What Kind of Man Is This?

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Matthew 8:18-27

“And when Jesus had come to Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and waited on Him. And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES, AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.’ Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side. And a certain scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ And another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’ And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you timid, you men of little faith?, Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’”

Jesus continues to increase–in his ministry, in his accomplishments, which Israel could not accomplish and in fulfilled prophecy. Matthew paints the picture of the progressive prophetic fulfillment found in the ministry of Jesus. Matthew also, like no other gospel writer, shows the savior subverting the walk of Israel. That is all that Israel was to do and be, Jesus is now doing and fulfilling. The apex of this is when Jesus passed the test in the wilderness. It marks a distinct breaking point. Jesus is now increasing to a place Israel never fathomed, he is fulfilling prophecy and making miracles. We remember the Levitical Law concerning leprosy and its lengthy process and how Jesus instantly heals the leper by his words. Make no mistake about Matthew’s method and meaning. John’s gospel, which is not written chronologically, shows the first miracle of Jesus as changing water into great wine. And although John doesn’t write completely chronologically, this most likely is the first miracle of Jesus. Matthew omits it so that his readers see the enormous difference between the Levitical Law concerning leprosy and what Jesus did. Matthew’s aspiration to his audience is that of Jesus fulfilling all that Israel could not accomplish and that he is the Messiah–using the CAGED method, we see it is not so subtle.

“And when Jesus had come to Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and waited on Him.” Luke’s account in Luke 4, only adds that Jesus rebuked the fever. Many modern scholars suggest that Matthew and Luke copied from Mark, then are quick to point out the different details. To which I respond, of course they believe that they not only plagiarized but also embellished because of the scholars’ preconceived notion is that they’re right and the Bible is wrong. Failure to see the synthesis in Scripture is equivalent to short-sighted searching. One who reads the Bible using the CAGED method, swims in the sea of synthesis and symbolism. The gospel writers tell of the same historical scenes, but from different angles and aspects. I once witnessed a head on collision. Thank God no one was hurt terribly, but one passenger was a bit banged up. There was also a toddler in one of the cars, who was completely unharmed because of the proper use of a car seat. There’s my pitch towards the proper use of car seats. Moving on; I saw the whole thing coming. It was near a y-shaped intersection–I saw the cars headed towards each other as I approached the intersection at a slight angle. However, what I did not see was the center line due to an elevated median. Based on my angle and that which I could see, I knew it was going to happen. But what I didn’t see was which car was in the other’s lane. And I have to admit, I would have guessed wrong. The two drivers (a credit to the driver at fault) told the same story, but with different words. “The driver at fault said, “it was my fault, I drifted into his lane.” The driver not at fault said, “it was her fault, she was in my Lane.” Exact same story with slightly different words told from opposite angles. The Bible says that by two or three witnesses, everything will be confirmed. The simplistic synthesis of scripture screams to the student of the sacred syntax. The gospels are historical accounts of a man who spoke primarily in parables. This goes to the genre and aspirations of author to his audience.

Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, we can use Vitamin E to corroborate the fact that Peter was married. Expository exegesis of examples allows the reader to search the Scripture for corroborating testimony. In 1 Corinthians 9:5, Paul asks, “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” (Cephas is Aramaic for Petra in Greek and Peter in English). Now you can win at Bible trivia when one asks, “what language was the New Testament written in?” Say Greek and Aramaic. They’ll say you’re wrong but you can quote 1 Corinthians 9:5. Moving on; once again Jesus heals with little effort and so completely that Peter’s mother-in-law begins to serve them food.

“And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES, AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.'” Jesus heals during the day and he heals many during the evening, he heals as they come and as he goes. With a single word he cast out demons–it’s almost a constant casting out and an unwaivering alleviation of ailments. Of course, all of this was to fulfill what Isaiah had written several hundreds of years prior; “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried.” Why miracles, well, who else but the son of God could perform this many miracles?

