Category Archives: Devotionals/Sermons

Matthew: Jesus Heals Infirmities, Sicknesses, Possessions

Memory Verse: Matthew 8:16-17

8:1-4 Jesus Heals A Leper

  • 8:1 Jesus just finished His teaching to the disciples and the people who followed Him. He came down from the mountain and great multitudes continued to follow him. Everyone was amazed by His authoritative teaching, but they are about to be even more amazed by what He does next. Jesus will prove His authority through His healing power.
  • 8:2-3 A leper came and worshipped Jesus. Leprosy is a contagious skin disease that causes skin lesions, nerve damage and sometimes deformities. In Jesus day, this person would be an outcast from society. This man knew Jesus was more than just a man. He called Jesus “Lord,” and said, “if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” This leprous man had genuine faith in Jesus. We can know this because he worshipped Jesus and stated Jesus ability to perform a miracle according to Jesus’ will. Who but God should be worshipped or do miracles? This man was professing real faith. Jesus responds by putting forth His hand and touching the leper—Jesus actually touches the “unclean” man rejected by society and who has this contagious disease—saying, “I will; be thou clean.” Immediately the man’s leprosy was gone and he was cleansed. Jesus is showing that His teaching has power behind it and that He came to heal, not just the physically unclean, but also those who are spiritual unclean. Like this leper, it doesn’t matter how unclean you are Jesus is willing to make you spiritually clean—to forgive your sin.
    Mark 1:41, 42; Luke 5:12, 13; Leviticus 5:3
  • 8:4 After he was healed, Jesus told the man to not tell anyone—because it would hinder Jesus’ work at that point—but to go his way and show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them—he probably was tempted to tell everyone he was healed and not make the journey to Jerusalem or to follow the necessary procedures to certify and publicly demonstrate he was really cured. But he needed to go, so he could be restored, declared clean as the law required. From this point on, His life would be changed. He no longer would be an outcast, but he would be accepted by his people again. Jesus healed more than just his sickness, but restored his humanity, his life. Jesus wants to change your life—all of it.
    Leviticus 13:1-59; 14:1-32

8:5-13 Jesus Heals A Servant Sick Of The Palsy

  • 8:5-6 Jesus went to Capernaum and when He entered into the village a centurion came to ask something of Him. Jesus was informed that he had a servant at home who was sick of the palsy and grievously tormented because of it. He was lying down because the palsy meant he was crippled or was disabled in his legs or feet. Paralysis is disease of the central nervous system and it probably started at the feet and spread through his body, now at the point of death.
    Luke 7:2-6
  • 8:7-9 Jesus responds to this man who address Him as “Lord,” saying that He is willing to come and heal the sick man—(Jews saw entering Gentile houses as unclean, but Jesus was willing to go anyway). The centurion did not feel worthy for Jesus to come to his house. The centurion was not Jewish, but an officer of the Roman army. He would command around one-hundred people, but also would take orders from higher authorities. This man understood authority and how it worked (he even had servants speaking on his behalf). He knew that based on Jesus authority it was unnecessary for Jesus to come to His house, that He could just speak the words without going and seeing the sick servant, and the servant would be healed. He showed genuine faith in Jesus.
    Luke 7:1-10
  • 8:10-13 When Jesus heard the centurions response, he marvelled, and decided to use it as a teaching point to those who were following Him. He told them that He didn’t find such “great faith” in Israel. This would be hard to hear, because the Jews were to be God’s people and yet this gentile had greater faith than them. Then Jesus goes on to show that people from all nations (from the East and West) will be saved (shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven). On the contrary, the people who are supposed to be God’s people—Jews (the children of the kingdom) are going to reject Jesus and won’t be saved (shall be cast out into outer darkness) and enter eternal punishment (there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth). Those with genuine faith in Jesus will be saved and those without genuine faith in Jesus won’t be saved, no matter who you are, Jewish or gentile. After Jesus teaches this important lesson, He turns to the centurion and tells him to go his way and it will be done according to what he believed. Therefore, his servant was healed in that hour. Jesus speaks with the authority of God.

8:14-15 Jesus Heals A Mother-in-law Sick Of A Fever

  • 8:14-15 Next, Jesus went to Peter’s house and saw Peter’s mother-in-law laying in bed sick of a fever (which could be the result of an infection or something else serious). Jesus touches her hand and the fever left her. She gets out of bed and starts to minister to them.
    Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38-39

8:16-17 Jesus Heals The Many Who Were Possessed And Sick

  • 8:16 In the evening, the people brought many people who were possessed with devils unto Jesus. Jesus cast out the spirits with His word. Jesus also healed all that were sick—it doesn’t matter what sickness it was, He could heal it all. Jesus has the authority of God to heal and speaks with the authority of God. Unlike modern day false healers, Jesus could just speak or touch a person and they would be healed instantly and definitely.
  • 8:17 Matthew tells us Jesus did this so that what the prophet Isaiah (Esaias) spoke would be fulfilled: “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Jesus came to heal us of our sins forever. The temporal healing of these people (as they would also die one day) was a foreshadow of what Jesus was going to accomplish on the cross. He would permanently take away our sin and it’s consequences (including infirmities and sickness) for all those who have faith in Him. They will live in a place where this is no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. Also, for Him to heal people would give evidence to who He was claiming to be, the Son of God, and thus to His crucifixion. Therefore, for Jesus to heal would mean that He would have to pay the costs, and this was all part of the plan to bring true healing—momentary and eternally.
    Isaiah 53:4; Palms 103:3; Revelation 21:4

Review Questions

  • What did the leper do when he came to Jesus?
  • What was the leper to do after he was healed? Why?
  • Why did Jesus marvel at the centurions response?
  • What does Jesus healing ministry teach us about His authority?
  • What does this foreshadow Jesus doing?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Authenticity Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 7:24-25

7:15-20 Discerning Prophets

  • 7:15 Jesus warns His disciples to beware of false prophets. False prophets are people who deliberately pretend to be a prophet to deceive others. These are people who claim to know and understand “God’s Word,” but they teach it falsely, often in a way that is very deceptive. Jesus says that these false prophets will come to us—meaning they will approach believers purposefully and when they do, they will come wearing “sheep’s clothing”—meaning they will appear to be real believers, but inwardly they are “ravening wolves”—meaning that aren’t believers but are there to cause harm to believers.
  • In Jesus’ day, the Bible wasn’t complete so there were still prophets who had direct revelation from God for mankind. Some people claimed to be prophets even though they weren’t and they would falsely speak for God where He didn’t speak.
  • Today, we have the Bible and no longer have need of prophets who get direct Revelation from God like in the Old Testament. Therefore, our highest authority is the Bible and everything a person says or teaches should be judged against it.
  • 7:16-18, 20 If false prophets are so deceptive, how can we know if they are a false prophet? Jesus gives us a test. He says we can know them “by their fruits”—meaning what their teachings produce will give evidence that they are real or betray their disguise and show they are false. Therefore, we are not to just listen to what a person says, but also watch what a person does. Jesus uses two illustrations: (1) First, do we gather grapes and figs (good fruit) from bushes of thorns and thistles? (2) Second, all good trees produce good fruit and can’t produce evil fruit. On the contrary, all corrupt trees produce evil fruit and cannot produce good fruit. The quality of the fruit gives evidence to the nature of the tree, whether it is good or evil, and it is impossibly for them to produce something contrary to their nature. What kind of “fruit” are they producing?
  • 7:19 Judgement (hewn down) awaits those who are false prophets (corrupt trees). They are known by two characteristics: (1) the produce evil fruit; (2) they don’t produce good fruit. Just like a corrupt tree is cast into the fire, so will the false prophets after the final judgment (eternal damnation).
    Matthew 3:10

