Author Archives: Mark

Matthew: First Mission: Jesus Brings Conflict And Rewards

Memory Verse: Matthew 10:34, 39

10:34-38 Potential Conflict

  • 10:1-33 Jesus is preparing to send His twelve disciples on their first mission. He tells them what they are to do on this mission (preaching and miraculous works) and warns them about the dangers of persecution that will arise on this mission and mission in the future as they wholeheartedly follow Him. Persecution is imminent. It will come from authorities, family and the people they are reaching out to. But they are not to fear, but boldly go forward trusting in the sovereignty of God.
  • 10:34 Jesus continues in His teaching to His disciples about their first mission. He just finished assuring His disciples that loyalty to Him will be rewarded. Now He moves on to correct their thinking about His purpose in coming to the earth at this time. He tells them to “think not”—meaning they aren’t to suppose or assume that Jesus has come according to their own reasons—“to send peace on earth.” His disciples, like many people, probably had a desire for “peace on earth” and thought Jesus would be the One to usher it in. But Jesus is the truth. Truth divides. Division causes conflict or as Jesus says, “a sword”. A desire for peace often leads to compromising the truth so that both parties are satisfied with the outcome, but Jesus did not come to compromise the truth but to loyally declare and defend it to the death. Jesus’ message is one of absolute truth and there are many who accept it, but also many who reject it, thus it is inevitable that disunity and conflict will occur. This is the reason that Jesus said, “I came”—meaning that He existed before His earthly birth but was made flesh to save people from their sins through the truth.
    John 1:14; Matthew 1:20-21
  • 10:35 Then Jesus gives the disciple an example of this conflict saying that He came to set family against each other—meaning that the truth would even cause division among the most personal relationships. What does this look like? The gospel message will be preached and someone will believe—forsaking everything for it because it is truth. But the truth goes against the culture, religion and traditions of that person’s family. To that family the truth is foreign and no truth at all. They reject it and expect others in their family to reject it as well. Therefore, there is an identity crisis. A person thinking about believing in Jesus has to choose to identify with his family or with Jesus. When the person chooses Jesus over their family, then they have been set at variance against them.
    Micah 7:6
  • 10:36 Jesus goes on to say that a man’s foes will even be people from his own household.  Not only will their relationships become strained and divided but that family will see the family member who followed Jesus as their enemy—a person they bitterly oppose—because they have turned their back on the family for the truth. They will be seen as shaming, disrespecting or causing the family to loose face. Unless your parents are also believers, following Jesus will most likely strain your family relationships to some degree.
  • 10:37 Therefore, there is a choice to be made: Jesus or family. Family is one of our highest and most important relationships—especially between parents and children. We are to love, respect and be loyal to our families. Parents love their children and children love their parents. No one could claim a higher love than this “family love” unless they were the one who created the family, the true God. And this is exactly what Jesus does—which points to who He claims to be. He says that He who loves father, mother, son or daughter more than Him is not worthy of Him—not fit to be His disciple. Jesus is calling for total commitment—meaning that you choose to love Jesus more than family. When you choose to believe in Jesus and your family opposes it, you have to make a decision.
  • 10:38 The path to follow Jesus is not easy. As Jesus prepares His disciple for serving Him, He describe a very hard path of persecution and conflict. Now, Jesus clearly tells them that He expects His followers to take up their crosses—symbolizing a person who carries a cross to the place of crucifixion—and follow after Him or they are not worthy of Him—not fit to be His disciple. Jesus is telling them to renounce themselves and follow Him even to the point of death. It means giving up their plans, dreams and lives to follow Jesus. This is full surrender—you give up your whole way of life to follow Jesus.

10:39 Paradoxical Teaching

  • 10:39 But there is a great paradox to following Jesus: a person who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it. This means that if we deny ourselves, if we don’t concentrate on ourselves, if we choose not to live for this world—all for the sake of Jesus—then we will find life. The paradox is that we have to loose our life for Jesus sake to be able to really find it. He is asking you to give everything up so that He can give you something greater. Jesus also warns that he who finds his life shall lose it. This means that if we live for ourselves and choose the easy path, then life has no purpose, now and in eternity. But the one who chooses to not to live for themselves but for Jesus will find life to the fullest sense—now and in eternity.

10:40-42 Promised Rewards

  • 10:40 If the disciples are willing to pay the price and follow Jesus then there are certain blessings that follow. First, Jesus tells them that anyone who receives them also receives Him and anyone who receives Jesus receives God—Him that sent Jesus. This is good news because it means there will be some who “receive” them (not only persecution in the future), but more importantly it speaks to their work as ambassadors for Jesus and God the Father. They are official representatives of Jesus who is the only way to God—therefore among those who receive them their treatment should be with the same respect due to those whom they are representing.
    2 Corinthians 5:20; Colossians 1:12-17; John 14:6
  • 10:41 Second, Jesus gives a principle similar to the first but says that those who receive them (like a prophet or righteous man) will also be partakers in their reward (like a prophet’s reward or a righteous man’s reward) because they were a helper in the work. Therefore, there is incentive to receive and help the man of God.
  • 10:42 Thirdly, Jesus notes that anyone who serves “one of these little ones”—a person without the reputation like that of a prophet or a righteous man, but is a disciple—(only in the name of a disciple) will be rewarded. Jesus illustration uses someone giving a cold cup of water to one lowly disciple as an act of service that will be rewarded.

Review Questions

  • What did the disciples think the reason Jesus came was?
  • What does Jesus mean by “a sword”?
  • When does a person have to choose between family and Jesus?
  • What is that great paradox? What does it mean?
  • The “promised rewards” are for doing what?

