelite, Peter's sick mother-in-law, two wanna-be disciples whose mouths are bigger than their faith, a raging storm quelled with one word, two crazy strong demon possessed men, and a herd of swine jumping off the cliff into the lake. This all comes in less than a day. Jewish people didn't like chaos; everything about their society was ordered and specific. In a very broad sense, they understood God to be the one who brings order to chaos. In the midst of all this chaos, look at how Matthew portrays Jesus: calm, focused and in control of all things. By telling the story of how Jesus brought peace to this chaotic afternoon, Matthew in his very Jewish way shows that Jesus is in fact God. Is there any doubt after reading this chapter that Jesus can bring peace to your chaotic life?
JESUS IS GOD, PART 2: Another aspect of this chapter that magnifies Jesus' divinity is in the way Jesus brings order to this chaos: He speaks. Just as God the Father spoke the universe into existence, Jesus is now speaking healing & redemption. With one word, he makes the leper clean. He heals the centurion's servant and sends the demons away with one word: GO! (v13, 32). He calms the storm with one word (granted, the specific word is not recorded by Matthew, but it is in other gospels). He drove out evil spirits 'with a word.'
ONE OF THESE HEALINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS: Jesus is not recorded as saying anything to Peter's sick mother-in-law. All He does is touch her hand, and she was well. Neither Peter or the mother-in-law even asked for the healing or said anything about the sickness. Isn't it amazing that the God-man who could heal the centurion's servant from miles away with one word comes in, takes notice of the problem, and tenderly and quietly takes her hand and heals her. Even when it seems like God isn't saying anything to you; even when you haven't asked God for anything (for whatever reasons you're not asking); know that God's presence is always with you, not just holding your hand, but dwelling in your heart. He will bring order to your chaos.
HARD SAYINGS: We don't have time today for a full explanation, but just understand that when you read something that seems really harsh like Jesus' reply to the potential disciple in v22, know that something is probably being lost in translation. A good study Bible like the Faithlife Study Bible (free online) will help you work through these kinds of passages.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God Almighty, who brings order out of chaos.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you would be willing to follow Jesus no matter the cost, unlike the two who couldn't let go of the world in order to follow Him (v19-22).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: Ask in faith, like the centurion (v8), not out of fear or desperation like the disciples in the storm (v25).