7:21-23 Discerning Believers

  • 7:21 There are many people who profess Jesus as Lord, but Jesus says there are two different results: those who do enter the kingdom and those who don’t. What causes the difference? Jesus says those “that doeth the will of my Father” will enter the kingdom. Jesus is not saying that works merit our salvation but that true faith produces works. Therefore, we know that there are genuine and false believers. A genuine believer professes faith in Jesus and that faith changes his life, thus his faith is manifest by doing the will of the Father. A false believer says unto Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” professing faith in Him, but never really believed, thus his lack of faith is manifest by not doing the will of the Father. They confessed Jesus in word but rejected Him in the rest of their life. (Note: Jesus says, “My Father which is in heaven” which is His claim to be the Son of God.)
  • 7:22-23 On Judgement Day, many people will say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied, cast out devils and done many wonderful works in thy name?” Then Jesus will respond to them saying, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The false believers are claiming they did great works in Jesus’ name. This is a false claim or a “lying wonder” because they couldn’t have had genuine works apart from genuine faith. Jesus says He didn’t know them, they were never real believers even though they called themselves so. They were trusting in the “works in Jesus’ name” as their evidence for their relationship with God, but they sadly did everything except the will of God—which is to believe on Him whom He hath sent—Jesus.
    John 6:28-29; 1 John 3:4; 2 Thessalonians. 2:9

7:24-27 Discerning Foundations

  • 7:24-25 If you don’t want to be the person Jesus just described and of whom He said, “I never knew you,” then when you hear all of these teachings of Jesus you should do them. Obedience is the response to genuine faith. Jesus uses a parable to strengthen His point. He says this type of person is a wise person who builds his house upon a rock. A rock is a stable foundation. When it rains, floods waters come and the winds blow—all beating upon the house, it won’t fall because it was founded upon a rock. Therefore, Jesus is the rock of our foundation. When we believe in Him and then live a life of obedience in response to our faith, we are showing that He is our stable foundation and assurance against all other trials of our faith—we will prevail (eternal joy with God).
  • 7:26-27 On the contrary, when you hear all of these teachings of Jesus and you don’t do them then you are deceiving yourself. Disobedience is not the response to genuine faith. Jesus continues the parable to strengthen this point. He says this type of person is a foolish person who builds his house upon sand. Sand is an unstable foundation. When it rains, floods waters come and the winds blow—all beating upon the house, it will fall because it was founded upon the sand. Its fall will be great—it will be utterly destroyed. Therefore, Jesus is not the rock of your foundation. When you believe in Him and then don’t live a life of obedience in response to your faith, you are showing that He is not your foundation. Your assurance is built on unstable ground and the trails against your faith will prevail—you will be destroyed (eternal separation from God).

7:28-29 True Authority

  • 7:28-29 When Jesus had said everything He wanted to say, He ended His teaching (that He started in chapter 5 verse 1). When Jesus started His teaching He saw a multitude of people and then He went up into a mountain and sat down. His disciples followed and He taught them. Apparently, others followed them or He was speaking loudly enough for others who were part of the “multitude” to hear. When He was finished teaching the people were astonished. Why? Because of His doctrine—the manner and content was characterized by authority. He apparently had a commanding manner and they recognized His knowledge about the way of God. He had the power to influence. He wasn’t a “normal teacher” or someone who had doubts like the scribes. Jesus taught like He had the power and the right to give orders and speak on behalf of God. He did.

Review Questions

    • Believers need to beware of what?
    • What is the test Jesus gives us to discern what a person teaches?
    • What are the two kinds of people who profess? Why the difference?
    • What is the parable of the two foundations? Application?
    • What were the people astonished at? Why?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Firm Faith Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 6:33

6:19-21 Disciples Invest In Heavenly Treasures, Not Earthly

  • 6:19 Jesus starts to teach His disciples what it means to wholeheartedly love God over everything else, including money. He tells the disciples to, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.” “Lay” means to “store away something for future use.” He says that we are not to store away treasure for ourselves here on this earth. Why do people store away things here on earth? For greater accumulation and for future use or security. We often find our value in how many valuables we have. We worry about our future. But Jesus tells us the reason He doesn’t want us to store up these earthly treasure is because “moth and rust doth corrupt” and “thieves break through and steal.” All earthy treasures can be destroyed or taken away. As believers, our faith, confidence and hope can’t be in things so easily corruptible. Our value is not found in our valuables. Jesus wants our faith to go much deeper than only the: “get out of hell, get to go to heaven” type of motivation. He wants  you to trust God with everything, everyday.
  • 6:20 Jesus does want us to store up treasures but in heaven. Jesus wants us to have a heavenly focus with our treasure. “Treasure” in normal terms means wealth you accumulate based on what is valuable, such as money or property. It is the things that you put all your effort into to obtain. It is what you value the most. But when Jesus uses the term in reference to heaven, He doesn’t mean we are to store up “money” in heaven, but we are to place God and our service for Him as the most valuable thing in our lives. It means all your decisions in life will be based in advancing the kingdom of God and not advancing your personal earthy kingdom. Why heaven? Because it is a place where “neither moth nor rust doth corrupt” and “where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Our heavenly treasure cannot be destroyed or taken away. It means that if you live for God it will be worth it, but if you live for anything else, it won’t be worth it. Earthly rewards will fade away, but heavenly rewards will last forever.
  • 6:21 Where is your treasure? Where is the place that you are storing up what you think is the most valuable? Is it here on earth or in heaven? For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Your heart and your treasure are connected. You lead your heart by devoting yourself to whatever you think is most important. Where is your investment?

6:22-24 Disciples Serve God, Not Money

  • 6:22-23 Next, Jesus uses an analogy. He says that light comes into the body through the eye—meaning the eyes function to receive light allowing us to see and benefits the whole body. He goes on to say that if the eye is healthy (single) then the whole body will be full of light, but if the eye isn’t healthy (evil) then light can’t come in and the body will be filled with darkness—and if therefore the light that is in someone is darkness, how great is that darkness. What does Jesus mean? A person can only receive spiritual light when they are born again (healthy eye) and function properly when they are devoted to God. A person with a bad eye (unbeliever) doesn’t live according to the spiritual light and he is wondering in darkness even if he thinks he can see the light.
  • 6:24 Are you devoted to God? You can only serve one master, not two. You will either hate the one, and love the other or you will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot equally love both. You cannot equally be devoted to both. The two masters that people try to serve at the same time is God and money (mammon). Most people are controlled by money. They need it. They want a better life. They want to help others. They let it guide their life and make their decisions. They are focused on obtaining it. Sadly, believers often serve money and God, but money becomes their priority. Their devotion to God lacks, they aren’t committed to doing God’s will over making money and they have no time for attending church, serving or for the things of God. Their priority is their job or studies—(need a degree to make money). For what? For earthly wealth that doesn’t matter. They are wasting their lives. They are miserable. True discipleship calls believers to love, serve and be committed to God. To what extreme? To the same extreme that Jesus exemplified.

