January 26, 2019

MATTHEW 8-10    


Focus Verse for Today: Matthew 8:18-22


Wow!  There is so much to discover in today’s journey.  It is  awesome!  It is revealing!  It is discovering Christ at work in the world though you!  Wow!  What a journey!


Chapter 8 of Matthew begins with Jesus healing the leper, healing a Roman centurion’s servant,  and, later, healing Mary, Peter’s mother-in-law.  These actions (healing, restoring life, and interceding in a spiritual matter) are shaking things up (stirring the pot) moments.  The obvious was that Jesus had authority over sickness, the leper; that Jesus aided His enemy (Matthew 5:43-48), the Centurion’s servant; and that Jesus had authority over spiritual matters, Mary.  (The Jewish people of that time believed fever was the sign of a spiritual problem) Jesus, at the very early stages of His ministry, demonstrates to the Jewish leadership that He has authority over ALL!


The focus verses for today:


18When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.  19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  20Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  21Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  22But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”  (Matthew 8:18-22, NIV)


The focus verses for today reveal the cost of the journey with Jesus.  The teacher says I will follow you wherever you go.  Jesus was not telling the teacher not to follow but merely asking him if he understood the self denial it takes to truly follow Jesus.  Another man told Jesus that he would join Jesus after he buried his father.  The time to join Jesus, to become a Christian is now, not after you bury your father.  Your father, may in fact, bury you.  The discourse between these two men was a spiritual one.  


Matthew chapters 9-10, are full of examples of Jesus’s outreach to the people who the Jewish leadership of the day would have looked down upon.  In chapter 9:1-8, Jesus heals a paralyzed man in a manner which included the saying, “your sins are forgiven.” The Jewish leadership challenged Him as a blasphemer.  Jesus was displaying He had authority over sin.  Matthew 9:18-25, Jesus restores the life of a synagogue leader’s daughter.  Was this leader a Pharisee or Sadducee? The Bible does not say.  Remember the Sadducee’s believe that all life ends at death.  Can you see the challenge Jesus is bringing to the teachings of the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’?


Matthew 10 primarily deals with Jesus sending the apostles (sent ones) out to share the message first shared by John the Baptist, and then by Jesus: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  (Matthew 3:1, 4:17, NIV)  Matthew 10 contains Jesus’ instruction to the disciples on how they were to conduct themselves while out sharing the message.


Quoting a phrase from a Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are A-Changin.”* What a journey!  Take out your Bible and read chapters 8-10 of Matthew.  Ask God to reveal its message to you.  Meditate over it.  If you are journaling it is time to take out your journal and reflect; reflect, write: if you are ready.  


Put yourself in the position of a sincere follower of the Jewish faith at Jesus’ time, as incarnate man on earth, be fair, wouldn’t you say to yourself: What is going with Mary’s son, Jesus? Come on now: Wouldn’t you?


Jesus healed a man with leprosy by laying His hands on him which makes Jesus unclean by Jewish ceremonial law.  Jesus healed a Roman centurion’s servant.  Jesus is mingling with the enemy.  Jesus removed Mary’s fever.  Can Jesus; can; can Jesus heal spiritual ills? Jesus brought a dead girl back to life!  About this time aren’t you asking yourself this question: Is it possible, is it, that Mary’s son, this Jesus, is the Messiah our people have been waiting for? Before you jump off into your answer you need to remember your are a Pharisee, maybe a Sadducee, you are a synagogue leader, you are a leader of the faith; the faith of God’s chosen people, the people chosen to protect the law.  Keeping in mind your position and your responsibilities to the Jewish people and to God.  Keeping in mind you watched Jesus grow up.  You know; you know, that He is Joseph, the carpenter and Mary’s son.  You know this: you were there as they raised Him.  But you were there when the miracle were performed.  Yeah but, He’s Joseph and Mary’s son, they lived down the street from me.  You know …….


Take out your journal, if you are journalling, and put yourself in the position of synagogue leader, a sincere leader, and this Jesus shows up on the scene.  He heals the sick, He raised the dead, He has authority over the spirits, He forgives sin, and, possibly most concerning of all, He helps Gentiles.  All of this is true!  You know it.  You were there.  He’s the son of Joseph and Mary.  He grew up right down the street from me.  He was just like all the other Jewish boys growing up.  You think!  Jesus at the very early stages of His ministry has set Jewish tradition upside down.  As a Jewish leader you either see Jesus destroying the law or completing the law: prophecy fulfilled.  “The Times They Are A-Changin.”* You are that Jewish synagogue leader: what are you thinking?


*Borrowed from Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are A-Changin.


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