Always Trust in Christ

Explore the Bible Series

September 23, 2007

 

Background Passage: Matthew 8:1-9:34

Lesson Passage: Matthew 8:1-3, 23-27; 9:1-8

 

Introduction: We come, in this present study, to the record of a series of miracles performed by the Lord Jesus.Conservative scholars (like D.A. and William Hendriksen) rightly point out that Matthew did not intend to follow a strictly chronological account of these wondrous deeds.Mark and Luke record many of the same events, but they do not necessarily follow the chronology of Matthew.It is better, it seems, to see Matthewís strategy as thematic, rather than chronological.In these two chapters, Matthew recorded ten miracles (he makes general reference to other wondrous deeds), arranged in three sections.Each of the three sections is followed by a record of the response to the miracles of Jesus.

 

 

Lesson Outline:

 

I.                   The First Series of Miracles (8:1-17)

A.    The healing of the leprous man (vv. 1-4): Apparently, this event occurred shortly after Jesusí descent from the mount. Itís uncertain precisely what disease this man had.Some think he suffered from Hansenís Disease, but the biblical accounts incorporate a broad range of skin disorders under the term leprosy.Whatever the case, this man suffered greatly, physically and socially.The Mosaic Law forbade leprous people from having contact with healthy friends and loved ones, and the culture regarded these sufferers as unclean and cursed.Jesus touched the man ( a remarkable action), and the leprosy was cleansed; then, according to the Law, Jesus sent the man to the priests to certify the healing. Mark and Luke recount that Jesus, because of the public announcement of this miracle, could not continue in the cities, but, rather, had to resort to more remote areas to resume his work.

B.     The healing of the centurionís servant (vv. 5-13): This Roman military official showed great kindness to the Jewish people, and, when his servant fell ill, he sent messengers (See Luke 7:3) to ask the Lord to heal the stricken man.The centurionís faith and humility touched Jesus, and the servant was healed.

C.     The healing of Peterís mother-in-law (vv. 14-17): Again, we do not know the specific nature of this womanís illness.The text merely says she had a fever, a malady serious enough to incapacitate her for a time.Mark and Luke indicate this event took place on the Sabbath Day, after Jesus and the disciples had attended synagogue.When the band of men returned to Peterís house, they discovered the illness of the mother-in-law. As we see elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus did not hesitate to do works of mercy on the Sabbath.All three synoptic Gospels observe that the womanís recovery was so thorough that she arose and ministered to the needs of her guests.

D.    The first response (vv. 18-22): Matthew identified two men who contemplated following Jesus.

1.      the scribe (vv.18-20): The scribes served as experts in the study of the Old Testament, and this man, having heard and seen Jesus, pledged to follow the Lord wherever Christ led.At first reading, Jesusí response may seem harsh, but the Lord, no doubt, had a gracious purpose. He did not want this would-be disciple to follow thoughtlessly or flippantly.Kingdom living is not for the faint of heart, and Jesus clearly wanted this man to consider the cost of discipleship.

2.      another disciple (vv. 21-22): this person had evidently already made some commitment to follow Jesus; nevertheless, the reluctant disciple placed some stipulation on his devotion.Again, the Lordís response seems rigid and unkind.Please recall, however, that First-Century Jews did not wait several days to bury corpses; rather, he disposed of the bodies quickly.Evidently, this manís father had no died, and the request betrays a reticence to follow the Lord quickly and unconditionally.

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II.                The Second Series of Miracles (8:23-9:17)

A.    the calming of the sea (8:23-27): To this point, Matthew recorded miracles of healing, but this section begins with a wondrous calming of the forces of nature.Mark and Luke make clear that this event occurred after a long day of teaching, and the Lord, exhausted from the dayís activities, fell asleep before a terrible storm arose over the Sea of Galilee.The stormís severity frightened even seasoned fishermen, and the disciples feared for their lives.Jesus, wakened by the terrified disciples, rebuked the men for their failure to trust his providential care for them.He spoke, and the storm ceased.

B.     The demon possessed men (8:28-34): Mark and Luke only mention one demon possessed man, perhaps because he played the more prominent role in this episode.Jesus expelled the demons and bid them depart into a nearby heard of pigs.Remarkably, the people of the district, confronted by this marvelous, gracious act, implored the Lord to leave their region.

C.     The paralytic man (9:1-8): Again, Mark and Luke give additional information concerning this miracle.They recount that the manís friends lowered the paralyzed man through the roof of the house where Jesus ministered.Not only did Jesus heal the poor man, but he first forgave the maní sin. This, of course, offended the Jewish leaders because they understood the implications of his clam to forgive sin.

D.    The second response (9: 9-17):

1.      the call of Matthew (vv. 9-13): Here, we observe a sharp contrast between Matthew and the Jewish leaders.The Galileans hated tax collectors, but Jesus did not hesitate to call this man to become a part of the Twelve.The Pharisees immediately took exception to the Lordís association with notorious men like Matthew, and they sharply criticized Jesusí presence with disreputable sinners.I might add that modern Pharisees still advocate such separatism, but Jesusí example speaks loud and clear for his people to love sinners, just as the savior does.

2.      the disciples of John (9:14-17): Johnís disciples, aware of Jesusí feasting with the tax collectors and sinners, questioned the Lord about fasting.The Pharisees practiced a rigid form of fasting, and Jesusí actions stood in stark contrast to the practices of these respected religious leaders.Jesus answered them by using an analogy. He did not come to simply reform and restructure the old practices of the Jewish leaders (old wineskins); rather, he came to supersede these traditions with Kingdom principles (new wineskins).

 

III.             The Third Series of Miracles (9:18-38)

A.    the raising of the rulerís daughter (9:18-19 and 23-26): Matthew abbreviated this story but mark and Luke tell us that this manís name was Jairus.When he arrived at the scene of Jesusí interview with the disciples of John, the poor man received word that his gravely ill daughter had died (See the accounts in Mark 5:21f and Luke 8:41f).After the interruption from the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus found the mourners already gathered at the home.He offered a mild rebuke, and then he raised the girl from the dead.

B.     healing the woman with an issue of blood (9:20-22): As Jesus made his way to the home of Jairus, a woman approached Jesus, a woman who had menstruated for many years.This terrible problem, of course, rendered her ceremonially unclean. She humbly touched Jesusí garment, but the Lord discerned her need.He graciously welcomed this interruption and healed the poor woman.Many times, we find opportunities to minister, in Christís name, during the interruptions of life.

C.     healing of two blind men (9:27-31): As Jesus departed from Jairusí home, two blind men followed after the Lord.When the band arrived at the Jesusí residence, the Lord healed the blindness of the two men.

D.    the healing of the mute man (9:32-34): Jesus cast a demon out of a mute man, probably struck dumb by the presence of the evil spirit.

E.     the third response (9:35-38): As Jesus ministered in the cities of Galilee, the multitudes flocked to him.They came to him despite the growing opposition of the religious leaders of the region.What a touching scene Matthew recorded at the end of this chapter.The Lord had great compassion for the weary and scattered people, and he instructed his disciples to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers for the harvest.