6:25-33 Disciples Seek After God, Not Worry

  • 6:25 If God is really the Master of our lives, then we should heed to Jesus’ next command, “Take no thought for your life.” We don’t need to be anxious and worry about our lives, such as food or clothes. Life is so much more that the daily necessities—food and clothing are important but they are not the most important. We are to trust in God no matter if we are rich or poor. To Jesus’ disciples, who were called to serve full-time, he is reminding them not to worry. He knows that full-time servants need money, food, clothing—but they are not to worry about those things. They serve and He will take care of those.
  • 6:26-30 Jesus gives us some examples to show that God is in control and that He cares for us. (1) Food: The birds don’t sow, reap or gather food into barns, yet our Heavenly Father feeds them. We are more important than birds. (2) Anxious: Who by being anxious (taking thought) can add one cubit unto his stature? Our worry achieves nothing. (3) Clothes: consider the lilies of the field. They grow but they don’t toil or spin, yet they are wonderfully “clothed”. (Even Solomon’s clothes in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.) We don’t need to worry about what we will wear. If God cares about clothing grass, which is not important and is used to fuel the fire, then of course He cares for us and will clothe us. God, as our Heavenly Father, doesn’t want us to worry, but to pray and trust Him to take care of these basic daily needs. Why don’t we? Because of little faith.
    Matthew 6:9-13
  • 6:31-33 Instead of be anxious about food and clothes (like “Gentiles”—unbelievers) we are to trusts that our Heavenly Father knows that we have need of all these things. Since we aren’t worrying about these things, but trusting God to provide, He doesn’t want us just to be idle, but instead he wants us to use our time to seek first—as the most important—His kingdom and His righteousness (God’s will, not ours). When we do this—all these things that we were anxious about will be added unto us (needs, not all desires).

6:34 Disciples Focus On Today, Not Tomorrow

  • 6:34 “Therefore”—since we are seeking first after God then we don’t need to be anxious (take no thought) about tomorrow. We focus on today. Everyday we should defer our worries until tomorrow—meaning we are to never worry because worry never comes, it is always today and never tomorrow. This doesn’t mean life will be easy, because Jesus says that everyday has its own sufficient amount of trouble (evil). He is saying that everyday we should deal with that day’s problems and decisions and not worry about the future. How many people make decisions today based on tomorrow’s anxieties? This points to a lack of faith in God. If we can trust God in the big things (salvation) then we can trust him in the small things (daily necessities). We live by faith not by anxiety.
    Proverbs 27:1

Review Questions

  • Disciples invest in what? Not in what?
  • Disciples serve who? Not who?
  • Disciples seek after who? Not what?
  • Disciples focus on what? Not on what?
  • Believers should live by faith or by anxiety?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Praying Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 6:9-13

6:9 The Invocation

  • 6:9a Addressing God in prayer: Jesus started his prayer saying, “Our Father which art in heaven.” When we pray, we need to address the one that we are praying to. You don’t have to say this exact phrase, but we should acknowledge the One that we are praying to. We also learn four things from this phrase: (1) “Our Father”—when Jesus said, “our” He was including the true disciples in the family of God. Jesus was including us as part of His family who get to take part in this awesome privilege of prayer. (2) “Our”—Jesus was also including others in His prayer and not just praying for Himself but also interceding on the behalf of others. (3) “Father”—when we come to God in prayer, we are coming to Him like children come to their father. We have an intimate relationship with Him and not one of fear. (4) “In Heaven”—He is Father but we are reminded that He is in heaven. He has the sovereign rule over all and we reverently are allowed to petition the Lord God Almighty.
    Matthew 7:9-11; Galatians 4:6

6:9b-13a The Petitions

  • 6:9b Petition One (Towards God): First, Jesus petitions God saying, “Hallowed be thy name.” Hallowed means to make holy. Jesus wants God’s name to be made holy or to be treated as holy. We know that God is holy and we are to treat Him as such, including His very name as holy. Jesus desires that God would receive the respect and reverence that He is due. Personal application: Are we doing what we should to give God the respect of holiness that He deserves? Do we really desire to treat God as holy?
  • 6:10a Petition Two (Towards God): Second, Jesus petitions God saying, “Thy kingdom come.” Kingdom refers to God’s rule over the life of believers. Jesus wants God to establish His kingdom in the hearts of mankind. We become citizens of this kingdom through repentance and faith. We recognize God as our Ruler and we are His subjects to carry out His will on Earth. It can also refer to the future eternal state when all believers will live in the eternal kingdom of God and the desire for this to become a reality. Personal application: Are you willing to ask God for His kingdom to come, to rule in our lives and to use us to cause others to become citizens of this kingdom through preaching the gospel of repentance and faith? Do we really desire God’s kingdom to come?
    Luke 12:32
  • 6:10b Petition Three (Towards God): Third, Jesus petitions God saying, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” God’s will is perfectly obeyed in heaven and Jesus desires for His will to be perfectly obeyed on earth. We are laborers together with God and it should be our desire to carry out His will as He has revealed it to us in the Bible. We know that He wants us to put off the works of the flesh and start producing the fruits of the Spirit. Also, in heaven there is (or will be) an innumerable great multitude of people from all nations, kindreds and tongues standing before the throne of God and Jesus saying, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Therefore, we know that our command to be salt and light in the world should extend to all peoples. Personal application: Are we willing to ask God to accomplish His will in our lives, to cast off our sin, to produce righteousness and to obey His commands? Do we really desire His will to be done in our lives?
    1 Corinthians 3:9; Galatians 5:16-23; Revelation 7:9-10; Matthew 5:13-16
  • 6:11 Petition Four (Towards Man): Fourth, Jesus petitions God saying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus desires for us to rely on God for our daily necessities. We are given permission to ask God—the source of everything—to “give” us what we need each day. Jesus asked for that day’s bread. We learn two things from this: (1) Prayer is something we do daily. We are constantly looking to trusting God through prayer. (2) God cares about us, even something as small as the food that we will eat today. (3) Jesus asked for provision, not just for Himself, but for those with Him too. Personal application: Are you choosing to daily be dependent on God? Do we really trust God daily?
    Psalm 24:1; Matthew 6:25-34
  • 6:12 Petition Five (Towards Man): Fifth, Jesus petitions God saying, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus desires for us to seek forgiveness from God and offer forgiveness to others. Jesus ask for our debts to be forgiven. Debt is something that is owed or due, usually money, but here His meaning is spiritually—as in our sin debt. Because we broke God’s law we are in debt. Unless someone pays our debt for us, we will pay it with our own lives. The good news is the Jesus paid our debt for us when He died on the cross. Because of Jesus, God forgave our debt. We are eternally forgiven as believers. But when we sin our fellowship with God is hindered. So we continually ask for forgiveness. This same type of forgiveness should be applied to all our relationships. Many people are “debtors” to us because they have wronged us and we are to forgive them because Jesus forgave us. Forgiven people forgive others. Personal application: Are you being a hypocrite by wanting to be forgiven by God but unwilling to forgive others? Are you really seeking and offering forgiveness?
    Matthew 6:14-15; 18:23-35; Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32
  • 6:13a Petition Six (Towards Man): Sixth, Jesus petitions God saying, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Jesus desires for us to avoid temptation, sin and evil. God never tempts us, but He does allow us to be tempted and He does tests us. He never allows us to be temped more than we can handle and always makes a way of escape. This request then is for God to allow is to avoid these situations altogether so that we won’t be tempted to do wrong. Jesus desires that we to be set free from evil and the influence of the evil one—Satan. We can’t do it on our own, thus we petition God for help. Personal application: Are you asking God to keep you from the paths of evil and lead you in the paths of righteousness? Do you really desire to avoid evil?
    James 1:13; 1 Corinthians 10:13

