After the sermon on the mount, this chapter gives us more insight into Jesus’s ministry. We see Him teaching and healing people, confronting and defeating demons. His interactions reveal His divinity.
Jesus heals the afflictions of many people in this passage. A man is cured of leprosy, a servant is cured of paralysis, Peter’s mother-in-law is cured of a fever and many more with sicknesses were healed that night. We also learn that Jesus is healing those possessed of demons. Notice the methods Jesus uses in this passage: with many he touches them to heal, and with the demons and the centurion’s servant he heals by only speaking it.
Jesus praises the centurion for his simple yet effective faith. We can imagine Jesus, surrounded by many people yet sought by the centurion. The centurion sees the difficulty in having Jesus travel to his home, so suggests that Jesus just heal his servant from where he is. The centurion’s faith is impressive to Jesus because this deep faith was not found in the Jews. Jesus uses the centurion’s faith as a springboard to teach His followers that all people will be able to worship God. Unfaithful Jews, however, God’s chosen people, ironically will be cast into Hell for their lack of faith.
Two parallel ideas are present in these verses. The first is that those that would follow Jesus at that time would not have had a place to sleep each night. The comforts and responsibilities of home and family they would have to leave behind if they were to follow Jesus. Jesus knew that some would be unwilling to give these things up to follow Him.
The second idea is that the same sacrifices are required of us as followers of Jesus today. Forsaking what we own materially, and other matters that seem important to us often are unimportant when compared to the sacrifice and privilege involved in following Jesus.
In these verses Jesus calms the sea, something that no regular person could do. Notice that Jesus was sleeping at the time. He was not worried and had no concern for His life or the lives of the disciples in the boat. Once awoken by the disciples out of fear for the weather, Jesus recognizes their lack of faith as he quiets the sea. He had that ability. How amazing!
Also notice the contrast in conditions. The storm is described as a great tempest at first, then as a great calm. Jesus was able to not only scale back the awful storm, but to bring the ocean to a state of calm serenity where no one feared for anything. This idea, just like in verses 18-22, is an application for us. The torment, guilt and chaos that sin brings into our life can be healed by Jesus. He replaces it with peace, strength and gratitude.
Two men possessed by demons cross paths with Jesus. The demons inside the men recognize Jesus for who He is immediately and are afraid. They are so afraid that they propose their own punishment. Jesus permits it and the demons go into the herd of pigs that then drown in the sea. Jesus’s power is evident to them.
This chapter shows us the impression that the Son of God makes on the world. He heals, saves and judges. Jesus is undeniable. You will either accept or reject Him in your life. Whatever your choice may be, He sees what is in your heart.