Summary: Jesus is not like a magician who uses smoke and mirrors or sleight of hand. He is the living God who creates out of nothing through the sheer power of His will. He is not a steroid induced athlete that is able to do things to open the eyes and amaze every
August 25, 2005
Magicians and power-lifters sure are fun to watch. They can do some pretty cool stuff, like cutting people in two and ripping apart phone books. Neither of which can do much for you in the world, but they are still cool things to see. We watch the magician and ask, “How did he do that?” We watch the strong man and say, “There’s just no way!”
Jesus is not like a magician who uses smoke and mirrors or sleight of hand. He is the living God who creates out of nothing through the sheer power of His will. He is not a steroid induced athlete that is able to do things to open the eyes and amaze everyone in the stands.
Today, we are going to take a look at the power of Jesus. We will wonder at His miracles. We will cringe at the raw power in His words. We will bow before His mighty hand that fed 5,000 and cleansed the temple.
In the October 1993 issue of Life magazine, a photo shot by Scott Threlkeld shows three teenage boys who have jumped from a thirty-foot-high cypress branch toward a dark Louisiana pond. Threlkeld evidently climbed the tree and shot from above the shirtless, soaring young men, for in the picture we look down on the boys and the pond. There is something inspiring in the picture. The lanky boy on the right shows the least confidence, jumping feet first, knees bent and legs spread, arms flapping like a bird preparing to make a crash landing. The middle boy dives head first, arms spread stiffly straight and perpendicular, like the wings of a small aircraft. His head is slightly ducked and to the right. He is no doubt in a hurry to reach the water. The third boy also dives head first, but he isn’t in a hurry. He is floating. His head is up. His body is in a relaxed arch, both knees slightly bent, legs slightly apart. His arms are nonchalantly straight, hanging from his shoulders in an upside-down V. Poised and self-assured, he knows exactly where he is. No matter what their sense or style is, each of these three boys did a challenging thing: They took a scary leap.
Granted, high dives in country backwaters aren’t always wise, but sometimes to follow God we must take a similar leap of faith. When we do, like the three outsiders in our text this morning we will learn some pretty valuable lessons about the Lord and His Kingdom. Listen to what God has to say in Matthew 8:1-17.
1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever.
15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,