6:13 The Closing

  • 6:13b Jesus closes the prayer with what is referred to as a doxology—which is like a formal way to praise God and acknowledge His worthiness. He says, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.” The kingdom, power and glory are all God’s. Attributing these three things to God shows He is the Sovereign Ruler.
  • 6:13c Finally, Jesus ends the prayer with “Amen”—meaning “so be it”. It indicates the end of the prayer and that you are in agreement with and desirous of everything you said.

Review Questions

  • What is the invocation of Jesus’ prayer?
  • What are the first three petitions toward God?
  • What are the second three petitions toward man?
  • What is the doxology of Jesus’ prayer?
  • What word did Jesus end the prayer with and what does it mean?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Worship Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 6:1

6:1-4 Alms: Hypocrisy Or Worship?

  • 6:1 Jesus just finished teaching that the standard to enter the kingdom of God was perfection—just like God in heaven. We discovered that the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t meet the standard because they were only outwardly obedient to the law, disregarding the inward obedience to the law. Now Jesus continues to teach on this dichotomy of righteousness and hypocrisy. He warns us to be on guard about practicing our righteous works (specifically: alms, prayer, fasting) before other people with the intent to be seen by them. The consequence for this is that we will have no reward from our Father in heaven. He causes us to ask the question: “What is the reason I do what I do? To have others worship us or to worship God?” True humility has an audience of One—God.
    Matthew 5:20b, 48b; Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 4:13
  • 6:2 The hypocrisy of alms—refers to giving to the needy: Jesus says that when we give to those in need we aren’t to give in the same manner as the hypocrites—people who are like actors in a play, they perform a certain part for the applause of the audience. The hypocrites give to be seen by other people and to be worshipped or glorified by them. In Jesus’ day, they would sound a trumpet in the synagogues or the streets to draw attention to themselves. They were playing the part of a righteous person by giving to the needy, but they weren’t genuinely doing it as an act of worship towards God but for worship from other people. The praise of men is their only reward.
    Leviticus 25:35; Deuteronomy 15:7; Psalm 41:1; 112:9; Proverbs 14:31
  • 6:3-4 The worship of alms: As believers, if we see someone in need and we have the ability to help them (whoso hath this world’s good) then we should have compassion on them, expressing the love of God. But when we give to those in need, we need to make sure that we are doing it as an act of worship towards God and not to gain the attention of others. Jesus uses a metaphor of not letting the left hand know what the right hand does—meaning that we are to give in secret—with the right motivation—knowing that God the Father sees it and He will reward it openly and appropriately.
    1 John 3:17

6:5-15 Prayer: Hypocrisy Or Worship?

  • 6:5 The hypocrisy of prayer—refers to talking to God: Jesus says that when we pray we aren’t to pray in the same manner as the hypocrites. The hypocrites pray to be seen by other people and to be worshipped or glorified by them. In Jesus’ day, they would love to stand in the synagogues or on the street corners to draw attention to themselves. They were playing the part of a righteous person by praying, but they weren’t genuinely doing it as an act of worship towards God but for worship of other people. The praise of men is their only reward.
  • 6:6 The worship of prayer: As believers, we are to pray without ceasing—meaning that prayer is to become a habitual part of our lives. But when we pray, we need to make sure that we are doing it as an act of worship towards God and not to gain the attention of others. Jesus uses an example of entering into a closet with the door shut to pray—meaning that we are to pray in secret—with the right motivation—knowing that God the Father sees it and He will reward it openly and appropriately.
    1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • 6:7-8 The misconception of prayer: Jesus continues to teach on prayer and tells us not to pray in the same manner as the heathen—unbelieving Gentiles who worship false gods and idols. In Jesus’ day, they would use vain repetitions when they prayed, thinking that God would hear them because of their much speaking or many words. Today, several religions around the world still pray in this manner. They teach words to a certain prayer and tell you to repeat those words and God will hear you. This is not true. This is meaningless repetition. It causes one to thoughtlessly say words and treat prayer like it is a magic formula that works based on devotion to repetition. Jesus tells us to not pray like this because we are not trying to get the attention of God—we already have His attention. We are His children. He is our Father. He already knows everything that we need before we even ask Him. He cares for us. He loves us.
  • 6:9-13 The manner of prayer: Jesus gave his disciples an example prayer so that they would know how to pray. His prayer was personal, short, simple, powerful and on-the-spot—this all would have been new to them compared to the way they saw others pray. Jesus addressed God and asked Him to do many things. His prayer included: (1) His desire to see God glorified and God’s will to be done; (2) His requests for God to provide for that day’s needs, for God’s grace and help to live right. He tells them to pray after this manner, but doesn’t expect them to memorize and meaninglessly repeat these words. (We will study this prayer more in depth in the next sermon.)
  • 6:14-15 The hinderance of prayer: When we sin our fellowship with God is hindered. So we ask for forgiveness. That same type of forgiveness should be applied to all our relationships otherwise it will hinder our prayers asking God to restore our fellowship. Are we being hypocrites by wanting to be forgiven by God but unwilling to forgive others?
    Luke 18:9-14; 1 John 1:9

6:16-18 Fasting: Hypocrisy Or Worship?

