Jesus Forgives Sin:
(Read Matthew 9:1-13)
Jesus came to bring forgiveness and victory over sin. He attended to man’s spiritual needs before He dealt with his physical problems. A paralytic man was brought to Jesus by four men carrying in a bed (Mark 2:3). Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic” Your sins are forgiven”. Some of the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy because only God could forgive sin. Jesus saw his spiritual need greater than his physical need. Jews consider sin and poverty are the result of sin. Jesus said, “Sickness is not necessarily because of sin but for the power of God to be seen in him” (John 9:3). Jesus came to provides forgiveness of sin and its destructive influences (Revelation 21:4). Jesus graciously forgave his sins and restored him to health. He has shown that it is easier to heal a sick man than to forgive his sin. The healed paralytic experienced the foretaste of the future blessing of the kingdom of God. In the calling of the tax collector Matthew, we see the gracious nature of Jesus Christ and the gospel (Matthew 9:9). Jesus invited Matthew to follow him. He got up and followed Jesus. Tax collection was a dirty job in Jesus’ time and involved in squeezing money from poor people for Rome (Luke 18:11). Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples for a dinner where his fellow tax collectors and many sinners were there. Born again believers must witness Christ to their unsaved friends. The Pharisees accused Jesus of eating with sinners. Jesus replied, “Those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but those who are sick, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:12). God is merciful to sinner who turns away from sin and embraces the salvation that is freely offered. Have you received the forgiveness of sin God graciously offer through the death and resurrection of Christ?
The compassionate Healer:
(Read Matt 9:14-26)
Jesus healed many sick people and performed many miracles. The religious leaders opposed the work of Jesus and questioned him about fasting. The disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus “When we and the Pharisees fast, why your disciples do not fast?” Jesus replied, “Should the wedding guest mourn while celebrating with the groom?” Jesus Christ has come to bring the dispensation of grace. The new wine should be stored in the new bottle to be preserved otherwise the skins burst (Matthew 9:17). Also, Matthew gives the account of the raising of the ruler’s daughter and the healing of the woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years. We cannot heal the problem of our own sin, but God has provided the solution in Jesus Christ. Jesus raised the ruler’s daughter. He said to mourners “The girl is not dead but sleeping.” The crowd laughed at him (Matthew 9:24). Jesus gave life to dead, healed the sick and drove out demonic power. The dead in Christ are sleeping now and waiting for their resurrection. The ruler recognized that Jesus is God and worshiped him. Only Jesus gives life to the dead. The healing of the woman who had a hemorrhage is an outstanding illustration of faith in action. She believed that “If I touch the garment of Jesus, I will be healed”. Faith is not a wishful thinking or something opposite of facts. Christian faith is based on the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection. Faith brings observable transformation in those who believe in Jesus. What matters is not the amount of faith we have but in whom we trust. Ask Christ to give the strength to battle against sin and temptations. Christ is the answer to all our problems.
The compassionate Savior:
(Read Matthew 9:27-38)
Despite the miracles Jesus did, the religious leaders opposed him. Two blind men followed Jesus crying out “Son of David, have mercy on us” (Matthew 9:27). Jesus asked them “Do you believe that I am able to give you sight?” When they said, “Yes Lord”, he touched their eyes, and they received sight. Jesus told them that they should not tell anyone about this. But they spread his fame all over the region. Jesus also healed a mute who could not speak because he was possessed by a demon. Jesus cast out the demon and immediately he spoke. The crowd marveled saying, “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel”. But the Pharisees said, “Jesus casts out demons by the prince of demons” (Matthew 9:34). Pharisees remind us that a person can live a religious life, yet he can resist the grace of God and remain unsaved. Only Jesus can set us free from the sin and its destructive influences. Jesus traveled through cities, teaching in the synagogues and preaching the good news. When he saw the multitude, he was moved with compassion. They were spiritually weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd to guide them. Jesus did not want to see them spiritually unprotected and lost. He said to his disciples “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38). This is the missionary message of the New Testament (Luke 10:2; John 4:35-38). Showing compassion to others is not done in our own strength but can be done only when we get saved and experience God’s mercy in our own lives. Share the gospel with compassion to others?
