Matthew 8-11

Matthew 8

:1-4 Healing the leper

:2 Lord, if thou wilt ...

I think this is a great pattern to pray, "If thou wilt..."

:4 See thou tell no man

Quite the difference from our thinking today.

Today we would probably want to schedule a press conference.

The next step would be to start advertising, "Miracle Service Tomorrow at 11:00"

Jesus wasn't out to promote Himself.

1Corinthians 13:5-AV love ... seeketh not her own ...

:4 shew theyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them.

to the priest - this was the prescription in the law, it was the priests who determined if a person had leprosy. (Lev.13)

The gift -

Leviticus 14 - the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing.

Two birds, cedar wood, scarlet thread, hyssop.

Strange that God would include such a law for a disease of which there was no known cure at that time.

God was making provision for the miraculous.

Jesus' heart was for a simple, but powerful witness.

:5-13 The Centurion's Faith

:5 a centurion

A Roman military officer, corresponding to our captain. All Palestine was under Roman military government at this time, with headquarters at Caesarea, and soldiers in every leading town. This centurion probably commanded the company stationed at Capernaum. He was, of course, a Gentile. (PNT 50)

:11 many shall come

Jesus is saying that there will be Gentiles in heaven.

This is a radical statement for a Jew to be making.

To the Jews, the Gentiles were only created to be fuel for the fires of hell.

:12 the children of the kingdom shall be cast out

{The sons of the kingdom} A favourite Hebrew idiom like "son of hell" (#Mt 23:15|), "sons of this age" (#Lu 16:8|). The Jews felt that they had a natural right to the privileges of the kingdom because of descent from Abraham (#Mt 3:9|). But mere natural birth did not bring spiritual sonship as the Baptist had taught before Jesus did. (RWP)

:13 and his servant was healed

Much of His earthly healing ministry involved Jesus being in a place to heal.

But Jesus' power isn't limited to physical locality.

All He needs to do is "speak the word".

After all, wasn't it His words that flung the worlds into existence?

Lesson:

Prayer isn't limited to physical locality.

You, in your prayer closet, can "touch" missionaries in the Philippines.

:14-15 Peter's Mother-in-law

:14 his wife's mother

Interesting note that the guy whom the Catholics call the first pope, was married!

:15 she arose, and ministered to them

Hey, not all mother-in-laws are so bad!

:16-17 Exorcism and healing

:16 he cast out the spirits with his word

I love the power of Jesus!

All He has to do is speak!

Let the Lord handle the evil spirits!

Knock at the door, Satan is standing there. "Lord, it's for you..."

:18-22 Difficulties in following Jesus

:20 the Son of man hath not where to lay his head

It's not going to be easy to follow Jesus.

It's not like He's going to put you up in a four-star hotel.

Lesson:

Don't follow Jesus if you have to be comfortable.

:21 bury my father

The man isn't saying that his father just died, and he needs a few days to straighten things out.

It's more likely that the father is alive and healthy, and the son feels a responsibility to stick around on the family farm until dad gets old and dies.

Lesson:

Jesus wants to be a higher priority than your family.

We'll get a little more of this in a minute:

Matthew 10:37-AV He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

:23-27 Calming the sea

:23 into a ship

Don't be thinking Queen Mary

Other translations use "boat".

The boats in those days might have held Jesus and His disciples, but not a lot more than that.

:24 but he was asleep

It sure seems sometimes that when we're in the midst of horrible problems, that Jesus must certainly be asleep.

Circumstances may say one thing, but here's the truth:

Psalms 121:4-AV Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

:26 Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

What we forget is that Jesus is in our boat!

Is Jesus, the King of the Universe, going to let the boat He's riding in sink?

Is He going to allow the wind and waves, which He created and has control over, to sink His boat?

:27 the men marvelled

I wonder if the disciples have yet fully grasped just who Jesus is.

Later, they will have another encounter with a storm at sea, and Peter will even walk on water with Jesus. At that time, their response is:

Matthew 14:33-AV Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

But for now, they're just scratching their heads and wondering.