  • 6:16 The hypocrisy of fasting—refers to abstaining from food to focus on God: Jesus says that when we fast we aren’t to fast in the same manner as the hypocrites. The hypocrites fast to be seen by other people and to be worshipped or glorified by them. In Jesus’ day, they would disfigure their faces to appear of a sad countenance to draw attention to themselves. They were playing the part of a righteous person by fasting, but they weren’t genuinely doing it as an act of worship towards God but for worship of other people. The praise of men is their only reward.
  • 6:17-18 The worship of fasting: As believers, we aren’t commanded to fast but we see it as a normal part of a believer’s life—self-denial—to help focus on seeking God’s will, prayer and serving others. But when we fast, we need to make sure that we are doing it as an act of worship towards God and not to gain the attention of others. Jesus tells us to wash our faces and anoint our heads—meaning that we are to fast in a way that appears we aren’t fasting or in secret—with the right motivation—knowing that God the Father sees it and He will reward it openly and appropriately.
    Isaiah 58:1-8; Acts 13:2, 3; 14:23

Review Questions

  • What is the hypocrisy of alms? What is the worship of alms?
  • What is the hypocrisy of prayer? What is the worship of prayer?
  • What is the misconception, manner and hinderance of prayer?
  • What is the hypocrisy of fasting? What is the worship of fasting?
  • Are you are worshiper or a hypocrite?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Righteousness Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 5:17

5:17-20 The Old Testament: Fulfillment And Standard

  • 5:17-18 Jesus did not come to destroy the Old Testament—law or the prophets. Not even the smallest part (one jot or one title) will pass from the law until all be fulfilled. Jesus came to fulfill it—He isn’t going to abolish the Old Testament as something evil, but He is bringing it to completion because it will have been fulfilled—Jesus ushers in something better. Even so, the Old Testament remains the Word of God and should be held in high esteem as such. Its application is what is going to change.
  • 5:19 Believers are to teach and obey the Bible and will be ranked in the kingdom of God according to it. If we break one of these least commandments and teach others to do the same then we will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. If we obey and teach others to do the same then we will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
  • 5:20a The Scribes and Pharisees turned the obedience of the commandments of the Old Testament into outward obedience and disregarded inward obedience. Jesus tells His disciples that unless their righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, which means complete external and internal obedience, then they will never be able to enter in the kingdom of heaven. Many upheld these two groups of people as righteous because of their outward display of “righteousness,” but inwardly they weren’t righteous at all. They taught things from the Scriptures that were never intended. Thus, Jesus was saying, “If you aren’t as good as these people, who you think are good, but aren’t good at all, then you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven.” There is a higher standard than these outwardly religious people. Jesus is going to explain in the next few verses.

5:21-48 The Law: Outward And Inward Disobedience

  • 5:21-26 Don’t murder—actually, don’t even be angry with your brother. As Jews, they were taught not to murder. But Jesus points to the inward obedience that the Jewish teachers left off. He teaches that whoever is even angry with his brother is in danger of the judgement. The attitude or motivation that leads to murder is anger or hatred. We insult others (raca, fool) because of our anger and hate towards them. These have the same penalty as murder. With this correct understanding, Jesus teaches us how we are to deal with interpersonal relationships. When we remember someone has something against us, then we should do everything possible to seek reconciliation with them. Otherwise it could have disastrous consequences. Question: Are you quick to seek reconciliation in all your relationships, or do you let anger and hatred lead you to sin against them?
    Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; 1 John 4:20
  • 5:27-30 Don’t commit adultery—actually, don’t even lust after the other sex. As Jews, they were taught not to commit adultery. But Jesus teaches that whoever looks at others and lusts has committed adultery with that person already in their heart. God created sexual acts and thoughts to be enjoyed within the marriage relationship only (not masturbation with pornography). Men struggle with this more often than women, but God is against using either sex for sexual exploitation. Jesus uses a metaphor that means refusing to repent of our sins—especially our lustful sins—might bring us temporary pleasure, but we will loose our soul in hell. Question: Are you doing whatever necessary to control your lust, or are you allowing your lustful passions to lead you to commit inward adultery?
    Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18
  • 5:31-32 Don’t divorce without a writing of divorcement—actually, don’t divorce at all unless it’s for fornication. As Jews, they were taught they could get divorced as long as they gave their spouse a writing of divorcement. But they wrongly applied the Old Testament law so that they could divorce for any reason they wanted. Jesus correctly teaches that we shouldn’t get divorced unless our spouse commits fornication. If we get divorced outside this reason, then we are causing our spouse to commit adultery and the person who remarries her to commit adultery. Question: Are we desiring to wrongly divorce our spouse, or are we committed to the life long commitment that God intended?
    Deuteronomy 24:1-4
  • 5:33-37 Don’t make oaths you can’t keep—actually, don’t make oaths at all, just keep your word all the time. As Jews, they were taught to keep their oaths. But Jesus says we should always be telling the truth, not only when we are under oath. We make an oath to let others know that we are “telling the truth”. But that doesn’t give us permission to be deceptive when we don’t make an oath or use the oath to deceive people. If we are not truthful, aren’t our intentions then evil? Question: Are we honest or deceptive?
    Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21, 23; James 5:12
  • 5:38-42 Don’t seek revenge greater than the offense—actually, don’t seek revenge at all, instead respond with good. As Jews, they were taught “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” as the way to seek retribution. But it was meant to limit retribution, not cause it, therefore Jesus tells us not to oppose the one who is evil but to respond with good. In personal matters, when others offend us, embarrass us, take advantage of us, violate our rights or liberty, then we are to respond with good not evil. We are to give up our personal rights for the benefit of others. Question: Are we responding with goodness when others do us wrong, or do we seek equal revenge?
    Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21
  • 5:43-48a Don’t love your enemies, just your neighbors—actually, love your neighbors and your enemies. As Jews, they were taught to “love their neighbors” but they also added “hate your enemies” even though the Scriptures didn’t. We are to respond to those who wrong us with blessing, good and prayer. When we do this we are acting like our Father, who loves His enemies. The standard is to be perfect like God. Questions: Are we only loving those who love us, or are we also loving our enemies—those who do us wrong?
    Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 25:21
  • 5:20b, 48b Jesus’ standard for righteousness is summed up in this verse: perfection. We are to be perfect just like God in heaven, otherwise we can’t enter the kingdom of heaven. After reviewing these laws—including their outward and inward meanings—we realize that we are not perfect. Thankfully, Jesus is perfect and He met this standard on our behalf and grants His perfect righteousness to anyone who has faith in Him. As believers, we desire to live up to these six standards (reconciliation, purity, commitment, integrity, self-denial, love)—from the inside out—not as a means of salvation but as a reflection of who we are: children of God.
    James 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21

Review Questions

  • Did Jesus come to destroy the Old Testament? Why?
  • Are the Scribes and Pharisees righteous? Why?
  • How was Jesus’ explanations of the laws different from the Jews?
  • What is Jesus’ standard for righteousness?
  • How can we be made righteous and live out these commands?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Responsibility Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 5:16