Miracles are Signs of Divine Authority
(Read Matthew 8:1-13)
Jesus performed many miracles to demonstrate his claim that he is the Son of God (John 20:30-31). They were not performed selfishly or senselessly. Miracle is sermon in action. It is a sign that points to something beyond itself. The miracles were not done to impress people or to force others to submission. They often followed a message (John 5:14-24). During Christ’s ministry, large crowds followed him. Suddenly a leper came to him and kneeling before Jesus said, “Lord if you will you can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2). Jesus touched him and immediately his was healed. Jesus told him to show himself to the priest in obedience to the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 13). Jesus is able and willing to heal the sick. He does not want anyone to perish in their sins (1 Timothy 2:4). Touching the leper shows how merciful is our Lord. This could make Jesus ceremonially unclean. But he was willing to touch the leper to identify with him (Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4). He did not heal the leper to attract people or become popular but to prove that he is the Messiah (Matthew 11:1-5). A centurion came to Jesus and requested him to come and heal his servant who was paralyzed and greatly afflicted. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him”. He said “I am not worthy to have you into my home, just say a word and my servant will be healed. I am of a man of authority in the Roman military”. Jesus said to the Roman officer “Go your way, what you have believed has happened”. The young servant was healed that very moment. Jesus marveled at his faith and said, “I have not seen such faith even in Israel”. Only other time Jesus marveled was at the unbelief of his own people (Mark 6:6). The kingdom blessing was not limited to Israel. Jesus is the Savior of the world. The entry into his kingdom does not come through ethnicity but through faith in Jesus (Matthew 8:10). Faith is the attitude of trust that allow God to do whatever he may choose to do. Augustine said, “I never had any difficulty to believe in miracle since I experienced the miracle of change in my own heart”. Christ is able to save sinners.
The Cost of Discipleship
(Read Matthew 8:14-27)
Rest of the chapter gives the account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, the calming of the storm and healing of two demon-possessed men. In the Jewish culture women were not regarded important socially. Yet Jesus had compassion on Peter’s mother-in-law who was suffering from high fever. Jesus healed her and she got up and served him. God saves sinners to serve him and others (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ came to remove the social and cultural barriers. He brings about reconciliation between God and sinners. Jesus also healed many demons possessed people. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53:4 “He took our infirmities and bore our sickness”. Jesus emphasized on the cost of discipleship to the scribe who wants to follow him (Matthew 8:20-22). The scribes are scholars of the Law. Our great commission is to make disciples. A disciple should be willing to make Jesus the priority in his life with total devotion to him. The “Son of man” is the title Jesus used frequently to show that he is the Messiah (Daniel 7:13). True disciples follow Jesus unconditionally. While crossing the lake in a boat the disciples got fearful thought they were perishing in the storm. Jesus rebuked the wind and waves. And suddenly all was calm. Considering his power, the disciples wonder what kind of man Jesus must be. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. Jesus is the creator of the universe, and he controls all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). The disciples marveled at his authority and said, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him” (Matthew 8:27). Jesus is able and willing to help us in our troubles.
Jesus healed the Two Demon-possessed Men
(Read Matthew 8:28-34)
Two demon possessed men recognized Jesus and said, “Thou Son of God, why are you bothering us before the appointed time” (Matthew 8:29). Demon recognizes who Jesus is. The demonic power cannot withstand against Jesus. The demons knew that they will be destroyed completely someday. Jesus graciously brought his victory to the demon possessed men ahead of time (Matthew 8:30-31). Wherever Jesus goes, he brings God’s powerful reign and blessing. Demons requested to send them away into the herd of pigs. Jesus granted their request. The whole herd of pig rushed down to the sea and perished. The herdsmen fled and told everyone what happened. The entire town begged Jesus to depart their town and leave them alone. This is picture of depraved people who live in disobedience to God. Demons can torment believers but cannot possess them. Christ can restrain demons because He conquered Satan and Demonic powers by his death and resurrection. Since believers are in Christ, they have nothing to fear from Satan and demonic powers (1 John 4:4). Demons still exist to promote evil and create hardship. We can withstand the demonic power by the spiritual armor God has provided (Ephesians 6:10-20). There is no power compare with the power of our God. Take courage in your battle against sin and Satan.
Do not Judge
(Read Matthew 7:1-12).
