Matthew 8-10 Son of Man and Son of God

Matthew 8-10 Son of Man and Son of God


Psalm 119:9-16 Purity and Precepts
Ps 119:9 BETH “How can a young man keep his way pure <02135>? By living according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart, I have sought You. Don’t let me wander from Your commandments. 11 I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. 12 Blessed are You, Yahweh. Teach me Your statutes. 13 With my lips, I have declared all the ordinances of Your mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts, and consider Your ways. 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes. I will not forget your word."

Observations: 119:9 This section is essential for living the kind of life God blesses (Ps 1). It opens with a summary/thesis statement, then elaborates on how to make the truth a reality in one's life.
Solomon said in Proverbs 20:9 “Who can say, I have made my heart clean <02135>, I am pure from my sin?” Obviously Solomon didn't read Psalm 73:13 nor Psalm 119 (which might be an argument for authorship by Ezra).
God speaks through Isaiah in 1:16 saying “Wash yourself, make yourself clean <02135>; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil” Clearly God requires purity, and tells us how to get it in Ps 119:9, by taking pains, (and keeping watch or observing like a guard), to obey God's word.
119:10 The secret of spiritual success is seeking God wholeheartedly, and only then can we not be a hypocrite while asking God to not let us wander from the path of His commandments, or to teach them to us (119:12).
119:11 The wholehearted believer will hide God's word in his heart, not just by rote memorization (which is a good start), but by Joshua 1:8 meditation (thinking though implications for applications). If you don't like memorizing Scripture, here are a few helps:
  • Where is the verse in the Bible that says “Thou shalt do only what you like”? Oh, the Bible does talk about doing what you want; I think it calls it sin.
  • If you study a verse until you understand it in context, the principles behind it, and the various ways it could apply to your life, actually apply it, and share it with others, you will probably have it memorized.
119:12-14 The way you know you've hidden God's word in your heart, is that it both comes out of your mouth and shows up in a pure life, one that doesn't sin against God (as in blameless, upright, fearing God and eschewing evil). If we don't delight in it, we won't do it. Fortunately, once we've tried it and experienced the benefits, it causes more rejoicing in our hearts than great riches. If your bank account or your friends are more exciting to you than your Bible, you've got a problem (corrected by 119:10-11).
119:15-16 Don't forget to review what you've memorized. See TOYL helps on Scripture Memory, along with a simple, yet effective plan to permanently lock God's word in your memory.
Application: Memorize and meditate/apply a verse of God's word this week. Repeat until your life and speech sparkle.
Prayer: God, thanks for communicating what You want, and how I should go about doing it. May I value what You've said more than any of the trinkets I spend my time acquiring. Amen.
Proverbs 26:20-28 Watch the Words
Pr 26:20 “For lack of wood a fire goes out. Without gossip, a quarrel dies down. 21 As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindling strife. 22 The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, they go down into the innermost parts.
23 Like silver dross on an earthen vessel are the lips of a fervent one with an evil heart. 24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but he harbors evil in his heart. 25 When his speech is charming, don’t believe him; for there are seven abominations in his heart. 26 His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit shall fall into it. Whoever rolls a stone, it will come back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts; and a flattering mouth works ruin.“

Observations: 26:20-28 Words can cause more problems than they solve,so use them carefully. Since many misuse them, be careful what you hear and believe. Don't listen to gossip or words to no profit, they can ruin relationships. Since evil words come out of an evil heart, try to understand the motive behind what a person is saying. Is it to glorify God and build up, or tear down and put down? Don't believe fair and flattering speech, it's usually a set up for something you'll regret. People will have to give an account for every word they speak (Mt 12:30) but before that judgment, God will frequently bring justice to bear by exposing the lies and falsehoods.
Application: Speak purposefully and listen discerningly, so you avoid ruin.
Prayer: Lord, set a watch on my heart and mouth and ears, so I don't fall into the traps of the evil one. Amen.

Matthew 8-10 In these chapters, Jesus, the Son of Man, heals people and changes lives in response to faith, demonstrating His power, and authenticating His message. He calls disciples to deny themselves to follow Him, and motivates them by promises of reward. He sends out the twelve apostles to minister to the lost sheep of Israel, and warns of the dangers they and future messengers will face.