One thing that the gospel writers and the apostle Paul and Peter do, that we cannot do, except to quote them, is they take single sentences or passages out of context, seemingly. It should be understood that the gospel writers and apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had a certain license and insight to interpret the Old Testament teachings and apply them to Jesus. Here in Matthew is a good example. While it may seem to us that Matthew rips part of the Isaiah prophecy out of context, ultimately the context applied to Jesus progressively. Matthew is simply pointing out this particular part of the prophecy. We will see more unfold as we walk through the context. We also will do well to still read the entire context of Isaiah 53, so that we can see it all unfold in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side. And a certain scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ And another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.'” Context is King, therefore we understand by reading the context that “He gave orders to depart to the other side,” means to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. We know they were in Capernaum which is on the west, and that they were in a boat and therefore were headed across the sea. We also can take our Vitamin E. While Luke’s account differs it confirms their course. It’s much faster to cross the Sea than it is to walk around. Matthew’s account skips details in Luke’s account and vice versa. Other things are told at different times. It’s not uncommon for the New Testament writers to write chronologically for the most part, yet lump similar scenes together. The book of Acts is a great example of this. Luke will stick with a topic that overlaps another, chronologically speaking, to show, for instance, what Paul and Barnabas did. It’s similar to a history of 9-11. One may tell the story of the first tower from impact to fall, then tell the story of the second tower from impact to fall, even though it fell first but was struck second. I point this out because many scholars suggest that the Bible is not authentic because of the gospel accounts differing in time and testimony. They should have used the CAGED method.

We don’t know if the scribe willing to follow Jesus anywhere, allegedly, was in Capernaum or some other city but it is of little consequence. However, we can assume it was based on the context. We also assume that the disciple who wished to bury his father was also on the shores of the Sea of Galilee because after this, they got into the boat. Nevertheless, all of this could have happened after their journey but before their return. Using our Vitamin E, or our expository exegesis of examples, we can draw out from the other accounts that they made numerous trips on the Sea of Galilee. I believe that this happened before they left based on the context but I could be wrong. It’s another one of those times when we must not lose sleep over the immaterial, missing the point made by Matthew. We mustn’t muse over the miniscule but see the meaning, understanding the author’s aspiration to his audience. A scribe willing to follow Jesus is told by Jesus that following him is tantamount to less than tent dwelling. Consider the words of Jesus; “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” It’s almost as if Jesus is trying to talk him out of being a disciple. We are not told the decision of the scribe at this point but will return to this theme, Lord willing. Yet based on the context we assume he turned away, remembering what Jesus said to him and how Matthew described him as a scribe, notice:

And a certain scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ And another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.'” The “certain scribe,” in this context, is not called a disciple nor is he told to, “follow me.” Do you see the juxtaposition? The disciple is commanded, in this context, to follow Jesus but the scribe is talked out of following. One, the scribe, says he is willing to follow but Jesus tells him how hard that will be. Then a disciple desires to first bury his father but Jesus tells him to let the dead bury the dead, follow me. Why would Jesus say such a thing? I guess it goes to God’s sovereign choice.

“And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you timid, you men of little faith?, Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’”

Don’t tell me that God doesn’t have a sense of humor! I realize that the grueling schedule Christ kept as a man would cause anyone to be extremely sleepy. And although the disciples weren’t healing and preaching yet, they appear to keep the same schedule. They are the ones who fell asleep​on him in Gethsemane. I am sure that they also were tired here but the weather kept them up. Yet Jesus sleeps. I love being on this side of the cross where we can laugh at the disciples, knowing that if I were there, I would probably have reacted worse than the disciples. I am sure that there’s a lesson in that. Nevertheless, it’s funny, Jesus is sound asleep while the disciples are in absolute astonishment. Wake up, save us! But before Jesus rebuked the storm he rebuked their behavior. “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?” Can you imagine being a disciple of Christ in those days? Actually, what about these days?

“Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” “Then,” meaning after he rebuked the disciples, he rebuked the storm and the sea became calm. And of course they marveled, imagine being there. We marvel, or should, simply by reading this account. Many miracles, hundreds of healings, constantly casting out demons but controlling the wind and the waves? Truly, what kind of man is this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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