The Bible often warns believers not to pass judgment on others (Romans 14:10-13; James 4:11-11). Because we are sinful, and we often excuse ourselves from the very sin we condemn others (Romans 2:1). We should not judge the inner motives of another person and use ourselves as the standard of judgment. We should avoid hypocritical judgment. It is like worrying about a speck in our friend’s eye, when we have a log in our own eyes. We must remove the log from our own eyes before we even begin to help others. It is possible only when we realize that God has judged Jesus in our place, and we need his mercy. Only the grace of God what humbles us and frees us from judgmental attitude toward others. The New Testament is filled with making impartial and scriptural judgment. Be curious and don’t be judgmental. Jesus said, “Do not give dog what is holy and throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn and attack you” (Matthew 7:6). It is futile to continue to present truth to those who refuse to obey. What is the difference between judgment and discernment? The judgment declares a verdict, while discernment seeks solution. Instead of making harsh judgment, we should pray sincerely for those whom we are concerned about. Prayer is Christian alternative to judgmental attitude. God promises to answer our prayers (Matthew 7:8). Jesus contrasted earthy father with heavenly Father by saying “If our earthly fathers are kind to us, how much more our heavenly Father delights to answer our prayers” (Matthew 7:11). Ask, seek and knock are three imperatives in prayer. We must pray for those whom we are prone to criticize. Jesus wants his disciples to obey “the golden rule” that summarizes the second table of the Law. “Do to others what you would like them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Someone has said “Pride is a blinding and the destructive sin that causes us to poorly evaluate others”. Pray that God would protect us from the sin of pride.
Disciples are known by their Fruits
(Read Matthew 7:13-20)
All who claim to follow Jesus are not true disciples. A true disciple is genuine in his commitment to Christ. Only a transformed life will bear good fruit. It was a common method to teach by contrast among Jews. True discipleship is presented in contrasts in two ways. They are compared to two trees, two professions and two foundations (Matthew 7: 13- 29). True disciples are those who enter into a living relationship to God through the narrow gate of faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is both the gate and the way (John 10:7; 14:6). In fact, Christianity was known as “The way” in the early church (Acts 9:2; 22:4). Many are on the broad road of their own works to arrive heaven. This will lead them only to destruction. Those who humble themselves reach heaven by the narrow gate of grace. True Christians have a transformed lifestyle. That does not mean they are flawless. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is thrown into fire. Jesus here warns us of false prophets. They appear in sheep clothing but are wolves in heart. They deny and distort the truth. The disciples should not be deceived by their cleverness. Every good tree produces good fruit. Corrupt tree produces evil fruit. The changed life is the proof of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
True Disciples Walk the Talk
(Read Matthew 7:21-29)
Jesus said everyone who profess Christ are not disciple. If our faith in Christ does not transform us, it is meaningless and offensive to God. On the judgment day many will call Jesus as Lord and claim that they have done many wonderful works in his name. But Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). They are not born again, nor their lives are transformed by God. Faith is the root of salvation and works are its fruit. Those who live in sin, lack assurance of salvation. They call Jesus master but do not obey him. They call Jesus light but don’t walk in his light. They call Jesus fairest of ten thousand but don’t love him. Christ is interested in our motive than our performance. Christ concludes the sermon with the illustration of two foundations. The wise man hears God’s Word and builds his Christian life on the solid rock of Christ. But the foolish man builds his life on his opinions and human philosophy. When trials and persecution come all that, he built will be destroyed. Here, the rock represents Christ and his Word. True believers not only listen to Jesus but build their lives upon his Word. The entire sermon was addressed to believers. People were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because he taught them as one who has authority and not as their scribes (Matt 7:29). The scribes were the scholars who interpreters of the Law. They relied on traditions for their authority. Jesus calls attention on himself in this entire sermon. Do you listen Jesus and build your life upon his Word? Is Christ the focus of your life?
Teaching about giving and prayer
(Read Matt 6:1-8).
Jesus taught about wrong religious practices. He warns that we do not give alms for human recognition. We serve God because we love him. Those who do good work for human praise will not be rewarded in heaven. Those who serve God in secret will be rewarded openly. Pharisees made public prayers to impress people. Our giving should be spontaneous, cheerful, generous, and regular (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Cor 9:5-7). Our giving shows our spirituality. The believers should find their satisfaction and security in God rather than in wealth. Public prayer was important in the Jewish synagogues (Mark 11:25). Jesus warns against the hypocritical prayer. Private prayer prepares us to pray effectively. Jesus warns against vain repetition in prayer. Such praying was practiced by heathens (1 King 18:26-29). Our prayer must be the sincere expression of our heart. God knows our needs even before we pray. Someone has said “Prayer is not man’s attempt to change the will of God, but it changes our will to His will. It is not conquering God’s reluctance but laying hold of his willingness to help”. God’s ears are opened to our prayers (Psalms 34:15).
