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Matthew Chapter 9

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, JULY 13

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 9

BY: Josh Boles

There is so much to learn about Jesus in this chapter.  I want to start with a statement made near the end of this chapter and then we will move back to the front of the chapter and cover as much ground as this space allows.  The statement I want to begin with is found in verse 36: “When He (Jesus) saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Jesus cares about people.  And that care leads to compassion.  Think about it this way.  Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone.  Empathy is expressing sorrow with someone because you have been where that person is.  But compassion is something deep in us that moves us to intervene on behalf of someone.  We see Jesus doing this throughout this chapter. 

As the chapter opens, a paralytic is carried to Jesus by some friends.  The Bible says Jesus saw the faith of the friends, not the faith of the paralytic but of his friends, and responded.  We should never discount that value of having faithful friends who are people of faith.  That paralytic walked home that day not necessarily because of his faith but because he had good friends of faith who went the extra mile to help him.  

From there we get a quick look at Jesus calling Matthew to follow Him.  Matthew did.  What we miss in this story is how incredibly costly it was for Matthew to do that.  He left a very lucrative job to follow Jesus.  On his way out, he threw a party for some of his friends.  You might have noticed that his friends weren’t necessarily Sunday School teachers (or should we say Life Group teachers).  But Jesus was right in the big middle of them any way.  Jesus never condoned sin.  But He never shied away from hanging out with sinners.  That hurt His reputation with the religious folks.  But it sure did open the door for the rest of us to feel comfortable hanging out with Jesus.  I love that the scripture says that Jesus reclined with them. Basically, he got comfortable with sinners without becoming like them. We are either shaped by the people around us, or are shaping others. We are either a thermostat or thermometer. 

It is about this time that there is a short pause in the narrative and Jesus teaches a great truth.  He speaks in terms of putting a patch on some old, worn out clothes and putting new wine in an old wine skin. 

Both comparisons, the patch on the old clothes and the new wine in an old wine skin, are really teaching the same principle.  Jesus did not come to patch us up so that we would last a little longer.  He came to bring something so radically new that nothing that had previously existed could contain it.  The Gospel and the abundant, eternal life it promises is so amazingly powerful, the world had never experienced anything like it.  Jesus was turning the religious world upside down and giving it a good shake.  By the way, religious people don’t appreciate that sort of treatment.  Nevertheless, Jesus came to bring new life.  As the story of Matthew and friends indicates, this new life is not a funeral.  It is a feast.  It is not all doom and gloom.  It is a party.

From there we are told about some more amazing miracles that Jesus performed to help some folks who were in a really bad way.  Just remember, Jesus had compassion on those who were harassed and helpless.  He still does.  

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Matthew 8:1-4

 DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
JULY 9, 2020

 
Scripture:  Matthew 8:1-4
Author:  Jeremy Witt

Yesterday I read ahead, and some verses have been on my mind, so we may not get very far today.  Does that happen to you?  You read a passage, and it just hits you right where you are living.  In this case, it is right where we all are living, but enough of this.  Let’s get to it.

The verses are the first 5 verses.  A man with leprosy approaches Jesus.  Notice that he comes from a mountainside, which shows us that he is isolated.  This is typical of those with the contagious version of leprosy.  There were multiple skin conditions that were called leprosy in that day, some that were not contagious, and the really bad one was contagious.  Needless to say, this man had been in quarantine from others.  Sound familiar?

At that time there was no known cure for leprosy.  There was Biblical protocol if leprosy left as found in Leviticus 14.  If you had leprosy of any version, you were to yell, “Unclean, unclean!” as anyone approached.  It was a constant reminder that you were not well or socially acceptable.  The only people that a leper (person with leprosy) could be around were other lepers.  They had to do social distancing before it was mandated by the CDC. 

This leper approached Jesus and knelt before Him.  He was bold by approaching.  He was breaking social norms for someone with leprosy.  He was without hope, but he was desperate.  He asked to be healed, but he did so in a unique way.  He said, “If You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”  There was belief.  There was hope.  There was an end to his social isolation based completely on one thing. . . “If You are willing.”  The leper’s will was clear, but the leper was yielding to Jesus’ will.  There is so much in this statement that is just swimming in my brain.  (No comments needed!)  Think about that for a while and shoot me an email on any thoughts you receive. 

Notice what Jesus does here.  Jesus does the unthinkable.  He does the unimaginable.  He touches a leper!  Jesus touches a man with a contagious disease.  He then says, “I am willing.  Be healed.”  Holy cow!  I want you to make this story contemporary.  Someone with the really bad version of COVID approaches and breaks the 6 ft social distancing.  They are coughing and struggling to breathe yet they approach and ask for healing “if you are willing.” 

What we have to understand is that there is something that is more contagious than COVID and leprosy that every one of us is infected with.  It is sin.  Man cannot fix this.  There is no vaccine available.  Mankind is helpless unless we can go to Jesus just like this leper and ask the question, “If YOU are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”  We have to realize that we cannot do it, humanity can not heal us.  We have only one hope and that is to go to the Savior and ask Him to heal us and make us clean. 

Jesus tells the man to follow the Biblical protocol by going to the priests.  Why does Jesus do this?  He is the Great High Priest.  He is enough.  Why would He do this?  Jesus is following His Father’s instructions too.  He is also aware that He will not be there (on earth as a human) for long.  By going to the priest, the man will be able to go to the Temple and worship with others.  The man will be able to praise His Father in heaven.  There is a greater and bigger picture than simply being healed for this man that Jesus was doing.  He brought physical healing, but Jesus wanted to ensure that this former leper would be able to have continued access for worship and growing closer to the LORD God. 

We have to deal with our disease on a daily basis.  We have to deal with our ultimate healing by going to Jesus and asking to be healed and made clean (salvation).  As we follow Jesus and live for Him daily, we have to continue to do this so that we can walk closer to Him and remain near to our Savior and Healer. 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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