Matthew 8 Son of Man and Son of God
8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 Behold, a leper came to him and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean." 3 Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I want to. Be made clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 Jesus said to him, "See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him, 6 and saying, "Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 The centurion answered, "Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed, "Most certainly I tell you, I haven’t found so great a faith, not even in Israel. 11 I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, 12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed." His servant was healed in that hour.
14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. She got up and served him. 16 When evening came, they brought to him many possessed with demons. He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick; 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He took our infirmities, and bore our diseases."
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side. 19 A scribe came, and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 21 Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 Behold, a violent storm came up on the sea, so much that the boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep. 25 They came to him, and woke him up, saying, "Save us, Lord! We are dying!" 26 He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 The men marveled, saying, "What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
28 When he came to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way. 29 Behold, they cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them. 31 The demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of pigs." 32 He said to them, "Go!" They came out, and entered into the herd of pigs: and behold, the whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water. 33 Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons. 34 Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.

Observations: 8:1-4 After the Sermon on the Mount (which was prefaced with multitudes following Jesus and a general account of His healing of their sickness and diseases), Matthew records the multitudes again, but with specific accounts of healing. The first introduces the “Messianic Secret.” God answers our requests, not just to meet our need, but to demonstrate His power and glory, for which we should praise Him (cf Psalms). However, here, He tells the former leper to keep quiet, and go ask the priest what thanksgiving offering he should give for being cleansed of leprosy, as a testimony or witness to them, that somebody was healing lepers. As they asked what happened (“I asked, and Jesus said two words {in the Greek}”, and they looked up Leviticus 14, which has 57 verses on the subject), it should have dawned on them that something was superseding the Law of Moses. The leper didn't need to wash himself in the water 7 times to be healed.  All Jesus did was touch the leper and he was healed. Issues of crowd control, not bringing the Romans in to squash the rebellion of a rebel king, and Jesus wanting people to have a personal relationship with Him rather than just be part of a popular movement are additional reasons for secrecy, but we'll see more on the “Messianic Secret” in Mark 2.
8:5-13 When Jesus was expelled from his hometown of Nazareth (Lk 4) He made Peter's hometown his base of operations. Capernaum as a prosperous town on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee was on the trade route from Damascus to Tyre, and full of Gentiles, although it was in Israel. The savvy centurion understood authority, and that Jesus had it. The word of God was all it took for the whole world to be made, and the word is all it would take for a servant to be made whole. Faith in God's word is the basis of a relationship with Him.
The centurion had great faith compared to the “ye of little faith” in 6:30; 8:26;14:31; 16:8. See the foundational outline Faith Actuates God's Promises if you haven't already done so, and want to have great faith. Jesus marvels at the man's faith and notes that such faith doesn't even exist in Israel, the home of God's people. Then Jesus gives a glimpse of how He will exercise His authority in the future, saying “Come” and “Go”. He will call the nations to participate in the Messianic Kingdom (“Come”), and they will come. Conversely, the disobedient in Israel, who don't respond in faith, will be booted out of the Kingdom (“Go”), into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is not “hell” (more properly “the lake of fire”), but rather an exclusion from the light and glory of the Millennial Temple and Heavenly Jerusalem (see Ezekiel 44). Remember from the Matthew 1 introduction, the children of the Kingdom, Abraham's physical descendants, had their sins forgiven by participation in the Day of Atonement, so the issue here is not eternal destiny (heaven or lake of fire, which is determined by faith in Jesus' death, but that teaching and discussion is yet future in Matthew {What did Jesus intend for this to mean to His original audience?}). Those who rebel against God's will, will regret it.