:28-34 Teenage mutant ninja pigs

:29 to torment us before the time?

What an interesting statement!

Sometimes we get the feeling that the devil doesn't know what his end is. Wrong.

Revelation 20:10-AV And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The best we can figure is that the devil knows his end, and is going to take as many as he can with him.

:31 suffer us to go away into the herd of swine

Why did the demons want to be sent into the pigs?

It seems that demons don't like to be homeless, and want to find a warm, moist place to inhabit.

Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth [it] empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last [state] of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

:33 they that kept them

These weren't wild pigs, they were domesticated pigs.

This was against the Jewish law. Pigs were unclean animals.

In modern America, it would be as if Jesus cast the demons into a herd of horses who trampled the fields of marijuana that the people were growing.

:34 they besought him that he would depart

Some people just don't want Jesus in their lives.

He's too radical.

He's going to make too many uncomfortable changes.

 

Matthew 9

:1-8 Healing the paralyzed man

:2 sick of the palsy

The man was paralyzed

:2 Thy sins be forgiven thee

An odd thing to say to a sick person.

Maybe the man's sickness was related to sin in his life.

Sometimes (but not all the times) this is the case.

I like to think that Jesus had His priorities in place.

It's a good thing to help people with their physical needs, in the name of the Lord.

God commands us to do that.

But it's more important that we bring them into salvation, and getting their sins forgiven.

:3 This man blasphemeth

Because nobody can forgive sins except God.

Mark actually records them saying this.

Mark 2:7-AV Why doth this [man] thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

Jesus was placing Himself in God's place. And correctly so at that!

:4 Jesus knowing their thoughts

Can Jesus read your mind? Of course He can!

 

:9 Matthew's call

:9 sitting at the receipt of custom

Matthew was a tax collector.

Tax collectors were hated men.

They were Jewish men, hired by Rome to collect taxes from their fellow Jews, and allowed to collect more than was needed. They got to keep everything over the minimum for their own.

I wonder if Matthew ever tried investing his money in the bond market (a little reference to the infamous Robert "Bob" Citron)

Jesus visited him at the office.

:9 a man, named Matthew

Here Matthew records his own call by Jesus.

Note how long it takes Matthew to make up his mind.

Dr. Luke records one more interesting note about this:

Luke 5:28-AV And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Here was a man in a lucrative job, and he gave it all up to follow Jesus.

:10-13 Dinner at Mat's house

:10 sat at meat in the house

Jesus was sitting down at the table for dinner

By the way, this happened to be Matthew's house. Mark gives us that fact.

Luke 5:29-AV And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

 

:10 many publicans and sinners came

These were Matthew's old friends.

It's neat when a person comes to know Jesus, they are always bringing their friends to meet Him too.

Publicans - Tax collectors. Collectors of the Roman tax, usually Jews, but hated because they collected a hateful tax, often, too, grasping and unscrupulous.

Sinners - Persons excommunicated from the synagogue. An unorthodox Jew would not eat with them. When the term "sinner" is applied to a woman it usually means an outcast.

What a great guest list!

:11 the Pharisees saw it

Pharisees were that sect of Judaism that strictly followed the Law of Moses.

Even to great extremes.

The Law said: Don't eat meat with the blood still in it"

Leviticus 17:14-AV For [it is] the life of all flesh; the blood of it [is] for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh [is] the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

So, if a Pharisee was walking down the street and a little gnat flew into his mouth and down his throat, he would gag himself to vomit up the gnat, so he wouldn't be swallowing a gnat.

The Pharisees are often the "bad guys" in the New Testament.

Lesson:

Watch out for "segregation"

Note their attitude toward these people they considered "unclean"

They didn't want anything to do with them.

I think we need to be careful about considering people "unclean", or "unacceptable" to us.

It's dangerous when a church becomes "ingrown", and doesn't allow new people into the groups very easily.

We need a heart for the stranger, to welcome and love them.

