As I’ve been reading through the Gospels with the Summer Gospels Reading Group, I am struck by Jesus’ power and care for people. For someone with as much power as Jesus, it is amazing how gentle and kind he is. He shows compassion to those who are suffering in various ways. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at one chapter to see Jesus as both powerful and gentle.
One chapter in the Gospels where Jesus’ power and compassion are especially noticeable is Matthew 8. Jesus had finished teaching the people about the Kingdom of God (we often call this The Sermon on the Mount) and was coming down from the mountainside.
Miracles by the Dozen
Before Jesus could go anywhere else, people who needed his help began to approach him. The first request came from a leper. This man asked Jesus to heal him, and he did. By healing this man, Jesus restored him to his family and community. (Matt 8:2-4)
Second, a centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant who was suffering. The centurion demonstrated great faith, recognizing that Jesus had authority over sickness. And this wasn’t just any miracle–he wasn’t even in the same place as the ill man. He could heal long distance! (Matt 8:5-13)
Third, he healed Peter’s mother-in-law and many other demon-possessed and sick people. (Matt 8:14-17)
As he prepared to cross the lake, others approached him. In these encounters, Jesus revealed that wasn’t he offering his followers a means of glory in this life. Rather following him without trying to hold on to their old life was the key. (Matt 8:18-22)
When he finally got in the boat and was able to sleep, the panicked disciples woke him up to tell him about the storm. So, he calmed the storm! (Matt 8:23-27)
Finally, he arrived on the other shore and was immediately greeted by two violent, demon-possessed men. What a welcome! He drove out the demons into a herd of pigs. Then the demon-possessed pigs ran into the lake, and it caused quite a scene. So much so that the people begged him to leave. (Matt 8:28-34)
Time after time in this one chapter we see that Jesus is both powerful and gentle. And this unique combination amazed and instilled fear in those around him.
The Gentle Power of Jesus
What is notable in all these experiences is that Jesus saw people in their suffering. He saw their needs, and he cared. He relieved their suffering in very tangible ways.
Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, was concerned about the needs and afflictions of those around him. He wasn’t so high and mighty that he was unwilling to help. He didn’t pretend that he was unaware of the needs of others.
Did Jesus heal every sick and suffering person? Not in such a tangible way. But the reference to Isaiah 53:4 in Matthew 8:17 gives us a preview of what is happening.
The servant of Isaiah 53 was the one who would bear our infirmities and sins. This is the work that Jesus completed on the cross–the work to which the gospels testify.
The Gentle & Powerful Healing We Really Need
Jesus wasn’t there to bring temporary healing, but rather he came to bear our sins. He took on our unrighteousness and punishment at the cross. His suffering and death was the offering that covered our sin and allowed us to be clothed in his righteousness.
The powerful and gentle care Jesus showed to those who were sick and suffering is a beautiful picture of the healing that he later provided through his sacrifice on the cross.
Take a look at Matthew 8. What do you notice about the power of Jesus? What stands out about the humility of Jesus? Does this make you want to follow Jesus?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Matthew 8! Leave a comment below and share what stands out.