8:14-17 Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law, who leaves her sick bed to serve Him (a good model). He does it with a touch, and then heals the demonic with a word (another good model). Spiritual warfare is a battle between the light of truth, and the darkness of falsehood. It is the word of God which defeats and banishes the lies of Satan and those who do his will (see Mt 4 “it is written”). Jesus also heals those who are sick, again highlighting that there is a distinction between spiritual enslavement and physically ailments, although they can be related. Matthew's quotation of Isaiah 53:4-5, clearly indicates that Jesus is the Messiah who would deliver His people from both physical and spiritual illness. The prevalence of demonic possession among God's people is an indication of how far from the truth they had strayed (since Satan is the father of lies).
8:18-22 Disciples are followers of Jesus (the word “disciple” means “follower”). The defining characteristic of a Biblical disciple is whether or not they would follow Jesus to the next town. That is true today as well. A scribe (a well paid guy who spent his days copying and knowing the Law) professed his desire to follow Jesus, who responded that it wasn't going to be easy. To follow, the guy would have to leave the comforts and status his profession provided (self-denial anyone?). Jesus used his favorite title for Himself “Son of Man” (used 81 times in the gospels; 30 of those in Matthew alone, stressing His authority as Messiah). The term is used in Daniel 7 of the authority/dominion of the One who will rule the kingdom which will not be destroyed (yet future).
Daniel 7:13 "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. 22...until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
By calling Himself the Son of Man, Jesus was stressing that He was the One spoken of in the OT who would rule the earth (who else would it be?); but that rule would not occur until (Dan 7:21-22) after God destroys the anti-Christ (see post on Daniel 7). See what you miss if you don't understand Jesus and the kingdom in light of the OT context? You'd wind up believing all kinds of things which aren't true.
Another disciple (already following Jesus), said he also wanted to follow Jesus wherever He was going, but first he had to do something else. That “first” is fatal. Jesus considered the non-followers to be dead (dominion-less) similar to a physically dead person. A corpse doesn't have dominion over anything; neither will those who don't follow Jesus. Putting anything else ahead of following Jesus is putting your feet on the broad path to death, rather than the narrow path to life. Remember life and death are about having dominion or losing it, in the Millennial Kingdom (see Mt 7:13-20 and Dt 30 posts). One can't insert some other ideas of life and death (from later in the NT or a sermon they heard) into the context without violating the message of Jesus, and committing falsehood (that's the devils will). Most think the guys father hadn't died yet (because the Ten Commandments said to honor one's parents), so Jesus wasn't being harsh and insensitive. Children in Israel were to obey their parents who were obeying the Law. Jesus will soon tell His audience that there will come times when one has to choose between the will of their earthly parent, and that of their Heavenly Father, because not all earthly parents have Biblical values. However, honoring one's parents is different from obeying their every unbiblical desire (cf 1Tim 5:8).
8:23-27 With a word, Jesus rebukes the violent wind and sea (stirred up by Satan). See comments on anxiety and little faith in the previous post on Mt 6:25-34. If God tells us to obey something, He gives us the grace to do it. We can trust Him.
8:28-34 The countryside of Gergesenes is east of the Sea of Galilee, an area of Jewish pig farmers (excuse me, weren't those unclean animals?). A herd of demons inhabited a couple of unhappy fellows. The demons knew accurately who Jesus was and that His future role would be to judge them and cast them into the lake of fire (Rev 20; 2Pt 2:2). They begged Jesus to cast them into the pigs instead. He said “Go” exercising the authority the centurion noted. The people, following the demons example, but not their confession, begged Jesus also, but to go away. Apparently if He stayed, they'd lose all their bacon. No disciples were found here. Jesus respected their free will, and left. He doesn't force Himself on those who don't want Him. Don't make their mistake.
Application
You can spend your life following the Ruler of the Kingdom which won't be destroyed (and possessing it), or spend your life slopping pigs. One option smells eternally sweet, the other stinks (but folks get used to it).
Prayer
Lord God, I value following You more than anything else in the world, which by comparison is pig swill; may I spend my future rejoicing and basking in the light of Your presence rather than sniveling in the darkness. Amen.