5:13 The Responsibility Of Believers As Salt

  • 5:13a Jesus teaches His disciples true happiness comes from being a follower of Him and describes the characteristics of such a person. He makes the final characteristic about being persecuted personal for the disciples. He tells them that they will be persecuted for following Him, similar to the men of God before them. Then He continues teaching them, using a metaphor saying, “You are the salt of the earth.” Salt was an important commodity in Jesus’ day. It was used to preserve meat and enhance the flavor in food. They would even use salt as money or as a type of payment. Jesus is using it here as a metaphor. The salt represents the function of a believer’s responsibility and the earth represents the people of the world. Lets look at two ways salt can function and make some applications:
  • Preservative: Salt was the main preservative of that time. There was no refrigeration to keep meat good, therefore, in a desert climate like theirs, they would use salt to preserve the meat. The goal of preserving something is to keep is from decaying. Therefore, as believers our goal is to preserve the works and word of God. We are to be the preservers of good and truth in our society. Through our examples, we keep truth from decaying and people from spoiling their lives. Also, in the context of the disciples impending persecution, the metaphor could have encouraged them to persevere—to continue living out their faith and preaching the gospel even in the face of difficulty or danger.
  • Seasoner: At that time, salt was also use as a food enhancer, just like it is today. We add salt as a seasoning to food so that it taste better, giving it a more bold flavor, thus improving a dish. Things that don’t have salt are often bland or without much taste. Therefore, as believers, our goal is to enhance the lives of others through the works and word of God.
  • 5:13b “Of the earth”—We are to act as “salt” in the earth. We are to live out this metaphor among the unbelievers around us. We live in a world corrupted by sin. We live in a world where lies and false teaching are abundant. We live in a world where people are looking for something more for their bland existence. We are given the responsibility to be the “truth preservers” and “ life enhancers” in their midst. We have the gospel and the gospel changes everything.
  • 5:13c Salt is only good if it salty. If salt every lost its taste, then it wouldn’t be good for anything. Pure salt as we know it can’t loose its flavor or effectiveness, but the salt they used wasn’t pure thus it was possible for that type of salt’s “saltiness” to be drained away. If this happened, it wouldn’t have any taste, therefore it couldn’t enhance food, and it would also fail to preserve food. Once salt has lost its saltiness, you can’t put it back in. The only thing it would be good for would be to throw it down on footpaths to be trodden under the foot of men. Therefore, our responsibility as believers to act as “salt” in the world is only good when we live it out in the society around us. We can only live it out if we are salty. Our “saltiness” comes from God. As we read His Word it transforms our minds and we are no longer conformed to this world. As disciples of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are willing to forsake all, endure persecution and live as peacemakers in the world. We have a responsibility.
    Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34-35; Matthew 5:9; Colossians 3:16-17; Romans 12:1-2

5:14-16 The Responsibility Of Believers As Light

  • 5:14a Jesus uses another metaphor to further explain the responsibility of believers. He tells his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus is teaching His disciples an important lesson. In the Gospel of John, He tells them that as long as He is in the world, He is the light of the world. Therefore, they are to learn from Him what this means, because when He leaves them, it will be their responsibility to be the light. Just like light allows us to see and makes things visible, Jesus makes God visible to us through his works and proclamation, even to the point of death. We are to walk in His footsteps.
    John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36
  • 5:14b “Of the world”—We are to act as “light” in the world. We are to live out this metaphor among the unbelievers around us. Light is needed in a dark place. Our world is darkened by sin. Just like you and I were before we were saved, the people of the world are blinded to the truth because they live in darkness. It is our responsibility as believers to shine the light of the gospel so that they can see the truth and be saved.
  • 5:14c “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”—Jesus is teaching His disciples that their responsibility as “light” means they are to have a public ministry and testimony. How can you hide a city that was built on a hill? You can’t. That is the point. How can we hide the gospel that radical changed our lives? We can’t. Our lives, everything we say and do, is a public witness to the God we believe in. The lifestyle of a believer should obviously be different from the lifestyle of unbelievers. We are light—that means we are made to shine into the darkness.
  • 5:15 People don’t light a candle and then put it under a bushel. They put it on a candlestick so that it can give light to everyone in the house. Jesus uses this example to show that light is meant to shine. It would defeat the purpose to light a candle and them place it unto something to keep the light from shining or to extinguish it. Its purpose is to illuminate. Therefore, Jesus is telling his disciples their purpose and responsibility is to give light. Just like John that Baptist, we are called to bear witness of Jesus (the Light), that all men through our witness might believe. If people are going to be illuminated to the truth, then we have to bear the light for all to see. We were saved for this.
    John 1:1-10
  • 5:16 Jesus then clearly applies His metaphor and says, “Let your light so shine before men.” Every believer is to live boldly and openly before unbelievers. This means that we are (1) aware that those around us are watching us and they know what our works are like (wether good or bad), therefore, we will (2) intentionally live out our good works, not so we can receive praise like the Pharisees, but so that they will glorify our Father in heaven. Before we lived in darkness and our actions were characteristic of that, but now we are in the light and our actions should be characteristic of it. This marvelous Light has changed our lives and we no longer fear but are freed to face the darkness with the glorious light of the gospel, proclaiming the wonderful message of salvation in word and deed.
    Ephesians 5:8-9; Philippians 2:14-15; Psalm 27:1; 1 Peter 2:9, 12

Review Questions

  • Jesus said we are the what of the earth?
  • What are its functions?
  • What makes it useless?
  • Jesus also said we are the what of the world?
  • What is its main characteristic? Should it be hidden?

Matthew: Jesus’ Teachings: The Blessedness Of Believers

Memory Verse: Matthew 5:6

5:1-3a Jesus Starts Teaching His Disciples On The Mountain

  • 5:1-2 Jesus’ constant teaching, preaching and healing caused great multitudes of people to follow Him. When Jesus saw the multitudes, He went up into a mountain and sat down. His disciples came unto Him and He started to teach them. This teaching starts in the next verse and continues until Matthew chapter seven verse twenty-seven.
  • 5:3a “Blessed”—Jesus is going to use this word nine times to show what a person who is blessed is like. This word means to be happy or fortunate. Therefore, Jesus is going to teach His disciples what the true meaning of happiness is and how to obtain it. So many people are searching for happiness in this life, but it seems out of reach for so many or they give up resigning to the fact that it is unobtainable for them to achieve. As we will discover the following characteristics are those of believers, the faithful who have found their true happiness in Jesus and not in the things of this world.

