The Healer, The Caller (Part Two)
March 23, 2014
Topic: Sermon Passage: Matthew 94:1–9:38
“The HEALER; the CALLER”
In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter described JESUS as “a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst.” (Acts 2:22b)
By His MIRACULOUS WORKS, then, Jesus of Nazareth DEMONSTRATED that He was DIVINE; that He was indeed the SON of GOD.
John wrote that the MIRACLES of Christ RECORDED in the GOSPELS were given “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31b)
As mentioned last week, chapters 8-9 of Matthew portrays Jesus as the HEALER & the CALLER:
By His MIRACLES, He PROVES that He is the CHRIST;
BECAUSE He is the CHRIST, He CALLS people to FOLLOW Him.
There are 9 MIRACLES in these 2 chapters; 3 sets of 3 miracles, interwoven with ENCOUNTERS with Jesus in which He CALLS people to FOLLOW Him FULLY.
9:1-2 – in Matthew 1, the angel told Joseph that Mary would “bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (1:21b)
But this is the FIRST recorded incident where we see Jesus FORGIVING someone. In fact, it is the ONLY occasion in the Matthew where we read of Jesus forgiving a particular INDIVIDUAL.
Like everyone around him, this paralytic surely believed that his PARALYSIS was the result of his SIN, or the sin of his FAMILY. John 9:1-3.
The PERSISTENCE of this man & his four friends demonstrated their belief that Jesus COULD HELP him: Luke 5:18-20.
Sometimes, Jesus healed people with LITTLE faith, or with NO faith – but He DELIGHTED healing those who had GREAT faith.
V.2b – could be translated, “don’t be afraid, because you no longer have anything to be afraid of.”
Jesus FORGIVES this man’s SIN the SAME WAY that He dismissed the STORM in chapter 8, by saying A WORD – but He KNEW what it would soon COST Him to PROVIDE that forgiveness.
9:3 – their ACCUSATION was based on their belief that ONLY GOD could FORGIVE sin - & they were RIGHT. But they had 2 PROBLEMS:
They didn’t BELIEVE that Jesus was God the Son;
They didn’t believe that THEY needed FORGIVENESS, for they were RIGHTEOUS.
They were also probably offended that someone could be FORGIVEN by simply ASKING for it.
To them, FORGIVENESS must be EARNED – just as, supposedly, they had earned THEIR forgiveness.
9:4-8 – in order to PROVE that He could indeed FORGIVE sin, which they could NOT see, He did what they COULD see, by HEALING the man.
2 important lessons emerge from this miracle:
Our ROOT PROBLEM is SIN. That was what Jesus addressed FIRST.
Jesus’ AUTHORITY to FORGIVE sin PROVES His DEITY. Just as He was SOVEREIGN over the wind, the waves, & the demons, so He has the sovereign authority to FORGIVE sin.
9:9-13 – it has been said that “the gospel is not for good people but for bad people who know they are bad” - & one man who KNEW he was bad was Matthew.
Matthew was too HUMBLE to say much about his conversion, yet he surely gave up MORE material possessions that any of the other apostles. Luke wrote that, “leaving everything, he rose and followed him.” (5:28)
His FIRST THOUGHT was to TELL his FRIENDS about Jesus - & it was the sight of Jesus in the COMPANY of such people that STIRRED the ANGER of the Pharisees (in fact, it is here that we read of the first recorded OPPOSITION to Jesus).
They CRITICIZED Him:
For ASSOCIATING with “sinners” – therefore, He must be LIKE them.
For failing to be PROPERLY PIOUS.
Matthew PROVED his CONVERSION:
By getting up & FOLLOWING Jesus;
By leaving EVERYTHING BEHIND to follow Jesus;
By arranging to have HIS FRIENDS meet Jesus.
Matthew came to Christ the ONLY WAY it is possible to come to Him, in HUMILITY & REVERENCE.
This is like ANOTHER tax collector, who “would not even life up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13b)
It is like PETER, who “fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’” (Luke 5:8b)
It is the attitude of PAUL, who wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Tim. 1:15)
Apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ, there are NO RIGHTEOUS people: Rom. 3:10-12.
But the Pharisees did not think that THEY NEEDED forgiveness, & they did not think that tax collectors & sinners DESERVED God’s forgiveness.
John MacArthur: “The kingdom of God is for the spiritually sick who want to be healed, the spiritually corrupt who want to be cleansed, the spiritually poor who want to be rich, the spiritually hungry who want to be fed, the spiritually dead who want to be made alive.”
But the Pharisees did not WANT any of these things, because they thought they did NOT NEED them.
MacArthur: “A person will not seek healing until he is convinced he is sick; he will not seek life until he acknowledges he is dead.”
9:14-15 – there is no need to FAST when there is no need to MOURN. That time would come LATER.
9:16-17 – Jesus had not come to PATCH-UP a WORN-OUT Judaism. He did not come to IMPROVE, but to REPLACE (not the OT teachings, but the RABBINIC TRADITION of the Judaism of that day).
9:18 – he was the HIGHEST-RANKING religious official in Capernaum, & he may have been a Pharisee.
He KNEW that he would face intense CRITICISM & maybe OSTACISM by coming to Jesus (unlike Nicodemus, who came at NIGHT in an effort to PROTECT himself).
WHY then did he do it? Because he knew that Jesus was his ONLY HOPE – therefore, NOTHING else MATTERED.