Matthew 9 Jesus Changes Lives
9:1 He entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city. 2 Behold, they brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a bed. Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, cheer up! Your sins are forgiven you." 3 Behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man blasphemes." 4 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and walk?’ 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins " (then he said to the paralytic), "Get up, and take up your mat, and go up to your house." 7 He arose and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
9 As Jesus passed by from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax collection office. He said to him, "Follow me." He got up and followed him. 10 It happened as he sat in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 13 But you go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
14 Then John’s disciples came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?" 15 Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made. 17 Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved."
18 While he told these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped him, saying, "My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live." 19 Jesus got up and followed him, as did his disciples. 20 Behold, a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years came behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; 21 for she said within herself, "If I just touch his garment, I will be made well." 22 But Jesus, turning around and seeing her, said, "Daughter, cheer up! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour. 23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd in noisy disorder, 24 he said to them, "Make room, because the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping." They were ridiculing him. 25 But when the crowd was put out, he entered in, took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 The report of this went out into all that land.
27 As Jesus passed by from there, two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, "Have mercy on us, son of David!" 28 When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They told him, "Yes, Lord." 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith be it done to you." 30 Their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, "See that no one knows about this." 31 But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land. 32 As they went out, behold, a mute man who was demon possessed was brought to him. 33 When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The multitudes marveled, saying, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!" 34 But the Pharisees said, "By the prince of the demons, he casts out demons."
35 Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest."

Observations: 9:1-8 Jesus heals a paralytic to show His power to heal sinners. The man's friends bring him to Jesus, believing He can help him. Seeing their faith Jesus told the man to cheer up that his sins were forgiven. (Excuse me Jesus, I was here for the healing special, not the confessional). The scribes said He blasphemed, since only God can forgive sins (exactly the point, Watson). Jesus does the more difficult to verify (heals the guy) to show he has the power to do the more difficult in reality (forgive sins, since only God can do that, at great cost). The people marveled at the display of God's glory/power, but didn't quite get the entire picture, that the Son of Man was more than a man.
9:9-13 The Master invites Matthew to follow, and he did. Tax collectors where employed by Rome, and despised by the people and kicked out of the synagogue. Matthew invited his associates to a meet and greet with Jesus and His disciples, and thus the word spread to those who wouldn't darken the door of a synagogue. This pattern of partying with the pagans, to share God's love and truth, is one of the early lessons in discipleship taught in Mark's Manual on Discipleship (which we'll see in the next Gospel). The religiously righteous had problems with Jesus associating with sinners. Those who have separated themselves from sin have no such problems. Jesus, the Great Physician, came to heal the spiritually as well as physically sick (the two are often related). Jesus said they needed to do a little Bible study on Hosea 6:6 (where what is translated in the NT as “mercy” is the OT hesed); since all accurate study includes the context, so will we:
Hosea 6:4 "O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your hesed/loyal covenantal love is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away. 5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; And your judgments are like light that fades/departs. 6 For I desire hesed/loyal covenantal love and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7 " But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me.”