The Model Pray
(Read Matt 6:9-15).
Prayer is believer’s lifeline to God. It is the expression of our confidence in Him. The two major elements of prayer are adoration and petition. This is not the Lord’s Prayer. This is the model prayer Jesus taught when disciple requested. “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Jesus had no need to ask for forgiveness because he is sinless and holy. To better understand this prayer, we can break it down into two sets of petitions. The first three petitions focus on the glory of God and the second three petitions on personal needs. This prayer begins by addressing God as our Father in heaven. He is our holy Father (Matthew 6:9). The Christians are privileged to address God as their Father (John 1:12). God’s name was so sacred to Jews, so that they never pronounced it. Only the born-again people have the right to pray in this manner. In our prayers, God should be recognized as holy. He should be honored and adored for who he is. “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). God’s kingdom represents his reign and rule now (Rom 14:17). It will be fully realized when Christ returns (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). We should make our daily needs known to God by praying “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). God provided the daily needs of Israel (Exodus 16:14-15). Similarly, God will provide our needs when we pray (Philippians 4:19). Since the believers are forgiven, they should forgive others (Matthew 6:12). An unforgiving attitude can lead to our spiritual ruin. The Christians are not immune from temptations. They are tempted by their own lust to do evil (James 1:13-14). They should seek God’s help to overcome temptations. God does not tempt us to do evil. God may use trails to test our faithfulness to him. This prayer closes with praise. “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever Amen “. Jesus taught disciples to pray in his name (John 14:13; 15:16, 23). Jesus is the only mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is highly exalted and is given him the name which is above every name. He has authority over all things, and he is the Lord of all (Philippians 2:9, 10; Matthew 28:18). Jesus promised to answer our prayers (John 15:7, 16).
Teaching on Fasting, Money and Possessions
(Read Matthew 6:16-24)
Fasting was practiced in the Old Testament period (Leviticus 16:29). The Pharisees fasted to display their piety before people. They disfigured their faces to get attention. The true purpose of fasting was to overcome temptations by contrition and spiritual communion (Isaiah 58:6). Jesus warns his disciples against the misuse of fasting. Voluntary fasting practiced in the early church (Acts 13:2). It was to focus on Christ from physical distraction. Jews considered material wealth as the blessing of God. Ill-gotten wealth is not a sign of blessing. People see money as their ultimate source of security in the world. The wealth can make us less dependent on God and more dependent on ourselves. Jesus teaches his disciples to find their security in God. He is faithful to meet their needs. God meets the needs of his people through the generosity of other believers. The generosity and compassion are the marks of true conversion. We must overcome our natural inclination toward materialism by prioritizing our spiritual life. We should lay up our treasures in heaven. If our spiritual sight is healthy our affection for eternal things will be strong. You cannot serve God and money at the same time (James 1:8; Matthew 6:24). In our prayer and fasting, we should not draw attention to ourselves. We should overcome the hinderances to prayers by trusting in the promises of God (James 1: 6-7; 4:2-3).
Remedy for Worry
(Read Matthew 6:25-34).
Worry is a powerful force that can distract us from serving Christ. Worrying about material and temporal things can deprive ourselves of the spiritual blessings. Modern medicine tells us that worry can shorten life. A worrying person has a divided heart. Worry does not make sense (Matthew 6:25). Someone has said “Worry is irrational and ineffective” (Matthew 6:26-27). It is illogical and not fitting to believers (Matthew 6:30-32). Anxiety and worry are the result of lack of faith in God (Matthew 6:30). It has a direct relationship to our spiritual and mental health. Worrying is a waste of time and energy. It is a sin. Whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). A worrying person lives in constant insecurity. Jesus explains how God provides for birds and gives beauty to flowers. Jesus asks his disciples “Are you not much better than birds and lilies”. Stop worrying because your heavenly Father cares for you (Matthew 6:25-30). We must seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to us. When our priority is spiritual and Christ centered, God will take care of our material needs. Someone has said “Where God guides, He provides”. Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have its own worries”. Each day has its own troubles and challenges. God is sufficient to meet our needs. Christians should not be anxious about everything because it will robe our joy. Lord is faithful to provide all our needs.