Friday, January 10, 2020

Matthew 8

Key Verse:Matthew 8:3

Big Idea: Jesus was accepted by the unexpected.

Matthew 8 is the story of an invasion force. The rightful King has returned, but He finds his people oppressed and enslaved by the wicked slavemaster Sin and his lackies of Disease, Suffering and Death. People are in rebellion and nature itself is cursed.

The first scene in the chapter is especially vivid. Lepers were people with a horrible skin disease, uncurable in the ancient world, which would cause gaping sores and a loss of sensation, which often led to severe injury. Under the Old Testament law, anyone who touched a leper became ceremonially unclean: quarantined until they could be verified to be cleaned. Like germs on your hands, when someone unclean touched something clean, it contaminated it. This leper knelt before Jesus and asked to be healed, and Jesus touched Him to heal Him. The normal process is perfectly reversed: instead of the uncleanness transferring to Jesus, His cleanness translates to the leper. After years of crippling disease, the first touch He feels is that of Jesus. Disease and suffering retreat and the King’s rightful rule continues to grow.

Jesus healed the servant of a Roman soldier, cast out demons and healed the sick. On  storming sea, His disciples were afraid, but He spoke a Word and the sea responded to its King. A legion (roughly 5000 in Roman military parlance) of demons are expelled by Jesus and allowed to go into a herd of pigs, yet the people are afraid of Him and ask Him to leave.

Older kids: Pigs were unclean animals. Just as Jesus removed the uncleanness from the leper with His own cleanness, the uncleanness of the demons was quarantined in the unclean animals and cast into the sea, removed from the land of the people.
The King has arrived, and is recognized by the unlikeliest people, while those who ought to recognize Him and worship miss Him entirely. There is no one so bad that God cannot forgive them, but no one so good that they do not need to be redeemed. It does not matter who we are or what we’ve done, what matters is what we do with Jesus.

Discussion idea: Why do you think it was harder for the religious elites to to recognize Jesus than for the more obvious sinners?

Prayer focus: Pray for God to help us see people the way that He does, as needing grace, but finding it readily available because of the love of Jesus.

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