5:3-9 The Eight Characteristics Of The Blessed

  • 5:3-9 Each of the eight characteristics taught by Jesus have the same structure. Jesus states that a person is blessed who (1) “names the characteristic or attitude” and (2) “gives the reason for the blessing”. Therefore, we will also follow this same structure in trying to understand each of them.
  • 5:3 Blessed are: (1) The poor in spirit—those who realize they are spiritually poor. This person realizes that he lacks something, that trusting in himself is not sufficient. This person is not proud, but humble, realizing he is in need of God. (2) For theirs is the kingdom of heaven—they will be saved and God rules in theirs hearts and lives. This person’s humility led him to understand his sinful condition and need for grace, which God offers free to those who need it. Conclusion: True happiness is found by humbly coming before God to be rescued from spiritual poverty and placed into His kingdom.
  • 5:4 Blessed are: (1) They that mourn—those whose deep sorrow or regret lead them to repentance. True repentance precedes salvation and leads to salvation. God is looking for a broken and a contrite heart. (2) For they shall be comforted—they will lead to salvation, God will not despise them, but will forgive their sins, which results in great comfort. Conclusion: True happiness is found by godly sorrow that works repentance to salvation and results in the comfort of knowing our sins are forgiven.
    Psalm 51:16-17; 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • 5:5 Blessed are: (1) The meek—those who have enough self-control to do the right thing. They refrain from going to either extreme of “excess” or “absence”. It is the strength not to react wrongly when we are wronged. (2) For they shall inherit the earth—they will receive blessings. Conclusion: True happiness is found by showing forth the strength needed to choose God’s will over our own and trusting in Him for the outcome.
    Psalm 37:7-10; Ephesians 4:1-2; Matthew 11:28-30
  • 5:6 Blessed are: (1) They which do hunger and thirst after righteousness—those who have an overwhelming desire to have a right relationship with God and live according to His will. They realize they are not righteousness in themselves, nor can they establish their own righteousness, therefore they look to God for the righteousness which is by faith. (2) For they shall be filled—they found and submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Conclusion: True happiness is found by craving righteousness and realizing it can only be satisfied through Jesus, which results in a right relationship with God.
    Psalm 42:1-2; Romans 10:3; Philippians 3:9
  • 5:7 Blessed are: (1) The merciful—those who show forgiveness, compassion or gracious acts towards those who aren’t worthy of it. As believers, God withheld His just punishment from us and heard our cry for mercy, therefore, it is only right that we do that same. Showing mercy is a characteristic of being a believer. (2) For they shall obtain mercy—they will also be the receivers of mercy, most importantly God’s mercy. Conclusion: True happiness is found by being saved according to the mercy of God and showing mercy to others as a result of it.
    Psalm 28:6; Romans 11:30; Titus 3:5
  • 5:8 Blessed are: (1) The pure in heart—those who are real, true and blameless in the inner-man. They have no hidden wrong motives. They aren’t hypocrites. It is the sign of a true believer who is spiritually pure through salvation living his life in response to that truth. (2) For they shall see God—they will see Him face to face. Conclusion: True happiness is found by genuinely believing in God and genuinely obeying His will, knowing that one day we will eternally be living with Him.
    Psalm 44:20-21; 51:10; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 23:27-28; Mark 7:18-23; Revelation 22:3-4
  • 5:9 Blessed are: (1) The peacemakers—those who reconcile broken relationships, especially the relationship between God and man. As believers we know that God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Through preaching the gospel we are working to restore mankind’s relationship with God so they can have peace with God. We also work to live peaceably with all men. (2) For they shall be called the children of God—they will receive the adoption of sons. Conclusion: True happiness is found by being reconciled to God and helping others to be reconciled to Him, knowing they are sons carrying out the mission of the Father.
    2 Corinthians 5:18; Romans 5:1; 12:14; Hebrews 12:14; Galatians 4:4-7
  • 5:10 Blessed are: (1) They which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake—those who receive any form of action that punishes them for being a believer or obeying God’s will. (2) For theirs is the kingdom of heaven—they will be saved and God rules in theirs hearts and lives. Conclusion: True happiness is found in a real relationship with God—no matter the cost of obtaining, knowing that one day God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain.
    Revelation 21:1-4
  • 5:11-12 Jesus expands the last characteristic making it personal for His disciples. He says three things we need to note: (1) He tells them they are blessed when, for Jesus sake, men revile, persecute or says all manner of evil against them falsely. (2) He then tells them to rejoice and be exceeding glad because great is their reward in heaven. (3) Finally, He reminds them that the prophets which were before them were also persecuted, meaning as they experience persecution they will be numbered with the people of God.

Review Questions

  • Where was Jesus teaching and who was He teaching?
  • What does “blessed” mean?
  • The eight characteristics are characteristics of who?
  • What are the eight characteristics?
  • What did Jesus make personal to His disciples at the end?

Matthew: Jesus Calls And Ministers

Memory Verse: Matthew 4:19-20

4:12-17 Jesus, The Great Light

  • 4:12-13 When Jesus heard that John was cast into prison, He left Nazareth and departed for Galilee. He lived in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim. Matthew doesn’t record everything that Jesus did before He came to Galilee, but we know there was more from the other Gospel accounts. Therefore, we are told, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison,” so that we know where in the timeline of events that the following story took place.
    Matthew 14:1-12; John 1:29-4:42; Luke 4:14-30
  • 4:14-16 Jesus moved to this specific location to fulfill scripture. Isaiah (Esaias) the prophet said, “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness…”—This area had suffered from an invasion by Syria (their time of darkness). But the prophet continues saying they “saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” Even though they had suffered in the past, there was hope in their future. Matthew tells us that this hope is going to be fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is the Great Light. Just as light causes darkness to cease, Jesus will cause the captive to be free. If today you are living in a “dark” place, there is good news for you because Jesus brings the light of change. He is here to free you from your chains of bondage.
    Isaiah 9:1-2; 2 Kings 15:29
  • 4:17 The light was Jesus Himself and the message that He brought. From that time, Jesus began to preach. He came with a message for mankind, saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the same message John the Baptist was preaching. Repentance is the change of mind that produces a change in behavior. The reason they needed to repent was because the kingdom of heaven—God’s rule over the life of believers is at hand. Jesus was here to establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind. He is preaching salvation and the victorious life. Will you listen?
    Matthew 3:1-2

4:18-22 Jesus’ Call To Full-time Discipleship

  • 4:18-20 Jesus is walking by the sea of Galilee when he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and Andrew. We know from the Gospel of John that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. Therefore, we know that these men have heard of Jesus. They know that He is possibly the promised Messiah. We can assume that they received John’s baptism and their hearts are ready for the Christ according to all that John the Baptist taught. These two men were also fishermen. As they were casting a net into the sea, Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus had greater plans for their lives than they did. He called them out of their profession to “follow Him”. Every disciple of Jesus is called to follow Him wholeheartedly, but some will be called to leave their profession to serve Him full-time. Jesus’ plan for their lives is to make them “fishers of men” instead of “fishers of fish”. He is going to train them to take the message of the “kingdom of heaven” to the world. These two brothers immediately left their nets and followed Jesus. These men didn’t take the time to consider the implications of leaving their full-time occupations to follow Jesus, but they exemplified the faith needed to step out and follow the calling of God. God is calling some of you men to do the same.
    John 1:19-42
  • 4:21-22 Jesus went on from there and He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John. They were mending their nets in a ship with their father Zebedee. Jesus called them. He probably called them in the same way that He called the two other brothers. These two brothers immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him. Not only did these two brothers leave the family business to follow Jesus, but they left their father. Jesus didn’t ask if their parents approved of them being in full-time ministry, but as men He knew they were to make a decision of their own. Today, the calling is the same, every man must make the decision about serving Jesus. It will cost you leaving your occupation. It will cost you leaving your parents. There is a price to pay, but it is worth it. God is looking for men today to give their lives to serve Him full-time. Will you?