Matthew: First Mission: Jesus Calms His Disciples’ Fears

Memory Verse: Matthew 10:27

10:26-27 Don’t Fear Persecution, But Be Bold

  • 10:16-22 Persecution was imminent for Jesus’ twelve disciples as they are about to engage on their first mission: preaching the kingdom and performing miraculous works among the Jews. They were to expect persecution on this mission and missions to come. It would come from all angles: authorities, family and mankind in general. As they go about their missions, Jesus tells them to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”—which is a simple command for them to act properly in the face of persecution so that in the midst of it they will proclaim, glorify and fulfill God’s purposes. Now Jesus gives His disciples a threefold command not to fear—which is a natural response to the information they were just given.
  • 10:26a Therefore—because the disciples can expect the same type of persecution that their Master, Jesus, can expect—they are not to fear. Jesus has and will face the persecution without fear and His disciples are to follow suite. Persecution is not something to be feared but it is something to be endured because we are a follower of Jesus. It is a sign that we are His disciples. We are not to seek after persecution and agitate people to persecute us, but it will be a natural response to following Jesus and therefore we are no to be afraid of it. This doesn’t mean that you will be persecuted every day, for Jesus wasn’t even persecuted like that, but we can expect to received persecution when we engage in the same type of belief, proclamation and ministry that Jesus did. For every disciple of Jesus, their measure of persecution will be different, but you will experience some kind of persecution throughout your lifetime for following Jesus.
  • 10:26b Knowing that persecution is a natural response to following Jesus means that we don’t need to be afraid, because we also know that we will have the victory with Him. We share in His persecution but we also will share in His victory. Jesus tells His disciples that everything that is covered or hid—the enemy will try to cover up the truth and use secret or deceptive ways to oppose God’s work in this world—will be revealed or known—the truth will eventually be disclosed and the truth will prevail. Evil and deceit don’t like things to be made public, because they will be expose for their fraud, but the truth is strongest when it is made pubic and known to all. Therefore, this has two implications: (1) Believers live according to the future judgement when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the gospel—we don’t live in fear of man’s judgments. (2) Believers have nothing to hide and should speak openly to the world—we don’t live in secret. Jesus continues this point in the next verse.
    Romans 2:16; John 18:20
  • 10:27 Believers are not to be involved in actions of hiding our faith or preventing it from being known. Jesus tells His disciples that what He tells them in darkness—in His private teaching times to them (our message comes from Jesus, we don’t make it up ourselves)—that they are to speak about it in the light—meaning they aren’t to keep it private but to make it public. Jesus has nothing to hide and He wants His message to be known. He says it another way by saying that whatever they hear in the ear (whisper)—any of His teachings—they are to preach it upon the housetops (loudly proclaimed)—the top of the houses at that time would make a great platform to give a message to a lot of people at once, thus the expression is used to mean that Jesus’ teachings are to be proclaimed publicly and be widespread. The disciples of Jesus who are on mission for Jesus should be characterized by openness and fearlessness.

10:28 Don’t Fear (Obey) Man, But Fear (Obey) God

  • 10:28a Jesus tells His disciples not to fear “them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul”—which is referring to man. What is the greatest form of persecution? Martyrdom—being killed for following Jesus. It is often said that the greatest thing we have in the life is our physical life (mortal), but man is made up of more than just his body—he also has a soul (immortal). After our body perishes, our soul still exists. It is this soul that makes mankind and animals different. It is what make us human. Our bodies being killed is the greatest price we can pay for following Jesus, but they still shouldn’t be feared because they aren’t the highest of authorities—the soul is beyond their reach.
  • Man is made up of two parts: the physical and the spiritual, our body and our inner being, or the material and the immaterial.
    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Genesis 2:7; Proverbs 4:23
  • Two deaths: The first death means you will physically die and your soul will pass from this life into eternity. The second death means you will be cast into the lake of fire. This is man’s final destination and he will forever be separated from God.
    Revelation 20:14; 21:8
  • 10:28b Jesus tells His disciples to fear “him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”—which is referring to God. God holds the most supreme and sovereign authority. Man’s authority is limited to this world (natural), but God’s power goes beyond this world (supernatural). We are not to fear man’s wrath against righteousness, but we are to fear God’s wrath against evil—who has the power to destroy the whole man (body and soul) with an unlimited authority—one that extends beyond this world into the next.

10:29-31 Do’t Be Afraid, But Trust In God’s Sovereignty

  • 10:29-31 You are valued—you are important—therefore don’t be fearful. Jesus uses on illustration to emphasize this point. He tells His disciple that two sparrows are only sold for a farthing, but one of them will not fall on the ground without their Father—God even cares for the most insignificant creatures of creation. Then Jesus tells them that the very hairs of their heads are all numbered—He knows and cares about the smallest of details. Jesus sums up His illustrations by telling the disciples that they are of more value than many sparrows—meaning that God greatly values us. If God pays attention to the smallest of details and cares about the insignificant events of sparrows, how much more does He care for us. Knowing that God cares, we don’t need to be afraid when we are on mission.

10:32-33 Will You Confess Or Deny Jesus?

  • 10:32-33 Finally, Jesus assures His disciples that loyalty to Him will be rewarded—believers choose to confess Jesus before men no matter the cost, therefore Jesus will confess them before His Father in heaven. Unbelievers choose to deny Jesus before men to avoid persecution, therefore Jesus will deny them before His Father in heaven.

Review Questions

  • What is the first reason the disciples are to “fear not”?
  • Believers share in Jesus’ persecution, but also share in His what?
  • How does Jesus’ want His teachings to be proclaimed?
  • Does God care for us? How do you know?
  • Will you choose Jesus even if it means to be persecuted?

