What does Matthew 8:3 mean?
ESV: And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
NIV: Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be clean!' Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
NASB: Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
CSB: Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, "I am willing; be made clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
NLT: Jesus reached out and touched him. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be healed!' And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
KJV: And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
NKJV: Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Verse Commentary:
A man with leprosy has approached Jesus (Matthew 8:2). He is close to violating the requirements of the Old Testament Law that he keep his distance from uninfected people and cry out "Unclean!" to warn people to stay away from him (Leviticus 13:45). He has declared his faith that Jesus has the power to "make [him] clean," if Jesus so chooses. As someone afflicted with a skin disease, this man was ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in many of Israel's religious rites (Leviticus 13:45).

This was no small request. Though the law of Moses uses terms often translated into English as "leprosy," those words apply to a wide range of skin conditions. The same is true of the Greek words lepra and lepros. The Law provided a system for declaring a person clean after recovering from such a condition (Leviticus 14). In the case of some diseases, such as the disease modern people call "leprosy," this was naturally impossible. Leprosy—or Hansen's Disease—is a contagious disease of the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes. The two cases of healing reported in the Old Testament both involved supernatural intervention from God to call attention to His power and glory (Numbers 12:10–15; 2 Kings 5:9–14). This man's healing will serve the same purpose.

Jesus reaches out and touches the man. He didn't need to touch the leprous man in order to heal him. In the following verses, Matthew will report of a time when Jesus healed a paralyzed man without even seeing him. Jesus chooses to touch this man with leprosy, an act that technically violated the law of Moses (Leviticus 5:3) and would have made Jesus ceremonially unclean Himself, within the context of Jewish law. It would also have been deeply shocking to anyone watching.

Jesus did not become unclean, however: the man's condition instantly vanished after being touched by Jesus. In healing this man of this disease, Jesus showed that He carried the power of God. This is the same power that both afflicted and healed Miriam after Israel left Egypt (Numbers 12:10–15). Christ showed that He was even more powerful than Elisha, who prescribed multiple washings in the Jordan River in order to heal Naaman's leprosy (2 Kings 5:9–14). Jesus accomplished the same with a word and a touch.
Verse Context:
Matthew 8:1–4 describes Jesus' encounter with a man afflicted with leprosy. In great faith and humility, the man kneels before Jesus and declares that Jesus can make him clean if He wants to. Jesus touches the man, and the man immediately healed. Jesus commands the man not to tell anyone about what has happened. Instead, he is to go to the priest to present the offerings commanded by Moses for healed lepers who want to be officially declared clean again.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew begins a series of stories revealing Jesus' authority over sickness, demons, and even the weather. Jesus heals a humble man with leprosy and great faith. He then heals the servant of a Roman centurion who understands that Jesus does not need to come to his home; He can just speak a word. Jesus praises the Gentile man's amazing faith. After healing many more, Jesus and the disciples get caught in a deadly storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus stops the storm with a word. Later, He casts demons out of two men and into a huge herd of pigs.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 8 follows the conclusion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2). He turns to telling a series of dramatic stories to show Jesus' power and authority over every kind of disease, over demons, and even over the weather. Jesus also gives brief teachings about the hard road of following Him on earth. He calms a violent storm with a single command and casts demons from two violently possessed men. Matthew will focus mostly on miracles until shifting focus to Jesus' teachings and parables in chapter 11.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/29/2024 2:42:26 PM
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