January 27


Matthew 9-10

We have two more days in the New American Standard Bible for this week. We return to the Christ Stream in the book of Matthew chapters 9 and 10. Last week we left off after Jesus had healed the demon possessed man and sent the demon into the pigs…which was the first instance of deviled ham. That’s a joke. 😉 And now back to being serious…

Prayer

Lord Jesus, today’s scripture has us to gaze upon you our Savior anew and we are amazed at how marvelous it is to be with you, to experience you, your deeds, your glory.  It also has us to be inspired as you send out those to faithfully deliver the message.  May we too be your worthy servants who are sold out for your cause.  Amen.

9 – The reading begins today with one of the most telling, powerful, and poignant healings (teaching too) in all the gospels; in all of Scripture.  These first eight verses are also told in Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:17-26.  The Mark rendition is actually the fullest detail, and we will get to that in a couple months…though we’d do well to read all three today.  Jesus is in Nazareth and heals a paralyzed man through forgiving his sins.  All healings in the Bible build up to this one.  And all healings in succession to this one should be seen in light of what Jesus said here to heal him.  Healing is a forgiveness.  And forgiveness brings healing.  Jesus is the one who grants both.  The 9:6 passage is identical/equivalent in each gospel: “But that you may know that the Son Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he then said to the paralytic – “Get up, take your mat and go home.”  John 5 has the very similar story of the 38 year paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda to cover the issue of healing chronic paralysis.  But it is very telling that M,M,&L tell this story with precision and certainty – for much of effective Christian ministry would pivot off this incident throughout history.  As for the reaction, Matthew says they were afraid and glorified God.  Mark says they were amazed and glorified God – they had never seen this before.  Luke writes of the crowd’s amazement, glorifying God, their awe, and ends, “we have seen strange things today.”  Jesus calls Matthew; a Jewish man working for Rome collecting taxes…(who ends up writing this book, btw!) because he was precise, detailed, a Jew, and was hated by Jews.  This combines for a vital perspective that none of the other disciples have.  When Jesus is questioned about fasting he answers in a way that they thought was changing the subject but was really hitting the issue ‘spot on’.  It was time for a new dispensation, to view God with Jesus forever in the fore of their minds.  They didn’t hear it then, though we can today.  The healing of Jairus’ daughter and the woman banished from society for internal bleeding are told in identical order in M, M, & L.  A ruler comes to Jesus and kneels begging before him to have him traverse to his home and heal his daughter.  ANYone with children knows the desperation in this man’s heart (his name is Jairus).  Matthew says his daughter had just died.  Mk/Lk say she is near death.  While enroute  he unwittingly healed a woman who pressed through the crowd and merely touched his robe.  Jesus then proceeds to the ruler’s home where his daughter was near death if not already “crossed over”.  Jesus hints a truth about eternity stating she is only asleep.  For of a truth, we are always conscious…somewhere…!  Jesus raises her up and the news spread like a brushfire.  I think the truth of this story is “get to Jesus” like this ruler did and like the woman in the crowd did.  And get Jesus to your children.  Jesus is determined to get to your children and if you are also determined, then it certainly happens.  Jesus continues healing the people in 9:27ff by touching the lives of a blind and then a mute man.  The blind man is healed according to his faith.  You did catch that this is three tremendous faith-filled healings in a row here.  The mute man reveals the Pharisees disdain for Jesus as they claim He’s motivated and in league with the Devil.  What were Pharisees to do as interest in their religious hierarchy schemes was threatened and the followers of Jesus were becoming ecstatic?  This chapter ends with Jesus traveling extensively to teach and heal and he is likely healing tens of thousands, likely hundreds of thousands.  This enterprise is going to require that an endless amount of workers be readied and sent into God’s Harvest field.  They don’t perceive it that day but the disciples will be taking the gospel to much of the known world before they are gone on to glory themselves.  It’s going to be awesome.

Matthew 10

10 – Jesus has an evangelism plan that is extensive, powerful, glorious, and permanent.  First off, authority is handed to the 12 disciples to heal everything.  And do we realize that this authority has not been revoked or withdrawn from any of His disciples since Jesus made this statement?!  It’s true.  Jesus did not say that this healing adn exorcism would be “for a while”.  Some believe in the cessation of the gifts of the Spirit.  In the 1600s, The error of that creed was cemented in the bylaws of two denominations.  It became a conjured commitment to many more denominations in the late 1800’s. We see the 12 being sent out to go only to the people of Israel at this time.  They were to perform phenomenal signs and wonders while going in faith alone.  They were told how to deal with the welcome/not welcome factor.  They were to be on guard for violent opposition and betrayal and yet to stand firm to the end.  They could rest in knowing that those who live and propagate falsehood will be exposed.  So be confessional believers as you go.  Jesus told them, to not fear the opposition or anyone for that matter.  Press on in the fear of the Lord [only] as you are my emissaries.  Jesus also wanted them to be assured of the tremendous value that they had in God’s eyes and therefore God would be watching over them.   They were also to know that they were not on a “one big happy family” promo-tour.  Their work would reveal the grave difference between the faithful and the faithless.  Their top priority from here on would be God’s Family – far and above their own families of birth.  This discipleship was worth trading in everything for.  And know this: God rewards those who labor for Him.  His accounting is impeccable.  God would reward all who labor for His gospel and everything would be accounted for; even the smallest gift.  This was a grand shift in the history of religion.  The disciples were to become evangelists for the Kingdom of God in Christ and do so starting today!  He’s talking to them.  He’s talking to us.

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