Matthew: First Mission: Jesus’ Promise Of Persecution

Memory Verse: Matthew 10:16

10:16, 23-25 Persecution Is Imminent

  • 10:16a Jesus is sending His disciples out on their first mission. He tells them that He is sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves. The disciple easily understood what this meant. In this scenario the sheep is the one in danger. Wolves attack sheep. Wolves kill sheep. Wolves eat sheep. His disciples already have determined enemies. They are being sent on a mission in a dangerous environment. Because of the dangers they will face, Jesus tells them to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”—this is a simple command for us to act properly in the face of persecution so that in the midst of persecution we will proclaim, glorify and fulfill God’s purposes.
  • 10:16b Wise as serpents—in scripture, serpents are not usually seen as good. But it is common for an animal to be used both in a bad and good way. Here we are told to have this good characteristic. In general, snakes are not the animal of choice. Who likes them? Many of them are dangerous. Many people will kill them if they come in contact with them (or near their house or family). You could say that snakes live in a “hostile environment”. Jesus just told the disciples that they are going to be in a hostile environment (sheep among wolves). Therefore, because of this hostile environment, snakes have to be wise. They have to be shrewd. The need a sharp sense of judgement. They pay attention, watch and can’t afford to be careless. In the same way, we need to have this sense of judgement as we enter our hostile environments preaching the Gospel. A second aspect of this “wisdom” it to cause the disciples to keep from becoming “slothful” out of their timid, cautious and circumspect characteristics that comes when facing danger.
    Proverbs 12:16, 23; 13:16; 14:8, 15, 18; 15:5; 16:21; 18:15; 22:3; 27:12
  • 10:16c Harmless as doves—they have no real defense or offense. They are not going to fight back. They aren’t seeking to hurt others, take advantage of others, nor are they attacking others. A dove gets taken advantage of. They easily put themselves in danger that is seems silly or stupid. A dove is vulnerable. It isn’t fearful. It doesn’t go into hiding. As a messenger of the gospel “harm” shouldn’t be characteristic of who we are. Though people will mock, hate and hurt us because of the gospel, we shouldn’t fight back. To apply this to our lives we have to understand that God uses suffering for the advancement of the gospel. May we be harmless.
  • 10:23 Jesus gives an example of being wise and harmless. He tells the disciples if they are persecuted in one city, they should flee to another city—they are not required to stay and be persecuted to the death if there is opportunity for them to preach elsewhere. Then Jesus tells them that they will not have “gone over the cities of Israel” before “the Son of man be come”—Jesus’ exact meaning and time is not known with surety, it could refer to His second coming or a more immediate event.
  • 10:24-25 Jesus tells His disciples that they should not expect to be treated better by the world than He is. He tells them that the “disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord”—both of these are an inferior position, therefore they won’t be treated as superior by others. It is sufficient for the disciple to be like his master and the servant to be like his lord—you can’t expect more. Therefore, if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub—(“Lord of the flies” or “Lord of dung”), how much more shall they call them of his household? Jesus is obviously referring to Himself as the Master and Lord and tells His disciples that they can expect the same type of persecution or worse.
    Matthew 9:34; 12:22-28; Luke 11:15; John 15:20

10:17-22 Persecution From Authorities, Family And Mankind

  • 10:17-18a Persecution from authorities: Jesus goes on to warn His disciples of persecution that they will face one day. It seems that this is a warning not just for this mission, but missions to come—meaning these type of things will happen to Jesus’ followers as they serve Him in the world. Jesus tells them to “beware of men” because they will deliver them up to the councils and scourge them in their synagogues. The disciples were to be “on alert” because some of the Jews whom they were going to reach would hand them over to be trialled in their courts. The trial would take place in the synagogues where they could be beaten with a whip or scourge up to thirty-nine times.
    Acts 4:1-22; 2 Corinthians 11:24
  • 10:18b Next, Jesus gives warning also about future missions when they have gone beyond the Jews and are also reaching the gentiles. For Jesus’ sake, they will be brought before governors and kings—Jewish and non-Jewish governmental authorities. When they are brought before these authorities to bear witness to the authorities and the Gentiles. Jesus is tell his disciples that suffering will be part of the process of spreading the gospel.
    Acts 12:1-4; 14:5
  • 10:19-20 When Jesus’ disciples are deliver you up to the hostile authorities, they don’t need to take thought or be anxious about what they are going to say or how they are going to say it. They don’t need to give any forethought about the content of their defense, but instead they are to trust that God, their Father, will give them what they should speak at that time through His Holy Spirit. They will be divinely inspired to be a testimony.
  • 10:21 Persecution from family: Persecution doesn’t only come from hostile governments but also from within our own families. Jesus told His disciples that brother will deliver up the brother, the father the child, the children their parents and cause them to be put to death. Following Jesus could disrupt your family life. You could be banished by your family, disinherited, beaten, mocked, betrayed and even killed.
  • 10:22 Persecution from mankind: Finally, Jesus tells His disciples that they can expect widespread persecution from mankind in general. They can expect to be hated by all men for Jesus’ name’s sake. Their persecution, as well as ours, will arise because we are followers of Jesus. But we are to be loyal and persevere—everyone who endures to the end shall be saved—meaning that they will be in the presence of the Lord forever. Believers aren’t saved because they persevere but they persevere because they are saved—thus enduring persecution by the power of God.
    1 Peter 1:5

Review Questions

  • What is the environment the disciples are being sent into like?
  • What is Jesus’ advice for the disciples?
  • What is an example that Jesus gives?
  • Who will the disciples be persecuted by?
  • What types of persecution that they will face?

