Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Matthew 9:1-34

Last week we learned that Jesus has the authority and power over disease, people, nature, and Satan's forces.  This week we see 5 miracles of Jesus.  These passages are full of lessons.  They teach us that Jesus is God, that sin paralyzes us, and we should surround ourselves with Christian friends who will stand by us and help us in our time of need.  It's not just about the healing.  What Jesus wanted to do was to change the heart.

Matthew 9:1-7 - Freedom to Walk

Four friends of a paralytic man brought him to Jesus.  They could not find a way to get to Him, because of the crowd.  So they carried him up to the roof and lowered him down in front of Jesus where He was teaching.  When Jesus saw the men's faith, He told the paralytic to "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." - Matt. 9:2.  Jesus told him to get up and go home.  When to crowd saw this, they were amazed and praised God.  The Pharisees on the other hand said this was blasphemy.  Blasphemy is doing something that only God can do.  People today react in the same ways.  Either they are in awe of Jesus or they ridicule and judge Him as well as other Christians.

People today are paralyzed in various ways.  They are spiritually in need, spiritually paralyzed, or even alienated from spiritual life.  God honors faith when we intercede for others.  As Christians we can bring people to Jesus to be restored by praying for them, living a good example, being a witness, quoting just the right scripture at the right time, and being nonjudgmental.  We all sin, but Jesus frees us from the power of sin.  We recognize sin quicker and we don't have to live with the guilt and weight of sin.

Sin is the most important thing in this healing.  It was the forgiveness of his sins.  Jesus knew the most important was not to heal him.  Just because we're sick does not mean sin is in our lives or that well people are not sinners.  Jesus is not required to heal and forgive, but He does it because of His love.  Ask God to show you your sin and when He does ask Him to forgive you.

God's grace empowers the forgiven to walk in new life with new strength.

Matthew 9:9-17 - Freedom to Follow

Right in the middle of Jesus' miracles Matthew includes his calling from Jesus.  He was an unlikely character to be a follower of Jesus.  Matthew's other name was Levi.  He was a tax collector.  Jesus saw Matthew sitting in the tax collectors booth and told him to "follow me" and Matthew without hesitation got up and followed Him (Matt. 9:9).  Matthew took Jesus to his house and prepared a banquet for Him and other sinners, including other tax collectors.  Jesus knew the heart of Matthew.  He knew it was time for him to accept the call.  Matthew left everything to follow Jesus.

The Pharisees found fault with Jesus eating with lowly tax collectors.  Jesus rebuked them harshly, because the Pharisees were judgmental holding themselves above others.  They had become all about rules, power and money.  They refused to give up their lives and social stature causing them to lose eternal life.  We should all be like Matthew.  We should leave our sins behind and not be like the Pharisees. 

The following verses give evidence of a person who has responded to Jesus' call:
Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27 - One who denies self and takes up his cross.
Rom. 6:2, 18 - One who has died to sin, is freed from sin and has become a slave to righteousness.
1 Thess. 1:9 - One who has turned from idols to the true God.
1 John 1:8-10 - One who has confessed sin.

Have you confessed your sins to God?
How does your life show that you follow Jesus?

In Matt. 9:14-17 Jesus was asked why He and His disciples do not fast.  He says the time has not yet come for mourning.  After He dies, then they will fast.  Jesus talks about the bridegroom.  Who is the bridegroom?  It is Jesus. (Is. 62:5, Hosea 2:19-20).  The guests are the disciples.  We, the church are His bride.  Jesus also talks about old and new cloths and wineskins.  Jesus or the gospel is the new wine or new cloth.  We cannot patch the new wineskins with old traditions of sacrifice and legalism.   "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" - 2 Cor. 5:17.  Jesus didn't come to be amend the law.  We cannot patch Jesus into our lives.  He makes us new and we are a new creation in Him. 

God's grace calls us to give up old, self-centered ways and follow Jesus.

What way is He asking you to follow Him?  He desires our full commitment when we follow Him.
Will you follow Him?
Will you trust Him?

Following Jesus does not mean we will not sin, but we won't have to live a life with the quilt of sin.  Sin will not enslave us anymore.

Matthew 9:18-27 - Freedom to Live

A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came up behind Jesus believing if she just touched His garment she would be healed.  She touched his cloak and immediately she was healed.  Jesus said "Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you." - Matt. 9:22.  Jesus showed His willingness and recognized her faith and by His power she was healed.

Jairus, one of the synagogue rulers came to Jesus pleading for Him to help his daughter who had just died.  He asked Jesus to come and put His hand on her so she would live.  Of course, He went to his house and healed her.  Jairus probably was part of the group who opposed Jesus.  His daughter probably had been sick for some time and perhaps Jairus turned to Jesus as a last resort.  We assume he had some faith since he did go to Jesus for help.  He wasn't worried what the others would think.  Jesus was not judgmental of Jairus.  He still showed love and compassion toward him.  Jesus also knew his heart.

Two blind men called out to Jesus, "have mercy on us, Son of David!" - Matt. 9:27.  By calling Him the Son of David, they believed He was the Messiah.  Jesus healed them and told them to tell no one.  Jesus did not want to be known only for His physical healing, but to be known that He was sent by God for spiritual healing.  They did not obey Jesus.  They were probably so excited that they could see, they told everyone of the miracle.

Each time Jesus healed the crowds were amazed.  Then there were others who were blind to the glory of God that they blasphemed God and His Son saying Jesus obtained His power from the prince of demons.  People respond in the same ways today.  Some are in awe of Him and give Him the glory and others blaspheme, ridicule and doubt.

There were probably many other healings done by Jesus, but Matthew focused on Him as the Messiah, the Promised King.

The freeing life giving power of Christ is greater than any power that tries to enslave us.

What in your life will you ask God for to exercise your faith?
How do these miracle encourage you to trust Jesus more?
Is your life showing you truly believe He has power in your life?

This lesson shows us Jesus' deep compassion for men, women, and children who are without a shepherd.  He came to earth to be your Shepherd.

Do you know Him as your Shepherd?
Have you come to Him with your need?

What great examples of faith we see in this chapter.  I pray that God will strengthen my faith to be like these.

Wow!  What a lesson?  See you next week for the next Matthew study.

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