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The Gospel according to MATTHEW.
8: 1 - 20.
pp. 1 - 5
We now come to the second period of the Lord's earthly ministry which deals with
miracles and the calling of the twelve Apostles. There are those who have problems with
the performance of miracles. Dr. Plummer's words are appropriate here:
"To those who believe that Jesus Christ was what He claimed to be, to those who
believe in the Incarnation, there is no difficulty about miracles. They are the natural
works of a supernatural Person. If He was not supernatural, then difficulty arises. But in
that case, we tear up the New Testament, and the history of the Christian church becomes
inexplicable" (Gospel acc. to Matthew, p.122).
However, it was not that the Lord worked miracles that proved the genuineness of His
Messiahship, for, as we have seen, Satan can travesty the miracles of God. It was rather
that He performed the very miracles that the O.T. had predicted centuries before. Isaiah
records the visitation of the Messiah to Israel when even the desert and wilderness will be
"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then
will the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shout for joy"
Doubtless there were those in Isaiah's day, as there are today, who would think it
impossible to interpret these verses literally. They would insist that the meaning was a
spiritual one. But they would have been absolutely wrong, for the Lord's healing
ministry did these very things day after day; giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf,
and completely restoring those who were crippled. In fact the divine record stresses that,
when healed, they actually leaped (Acts 3: 8; 14: 10), showing that it was not just
improvement of their condition, but perfect healing.
Peter refers to these credentials of the Messiah in Acts 2: 22:
"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you
by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you
yourselves know" (N.I.V.).
The epistle to the Hebrews confirms this:
"This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord . . . . . God also testified to it
by signs, wonders and various miracles . . . . ." (2: 3, 4, N.I.V.).
It should be noted that the healing of lepers is not mentioned in the summary of
Christ's healing ministry given in 4: 24, and it may be that the one recorded in 8: 2-4
was the first instance of such an act. We have similar details given in Mark 1: 40-45 and
Luke 5: 12-16. We should carefully weigh over whether the accounts in more than one