Matthew: First Mission: The Disciples Prayer And Mission

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:37-38

9:35-38 Jesus’ Compassion And Prayer Request

  • 9:35 Jesus, through doing the miraculous, has proven that His authority is from God above. The works that Jesus has done, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead and forgiving sins, can only be attributed to God himself. He continued to do the miraculous as He went everywhere (the cities and villages) healing every sickness and every disease among the people. He also would enter their synagogues (Jewish places of instruction and worship) to teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom—salvation and the victorious life through God’s rule in their life.
  • 9:36 Because of Jesus traveling and the great authority in His words and works, He would draw large crowds. When Jesus saw one of these crowds—the multitudes of people, He was moved with compassion on them—He was moved in His inner being and concerned for these people. Why? Because the people fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. Sheep have no natural defense and are vulnerable to attacks from prey. They are not good at foraging—finding green pastures and water. Sheep need a shepherd to protect them from their predators and to lead them to their necessary provisions. So without a shepherd, sheep are lost and in danger—living a harassed and helpless existence Therefore, Jesus is saying that spiritually—the masses that He sees are in this same condition and it moved Him to have compassion on them.
  • 9:37-38 Then Jesus told His disciples that the harvest truly is plenteous—speaking metaphorically of people who are spiritually ready to enter the kingdom of God. But there was a problem: labourers are few—those who gather in the harvest are few in number meaning that the harvest can’t be collected. As Jesus looked at the multitude, He saw people ready to believe, but He needed more workers to help with the mission, more people to teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom. Therefore—since the labourers are few—they are to pray unto the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest. Jesus answer to this problem was prayer. The harvest is already God’s—it is He who does the saving, but He uses people to gather it in. As we are working in God’s field doing God’s work, we are to constantly be praying for more workers. Jesus’ prayer request for His disciples, and for us today, is to ask for more laborers. As we pray, we need to ask God, “Does that mean me? How do you want me to serve?” We need to look at the nations and be moved with compassion and then pray.

10:1-15 Jesus’ First Mission For His Twelve Disciples

  • 10:1 Jesus’ prayer request for the disciples caused the disciples to know that the mission was greater than themselves, but Jesus’ calling caused them to know that it started with them. Jesus called His twelve disciples unto Himself and gave them power for exorcism (power against unclean spirits, to cast them out), and healing (all manner of sickness and disease). This was a far reaching power similar to what Jesus Himself was doing among the people. Now He was going to send them in His place to do this work.
    Matthew 4:23
  • 10:2-4 The names of the twelve men that Jesus’ chose for special service as “apostles” are as follows: (1) Simon, who is called Peter; (2) Andrew, Peter’s brother; (3) James the son of Zebedee; (4) John, Jame’s brother; (5) Philip; (6) Bartholomew; (7) Thomas; (8) Matthew the publican; (9) James the son of Alphaeus; (10) Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus; (11) Simon the Canaanite; (12) Judas Iscariot—who will betray Jesus.
    Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13
  • 10:5a Jesus has given these twelve men special power over demons and sickness and He sent them forth with the following instructions:
  • 10:5b-6 The People: They were not to go the “way of the Gentiles” or into “any city of the Samaritans,” but were to only go “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The “house of Israel” refers to the descendants of Jacob or the Jews—who are God’s covenant people and they were to be the target of the first mission. Eventually, the permanent mission until Jesus returns would include the whole world, but at this time and during this temporary mission, the target was God’s chosen people who were like “lost sheep” having no shepherd to lead them. First to the Jew, second to the Gentile.
    Romans 1:16; 2:9-10
  • 10:7-8a The Work: While they were going to Israel they were to preach the same message that John the Baptist and Jesus had preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Also, as they were going they were to use their powers to have compassion on the people and authenticate the authority of their words by their supernatural powers, which included: healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and casting out devils—just like Jesus had exemplified to them. (Note: The works weren’t the main focus of the mission, but the preaching was.)
    Matthew 3:2, 4:17
  • 10:8b-10 The Restrictions: They were to also realize that they had received all of this power for the mission freely from God, therefore they were not to charge for it but to do these works among the people freely—to show forth the grace of God among an unworthy people. Instead of charging people for the miracles they would do, they were to trust God, the One who has hired them for this specific mission. So Jesus told them  not to procure extra supplies (provide) for the journey, including money (neither gold, silver, brass in your purses, nor scrip) or clothes (neither two coats, shoes, staves). Jesus tells them that, “The workman is worthy of his meat”—meaning that they can trust God and those whom they labour amongst to take care of these basic needs.
  • 10:11-15 The Accommodations: Whatever city or town that they will enter, they are to search our diligently those who are “worthy”—probably meaning whoever is willing to respond and believe the message they preach—and stay there until they leave. When they come into someone’s house they were to “salute it”—bless it. If the house really was “worthy,” they were to let their peace come upon it, but if it was “not worthy,” they were to let their peace return to them. When they departed out of the house or city of anyone that did not receive them nor hear their words they were to shake off the dust of their feet—as a sign of rejection. Then Jesus said that those who reject His messengers will have greater punishment than sinners in the Old Testament (Sodom and Gomorrha) on the day of judgement. This also implies that Jesus is more than a prophet.
    Genesis 19:1-29

Review Questions

  • Why did Jesus have compassion?
  • What did Jesus say the problem was?
  • What was Jesus’ solution to the problem?
  • Who did Jesus choose for His first mission?
  • What were the instructions for the first mission?

November 2017 Prayer Letter

It has been a busy few weeks but the Lord gives us strength through it all and blesses our efforts as we desire to give Him the maximum glory with our lives. There is no better place to be than fully surrendered to God to be used for His honor in this world.

