Matthew 9:27-34; Mark 6:1-6; Matthew 13:53-58; Matthew 9:35-38; Mark 6:7-13; Matthew 10:1-42; Luke 9:1-6
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Matthew: In Matthew chapter 9 we read about Jesus healing in response to people's faith. It is amazing to remember that the Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted these types of healings would take place in the Messianic age. Check out Isaiah chapter 35 verses 5 & 6: "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy." This image below of the woman reaching for Jesus' tassels from today's readings is one of my favorite images of faith. Have you ever reached out in faith to Jesus like this woman did?
Verses 37 & 38 are so powerful in today's readings: "He said to his disciples, "The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields." I think each of us can reflect on this teaching from Jesus. Do you agree with Jesus that the harvest is so great? And the workers are few? Will you pray to God for more workers for his kingdom work? Are you one of God's workers in his kingdom work?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew chapter 9 titled "The Authority to Give Sight" is at this link.
In Matthew chapter 10 Jesus sends out the twelve disciples! Verse 7 stands out: "Jesus sent the twelve disciples out with these instructions: "Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel--God's lost sheep." Gentiles are anyone who is not a Jew. Samaritans are a race that resulted in intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles after the Old Testament exiles and captivities - as we see in 2 Kings 17:24 - "The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns." The Matthew 10 verse 7 above does indicate that Jesus' disciple's ministry was first to the Jews, but soon thereafter the ministry and the gospel message clearly was for all people. As we see in Acts 10:34-35 - "Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right." And certainly as we see in the Great Commission at the end of Matthew, in chapter 28 verses 19 & 20: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Below is a Spanish wood panel painting by an unknown artist from the early 12th century of Jesus and the twelve disciples:
One interesting note on the listing of names of the 12 disciples in Matthew. Peter is listed first and Judas Iscariot last. We'll read various listings of the 12 disciples throughout the New Testament. And numbers 2 through 11 always vary in order of how the disciples are listed. But in all of the listings, Peter is first. And Judas Iscariot is always listed last. Below is a painting titled " The Sending of the Twelve" by Duccio di Buoninsegna from the early 14th century - (looks to me like Duccio only painted in 11 here... )
Matthew 10 verse 16 stands out: ""Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as snakes and harmless as doves." This is good advice for us today as well. Jesus is still sending us out today as his followers. And I do think this teaching is wise - for us to be wary and harmless at the same time. It's an interesting line to walk, but I believe a very wise one. I believe the only way to really walk this line well is through the blessing of the Holy Spirit. I don't think we can do it on our own...
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew chapter 10 titled "Wise as Serpents" is at this link.
Matthew chapter 10 closes out today with what might be considered some "hard teachings" of Jesus. I think what stands out in my mind in reading these teachings is that while Jesus is certainly the Prince of Peace, he also has come into a world that is full of darkness - and the darkness fights against Jesus' light. So, if we decide to align ourselves with Jesus, and his eternal goodness and light, the darkness will also then fight against us - just as it fights against Jesus. As students and servants of Jesus, we will face the same persecutions that Jesus did. And while this is certainly true, think about the alternative - not following Jesus... and not walking in the light of God's love. I'd much rather spend 1 day in Jesus' light than 1 thousand days elsewhere... How about you?
Verse 38 is the first mention of the word cross in the gospel of Matthew: "If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine." What strikes me about this verse is that Jesus is teaching that we do have a cross to bear. And we have a choice to make of whether we will take up the cross and follow Jesus. So, now may be a good time to ask yourself - what is your cross in your life? Do you think you know what it is? If not, will you ask Jesus to reveal to you what your cross is? And then, will you bear it daily? And will you follow Jesus daily?
Worship God: Today's readings in Matthew chapter 10 today about Jesus remind me of the beautiful Jason Castro song, "You Are:"
Is Jesus the One for you? Click here for the One!
Please join me in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you acknowledge Jesus before men in all ways in all of your days.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!