These small group studies of Matthew contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, teaching points, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Matthew 8:1-13 Inductive Bible Study – Discussion Questions and Teaching Points
I. Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy (1-4)
What happened after Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount? Do you think he was tired?
Did he get a chance to rest?
How long did it take for the man to be healed?
What does this show us about Jesus?
What can you learn from the man with leprosy?
How did he approach Jesus?
How did he ask Jesus to heal him?
What was the normal process for a man with leprosy?
What did Jesus ask the man to do? Why? Why did He ask him to follow Moses’ law?
Why did He tell him not to tell anyone?
Leviticus 13 – Old Testament law on leprosy.
- Jesus didn’t have time to rest – He had just finished delivering the most famous sermon in the history of the world. He had been showing care to thousands and thousands of people. He finished and descended the mountain. Imagine also that at that time there weren’t large roads. But the people managed to follow him down trails or through the wilderness as he came down the mountain. His job wasn’t finished. Immediately a man approached him. No one was offering to serve Jesus or let Him rest. They instead wanted Jesus to do things for them. This man wanted Jesus to heal him. There was indeed no rest for the weary. Matthew 20:28. In this event we see Jesus’ servant heart. He didn’t ask the man to come back later. He made time for him.
- On Jesus making time see, “Jesus has time for each of us. Jesus was very busy. He was so busy that sometimes He didn’t have time to eat. His family members thought He was crazy to spend so much time serving others (Mark 3:20-21). But somehow Jesus always made time. He made time to pray, even with all the needy crowds often following Him around. He made time to talk with His disciples and answer their questions. He made time to go with Jairus to help his daughter. And even on the way when his daughter was in critical condition, He made time to stop and talk with the sick lady who had the bleeding problem. Read Mark 10:46-49. Bartimaeus was another person that people looked down on. They didn’t consider he was important. He wasn’t worth Jesus’ time. They told him to be quiet and stop bothering Jesus. After all, Jesus was important. He had more important things to do, right? You can imagine Jesus walking through the city of Jericho and about to leave the city. Crowds are all around jostling for position. People are selling their wares. There is noisy conversation. Amid all of this, Jesus hears a voice shouting for Him. It would be so easy to keep going. It would be so easy to ignore this voice and focus on other things which most people would consider more important. What did Jesus do? He stopped. He stopped. He stopped what He was doing. He stopped where He was going. He called him to come. He inquired. And then he healed him. You see, Jesus is never too busy to help people. As a human, He had limited time each day like we do and many more pressing needs. And He still made time for others. He did so because He valued each individual person, young and old, male and female, poor and rich, healthy or sick.”
- Application: Making disciples is hard work. It requires continued serving when we are tired, when we are out of energy, when we are sick or in pain. Did Jesus stop to take a rest when he caught a cold? Did He stop to take a rest when he missed several nights of sleep? Do we make time for others when they need it? Let us take some time to go through some questions which will help us evaluate whether or not we selflessly serve others like Jesus did.
- The man took initiative – He took initiative to come to Jesus and seek help. We too must ask, seek, knock. We should be active believers, not passive ones. If you have needs, actively take your requests to God. Don’t be worried about making big requests. Nothing is impossible with God.
- The man showed proper respect – He knelt and he called Jesus, “Lord.” He didn’t make demands of Jesus. He didn’t treat Jesus like a servant or a slave. Instead he appealed to him. He said, “If you are willing.” This is the way we should approach God when we pray. We should treat Him with the respect He deserves. We should appeal to Him. We should ask kindly and politely for His help. And we should be willing to take “no” for an answer if it is not God’s will to say, “yes.”
- Jesus was willing – He does what is best for us. No obstacle is too big. If we do not get what we pray for it is not because He is unable, but it is because He is unwilling. And if He is unwilling it is because it is not good for us. James 1:17.
- Jesus told him not to tell anyone – For one example of why Jesus might say this see Mark 1:41-45. We don’t know all of Jesus’ reasons and their could be other ones. It could also be connected to the fact that the lawful way was to go to the priest to present oneself as being clean. Perhaps Jesus did not want the man to get distracted on the way. One other theory is “It was also possible that, if he did not go at once, evil-minded men would go before him and prejudice the priest and prevent his declaring the healing to be true because it was done by Jesus.” https://www.gotquestions.org/do-not-tell.html
- Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it – Though Jesus healed this man, He instructed him to follow the law of Moses and declare himself to the priest. Jesus obeyed and submitted to the law, just not to the extra-biblical traditions which people had set.
II. A Centurion with Great Faith (5-13)
Where was Capernaum?
How did the centurion address Jesus? Why would he call him Lord?
Why did Jesus ask the question, “Shall I come and heal him?”
What did the man recognize about himself? Was his statement that he wasn’t worthy accurate?
What can we learn from the centurion?
What aspect of Jesus’ character did he understand?
What can we learn from his faith?
Who are the “subjects of the kingdom?” Why would they not have a place at the table?
What is the relationship between the centurion’s faith and Jesus healing his servant?
John 4:46-50 – A different centurion asks Jesus to go and heal his son.
- A centurion came to Him – A centurion was a Roman. He was a Roman soldier in charge of a group of 100 soldiers. As he was stationed in Judea he had heard about Jesus and believed that Jesus could heal his servant.
- He is respectful – He also refers to Jesus as “Lord.” That is quite remarkable since Jesus was a Jew and this man was a Roman.
- Jesus asks him, “shall I come and heal him?” – It is not an accident that Jesus asked that. It is not something he normally asked. But Jesus knew this man’s heart and he wanted to use him as an example to all the people watching so he gave him an opportunity to proclaim his faith publicly. God will also give us opportunities to proclaim our faith.
- The centurion was humble – He realized that he was unworthy. Application: We should have the same attitude of humility when we approach God in prayer. We should understand that we are unworthy of His attention and blessing. If you realize that you will not grow angry and bitter if He doesn’t grant your request.
- He recognized Jesus as the Supreme Authority – His own background as a soldier helped him to understand Jesus’ position of authority. So what did Jesus have authority over?
- He demonstrates authority over distance.
- He demonstrates authority over sickness and disease.
- Greater faith shown than anywhere in Israel – This man’s faith was remarkable.
- He was not a Jew.
- He had not been taught the things of God from childhood (almost certainly).
- He hadn’t been entrusted with Scripture like the Jews.
- He didn’t need to see to believe.
- He didn’t need Jesus to go there to do the miracle. He believed Jesus could do it even over great distance.
- What can you learn from this man? What application can you make? How can this encourage you in your own life and when you face obstacles?
- God is close to us. See Psalm 139:1-12.
- Jesus rewards the faithful – This man believed and his servant was healed. But the unfaithful who should have believed in Him, but didn’t will be punished. Jesus also alludes to the fact that many Gentiles will be saved while many Jews will not be (11). When is your own faith week? How can your faith be strengthened?
More to come soon