Family Fall Party: We had a great turnout for our family fall party with over 120 people in attendance. We reached out to the two schools that our children attend and invited their classmates and families. We were blessed to have many of them come out for the event. We introduced them to the church and also shared a quick story about God creating the world. Please continue to be in prayer with us that we will see many of those families return and that we can continue to influence them with the gospel.

USA Trip: At the beginning of this month I took a quick trip (left China on Friday and arrived back on the following Tuesday) to Fresno, California to preach at Ambassador Baptist Church for their missions month. The church was a blessing and I had a wonderful time getting to know the staff and church members. I was able to preach twice on Sunday morning and present our ministry in the evening service. After the morning service, a 17-year-old young man came up to me and God used me to lead Him to Jesus. Praise the Lord for a soul saved! Pray for this young man as He starts his journey as a disciple of Christ.

Missionary Interns: The day after I arrived back from the USA we had a young family from our home church arrive in China for their six-month missionary internship. We have been busy the past few days helping them get set up (in between teaching seminary classes and the ministry at the church). We are excited about how God is going to use this family for His honor and glory. We are honored to get to work with them and to be a part of their training.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our team, Project China. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known!

Matthew: Jesus Does More Of The Miraculous

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:28-29

9:18-19, 23-26 Jesus Raises A Daughter From The Dead

  • 9:18-19 While Jesus was explaining His disciples’ stance on fasting there came a certain ruler—(a man of importance among his community, one of the rulers of the synagogue) and bowed before Jesus in a worshipful manner. This man told Jesus that his daughter, who was twelve years old, had just died—(Mark records she was so sick that she was on the brink of death at any moment and she died before Jesus reaches this man’s home), but he asked Jesus to come and lay his hand on her so that she would live. As a ruler of the synagogue, you wouldn’t expect him to come to Jesus for healing, but this man was desperate. His public display of faith towards Jesus would have cost him greatly. Jesus and His disciples got up and followed this man. However the sequence of the news of her death happened, Jesus, even after the news of her death, continues with this man to his house. This man came to Jesus seeking healing and resurrection from the dead.
    Mark 5:22-24; 35-37
  • 9:23-24 Jesus finally arrives at the man’s house whose daughter had died. When Jesus came into his house He saw the minstrels (flute players) and the people making a noise. The flute players and some of the people that were making noise are professional mourners. People would hire them after someone dies to mourn their loss. The family of this young girl were probably among those who were loudly mourning as well. All this confirms the narrative that she had died. Then Jesus told them all to move and possibly meaning for the mourners to go away because they weren’t needed. Why? Because the young girl is not dead but sleeping. No, they didn’t misdiagnose the daughter’s condition, she was really dead, but Jesus was speaking metaphorically—He knew that He would bring her to life. Just like sleep was temporary, so was her death. They responded to Jesus by laughing Him to scorn. This seems like a strange response, but these people know that Jesus hasn’t even seen the girl yet and they believe He was speaking literally—that she was just asleep and they were all wrong. How foolish they thought Jesus was.
    Mark 5:38-40
  • 9:25-26 The mourning, the laughing, the doubting, the process for burial all had to be stopped. Jesus had the room cleared out and He went in with the parents. This wasn’t a public viewing. Jesus took her by the hand and the little girl arose. Jesus raised her from the dead. Touching any dead body would make a person unclean for seven days, but when Jesus touch her He restored her purity. Jesus has power over uncleanness and power over death. His fame and the report of this went abroad into all that land.
    Mark 5:41-43; Numbers 19:11-21

9:20-22 Jesus Heals A Women Diseased With An Issue Of Blood

  • 9:20-22 As Jesus was going to the ruler’s house there was a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years. Her condition had physical consequences as well as societal—since it would make her ceremonially unclean. People would try to avoid her and she wouldn’t be welcome to most places. She couldn’t reach out to others for help or expect others to help her seek Jesus’ help since they would risk becoming unclean for being around her. But she believed and said within herself that if she could just touch Jesus’ garment that she would be whole. So she came behind Jesus and touched the hem of His garment. Jesus knowing that someone touched Him, turned around, saw her and said, (1) “Daughter, be of good comfort”—He encourages her, something she wasn’t used to, especially as an unclean person touching another. (2) “Thy faith hath made thee whole”—she was healed because of her faith in Jesus, which probably also implies a deeper meaning of being saved. Jesus states this all publicly so the society knows that she is no longer to be shunned as unclean like she was for the past twelve years. From this time on the woman was made whole. Jesus radically changed her life—by faith.
    Mark 5:25-34; Leviticus 15:15-30

9:27-31 Jesus Gives Sight To Two Blind Men

  • 9:27 Jesus fame was growing. He just left the house of the twelve year old daughter that He raise from the dead. Two blind men followed Him. They were crying out to Jesus saying, (1) “Thou Son of David”—this was a title used of the promised Messiah, the Deliver from the line of David, these men believed Jesus was He. (2) “Have mercy on us”—they wanted Jesus to show compassion on them. Even though their request wasn’t specific, it seems obvious they wanted to be healed of their blindness and possibly more.
    2 Samuel 7:12-16
  • 9:28-30a They arrived at the house and Jesus went in. The blind men also came to Jesus and He asked them “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” They responded in the affirmative saying, “Yea, Lord”—they were confessing Jesus as the Lord God and their faith in Him to do the miraculous. They didn’t see any of the previous miracles with their own eyes because they were blind, so they could only go on the witness of others and they chose to believe. In response to their faith, Jesus touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Then their eyes were opened. Through faith they received the gift of sight from the Gift Giver—Jesus. Do you have faith in Jesus?
    Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7
  • 9:30b-31 After they were healed, Jesus straitly charged them to let no one know what happened. He doesn’t say why, but it is probably because the publicity would hinder the work or change the focus of His message. But when the two men left they spread abroad Jesus’ fame in all that country. Their enthusiasm led to disobedience.