God desires people to be loyal to His covenant which is summed up in “loving Him and others.” The Hosea quote has to do with the fickle loyalty of the nation to God, which dissipated like the morning dew, and faded like the evening sum. The usual connotation of mercy isn't what God wanted instead of sacrifices; He wanted loyal obedience to His covenant, which would be reflected in righteous and just love for others. The LXX translation of hesed as “mercy” reflects an understanding of mercy which compels people to meet the needs of their neighbors. To despise ignorant sinners is to not know God, nor His mercy toward His creatures. To not despise proud hypocrites is to not know God's justice and holiness. God doesn't want ritual sacrifices; He wants a real reflection of His character and values expressed through our lives. That glorifies Him, because it causes Him to be seen.
9:14-17 From ritual sacrifices, and reality, Matthew turns to the tradition of fasting, and relationship, recording John's disciples' question. There is a place for fasting and mourning (especially seen in OT repentance), but when walking in relationship with Jesus, joy is the norm. Examples of NT fasting are seen in Acts 10:30; 13:3; 14:23. Jesus goes on to indicate that old forms don't fit new functions. Trying to fit NT Christianity into OT structures will ruin things. Most forms and structures of “modern” Christianity are hopelessly irrelevant for the needs of God's people, although in the past they might have served a purpose. But the guardians of tradition would rather preserve it, than promote the truth (because they tend not to have a good grip on the truth). My favorite tests of a tradition are to see how it would have worked in Jesus' day, and then see what purposes it serves in making disciples in our day. Stay tuned for my next blog “The Catacomb Church – Victorious Christianity” (in the Fall, when I finish Revelation).
9:18-26 The next display of the Messiah's authority sandwiches the healing of a ritually unclean woman with the account of a resurrection. Mark 5 and Luke 8 tell us the guy was Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue, and his daughter was dying when he first came to Jesus. The woman has an issue of blood that made her ritually unclean, and thus an outcast, excluded from ritual worship. But she had faith in Jesus' power to heal her, thinking that if she could just touch Him, she would be made well. Jesus clarifies that it was her faith (not the touch) that made her well. People need to come to Jesus with a desire to be made well; faith is the conduit through which the power of God flows. See study on faith. The encounter with the woman delayed Jesus' arrival until she was dead. Jesus takes the little girl by the hand, and raises her back to life. In this case her father's faith in the power of Jesus saved her. In light of the numerous passages indicating the necessity of an individual exercising faith for salvation, it would be inaccurate to think that our faith can save another (for that would violate their will), but see comments on Ephesians 2 in the 7PASSAGES for thoughts about how God's grace is extended to those without the capacity to exercise faith.
9:27-34 Two blind men called upon the “son of David” for mercy, believed and exercised faith, and then went and disobeyed after being healed. Just like today, they didn't see the importance of obediently doing God's will rather than their own will. Mark 1-2 will reveal that people like this don't glorify God, but actually hinder His purposes. See comments in 8:1-4 on the Messianic Secret. The mute man causes the Pharisees (popular religious leaders who were scrupulous ritualists, whom John the Baptist affectionately called “a brood of vipers”-Mt 3:7) to speak against Jesus. Since they couldn't deny the miracles, they attributed them to Satan, rather than the authenticating work of the Holy Spirit, thus committing the unpardonable sin (12:31). By denying that Jesus was from God (but instead a tool of the devil), they remained in the sphere of their sin, rather than moving into the sphere where forgiveness was found (i.e., near Jesus). God doesn't forgive folks unless they come to Him for forgiveness. We'll revisit this topic again.
9:35-38 Matthew repeats a little summary statement of Jesus teaching the Law/Prophets in the synagogues, and preaching/proclaiming the gospel (good news) about the kingdom God promised in the OT. Seeing the multitudes as bewildered sheep without good leaders, He instructs the disciples to pray that God, the Lord of the Harvest, would raise up laborers into His harvest. Where would these laborers come from? The disciples would have to reproduce them, which sets up the next chapter. Multiplication for the multitudes!
Application: If we look to God's revelation in faith, we won't be disappointed, but we will probably encounter difficulties like our Master did.
Prayer: God, open my eyes and heart to Your purposes for my life, and how You want to use me in the lives of others; may nothing hold me back, and may I not look back, but may I believe You for everything You've promised. Amen.


