We met for Bible study, quiche, and pie with coffee & tea. Picking up where we left off, we began by reading Matthew 8:28-31. Although we covered that last time, we wanted to review that briefly because Matthew 9:1 begins with “So He got into a boat . . .”
We noted the level of devotion of this man’s friends have by reading this account in Luke 5:17-26. (Check out this handy “Harmony of the Gospels” index) They were committed to their friend meeting Jesus, Who took this opportunity to publicly forgive this paralytic man. This made the “Pharisees and teachers of the law . . . who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem” (Luke 5:17) very upset, but they did not say anything out loud. Jesus knew what they were thinking and turned to them and answered their unspoken question. He asked if it’s easier to forgive sins or to heal a paralyzed man, and then declared, “‘But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,’—He said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’” (Luke 5:24)
In both accounts, everyone “marveled” and glorified God. Luke said, Luke 5:26 NKJV – 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”
Matthew gives his first encounter with Jesus. He omits the detail that the feast was at his house. Luke fills in some details in Luke 5:27-32. Matthew (Levi) threw a great feast and invited all his friends, who were also tax collectors. Jews did not like tax collectors because they worked for Rome and because they could ask for more money than the government wanted in order to get rich. Matthew said the Pharisees asked His disciples why He was eating with (imagine a pause for disgust) tax collectors and sinners! Jesus piped in, though they did not ask Him personally, and said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Jesus referenced Hosea 6, which was a condemnation of Israel’s unrepentant heart. He WANTS to have mercy and forgive, but can only do so if we understand we are sinners and ask Him!
Jesus is letting everyone know that religious ritual should not be our faith foundation. He wants to have a relationship with us. He is beginning the implementation of His new covenant. For a thorough explanation, see Pastor Bill’s sermon from Luke’s account.
Matthew gives a brief version of the stories of the woman who was hemorrhaging for twelve years and Jairus’ daughter, so we went to Mark for more details.
Note Jairus’ faith, and how he must have been crushed when Jesus stopped in the crowd and said “Who touched My clothes?” Jairus did not complain, though his heart was probably in agony. His faith, however, was still strong. Jesus stopped to address and spiritually embrace this woman, affirming her faith. Can you imagine hearing Jesus say to you, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction”?
When Jesus heard Jairus’ servants tell him his daughter had died, Jesus looked at him and said, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” What a reassurance that must have been to Jairus. (Since he was not a Jew, he must have doubted his importance in Jesus’ eyes.) We were struck by the end of the story when Jesus said to give the girl something to eat. We speculated at this seemingly odd command.
Jesus healed two blind men, again basing their healing “according to [their] faith.” After casting out a demon, which made the “multitudes [marvel],” the Pharisees accused Jesus: “He casts out demons by the ruler of demons.” We will come back to that next time in Matthew 10, but their desperation to explain away the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah caused them to come up with extremely illogical and blasphemous accusations against Jesus. We next see Jesus continuing to teach, preach, and heal in all the cities, villages, and synagogues.
“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” We are urged to an action, next, along with the disciples of long ago.
“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”