9:32-34 Jesus Heals A Dumb Man Possessed With A Devil

  • 9:32-33 As they left the house, some people brought to Jesus a mute man (unable to speak) possessed with a devil. Jesus cast out the demon and the man could speak. It appears the speaking disability was caused by the demon possession. The crowd that had gather around them marvelled and said nothing like this was ever seen in the nation of Israel before.
    Luke 11:14
  • 9:34 The Pharisees in their usual way of trying to cast doubt on everything Jesus does because of their own insecurities said Jesus cast out devils through the prince of the devils—Beelzebub. Even though Jesus was doing things that could only come from the power of God, they attributed His power to that of Satan. Their hypocrisy and accusation come from their unbelief. Are you like them, trying to discount everything Jesus has done? Or will you recognized Jesus is doing the works of God by the power of God?
    Luke 11:15

Review Questions

  • What happened when Jesus took the little girl by the hand?
  • What happened when the sick women touched Jesus?
  • What did the two blind men believe about Jesus?
  • Why did the man have a speaking disability?
  • What did each of these people receive when Jesus came to them or they came to Jesus?

Matthew: Jesus Exemplifies The Way Of Mercy

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:12-13

9:9 Jesus Calls Society’s Worst To Follow Him

  • 9:7-9a Jesus has just showed the multitudes that He has power over nature, the spirit realm, and sin. Those who witnessed all the Jesus did, glorified God. Now Jesus is moving away from the house where He was and went down to the seaside and continue teaching. As Jesus went His own way, He saw a man named Matthew—this is the same Matthew who is the author of this gospel. He is going to give us a glimpse of his own testimony—how he became a follower of Jesus.
    Mark 2:13
  • 9:9b What kind of person was Matthew? When Jesus saw Matthew he was sitting at the “receipt of custom” or at the “tax office”. Matthew was a tax collector. His job was to collect taxes (such as tolls or custom duties, etc.) at this specific location for those goods going through his area. Tax collectors were known for being corrupt and even traitors (disloyal to other Jews). They partly collected taxes for Rome and partly for personal gain. They were extortionist and cheats. They often were wealthy because of the way they conducted business and became a symbol for the worst kind of people in society.
  • 9:9c It is to this kind of man that Jesus said, “Follow me.” We aren’t given any more details about what Matthew knows about Jesus, but he must have known much more about who Jesus was and heard about all the great things He had done in Capernaum. Whatever Matthew knew about Jesus, it was enough for him to get up and follow Jesus. This phrase that Jesus uses doesn’t mean, “Come over here real quick,” but it is Jesus calling a person into a relationship with Him, calling a person to discipleship. Matthew knew this. The Gospel of Luke adds that, “He left all” to follow Jesus. Matthew knew Jesus was calling him to “a continual following” and thus he would be giving up his job security, financial security, and his whole way of life. Also, Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to first change His ways and then become a disciple of Jesus, but first to become a disciple and then his relationship with Jesus would change Him over time. Jesus will change Matthew’s life, from sinner to servant, but the first step is faith.
    Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27-28

9:10-13 Jesus Mission Is To Call Sinners To Repentance

  • 9:10 Matthew forsook everything and followed Jesus. Next Matthew makes Jesus a great feast in his own house. Matthew must have invited his friends to come to the feast to meet Jesus. As a new follower of Jesus, Matthew would want to know more about His Lord, which is why he probably invited Him to his house, but He also wanted others to consider following Jesus, which is why he probably hosted the feast. Who would Matthews friends be? If he was despised by the common people and was at the bottom of society’s social class, then his friends probably were too—which is why when Jesus sat down at the feast many publicans (tax collectors) and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. As a follower of Jesus, are you wanting to know Him more? Are you inviting your friends to come and consider following Jesus as well?—This is why we have outreach activities, for you to introduce your friends, whoever they are, to Jesus.
    Luke 5:29
  • 9:11 Now the when the Pharisees—(a religious sect who hypocritically try to follow the law by making their own standards and tradition)—saw Jesus and His disciples sitting with the tax collectors and sinners they said unto Jesus’ disciples, “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” They couldn’t understand why a “religious” person or a person who claims to be a servant of God would be eating those who are considered to be the worst society has to offer. They were trying to accuse Jesus in the form of a question. Jesus wasn’t approving of their lifestyle by eating with them, but He knew that they had to know Him and follow Him before their lives would change. Unlike the legalistic Pharisees, Jesus didn’t demand change before conversion. Therefore, Jesus is in the midst of sinners.
  • 9:12-13 Jesus heard this accusing question addressed to the disciples. When he heard it Jesus responded with an illustration of who is in need of medical help. Healthy people (they that be whole) don’t need a physician. Unhealthy people (they that are sick) do need a physician. Then Jesus tells them to go and learn what this illustration means. The application is obvious. The “sick” represents sinners and the “well” represents the righteous. Jesus is the physician. So where will you find Jesus? He will be among the sinners. A physician doesn’t encourage a person to continue in their sickness, but his job is to heal them of their sickness. Therefore, Jesus’ job among the sinners is not to cause them to continue in their sin, but to save them from it. Then Jesus quotes an Old Testament verse that says, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice”. This means that the “moral standards” (inward) are more important than the “ceremonial requirements” (outward) of the law. Jesus was calling out the Pharisees hypocrisy. They were focused on sacrifice and burnt offerings more than having mercy and knowing God. Outwardly they were religious but inwardly they weren’t. Jesus says He has come to focus on the more important part of the law. Finally, Jesus sums up His mission for coming to this earth, saying, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He didn’t come to call people who are already right with God to repentance, or those who think they are righteous, but instead He came to call sinners to repentance. Therefore, Jesus presence at the feast of sinners was to call them to repentance and to show them mercy—something the Pharisees have neglected to do. As believers, are you acting more like Jesus or the Pharisees? Jesus was here on a rescue mission—to bring good news of hope and salvation to the worst society has to offer. He came to save whosoever will.
    Hosea 6:6

9:14-17 Jesus Came To Establish A New Way

  • 9:14 Next came some of John the Baptist disciples and asked Jesus, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?” Fasting refers to abstaining from food to focus on God. In the Old Testament, fasting was only prescribed on the Day of Atonement, but many people had their own schedules for fasting. John’s disciples and the Pharisees fasted often. Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast at all.
    Matthew 6:16-18
  • 9:15-17 Jesus answers with three illustrations: (1) The disciples (wedding guest) won’t mourn as long as Jesus (the bridegroom) is with them, but when He dies (taken from them) then at that time they will fast—mourn. Now they are with Jesus and are “celebrating”. (2) You cannot put a piece of new cloth unto an old garment to fix a tear or it will be made worse. (3) You cannot put new wine into old bottles or it will break and you will loose both. You can only put new wine in new bottles. Jesus response points to Him coming to fulfill the law and establish the New Covenant. He will fulfill it by His death and the old way of doing things under the Mosaic ceremonial laws will no longer be necessary nor can it be mixed with the gospel of grace unless they both become useless—including but nor limited to their way of fasting. The new covenant requires new ways.
    Matthew 5:17

Review Questions

  • Who did Jesus say, “Follow me” to?
  • What type of person was the one who followed Jesus?
  • What did he do after he followed Jesus?
  • What is Jesus’ mission?
  • Why didn’t Jesus’ disciples fast?

Mind Dump: Family Fall Party

✪ Our “Family Fall Party” was a great success. First, our church people were involved and serving. We hosted about 10 games at the event so we needed many volunteers. Second, we had a great attendance. There were more than 120 people. We had people register as they came in but not everyone did. The registration count was 124 people. This is our highest attendance at any event or service. We were praying for at least 100 people. Third, we reached out into the community through our kids. Two of our kids are in preschool and took invitations to school and invited their classmates. Many of them came. Fourth, it built faith and boldness. This kind of event is very risky because you don’t know who is in the crowd or who the parents of our kids’ classmates are, but at the same time, we didn’t think the risk factor was high enough to not do it. We openly told them we were a church and invited them to our services and kids club. Fifth, I think we had at least two new parent/kid units visit the church this morning that was also at the event.

✪ We finally started the seminary classes back and we will be going for the next twelve weeks. What are we teaching this semester? Here are the classes: Bible Doctrines 2; Preaching (Men); Home Economics (Women); Biblical Finances; Church Guidelines/Doctrinal Distinctives; Galatians; 1/2 Thessalonians. Also, we have an hour every morning of Bible Reading/Prayer–everyone spends 40 minutes just reading the Bible individually and 20 minutes in individual prayer. This is a spirit of unity when everyone is doing it at the same time. It has been a blessing.

✪ The church has been doing well but we have suffered in attendance since the summer…losing about 22 people (members/attendees) in attendance or so this year. About 14 of those went to help with the new church plant at the end of last month and the rest were from those moving out of the city for various reasons (work, etc.). But we still have a strong core and are working hard. Our attendance has been between 20-40 recently.

✪ We also have changed some of our church schedules. One of the changes that I have really liked is our afternoon service. We start with two songs, and then we have a 20-minute preacher. We have three men on a preaching rotation. Then I lead a 15 min. teachers’ and workers’ meeting followed by 15-minute prayer groups. Then we end the service in prayer. To see our full ministry schedule, click here.

✪ A few other updates: We finally received our residence permits for a year. Praise the Lord! We also finished the rest of the remodel and had the carpet installed. The nursery is ready to use!

Look closely, there is a kid in there!

One of the games from the Family Fall Festival.

Windy and cold day on the coast.

Ministry Events Schedule (Late 2017)

Our weekly scheduled ministry events:

  • Tuesday-Friday morning from 8:30-12:30 we host seminary classes (Chinese) at the church.
  • Wednesday evening from 18:30-20:00 we have midweek worship. This includes a meal, 2 songs, a 20 min. sermon and then 30 min. small group Bible studies (Chinese/English) at the church.
  • Friday night outreach. Every Friday night from 19:00-20:00 we have an English corner outreach (English), except for the last Friday of the month we are trying to host a young people’s event (Chinese).
  • Saturday is our a work day at the church preparing for Sunday (Chinese).
  • Sunday is broken down as the following:
    • From 9:30-10:15 we have Kids’ Club (Chinese/English).
    • From 10:30-11:30 we have morning worship (Chinese).
    • From 11:30-12:00 we have a quick lunch at the church.
    • From 12:00-1:00 we have afternoon worship/teacher and worker’s meeting/prayer Groups (Chinese).
  • (Monday is our day off now.)