Matthew 10 Multiplication for the Multitudes
10:1 He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; 3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, "Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. 6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. 9 Don’t take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. 10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. 12 As you enter into the household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn’t worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you. 18 Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. 19 But when they deliver you up, don’t be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21 "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come.
24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! 26 Therefore don’t be afraid of them, for there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops. 28 Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. 29 "Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father’s will, 30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
34 "Don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s foes will be those of his own household.
37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn’t worthy of me.
38 He who doesn’t take his cross and follow after me, isn’t worthy of me.
39 He who finds/preserves his life/soul will lose it; and he who loses his life/soul for my sake will find/preserve it.
40 He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most certainly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward."

Observations: 10:1-15 With a view to sending out laborers to the harvest, Jesus turns 12 of his disciples (followers) into apostles (sent ones). Note Matthew specifies his profession, and Judas' future betrayal (remember this was written after the fact). Note also the selection of brothers. Christianity usually expands along family ties, and the camaraderie disciples experience with each other usually exceeds that of familial relationships. Jesus delegates authority/power for the task of announcing the Kingdom from the Heavens (as promised in the OT) has drawn near (imminent, as in about ready to happen, from the word that means “near”). The apostles were to announce the nearness of the Messiah's kingdom, just like John and Jesus did, and then authenticate the message with the Messiah's power. Any “modern day apostle wannabe” might want to consult the signs of an apostle in 2Corinthians 12:12 to see if they qualify. The original twelve were to depend upon God for their physical needs, via the hospitality of those who heard them. The worthy people were those who were receptive to truth and those who shared it. Those who did not welcome truth, would not welcome them. They were to shake the dust off their feet when they were rejected as a sign that they didn't want the dust to cling to them so they wouldn't share in the judgment of the house or city that rejected them. In the Day of the Lord's judgment, Sodom and Gomorrah would fare better than those of Israel who rejected the message of the Messiah.
10:16-23 It looks like Jesus broadens the rejection/persecution theme beyond the immediate ministry of the apostles, to the time after His death, or perhaps more generally to the end times/Tribulation. Mt 24:13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Not only would they encounter rejection from their audiences, but the false teachers (described as wolves in 7:15) would seek to harm them. Therefore they needed to be as wise as serpents to avoid their attacks, yet maintain their innocence with regard to wrong-doing (that's the specialty of those Christ rejects in 7:23). When God's messengers get brought before governors, it's part of God's plan for the messengers to be a witness to them (as seen in Paul's defenses in Acts). They need not be anxious because God's Spirit would give them the words they needed, when they needed them. Jesus describes the other kinds of persecution they would endure, from family members to all men. Some (actually all but John) would be betrayed and put to death (which didn't happen during Jesus' time on earth). The one who endures to the end would be saved. Deliverance from physical death isn't the aspect of salvation in view, nor justification, but rather sanctification-glorification (which is borne out by the acknowledgment before the Father for reward in 10:32). When persecuted, they should flee to the next town. The statement about not finishing fleeing through all the cities until the Son of Man comes seems to have the most accurate application to the second coming of the Messiah. But Matthew (actually Jesus) has more to say on the “coming of the Son of man” in the rest of the book, so we'll have more information to make a more informed decision, when we come to that.
10:24-33 A disciple or follower of Jesus becomes like Him in both skill and persecution. If the opposition calls Jesus the Prince of Demons (12:24), His followers won't be welcomed as good angels. Faithfully proclaiming the truth despite opposition is the only path to take. Fear of man is a snare, but fear of God is smart. He is the one who can destroy both body and soul in the garbage dump (Gehenna). Soul (Greek term for “mind, will, and emotions” the immaterial part of man) is put for all that an individual does with his/her life (see same term in 10:39 where it's usually translated 'life”). All that a person gets in exchange for their life could be valueless in God's sight, a total loss. But God values those who serve Him/Jesus, doing His will, and reward them appropriately when Jesus acknowledges them before Him. Discipleship has its privileges.
10:34-39 Jesus' call for allegiance will divide those who loyally love God from those who don't. Unfortunately, that will cause intra-family conflict. Peace is a characteristic of the Millennial kingdom, not of households containing unbelievers (and believers). For those tempted to take the route of compromise under the banner of “Peace At Any Price” Jesus gives three stern warnings:
  1. If you love anyone more than Him, you're not worthy of a relationship with the Messiah.
  2. If you don't die to yourself and follow Him, you're not worthy.
  3. If you seek to save or preserve your life, you will lose it.
Taking up your cross daily (as mentioned in the other gospels) is a daily decision to die to self and live for God. In the Roman world, crucifixion was usually reserved for rebels. They would beat the person until they picked up the cross and carried it, as a willing participant in their death. They were acknowledging that Rome was right, and they were wrong, and were on their way to justly die for their rebellion. For a believer to take his/her cross, they had to deny themselves (as the other gospels mention). That means deny their right to a life apart from God (which they had been living), deny a future of their own making, and die to their past, and then follow Jesus.
Anyone who wants to find/preserve their life/soul (the mind/will/emotions, the immaterial part of a human which differentiates him/her from other masses of protoplasm, and thus enables them to achieve differential results with their life) will lose their life/soul (meaning all for which they exchanged their days on earth will be ashes). But the one who loses their life/soul for Jesus' sake will preserve it (exchange it for an eternal reward).
10:40-42 The one who accepts/receives/welcomes the messengers, does the same to Jesus and the Father. They will be accepted in return, and rewarded. The triple reward echos the Sermon on the Mount. Can I get you a cup of water?
Application: Those who deny themselves to follow Jesus will receive temporal opposition, but also eternal reward for their service, which will make it totally worth it. As Jim Elliott noted: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Prayer: God, thanks for the opportunity to have meaning and purpose for my life as I exchange it, in Your service, for eternal value. May I be wise and innocent in following You, to achieve Your purposes and will for my stay on earth. Thanks for making this possible. Amen.