Whether they are smelly, dirty, dress differently, or we just don't know their name.

:13 mercy, and not sacrifice

Hosea 6:6-AV For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

God's not wanting us to be making up for our sins, He would rather that we be showing mercy and love to people.

:14-17 Problems with Wineskins

:15 children of the bridechamber

the friends of the bridegroom

:16 new cloth ... old garment

Remember, these were the days before polyesters and pre-shrunk cloth.

If you sewed a new piece of cloth onto the hole in an old piece of cloth, when the garment was washed, the new piece would shrink, while the old piece was already shrunk. The result would be another tear in the garment.

:17 new wine ... old bottles

bottles - wineskins

New wine, needing still to ferment, letting off gas as it does, needed to be in "new wineskins", which would be soft and flexible enough to handle the increase in pressure. Old wineskins, becoming hard and brittle, would simply break under the pressure.

Lesson:

New works need new wineskins.

There are times in history when God simply desires to do a completely new work.

The old mechanisms become in need of too much reform.

Rather than reforming the old group, a new group is formed.

Examples:

Jesus and established Judaism.

Jesus is making a point that the Pharisees weren't being flexible enough to adapt to Jesus' ways. Jesus wouldn't be bringing in a reformed Judaism, He would be doing a whole new work.

Reformation

Martin Luther wasn't able to bring reform within the established Catholic church. A new church was formed.

Many denominations have been started in this way, ie - Methodism.

Calvary Chapel movement - kind of like that too.

Me and the Baptist church.

Better to go with a new work than break the old work up.

:18-19 Jairus' request

:18 a certain ruler

Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue

See, all the religious people weren't all out in left field!

:18 she shall live

What a strange request to be making of Jesus!

Note that Jesus didn't respond as the King of Israel did when the King of Syria wrote for him to heal his servant, Naaman:

2Kings 5:7-NIV As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!"

:20-26 The Hem of His Garment, Jairus' Daughter

:20 an issue of blood twelve years

Two notes:

1. Having a blood issue made her "unclean". She would have been an outcast in Jewish society. Anybody who touched her would be "unclean". Anything she touched became "unclean"

2. This story is really tied to Jairus' daughter, because she was only twelve years old. Just how they're related, I'm not sure.

Mark 5:42-AV And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was [of the age] of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

The gospel writers saw the point here, so they all tie these two stories together.

:21 If I may but touch ...

The point of contact, the release of her faith.

With the centurion, he didn't need the point of contact for his faith. He had great faith.

This woman needed something physical to "release" her faith.

She said to herself, "I just know that as soon as I touch the hem of Jesus' garment, I'm going to be healed".

And she was.

Sometimes people need that physical touch to release their faith.

James 5:14-AV Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

:23 minstrels ... people making a noise

The professional mourners had arrived. Musicians and wailers. To show how much you loved your dead family member.

:24 they laughed him to scorn

Jesus knows what it's like to be laughed at.

But just wait!

:27-31 Two blind men

:27 Thou son of David

This is the title of royalty.

This could be taken as a title of the Messiah.

Even the Pharisees knew this:

Matthew 22:42-AV Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, [The Son] of David.

:29 According to your faith

This could be a little scary sometimes, if everything God did was based upon our frail faith.

It's a good thing that He gives us faith so freely.

It's also a good thing that God is so merciful and understands our weaknesses too.

:32-34 The Dumb speak

:33 when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake

I wish it were so easy to cure all "dumbness".

Sometimes I feel pretty dumb.

:34 through the prince of the devils

The Pharisees were claiming that Jesus was using Satanic power to cast out demons.

We'll see them level this at Jesus again.

Matthew 12:24-AV But when the Pharisees heard [it], they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

:35-38 Ministry Models

:35 teaching ... preaching ... healing

I can see a pattern we could emulate for ministry.

Teaching - in church (synagogue)

Preaching - out in the streets

Healing - meeting people's needs

:36-38 saw ... moved ... pray

Another pattern to follow:

Do you want direction for ministry?

Lesson:

Getting real direction for ministry

1. See

Do you really see the people God has called you to minister to?

Illustration:

At CSUF, with Campus Crusade, we were often challenged to go to a high point on campus, and spend time just looking at the people wandering around.

I like to drive around the city.

It's important to see the people, keep the ministry aimed at real people with real needs.

2. Be moved

Literally, His guts were churning.

Jesus let the people's needs affect Him.

When you see people's needs, are you angered that they are bothering you, or are you moved to compassion?

3. Pray

This is Jesus' great answer to seeing people's needs.

We don't need to twist arms for people to be in ministry.

We need to pray.

Matthew 10

:1-15 Twelve Commissioned

:1 he had called ... disciples

Note that this call to ministry comes after the things at the end of the last chapter.

Ministry is best entered when the needs are seen, you are moved, and you've been praying.

:6 But go to ... Israel

The initial ministry of Jesus was not to the Gentiles or Samaritans, but to Jews.

The Jews were God's chosen people, and so He came to them first.

Once they had rejected their Messiah, then the gospel was sent out to us Gentiles.

Romans 11 talks about how branches were broken off so we might be grafted in.

The loss for the Jews was salvation for us.

:8 freely ye have received, freely give

The gospel should always be free!

It doesn't cost us anything.

It cost Jesus everything.

:10 the workman is worthy of his meat

In other words, as the disciples went out to preach, their needs would be met because the people would support them.

:13 let your peace

The Oriental salutation is, "Peace be with you." If the household were hospitable and friendly, let this blessing rest upon them. If they proved unfriendly, leave them to their own course and its results. (PNT 60)

:14 shake off the dust of your feet

RWP: {Shake off the dust} (ektinaxate ton koniorton). Shake out, a rather violent gesture of disfavour. The Jews had violent prejudices against the smallest particles of Gentile dust, not as a purveyor of disease of which they did not know, but because it was regarded as the putrescence of death. If the apostles were mistreated by a host or hostess, they were to be treated as if they were Gentiles.

I think there's a lesson here for us too.

Lesson:

Sometimes you need to quit and move on.

We talked last week about not casting pearls before swine.

There can be a place where a person simply is not open to you and the gospel, and you shake off whatever dirt they've splattered you with, and move on.

:15 Sodom and Gomorrha

Does everybody follow this analogy?

:16-42 More instructions to the Disciples

:16 wise as serpents, harmless as doves

I think sometimes Christians are too gullible.

I think there's a place for wisdom and discernment in dealing with people.

We're not talking about trickery, otherwise you wouldn't be harmless as a dove.

Recognize a conniver when you see one.

:18 ye shall be brought before governors and kings

Some have tried to limit these instruction to just the twelve disciples for this particular mission they were sent out on.

Yet this part wasn't fulfilled until much later.

This message is for all disciples.

:19 it shall be given you in that same hour

Some preachers take this to mean that they don't have to prepare for their sermons.

Keep the context in mind!

The context is when you're in a tight spot, facing persecution, needing defending.

:22 he that endureth to the end shall be saved

Note that Jesus doesn't say, "Those who chicken out and give up on me will be saved".

Our time in Hebrews, warning about falling away from the Lord during persection.

:23 flee ye into another

Though Jesus doesn't want His followers giving up on Him, He doesn't want them to stick around and face unnecessary persecution either.

:23 till the Son of man be come

RWP: {Till the Son of man be come} (hes elthi ho huios tou anthrpou). Moffatt puts it "before the Son of man arrives" as if Jesus referred to this special tour of Galilee. Jesus could overtake them. Possibly so, but it is by no means clear. Some refer it to the Transfiguration, others to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, others to the Second Coming. Some hold that Matthew has put the saying in the wrong context. Others bluntly say that Jesus was mistaken, a very serious charge to make in his instructions to these preachers. The use of hes with aorist subjunctive for a future event is a good Greek idiom.

:24 nor the servant above his lord

If you're facing persecution, remember that so did Jesus.

It's not really you they're persecuting either, it's Jesus.

:26 there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed

If these people persecute you, God will see it, even if the people hide it.

:28 fear him ... destroy both soul and body in hell

Jesus is not talking about fearing Satan.

Jesus is talking about having a good, healthy fear of God.

Who are you going to please, people or God?

:31 ye are of more value

You are very precious to God.

:32 confess me before men

We often use this in altar calls - that's okay.

But it's talking about preaching before people.

It's talking about when you're talking to people.

Do you let people know you are a Christian? Or do you hide the fact?

:34 I came not to send peace, but a sword

Jesus isn't going to necessarily make your life easier.

In many ways, it's going to be harder to be a Christian.

As a Christian, you will face the anger that people have against God.

:37 loveth father or mother more than me

It's not that we're to hate our parents.

In fact, Jesus very clearly teaches against people who make up excuses to abuse their parents.

We are to honor our parents.

But if there comes a choice of following Jesus or following my parents, I must choose following Jesus.

:39 findeth his life shall lose it

If you try to take control of your life, you'll find yourself in a great big mess.

If you give up your ambitions and desires, and let God replace them with His ambitions and desires for you, you'll find real purpose in life.

Illustration:

Have you ever had one of those fleshly days when you really have your heart set on doing some particular thing?

And you have this sneaking suspicion that God doesn't want you doing it?

But you try and do it anyway?

And nothing seems to work?

And then you give up and say, "What do you want for me, God?"

And then you begin to receive God's peace.

Matthew 11

:1-6 Testimony to John

:2 John ... in prison

By this time, John the Baptist had been arrested by Herod for making him too uncomfortable about his own sins.

:4 blind receive their sight

Jesus is alluding to some familiar references by Isaiah about the Messiah:

Isaiah 35:5-AV Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Isaiah 35:6-AV Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 61:1-AV The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

:7-19 Testimony of John

:11 least in the kingdom ... greater than he

Up to this point, outside of Jesus Himself, John was the greatest, most moral person who ever lived.

Yet being born again places a person in an even greater place with God than John had at that point.

John still had his own sins, great as he was.

:12 violence ...

???

:14 Elias

Elijah - John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah, and partly fulfilled the prophecy concerning Elijah.

Luke 1:17-AV And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Malachi 4:5-AV Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

:16 liken this generation ...

They're just like a bunch of spoiled children who aren't satisfied with anything you give them.

 

:20-24 Cities rebuked

:25-27 Jesus and the Father

:27 neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son

People who claim to know God but who don't know Jesus are fooling themselves.

:28-30 Come unto me

:29 Take my yoke upon you

An older, more experienced ox is paired with a young ox to teach it how to pull.

Young oxen want to run wild.

Young oxen want to go in their own direction, not the direction they're supposed to go.

The older oxen slows the younger one down, and teaches him "the ropes"

There is a discipline to the Christian life.

Jesus isn't saying here, "Hop on my back and I'll give you a ride"

:29 learn of me

or, "learn from me"

As we get under the yoke with the older, wiser, more experienced ox (Jesus), we begin to see how He pulls the plow.

We begin to learn His pace in life.

We learn to see the direction He's going.

But there's a committment required - one of learning, one of getting under the yoke.

The word "disciple" means "learner"

:29 meek and lowly in heart

Here's some of what you going to learn from Jesus.

He's not going to boss you around, but He'll certainly lead you.

His servants who have gotten under the yoke with Him aren't going to be proud and boastful types (maybe only at first...)

ye shall find rest

Irony: Jesus is talking about working, about pulling in a yoke.

Yet the truth is, when we get in the yoke with Jesus, we find real rest.

:30 My yoke is easy, my burden is light

There is work and weight to the Christian life.

But it's not intolerable. It's bearable

Lesson:

How to find rest:

1. Come to Jesus

2. Submit to Jesus (Take His yoke)

3. Learn from Jesus

Learn your lessons well.