He was CONVINCED that Jesus had the POWER to help his daughter, even though He had yet to perform the miracle of RESURRECTION!
His faith, therefore, SURPASSED the faith of MARTHA, who believed that Jesus could HELP her brother Lazarus – UNTIL he was DEAD.
9:19-21 – this woman’s OSTRACISM & HUMILIATION would have been second ONLY to that of LEPERS, as she was in a state of PERPETUAL UNCLEANNESS.
She was SOCIALLY ISOLATED.
She was RELIGIOUSLY isolated.
And now, she was PENNILESS.
INCURABLE – she was a picture of EVERYONE apart from the HEALING GRACE of Jesus.
9:22 – Jesus KNOWS who comes to Him SINCERELY & in FAITH, versus those who come to Him out of CURIOSITY or EXCITEMENT.
To say that she was “WELL” means that she was SAVED from SIN.
This DELAY should have STRENGTHENED Jairus’ faith, as he saw what was accomplished in response to the LITTLE faith of this woman.
The fact that God HELPS OTHERS out to ENCOURAGE us to TRUST Him MORE.
9:23-26 – in these miracles, Jesus demonstrated His POWER over EVERY ENEMY of man, including SATAN & DEATH.
In Rev. 1:18, He describes Himself as “the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
As stated by one hymn-writer, “No longer must the mourners weep, nor call departed children dead, for death is transformed into sleep and every grave becomes a bed.”
9:27- Jesus healed more BLINDNESS than ANY OTHER diseases. The OT records NO miracles of sight restored to the blind, & none are seen in the NT AFTER the gospels.
In the gospels, Jesus healed at least 6 blind men, & each case was DIFFERENT.
The fact that these men ADDRESSED Jesus as “Son of David” proves that they acknowledged Him as the MESSIAH.
In asking for MERCY, they were seeking both physical AND SPIRITUAL help – but at first, Jesus shows NO RESPONSE, testing the VALIDITY of their FAITH.
9:28 – by asking this question, Jesus was seeking a PUBLIC PROFESSION of their faith in Him.
Faith was NOT EVIDENT in every PHYSICAL healing that Jesus performed, but it was an ABSOLUTE ESSENTIAL for every SPIRITUAL healing.
9:32-33 – this seems to suggest that the just-healed BLIND men had come across this man as they were leaving, & had IMMEDIATELY BROUGHT HIM to Jesus.
Notice that NOTHING is said of this man’s FAITH, nor of his SALVATION.
The BLIND MEN, though:
ACKNOWLEDGED their NEED;
Acknowledged JESUS as MESSIAH;
SOUGHT God’s MERCY;
TRUSTED in Jesus for healing;
BROUGHT OTHERS to Him.
9:33b – the crowds were AMAZED & were sometimes AFRAID, but they were NOT COMMITTED.
9:34 – the Pharisees could not DENY the fact of Jesus’ miracles, so they denied the SOURCE of them.
They were SURE that they were RIGHT & that Jesus was WRONG, & NOTHING could SWAY their opinion.
The LINES are beginning to be drawn. Though many side with Christ SUPERFICIALLY, by the END of Matthew’s gospel, the MAJORITY will OPPOSE Him.
HOW should we RESPOND to those who HATE, CRITICIZE, or SLANDER us? Just KEEP ON DOING the RIGHT thing.
This is what JESUS did: 9:35 (another brief SUMMARY of His Galilean ministry, as in 4:23).
9:36a – the gospels tell us CONSTANTLY of the COMPASSION of Jesus: 14:13-14; 15:32.
The crowds were as ASTONISHED by His COMPASSION as they were by His POWER.
Thomas Watson wrote, “We may force our Lord to punish us, but we will never have to force Him to love us.”
9:36b – to be “HARASSED” is to be SEVERELY TROUBLED; to be “HELPLESS” is to UTTERLY WITHOUT help.
These were people who were LACKING in LEADERSHIP, although there were MANY who claimed to PROVIDE it.
BEGINNING with the TWELVE, Jesus would begin FILLING that vacuum.
Jesus RESPONDED to the NEEDS that the crowds did NOT EVEN KNOW they had.
9:37 – the “HARVEST” can be understood 2 ways:
As the harvest OF SALVATION: Ps. 126:5-6.
But it should also be understood as THE JUDGMENT: Joel 3:11-14.
Jesus ministered FERVENTLY & COMPASSIONATELY because He knew that the JUDGMENT was COMING.
This was PAUL’S attitude as well:
2 Cor. 5:11: “knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”
2 Thess. 1:7-9
The Christian who FORGETS about the JUDGMENT of God loses much of his INCENTIVE for SHARING the GOSPEL.
Jesus TAUGHT them & PREACHED to them & HEALED them – so that they might BELIEVE in Him & ESCAPE the HARVEST of JUDGMENT that was coming.
9:38 – the FIRST NEED is for WORKERS, & for those workers to understand that they are FEW in number & DESPERATE for the POWER of God.
We need to SEE our WORLD as JESUS sees it:
God is LORD of the HARVEST, & He is the JUDGE of all mankind.
If we are truly EARNEST about PRAYING for God to SEND SOMEONE to the unsaved, we CANNOT help but be open to GOING OURSELVES.
(To “send out” could be translated “thrust out,” & could refer to workers ALREADY IN the harvest field who need to have a FIRE LIT UNDER them!)
Would that be YOU & ME? 9:38