Sermon Notes

The Power of the Word


  • After a year on the Sermon on the Mount spanning chapters 5 through 7, we are about to enter the 8th chapter of the Gospel, according to Matthew.
    You must keep in mind now that the Gospels in the NT are more accurately titled as the Gospel ‘according to’, rather than the Gospel ‘of’. Because the Gospel is owned by no man and the four Gospel authors in the NT are not presenting their own Gospels.
  • And as Matthew, the humble apostle of Jesus’, recounts his perspective on the life and work of Jesus, we have to apply the contextual filter of Matthew’s narration. At the end of chapter 4, Matthew describes the nature of Christ’s ministry as it first began.
    Matthew 4:23-2523 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. So, having established Christ’s rising popularity, Matthew is, at this point, basically elaborating this picture by offering us a sample of the message and works of Christ. In chapters 5-6 (in the Sermon on the Mount) that followed this text, we find a clear sample of the kind of authoritative teaching and proclamation that Jesus did.
    But, now in chapters 8&9, we find the display of Christ’s power in the ministry of healing and miracles. After the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew tells us what the people thought, Matthew 7:28-2928 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.And after the display of miracles in chapters 8&9, Matthew tells us this in  Chapter 9: v33And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.”
  • So, since the theology of the matter has been clarified, the time has now come for us to observe the fantastic display of God’s power in action. In chapters 8&9, Matthew narrates 10 miracles, and they are given to us in 3 groups of around 3 miracles each. And after each set of miracles, Matthew gives us a glimpse of the Jewish response to such power at display.Now, we are going to take each section in order, and spend the time on each miracle, carefully observing what’s happening and what we can learn from them.
  • I have a prayer as we begin to observe these passages, that God will begin to open new doors of biblical clarity and conviction in all your hearts, because, in the last few weeks, I have become increasingly concerned and convinced that the greatest threat to our church at the moment is not COVID, it is INTELLECTUALISM. I wonder if, in our expository dedication to the word of God in all things, we are becoming more like the Pharisees and scribes, of whom we’re repeatedly warned about.And the major reason for the rise of intellectualism is the absence of God’s presence. Knowing about God might be purely exciting, but if that God showed up in front of you, in glory, that excitement would be, equally and more, mingled with fear and inadequacy that arises from an acute sense of our sinfulness, and we would lay prostrate on that ground in tears and trembling.Remember beloved, expository preaching, or studying systematics, or having a seminary education is not the beginning of knowledge or wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.And what better place for us to be in the text of scripture than on the display of God’s majestic power. The question you need to ask yourself is this, beloved, as we read these passages, do you really believe in God’s power to do what we are about to see here.


  • The first set of miracles involves a leper, a centurion’s servant, and Peter’s mother-in-law.
    The second set of miracles involves the calming of the sea, two demon-possessed men, and a paralytic.
    The third set of miracles involves a woman suffering from bleeding, raising a young girl from the dead, two blind men, and a mute man.
  • Now, in the course of this period, Jesus had done many mighty miracles but Matthew chooses these few to recount to us. And as we read carefully, we find that there are several reasons why he handpicks these few.
    • Each of these miracles are meant to convey more than a historical incident, they expose the human heart and God’s purpose in mercy.
    • Each of these miracles are narrated as a clear display of the deity of Christ, that Jesus is indeed God in flesh.
    • Each of these miracles are rich in the practical theology of how we ought to pursue God.
  • And with that, we come to the first miracle,
    Matthew 8:1-4When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.

    •  The narrative at the end of chapter 4, now continues. With all that Jesus was saying and doing, the crowds were everywhere in search of this new prophet as many thought him to be.
  • v 2-4 – 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
    • I have a question – why did Jesus perform these miracles?
      We know that Jesus displayed His Messianic authority in His teaching a few verses prior and that now He is displaying His Messianic power indeed. Now, I recognize what is on display here, but my question is ‘why’? If you tell me that Jesus performs all these miracles only in order to prove that He is the Messiah, I have a problem because the text itself does not describe it that way.I’m sure that some may want to point out to me verses like,
      John 10:38 even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
      Or, Acts 2:22“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
      Or, 2 Corinthians 12:12The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.So, did all these signs and wonders happen in order to evidence God’s hand was at work or did all these signs and wonders display God’s hand at work in order for something else?
      Which is it? It is both.Does a good doctor treat his patients in order to prove that He is a doctor, or out of a desire to help and serve the people? But in helping and serving the people does he not prove to be a good doctor, which is a greatly important thing without which no patient would come to him.Beloved, God alone is truly good. The greatest gift that God can give us is to display His glory. But the display of that glory does not bring repentance. There is a reason why God chose to display that power and glory in personal ways such as healing and feeding and calming storms. That the display of this God’s glory is intermingled with care and love for us.
      Jesus healed because He is God, and God loves us. The all-powerful God with whom nothing is impossible performs miracles because it is in His nature. The display of His power evidences Him as God, but He displays His power in such a way in the NT not only as evidence but out of mercy, love, and grace.

      Therefore, my response to many who say that the signed gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased because we no longer need it because we have the word of God now is that watch in Matthew 8&9 the very incarnate Word of God displaying signs and wonders. We don’t believe in signs and wonders as a means to evidence God in our midst, but that power of God would be displayed in all manners through His word.

  • v22 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
    • Oh, watch this splendid exchange that happened 2000 years ago.
        • A leper came to him
        • Knelt before him
        • Lord, if you will
        • You can make me clean
  • v33 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
    • I will! Wow!
    • Immediately cleansed
  • v44 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
    • Say nothing to anyone
    • Caring for himMark 1:45But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.