Tag Archives: Matthew 9

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 217/260: The Apostles

Read Matthew 9:35-10:42; Luke 9:1-6

Jesus Is More Important

The world is in need. There are people all over the world hungry and homeless. Too many children grow up without fathers. Wars and struggles for power are constant at national levels. Domestic violence and abuse are all too common behind closed doors. Yet there is a need that towers over all of these needs: the need for Jesus.

As the Lord traveled and taught the multitudes, “He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). He recognized the great need of the world, but He also recognized the lack of workers to tend to that need. He said that “the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37), and that statement is just as true in the twenty-first century as it was in the first.

Jesus commissioned twelve men to take the gospel to the masses, with the warning that they would face persecutions as they did so. This is generally referred to as “the limited commission.” It was a task assigned only to the apostles, and they were assigned only to the Jews. The Lord told them, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). Those instructions would change later when the great commission was issued, but for now the focus was limited.

There are many principles within this commission, however, that still apply. Those who attempt to teach truth will still be persecuted. Jesus described it this way: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Always be on guard. Protect yourself from danger, but do not fear the danger. God cares about His servants. “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

Division will come when someone hears the truth but refuses to accept it. The gospel will cause problems within families Jesus is more important than family. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).

Your relationship with Jesus is more important than anything. Don’t neglect Him.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 216/260: Jairus

Read Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26; Luke 8:40-42, 49-56

Do Not Be Afraid; Only Believe

How heartbreaking for Jairus. His twelve-year-old daughter was on the brink of death. Desperate, this ruler of the synagogue sought out Jesus, who was healing many. He approached Jesus, and before he made his request known, Jairus “fell down at Jesus’ feet” (Luke 8:41); he “worshiped Him” (Matthew 9:18). How often do we come to the Lord and beg for a blessing without first preparing ourselves to worship Him? How often do we demand things of God, but never give Him the proper reverence He desires?

Jairus worshiped Jesus, and he told the Lord about his daughter who was dying. Jesus agreed to come to see the ill child, but He was delayed because “the multitudes thronged Him” (Luke 8:42), and He paused to heal the woman with the flow of blood (Luke 8:43-48). After that healing, someone from Jairus’ house came and said, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher” (Luke 8:49).

Can you imagine what went through the man’s mind at this point? Perhaps he blamed the woman who detained Jesus for her healing. Maybe he became angry with the multitudes that made it difficult for Jesus to move about freely. The Lord, however, put Jairus’ mind at ease, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”

How often do we allow fear to hinder our faith? We claim to believe that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20), but do we live that way? Do we truly believe that God provides His people with “a spirit…of power and of love and of a sound mind” or do we give in to that “spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7)?

It is far past time for Christians to be bold in the faith, knowing that God can and will accomplish His will. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Jairus’ little girl was raised from the dead by the power of Jesus. How much more can He do for you, if you believe and work toward the accomplishment of His will?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 211/260: Matthew (Levi)

Read Luke 5:27-32; Matthew 9:9-13

Matthew Is Called To Follow The Lord

It is interesting to see the shades of differences between the gospel accounts. These are not contradictions, but added layers that give depth to the incidents and reveal things about the inspired penman and their audiences. Take, for instance, the account of Matthew’s conversion and the subsequent dinner at his house.

In Luke’s account, in which the apostle is called Levi, it is written that when Jesus said, “Follow Me,” that the tax collector “left all, rose up, and followed Him” (Luke 5:28). There is a slight difference in Matthew’s own account; he does not say that he “left all.” Matthew simply says that “he arose and followed Him” (Matthew 9:9).

Have you noticed the distinction before? It is very subtle, but it speaks to the apostle’s humility. He did not want to draw attention to the fact that he left behind his occupation to follow Jesus. He did not want to boast. But Luke, an impartial third party, could state it plainly: Levi “left all, rose up, and followed Him.” What a commentary on the apostle’s humility and commitment!

A second difference highlights the interests of the intended audiences. It is believed that Matthew, a Jew, wrote his account of the gospel with the Jew in mind. Thus, there were references to Old Testament passages that would be important to the Jewish reader. When Jesus’ act of eating with tax collectors and sinners was brought to light, the Lord responded, “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” (Matthew 9:12-13). He quotes from the prophet Hosea (6:6). Luke, on the other hand, with primarily a Gentile readership in view, did not include the quotation of the prophet.

One final note about this incident: some try to use this event to justify their own actions of sin when committed with other sinners. They will declare, “Jesus partied with sinners, too!” Is that what is taught in the gospel accounts? Jesus sat with sinners, that is true, but He never sinned with sinners. He held them accountable and called them to a better life. He lifted them up out of their sin and showed them the way to serve God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 134/260: Read Matthew 9

Don’t you just love talking about yourself? When you tell stories about things that happened in your life, you load those stories up with details, don’t you? And you always make sure to include details that make you look especially good.

That’s not how Matthew went about it. When Matthew wrote his account of the gospel, his focus was on Jesus, not on himself. Consider the incident related in this chapter of Matthew’s call to follow the Lord. Now read Luke’s account of the same incident in Luke 5:27-31. Keep in mind that “Matthew” and “Levi” are the same person. Do you notice any differences?

Based on Matthew’s account, what happened when Jesus said, “Follow Me”? Matthew says that “he arose and followed Him.” Pretty straight-forward, isn’t it? But Luke adds one other detail, saying that the tax collector “left all.” He made a great personal sacrifice in his decision to follow Jesus, but Matthew didn’t want to brag on himself.

Look at Matthew’s account again. Whose house did they eat in? He doesn’t reveal that information, does he? But Luke does! “Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house” (Luke 5:29). Matthew did not mention that it was his house; he humbly left himself out, wanting the focus to be on Jesus.

Where is the focus of our story? Let’s give Jesus the position He deserves—front and center. Put Him in the spotlight, and let us stand in the shadows. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 10:39. He who finds his life will ____________ it, and he who loses his life for My sake will ____________ it.

Pray

Pray for humility when spreading the gospel.

Learning from Matthew

          Actions speak louder than words. The apostle Matthew (also known as Levi) demonstrated his devotion to the Lord through his actions. He worked as a tax collector. The Jews had a very low opinion of tax collectors, but it was a financially lucrative occupation. When Jesus called Matthew, Luke says that “he left all, rose up, and followed Him” (Luke 5:28).
          Matthew recognized the infinite value of the soul. He recorded the Lord’s words, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Knowing this surely made the decision to leave his position at the tax office less difficult.
          The humility of Matthew also shines through in his account of Christ’s gospel. He writes, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples” (Matthew 9:9-10).
          Compare this with Luke’s account: “After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them” (Luke 5:27-29).
          Did you notice the differences? They are slight, but they are there. Matthew does not say that he left everything, but Luke wants to be sure the reader recognizes his level of commitment. Also, Matthew simply mentions a feast “in the house.” Luke tells us that Matthew “gave Him a great feast in his own house.” Matthew could have given himself credit for these things, but he didn’t want to draw focus away from Jesus.
          Let’s remember to always give God the glory, showing others His love and grace.