Digging Deeper


God in a nutshell: God has given Jesus and His followers all they need to do His will. His Spirit speaks through His servants at the appropriate time. He will judge and reward faithful servants, and burn up and destroy the works of the unfaithful. He allows opposition to afflict His servants, but rewards them for their troubles.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is the Son of Man, to whom all power and dominion is given, and he calls people to follow Him in serving God's will. He gives His power to His servants to do His will. He responds to the needs of His people, and has compassion for His sheep. He will come back.

Us in a nutshell: We have the opportunity of a lifetime to follow the Son of God and serve Him. In order to do that, we must deny ourselves, and loyally follow Him, to death of desires, relationships and even perhaps, physical existence, but it will be worth it. If we serve Christ, we will experience the most valuable and useful temporal existence, and the best possible eternal one. If we reject Him, we will regret if for a really long time. The choice should be obvious.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net

Matthew complete text

Matthew 8
8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 Behold, a leper came to him and worshipped him, saying, "Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean." 3 Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I want to. Be made clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 Jesus said to him, "See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him, 6 and saying, "Lord, my servant lies in the house paralysed, grievously tormented." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 The centurion answered, "Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to those who followed, "Most certainly I tell you, I haven’t found so great a faith, not even in Israel. 11 I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, 12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed." His servant was healed in that hour.
14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. She got up and served him. 16 When evening came, they brought to him many possessed with demons. He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick; 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He took our infirmities, and bore our diseases."
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side. 19 A scribe came, and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 21 Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 Behold, a violent storm came up on the sea, so much that the boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep. 25 They came to him, and woke him up, saying, "Save us, Lord! We are dying!" 26 He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 The men marvelled, saying, "What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
28 When he came to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way. 29 Behold, they cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them. 31 The demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of pigs." 32 He said to them, "Go!" They came out, and went into the herd of pigs: and behold, the whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water. 33 Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons. 34 Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.

Matthew 9
9:1 He entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city. 2 Behold, they brought to him a man who was paralysed, lying on a bed. Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, cheer up! Your sins are forgiven you." 3 Behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man blasphemes." 4 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and walk?’ 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…" (then he said to the paralytic), "Get up, and take up your mat, and go up to your house." 7 He arose and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
9 As Jesus passed by from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax collection office. He said to him, "Follow me." He got up and followed him. 10 It happened as he sat in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 13 But you go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
14 Then John’s disciples came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?" 15 Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made. 17 Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved."
18 While he told these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshipped him, saying, "My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live." 19 Jesus got up and followed him, as did his disciples. 20 Behold, a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years came behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; 21 for she said within herself, "If I just touch his garment, I will be made well." 22 But Jesus, turning around and seeing her, said, "Daughter, cheer up! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour. 23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd in noisy disorder, 24 he said to them, "Make room, because the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping." They were ridiculing him. 25 But when the crowd was put out, he entered in, took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 The report of this went out into all that land.
27 As Jesus passed by from there, two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, "Have mercy on us, son of David!" 28 When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They told him, "Yes, Lord." 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith be it done to you." 30 Their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, "See that no one knows about this." 31 But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land. 32 As they went out, behold, a mute man who was demon possessed was brought to him. 33 When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The multitudes marvelled, saying, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!" 34 But the Pharisees said, "By the prince of the demons, he casts out demons."
35 Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the labourers are few. 38 Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out labourers into his harvest."

Matthew 10
10:1 He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; 3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, "Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. 6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. 9 Don’t take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. 10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the labourer is worthy of his food. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. 12 As you enter into the household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn’t worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you. 18 Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. 19 But when they deliver you up, don’t be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 21 "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come. 24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! 26 Therefore don’t be afraid of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops. 28 Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. 29 "Aren’t two sparrows sold for an assarion coin? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father’s will, 30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. 34 "Don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn’t worthy of me. 38 He who doesn’t take his cross and follow after me, isn’t worthy of me. 39 He who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. 40 He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most certainly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward."