Summary: This message deals with what makes Jesus Marvel, Smile as it relates to the acts of a human personality. Beblessed as your read and/or listen to this message!
I want to use this preaching moment to explore with you Matthew 8:5-10 (read).
I want to highlite this headline in our little chat: “Jesus Marveled.”
Basically in the 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th chapters of Matthew, Matthew is treating the Ministry of the Master to the Disenfranchised. Those poor, downtrodden, outcast individual; those whom society thought little of, deemed insignificant nobodies with no meaningful contribution to make because they were economically poor, being socially derived of educational benefits; and therefore, the Roman world had no use for them.
And so basically, we are looking at the Ministry of the Master in the Ghettoes. He is preaching the Gospel to the Poor. The poor had been deprived of hearing the gospel because they could not maintain or support a ministry with their finances, so they were bypassed as far as the good things were concerned. And one of the things the Lord Jesus did say when He proclaimed that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him was that He was sent to preach the gospel to the poor. And that’s basically what He is doing. He is reaching the Gentiles; those non Jews whether they be Roman, Greek, Barbarian, Women, slaves, the poor or sick.
During the Roman empire it was said that these were the Minorities because they had little purchasing power and political clout. But in reality, they were the majority because there were more Gentiles, Women, slaves and sick folk than there were pompous and proud Pharisees and the militarily strong Romans. And in our Text, we see the Lord himself ministering to Gentiles.
And we know a little about the Ethnos, the Gentiles in our studies in Ephesians. Those who were without Christ, alienated from the life of God and strangers from the covenants and promises to Israel. We find the Messiah is ministering to the Gentiles and particularly to a Roman soldier and his slave.
And to show the arrogance and pompous pride of male Jews who thought they had a lock on God and religion, one of the things I learned in studying Jewish history when I was going to school was that the first thing most male Jews did every morning was to pray a prayer that basically said, “Lord, I thank Thee that I was not born a slave, a Gentile or a woman.” Because slaves, Gentiles and women were, in the eyes of Jews, scum, absolutely nothing. And here in verses 5-15, that’s who the Lord is ministering to: a Gentile, a slave and a woman. In the first 15 verses of this 8th chapter of Matthew, Jesus is ministering to the needs of someone who was on the lower plane of human existence.
This Roman centurion was a Gentile and not a Jew; he was an Italian. And we know how the Jews felt about the Romans. They had an extreme hatred of them. And especially slaves, because to Jews slaves were counted as things to be possessed and used and owned, and when they could render no more service, they were to be thrown away.
In the first two miracles of this 8th chapter, Jesus not only showed mercy and compassion to an outcast leper in verses 1-4, but also to an outcast Gentile and his slave in verses 5-13. And then the third miracle in verses 14 and 15, He helped a woman; He helped Peter’s mother-in-law.
And the Lord’s point here is that physical health, race, social status or gender makes no difference to Him. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. And he didn’t care about how a person looked physically, the color of their skin, whether they were rich or poor, whether they lived on this side of the tracks or on the other side, whether they were males or female; He had compassion on people seeing them as sheep having no shepherd.
And He’s teaching us that as far as the gospel and salvation are concerned, there are no boundaries or barriers when it comes to rendering help and aid to those who are in dire need. Jesus showed special compassion to those whom society had disenfranchised.
And that’s good news because daily hundreds of people are just dropping thru the so-called safety net of society forgotten. And looking at this passage of Scripture I find hope and encouragement. For when others have been locked out, the Lord brings them in. The Scripture says that He has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith.
In verse 5, Matthew wants us to look at the Ministry of the Messiah in the City of Capernaum. For Matthew-Levi writes in verse 5, “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum….”
The word “Capernaum” means “Village of Consolation, City of Consolation.” The place where supposedly one could get encouragement, help and assistance provided one knew the right people or had the right background. But we shall find out that the name “Capernaum” and its meaning “City of Consolation” was far from correct. It was a city that offered very, very, very little encouragement, consolation or help especially to the disenfranchised: the Gentiles, women and slaves, to the sick. To the rich, yes. To the educated, yes. To the upper echelon of society, yes. But to the disenfranchised it was not a City of Consolation, it was a City of Oppression.