Matthew 9

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‘Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?”‘ (Matthew 9:4 NLT).

January 12, 2018

When Jesus forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, some religious teachers who witnessed it said to themselves that he had committed blasphemy. For only God can forgive sin. Yet, Jesus “knew what they were thinking.” They must have been shocked to have Jesus turn to speak to them as they stood along the back of the crowd, whispering among themselves. However, there is no record of their repentance. Their intellectual pride prevented them from seeing Jesus for who He is–– the Son of God and Messiah.

In this one encounter, Jesus forgave sin, caused the lame to walk, and knew what others were thinking and what was truly in their hearts. Who else but God could do this?

The religious teachers said to themselves, “Does he think he’s God?”

Yes. Yes, He does. And so do all those who believe in Him.

“But when they departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country” (Matthew 9:31 NKJV).

January 13, 2017

When Jesus healed two blind men, he instructed them not to tell anyone. Why He forbade them is not explained, for certainly He later commands His followers to go into all the world preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15). Perhaps He did not want the fame of His miracles to obscure His message. Or perhaps He didn’t want the news to limit His ability to move about freely until the appointed day of His crucifixion. Regardless, the men went throughout the country sharing the news of how Jesus had restored their sight, in spite of His warning. Isn’t it ironic that these men couldn’t be stopped from sharing what Christ had done for them, while many believers today cannot be urged to obey Christ’s clear command to witness.

‘And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast’ (Matthew 9:15 ESV)

January 12, 2016

Jesus answered the question of the disciples of John the Baptist with His own question. Indirectly, His question revealed two things about Himself: 1) Jesus is the Bridegroom, and 2) He would be taken away. These two facts were more important than their question concerning why Christ’s disciples didn’t fast. Of course, He answered that too, by saying they will fast after the “bridegroom is taken away from them.” John’s disciples came to Jesus wanting to know why His disciples didn’t fast. Why didn’t they deny themselves to focus their souls on hearing from God? And Jesus essentially told them that they didn’t have to fast because God is with them already, the Bridegroom, the Messiah had come. He also let them know that He would be forcibly taken away, predicting His coming crucifixion.

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV)

January 13, 2015

Jesus told His disciples that multitudes of people were ready to be led into the Kingdom, but there weren’t enough workers to lead them. He instructed them to pray to the Lord that more workers would answer the call. I have prayed this prayer continuously for years. Since planting our church 23 years ago, we have always seen the need outweigh the help. God has trusted us with multitudes of people who need to hear the gospel and be discipled. Yet, the task is often overwhelming. Many cry for help, but few answer the call to be helpers. We still pray this prayer today, that God would send workers to help with the harvest in this generation. We always begin this prayer with, “Lord, send me.”

“Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17 NKJV)

January 12, 2015

Jesus gave this response to the disciples of John the Baptist when they asked why Christ’s disciples didn’t fast. To understand His response we must first understand the metaphor He used. In that day containers for liquid were often made from animal skins. In the fermentation process of new wine, yeast converts the natural sugar in the grapes into alcohol and CO2. This causes expansion. New wineskins can handle this expansion because of their flexibility. On the other hand, old wine has finished its fermentation process and old wineskins have aged and lost their flexibility.
In context, Jesus uses this metaphor to compare old wine to the Old Covenant of the Law and new wine to the New Covenant of Grace that He was inaugurating. The hearers then, are compared to the wineskins. Some, will be unable to understand Christ’s redemption and will continue to pursue good works and ritualistic religion as a means to please God. They are like the old wineskins. Yet, others will recognize their own sinfulness and rely on Christ’s sacrifice and grace. They are like the new wineskins.
We have to be willing to let go of our own human effort at righteousness and freely receive Christ’s sacrifice for our sin in order to receive this “new wine,” this new covenant with God.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:37-38)

January 13, 2014

The harvest represents those who are receptive to the gospel seed. The workers are those who would plant and water the gospel. Jesus looked at the world with spiritual eyes and saw open hearts and a people without a shepherd. There are people today in our city and around the world that are open to the gospel. Who will work in these fields? I’m praying for more workers who will carry the gospel to our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and around the world (Acts 1:8).

“Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners” (Matthew 9:10)

January 12, 2014

When Matthew was called to follow Jesus, he immediately threw a party at his house for all of his lost friends. God has shaped each of us differently. Matthew threw a party and introduced his friends to Jesus. Peter boldly preached to thousands in Jerusalem and told them they were guilty of killing the Savior. Paul stood before the Athenians on Mars Hill and reasoned with them in front of the idol to the unknown god. God has shaped each of us for significant service. How has He shaped you?