October 8th, 2006
A week ago we said that it’s not possible to get through life trusting nothing and no-one. When you drive your car you put a lot of trust in the brakes working. When you step outside your front door in the morning, you trust that gravity will hold you down on the earth. Most of the time we automatically trust things and people without thinking about it. But when we encounter something new for the first time, such as learning to drive, it’s a scary process because trust in unfamiliar things doesn’t come naturally. In today’s reading we met a Roman army officer who came right out and trusted that Jesus would do what he said he would. Most people take a bit longer to build up that level of trust.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 8
8:1 As he came down from the mountain, crowds followed him. 8:2 A man suffering from leprosy approached and knelt before him, saying, “You can make me clean, Lord, if you want to.” 8:3 Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Become clean!” Immediately the leprosy was cleansed. 8:4 Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a proof for them.”
8:5 As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came and pleaded with him: 8:6 “Lord, my servant is lying in the house in agony, unable to move.” 8:7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” 8:8 But the centurion answered, “Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8:9 I am a man under the command of superior officers, and I myself have command of my soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 8:10 Jesus was amazed when he heard this, and said to those who followed, “I have never seen anyone in Israel with a faith so strong. 8:11 Many people will come from the east and the west to share a table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, 8:12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 8:13 Jesus said to the centurion, “Go on home. It will happen just as you have believed.” His servant was instantaneously healed.
8:14 Arriving at Peter’s house, Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever. 8:15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. She got up and served him. 8:16 That evening, they brought to him many demon-possessed people. At his command, the demons left the people, and he healed all who were sick, 8:17 to fulfil the prediction of Isaiah the prophet: “He took away our weaknesses, and removed our diseases.”
8:18 When Jesus saw the crowds around him, he gave the order to leave for the other side of the sea. 8:19 A religious lawyer came up and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 8:20 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lie down and rest.” 8:21 Another follower said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 8:22 But Jesus said, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
8:23 He got into a boat, followed by his disciples. 8:24 A fierce storm arose, and the boat was close to being capsized by the waves, but Jesus was fast asleep. 8:25 His disciples shook him out of his sleep, saying, “Help, Lord! We are dying!” 8:26 He said, “Why are you so frightened, little-faiths?” Then he stood up and reprimanded the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm. 8:27 The men were astonished, saying, “What kind of man is this, if even the wind and sea obey him?”
8:28 On arrival at the other side in the Gadarenes district, two demon-possessed people came out of the tombs to meet him. They were exceedingly dangerous, and it was unsafe for anyone to walk past. 8:29 They shouted out, “Why are you disturbing us, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the due time?” 8:30 A large herd of pigs was feeding some distance away. 8:31 The demons pleaded, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 8:32 He said, “Go!” They came out, and went into the herd of pigs. The whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and drowned. 8:33 The pig farmers ran off into the town to raise the alarm and tell everyone the news including what happened to the demon-possessed people. 8:34 The whole town came out to meet Jesus, and they asked him to leave the area.
Entry Filed under: Trust