Last week, we followed Jesus as he descended from the mountain where He had delivered what is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. What we will see now is Matthew demonstrating how Jesus goes on to fulfill Prophecy of the Messiah as He presents Himself as the Gospel, the one who will fulfill the Law and the Prophets on our behalf. For as we saw in the Sermon on the Mount, we are incapable of keeping the Law on our own. Christ Jesus came to fulfill the Law on our behalf so that His righteousness can be imputed to our account. Matthew will continue to give testimony of Jesus as the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ to his Jewish audience. Why? That they might have faith (Romans 10:17). After the Law was preached, we see Jesus perform miracles and highlight faith. So as we continue in Matthew, key in on the Identity of Jesus, the Authority of Jesus, and the role of Faith.
Identity and Authority of Jesus
Matthew 8:18-34 (ESV)
The Cost of Following Jesus
18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Jesus Calms a Storm
23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man. After calming the storm, the men asked “what sort of man is this?” Matthew and Luke key in on this title of Jesus, Son of Man, more than Mark or John did. The focus of each Gospel account is different. Now, there is a lot involved in this title, and for many it seems like a lower title than “Son of God”. The children of Israel consider themselves bearers of the title Sons of God since they are God’s Chosen People. Now, there is a distinction from this general title of sons of God and claiming to be the Son of God as we will see later, for in claiming to be God’s Begotten Son Jesus is claiming equality with God. We aren’t there yet, but Jesus taking the title of Son of Man is no mere turn of phrase. Jesus is already claiming to be the Messiah here, as prophesied in Daniel 7.
Daniel 7:13-18 (ESV) | The Son of Man Is Given Dominion
13 “I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
Notice in this prophecy, we have Christ coming with the clouds of heaven and being given dominion and glory and the kingdom… and in its explanation in v18 we see that the saints will receive the kingdom. We do so, In Christ Jesus. The Gospel is on display in Christ’s taking of this label and He will continue to reveal himself to His disciples, the Apostles. And thanks to their work, we now see very clearly the identity and authority of Jesus Christ, amen.
Matthew 8 (cont…) | Jesus Heals Two Men with Demons
28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
The demons knew exactly the identity of Jesus, and were aware of a specific time that is coming, but had not yet come. Interesting. They knew Him as the Son of God. Notice also that they were fully aware of His authority to cast them out, and begged Him to allow them to go into the pigs. Don’t get distracted with myths, demonology, or other speculative and vain discussion here, focus on what Matthew is conveying. Jesus is the Son of God and He has authority to cast out demons and they know it.
Matthew 9:1-8 (ESV) | Jesus Heals a Paralytic
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
As a point of Christian Apologetics, there is no room to treat Jesus as merely a good teacher or a prophet of God. If Jesus were not the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Messiah, He would have been guilty of blasphemy here. This is where we draw a great deal of confidence in the doctrine of the Trinity. Our sin is against God, and only He has the power to forgive. Jesus is God the Son, and He demonstrated it by means of this miraculous healing. But the point isn’t the healing… though it is miraculous and wonderful, the purpose of the Messiah far exceeds that of temporal healing. He came to forgive sin.
Until Next Week
I look forward to continuing our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew. Until then, spend some time in the Word with your family and close friends. I pray you are gathering with the saints in an assembly where the Word of God is faithfully and carefully preached, unstained and free from reproach.
1 Timothy 6:13-16 (ESV) 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,