Did you notice?

Matthew chapter 9

Did you notice?
*The statement Jesus makes (vs. 2) is that why the paralytic came to Jesus?

Did you notice?
*Jesus calls a tax collector to follow him (vs. 9). What is the significance of a tax collector?

Did you notice?
*Similar to the story of the leper, Jesus comes in contact with two more things that according to Jewish Law defile or cause to become unclean.
(Vs. 18-26) A hemorrhaging woman touches Jesus, and then he himself touches a corpse.

Did you notice?
*Jesus tells the blind men who have been healed to not tell people about Jesus (vs. 30). Why does Jesus want them to be quiet?

Did you notice?
*The healed blind men immediately disobey Jesus (vs. 31) and spread the news. Is that okay? ☺

Did you notice?
*The abuse Jesus takes from the Pharisees, teachers of the law and John’s disciples?
Vs. 3 This fellow is blaspheming!
Vs. 11 Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?
Vs. 14 How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?
Vs. 24 But they laughed at him.
Vs. 34 It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.
Each statement comes in response to the work of Jesus.

Once again, Matthew was written to a Jewish audience. Imagine what the first recipients of this book were thinking as they read these stories.

This Jesus does things a little differently.
This authority is different from the authorities of our world.
This Jesus has authority to do things only God does.


The reach of love

Great job with the discussion! It has been enjoyable to read.

Chapter 8 consists of a variety of characters! It begins with a leper, a Roman soldier who had great faith, and Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus then calms a storm…you know...like you do. And finally heals two men who are demon possessed by wiping out a bunch of pigs, and actually has people beg him to go away. So needless to say…I might need some help with this blog ☺

Let’s start with the leper. Lepers will be popping up in the gospels and it is important to understand the physical and social consequences of their condition.
Two kinds of leprosy: The first is on top of the skin:
“It might begin with little nodules on the skin, which go on to ulcerate and boil. The ulcers develop a foul discharge; the vocal chords become ulcerated, the voice becomes hoarse, and the breath wheezes. The hands and feet always ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of that kind of leprosy is nine years and it ends in mental decay, coma and death.
The second kind of leprosy is in the nerves.
Leprosy might begin with the loss of all sensation in some part of the body; the nerve trunks are affected; the muscles atrophy; the tendons contract until the hands are like claws. Without feeling in the extremities, it would not be hard to lose fingers or toes due to injury. This type of leprosy could take 20 years to kill a person. It is a kind of terrible progressive death in which a person dies by inches.”
(The Gospel of Matthew, Barclay 295)

The physical condition of leprosy is absolutely terrible and painful, a horrible disease! But there is something that made it worse. Lepers were cut off from their family and friends. They were banished from human society. Wherever they went, they were required by the Law to shout, “Unclean! Unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45) Josephus tells us lepers were treated “as if they were, in effect, already dead.” For a Jew in the time of Jesus, there were 61 different contacts which could defile. Lepers were number two on that list. Lepers were the walking dead.
Remember, Matthew was written to a Jewish audience and they knew the rules “no contact with lepers”. Imagine a young Jewish boy in the 1st Century A.D. reading this story for the first time, and this sentence pops up:

“And Jesus reached out his hand and touched the leper.”


Seek first...

Wow, another chapter with a lot to digest (hagah). Who wrote this Bible reading plan? ☺
Chapter 6 opens with a simple warning from Jesus…”Be careful”. He just finished teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, and revenge, and he segues into giving, praying, and fasting with this warning?
Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.

Give, but not like the hypocrites who do so to be honored by men…. do so secretly.
Pray, but not like the hypocrites who pray to be seen…. do so behind closed doors.
Fast, but not like the hypocrites who show off…. don’t let it be obvious.

Is there a wrong way to do a good thing? What do you think Jesus is getting at?

The first thing that comes to my mind is pride. Spiritual pride. Something I struggle with greatly.

In “Mere Christianity”, CS Lewis has a wonderful chapter called The Great Sin.
Lewis writes, “The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. The devil is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride - just as he would be quite content to see your chilblains cured if he was allowed, in return, to give you cancer. For Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

What are our motives? And whom are we trying to please/impress? Do I seek God’s kingdom first, or my own? God wants more than just our actions, he wants our hearts. When our motives are to seek God and his kingdom first we find true life.

The second part of this chapter starting in verse 19 is worth memorizing! A passage I think we should return to everyday in our walk with God.

A Hebrew idiom appears in verse 22. Does anyone want to explain it?