4:23-25 Jesus’ Full-time Ministry

  • 4:23 Jesus went about all Galilee doing three things: (1) Teaching in their synagogues—these were places where the Jews congregated for worship and instruction, therefore Jesus would go there and cause them to understand the true meanings of the Old Testament Scriptures. (2) Preaching the gospel of the kingdom—Jesus would publicly proclaim the good news of the kingdom. Everything was going to change because of everything He was going to do and He was preaching this new way. It was a message for all to hear. (3) Healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people—Jesus also preformed works of compassion and mercy. He didn’t just focus on the rich and comfortable, but His message and healing power reached the lowest of the low among societies order of importance.
  • 4:24 Jesus fame went throughout all Syria, therefore, the people brought all the sick people that were taken with divers diseases, torments, possessed with devils, lunatics, and those who had the palsy unto Him and He healed them. Jesus didn’t turn away those who society would deem as crazy and not worthy of the time of such a leader who is quickly becoming famous. Jesus took time to minister to these people. He performed miracles that couldn’t be denied. The sick people were immediately healed every single time. It wasn’t like today’s false teachers who claim to heal people and it doesn’t work or the person wasn’t really sick and they claimed to be healed to cheat others into believing something false. The power for Jesus to heal also wasn’t based on the faith of the people He was healing, but was based on Him, the Healer. Today’s false teachers do the opposite, blame their failures on the lack of faith of others.
  • 4:25 The response to Jesus’ constant teaching, preaching and healing caused great multitudes of people from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and from beyond Jordan to follow Jesus. Things were really happening and people were responding to Jesus. They wanted to know more about who this person was. I am sure their mind was filled with questions: Was He really performing miracles? Where did His wisdom of the Scriptures come from? What was this gospel of the kingdom He spoke of? Could this really be the Christ? They followed Jesus to find these answers and we will find them out as well.

Review Questions

  • Why was it important for Jesus to go to Galilee?
  • Who is the great light?
  • What did the first two brothers have to give up to follow Jesus?
  • What did the second two brothers have to give up to follow Jesus?
  • What three things did Jesus do as full-time ministry?

Matthew: Jesus Resists The Temptation Of Satan

4:1-11 Jesus Resists The Temptation Of Satan

Memory Verse: Matthew 4:4

4:1-2 Temptation: Darkness That Follows The Light

  • 1:1-3:17 So far, everything we have studied about Jesus has been glorious. We studied His genealogy that pointed to Him having the right linage to fulfill the prophecies of the coming Christ. We then studied His miraculous virgin birth as He was declared the One who would save His people from their sins. Wise men brought presents to worship Him—the only one worthy of worship. The king was threatened by this young child who was born in a manger, and tried to have Him killed, but He was protected. He grew older and at the right time He found John the Baptist and received His baptism to fulfill all righteousness. Finally, the heavens opened, He received the Spirit of God and God declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
  • 4:1 Now, the glorious story turns dim and Jesus is tempted to do wrong. We have heard that He is the Son of God, and now we will find out as Jesus is led by the Spirit up into the wilderness (a desolate place) to be tempted of the devil. God does not tempt anyone, but He allows it to happen and uses it in our lives. God does test us. The difference between the two is in the motivation: one who tempts another hopes that he will fail and do wrong. The one who tests another hopes that he will succeed and do right. For believers, we need to realize that our salvation is a glorious experience, but there will be a time after we are saved that our new reality will be tempted and tested. Just like Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us. We also have the promise from God that He will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear and He will make a way to escape.
    James 1:2-6, 12-15; 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 4:2 Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. Fasting is when you choose not to eat or drink for a certain period of time so that you can focus on spiritual disciplines like praying. When He was done fasting, He was hungry and physically weak, but spiritually strong
    Luke 4:2

4:3-4 The First Temptation: “Prove Your Identity”

  • 4:3 The First Temptation: The Devil, who is the tempter (hoping people fail), came to Jesus and said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The Devil might have been there when God from heaven declared Jesus as His Son, because now he is challenging Jesus’ identity. He says, “If” which introduces a condition clause and cast subtle doubt on what was already stated. The Devils point is that Jesus turning stones into bread would prove His identity as the Son of God. He also knew Jesus is physically weak and hungry, so he uses food or nourishment to tempt Him to prove His identity. The devil will use things in our life that we crave or when we are weak to cause us to doubt our identity in Christ.
  • 4:4 The First Reply: Even though Jesus was physically weak and hungry He was confident in His identity as the Son of God—because of the very Word of God. Jesus answers the Devils temptation saying, “It is written” and then quoting the following scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus didn’t need to prove who He was by doing a miracle to provide Himself bread at the Devils beckoning, but could rely on the very word of God that proceeds from God’s mouth—meaning everything from the declaration of heaven to the entirety of scripture. Thus He is rejecting the miracle as needed proof and trusting in God’s Word as proof. Physical food is important, but so is trusting God at His word.
    Deuteronomy 8:3

4:5-7 The Second Temptation: “Prove Your Trust”

  • 4:5-6 The Second Temptation: Next, the Devil took Jesus up into Jerusalem (the holy city), and set him on a pinnacle of the temple. He then said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Since Jesus quoted scripture and declared its importance, the Devil decided he would try to use scripture to tempt Jesus this time. It is like the Devil is saying, if you really live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, then prove it. He knew that if he was really the Son of God that the angels would take care of Him and He should test it to prove His trust in the scriptures. The devil will even use the Bible (out-of-context) to cause us to doubt our trust in God and His Word.
    Psalm 91:11-12
  • 4:7 The Second Reply: Jesus knew the scripture that the Devil used was true, but that He used it out-of-context and for Jesus to needlessly throw himself of the top of the temple just to test if God would save Him was unnecessary and wrong. Jesus quoted scripture back, that counteracts the devil’s motive, which says, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” We are not to tempt God and put Him to the test. It shows our lack of faith, trust and dependence on Him and His word. Jesus knew this and would not play the Devil’s games. This scripture was given to protect Jesus, not for Him to live a reckless life.
    Deuteronomy 6:16

4:8-11 The Third Temptation: “Prove Your Allegiance”

  • 4:8-9 The Third Temptation: Again, the devil took Jesus, this time up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Then the Devil tempted Jesus saying, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” It’s as if the Devil concludes that Jesus isn’t going to do a miracle at his bidding, and so he ask for something more subtle, yet more costly. He wanted Jesus to pledge His allegiance to Him as God by falling down and worshiping him in exchange for an earthly kingdom. The devil will try to tempt you with fame, wealth, power, authority etc in exchange for your allegiance to God.
  • 4:10-11 The Third Reply: Jesus quickly replies to the Devil, “Get thee hence, Satan.” He refers to Him as Satan (adversary, accuser), tells him to be gone and then quotes the following scripture: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus knows that only true worship and service should be given to God—the Supreme Being. Satan wants to be God. He wanted Jesus to treat him like He would treat God. Jesus was unwilling to trade His allegiance in for anything. He pledged His allegiance to God. Finally, the devil left Jesus and angels came and ministered unto him.
    Deuteronomy 6:13

Review Questions

  • What happened before Jesus went to the wilderness?
  • How many days did Jesus fast?
  • What was the first temptation? Jesus’ response?
  • What was the second temptation? Jesus’ response?
  • What was the third temptation? Jesus’ response?