Matthew: Jesus Has Power Over Nature, Spirits, Sin

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:6

8:23-27 Jesus Calms The Storm: Power Over Nature

  • 8:23-24a After Jesus shows the true cost of following Him, He entered the ship to go to the other side. Jesus’ disciples (probably the twelve) followed Him. Then while they were out on the sea a great storm (tempest) started. The storm was so great that the ship was covered by the waves. The sea storm was like an earthquake for those on the boat—having no solid foundation with the ever changing motion of the boat among the waves. The storm seemed to be so great that even the most experienced sailor would be nervous. Isn’t there something wrong with this story? Doesn’t following Jesus mean that life will be better and safer? The disciples are following Jesus—shouldn’t they expect this to be a pleasant voyage with Him across the sea? No—following Jesus means that we can expect to go through several storms—the Christian life isn’t smooth sailing.
  • 8:24b-25 The good news is that we don’t have to face these storms alone. Jesus is with us. But where was Jesus in the midst of this storm? He was asleep. This might seem absurd at first, but we need to realize that not even the greatest of storms bothers Jesus—which should give us great assurance. Next, a fearful group of Jesus’ disciples came to Him, woke Him and said, “Lord, save us: we perish.” In Mark’s account of the same story, he adds that they said, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” The storm has caused the disciples to be fearful and fear has led to them doubting the very character of Jesus. Maybe they were wondering how Jesus, the man whom they seen do great miracles, could be sleeping in the storm. It seems they started doubting everything they knew about Jesus—just because He wasn’t acting like they think He should be. Fear causes us to forget God and all that He has done and instead focus on the wrong things. Their fear comes from the feeling that they have “lost control”—indeed they have—and they are about to die unless Jesus does something.
    Mark 4:38
  • 8:26-27 Jesus wakes up and responds saying, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Jesus calls out their problem: fear because of a lack of faith. Fear inherently isn’t wrong, but it is our actions when we respond to it that is important. The disciples problem was a lack of faith in the midst of a scary storm. They doubted if Jesus even cared. Jesus arose from where He was laying and rebukes the winds and the sea. The great storm was instantly turned into a great calm. Jesus wants to teach them a great lesson about discipleship: following Him will lead us into great storms, but don’t fear have faith, Jesus can calm the greatest of storms. Then the disciples—who are just men—marvelled saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.”

8:28-34 Jesus Casts Out Devils: Power Over The Spirit Realm

  • 8:28-29 Jesus and the disciples finally made it to the other side. When they arrived there, in the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed with devils met Jesus. (We don’t know a lot about demon possession, but it seems to have been a greater problem when Jesus was on earth.) The two people were exceedingly fierce. They lived in the tombs and would come out when people would try to pass through that area, keeping them from passing by that way. When they came to Jesus they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The devils possessing these men knew who Jesus really was. They also knew their ultimate fate is to be cast into everlasting fire. They were worried that Jesus came to punish them before that time had come. We are reminded that even the devils recognize Jesus as Lord, they fear Him, but they won’t submit to Him as Lord, they won’t believe.
    Matthew 25:41; James 2:19
  • 8:30-34 A good way off from where they were standing was a herd of many pigs (swine) feeding. So the devils besought Jesus asking that if Jesus was going to cast them out of the men, that He would cast them into the herd of pigs. Jesus responds with “Go”—not agreeing or disagreeing with their request, but in some way seems to permit their requests or allows it to happen. The devils went out of the men and entered into the heard of pigs. This causes the whole herd of pigs to run violently down a steep place into the sea where they died in the waters. The people who kept the pigs fled to the city and told the people there everything that happened with the pigs and the men that were possessed of the devils. Then the whole city came out to meet Jesus. But they weren’t coming in excitement. When they saw Jesus they begged Him to leave their coasts. What do we learn from this? (1) Jesus liberated two men from the bondage of demon possession—He has power over the spirits. (2) No one else could help them or even seemed to care about them—who was excited about their liberation? (3) People are more concerned about themselves and their business or financial situations than the workings of God—are you missing Jesus because your have a wrong focus?

9:1-8 Jesus Forgives Sins: Power Over Sin

  • 9:1-2 Jesus listens to the request of the people, enters a ship and sails to His own city (Capernaum). Then they brought to Jesus a man lying on a bed that was sick of the palsy. They make no request, but just put this man before Jesus. But Jesus saw their faith and then said unto the sick man, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” We learn a few things from Jesus here: (1) Jesus first encourages the sick man, refers to him as a child and tells him to be of good cheer—this is comforting. (2) Jesus doesn’t heal the man but instead forgives his sin—no one except God has power to truly forgive sin—Jesus is fulfilling His mission. (3) Jesus forgives his sin because of his faith—faith in Jesus.
    Matthew 1:21; 4:13
  • 9:3-7 Being astounded that Jesus would say that He can forgive sins, certain of the scribes start their opposition thoughts. Their inner thoughts started saying that Jesus was blaspheming. (What are your inner thoughts about Jesus?) Jesus knew their thoughts and ask them two questions: (1) Why are you thinking evil thoughts?—Jesus is omniscient, He knows their very thoughts and they were evil. (2) What is easier, to forgive sins or to heal?—Both are impossible for man. But Jesus wasn’t just an ordinary man. Then Jesus goes on to explain that He has done this so they would know that He (the Son of man) has power on earth to forgive sins—He is claiming divinity because they would normally think  that: “God has power in heaven to forgive sins”. Finally, as an exclamation point, Jesus heals the sick man. The man who was carried to Jesus, walks away healed and forgiven.
  • 9:8 The multitudes saw everything that happened, marvelled and glorified God. They knew that only God could grant this to happen and that He has given such power to men.

Review Questions

  • Does following Jesus mean we will never have problems?
  • Are we to fear in the midst of the storm? Why?
  • Are you missing Jesus because you overlooking what He is doing in your life?
  • What doe Jesus have power over?
  • Has Jesus forgiven your sins? If he hasn’t yet, He can today.