"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The GOSPEL of MATTHEW: Ch. 9 Concluded – The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE

We will now conclude Ch. 9 of this study, picking up in vs. 18; the Messiah is continuing in His ministry of healing when He comes across yet another person in need. This time it turns out to be one of the religious authorities, the ones that opposed Him nearly at every turn. Yet, our LORD, humble and meek will go and serve this man's dire need, and heal his daughter of the illness that threatens her life...

MATTHEW 9:18-21
18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.


Here we have a “certain ruler” of a synagogue, who worshiped Jesus; again we see no objection from the LORD, Who if He were not God, would object to such an action, declaring that God alone is to be worshiped and no other. We hear the ruler declare that his daughter is dead, not merely sick or seriously ill (like the Centurion's servant) but dead. This ruler perhaps had seen enough of the LORD's ministry to express such a confidence, that with but a touch of His hand, He could restore her to life.
May we likewise express such confidence in our prayers to the LORD, that with but a touch of His nail-pierced hand, He may bring spiritual life to those now spiritually dead; those dear family members and friends that we have shared the gospel with, but with little or no success.
The LORD alone is the giver of life, no one can bring such life to another; we can only bring the message of life, and lead them to the Author of life Who may impart eternal life to the repentant soul who sees their own sin for what it is.


En route to this certain ruler's home, to heal his daughter, we now see an ailing woman who has this infirmity for twelve years (in a different Gospel account it states that she had spent all her living on physicians and was “none the better” (LK. 8:43).) She has stated that all she needed to do to find healing was to touch the hem of His garment; not that there was anything in particular about that hem, but rather the One to whom that garment belonged to. The LORD grants the “garment of salvation” to lost souls, and Jesus is Himself our salvation; He is adept at saving in any and all capacities: physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.
In both cases (the certain ruler and this poor ailing woman), “touch” is mentioned as something that is necessary for healing and restoration. We must always seek the touch of the Master in our lives. To seek that contact and fellowship and communion is for us, life and peace.
She “touched the hem of His garment”. This garment would be the outer robe commonly worn in those days and representative of the LORD's righteousness given to us: ISAIAH 61:10); the hem is very interesting as it deals with the talits or the fringe worn by Jewish men, especially the religious leadership, for this “hem” (talit) with its knotted threads (tzitzit) was a reminder of the Law of God for them.


The LORD of the Law, the LORD of Righteousness is being approached by this ailing woman, and from the LORD, she receives healing grace (“virtue” MARK 5:30); here is a beautiful picture of Israel who will receive from their King, Who imparted to His people the Holy Law of God, Who is their “righteousness” and will visit His people with salvation and healing!


MATTHEW 9:23-26
23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.


I have often wondered how the LORD must have felt when He told those minstrels that the young girl (“maid”) wasn't really dead, and “they laughed Him to scorn”. Was He offended? Hurt? Frustrated at their lack of faith? Surely, they didn't realize that this was God Himself in their midst that they were scorning! Yet today, people have the same disregard for the Holy Bible; not realizing that it is truly God's blessed Word to us and scorning it, laughing at those who count it as precious! And just as we are admonished to not “cast our pearls before swine” (MATT. 7:6), the LORD escorted those scorners out, for He would not privilege them with the sight of this miracle. He allowed only the maid's parents, along with Peter, James and John (MARK 5:37-42). It's interesting to note that no one stays dead in any of the Gospel accounts when they are in the presence of Jesus and this young girl was joyously restored to her parents as well! It is no wonder that the LORD's fame spread abroad for such things were never seen in Israel!


MATTHEW 9:27-31
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
Though these two men were blind, they certainly had insight enough that they could address Jesus by His proper title: “Son of David” which was a Messianic term, for the Messiah would not be any ordinary man of the lineage of David (of the tribe of Judah), but THE Son of David, the Messiah-King of Israel! Notice the simplicity of this exchange. The LORD simply asked them if they believed He was able to heal them of their blindness and they affirmed that He did; He then simply touched them, healed them and said “According to your faith be it done unto you.” Simple, uncomplicated and without any sort of religious trappings or regalia. How very different from today's televangelists with their prayer handkerchiefs, anointed prayer shawls, blessed holy water or oil 'from the Holy Land' etc. etc. for a “love gift” of ONLY – some exorbitant amount of money! By declaring that people can receive healing and answers to prayer by their 'anointed' whatever, they establish themselves as a kind of exclusive priesthood; an unbiblical idea and one that brings oppression to God's people.


This sort of thing brings shame on the name of Christ and His church, and yet the ministry of such televangelists seems to flourish despite this kind of nonsense! We children of God, if we are in fact true children of God (JOHN 1:12-13) need no such intermediary for healing and answered prayers. We only have to approach our LORD Who may ask if we believe that He “is able to do” what we are praying for. Let us express with the fullness of our hearts that utter abandon to the LORD and His Almighty power and Holy will and affirm boldly that HE IS ABLE! And we may receive from His hand the answer to our prayers!


MATTHEW 9:32-35
32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.


Now up until this point, we have witnessed the LORD bringing healing and deliverance to many, many people; at this present juncture however, something quite significant happens that brings a revelation about this Man from Nazareth to people; the same sort of revelation that was perceived by those two blind men just previously mentioned. This happens when the LORD brings deliverance to another man possessed of a demonic spirit (in Ch. 12:22-32). We'll get to all that later; for now let's examine these few verses:


Remember the Messianic prophecy of ISAIAH 35:6? In particular the part about how “the dumb will sing”? The word for “dumb” can refer to “binding” as in 'tongue-tied'. When taken in connection with vs. 32 of our text that refers to demonic possession, such a mute condition could be a result. It was common for Jewish exorcists to inquire of the demon's name when performing an exorcism; yet this was impossible if the demon had bound the victim so that they were unable to speak. It was believed (because of ISAIAH 35 and other passages) that the Messiah would be able to cast such demons out, without the knowledge of its name. So, we have Jesus of Nazareth casting out the demon of a mute man and the people marveled because nothing like this was ever seen in Israel before!


In light of such a miracle that would prove a Messianic claim as valid, the Pharisees were intent to discredit the LORD Jesus, claiming that He is merely casting them out by the power of Satan himself. And the LORD's response to that accusation? There is none; He makes no such reply to these religious leaders. Once we get to Chapter 12, we shall re-examine this event and the similar event of that chapter.
In the mean time, the LORD busies Himself with teaching in synagogues, healing and preaching “the Gospel of the Kingdom (of Israel)” as the Messiah King. No doubt the disciples were harboring exuberant hope that this Man, Jesus of Nazareth – the son of Mary, herself a daughter of the tribe of Judah (the royal line) would restore Israel's kingdom and her glory.
It was one of the first questions that they asked of Him after the resurrection in ACTS 1:6! The LORD's answer: the time of the Kingdom is in the Father's keeping; He didn't say, the Kingdom of Israel is finished; there is now only the church. Israel's future glory and kingdom are in the Father's keeping and will be manifest when He gives the green light and sends His Son to inaugurate that reign!


MATTHEW 9:36-38
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.


Compassion is action anticipated and motivated by love. The LORD saw the people scattered, fainting, and lost. He sees people in the same way today, the world over: we are fainting and weak because of the burdens and ruinous influences in life – financial disasters, life-threatening ailments, destructive divorces, and other woes for which there seems no remedy. As a result people turn to alcohol, drugs, sex to try to find satisfaction and fulfillment, or at the least, to take an edge of the agony that they are unwilling or unable to face.
How the LORD longs with aching heart to bring healing, rest, relief, restoration and wholeness of spirit, soul and body to the blind citizens of this world of sin. How He rejoices when a soul surrenders to Him and allows Him free reign to work in their life, bringing salvation, order and peace. He desires to do such through His people, the church and with the Gospel granted to them by Commission. Even here in this passage He instructs His disciples to pray that the LORD of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest, and so we must likewise pray. Let us also be ready when the LORD answers that prayer and sends YOU and I as those laborers!


ROMANS 10:13-15

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
As we are armed with the GOSPEL (G.ods O.mnipotent S.alvation P.roclaiming E.ternal L.ife) let us likewise be ready for warfare, because the enemy isn't about to passively allow slaves of his kingdom of darkness be rescued from his lair and delivered to the Kingdom of God! This is an essential element of spiritual warfare: the deliverance of sinners from Satan! For this we indeed need the “shoes shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace (EPH. 6:15).




Thus concludes Chapter 9 of this Gospel account according to Matthew! Chapter 10 is forthcoming! Until then, remember: JESUS RETURNS SOON! 

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