Tag Archives: Matthew

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?

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.

Matthew: The Cost Of Genuine Allegiance To Jesus

Memory Verse: Matthew 8:22

8:18-20 Genuine Allegiance Comes With A Price

  • 8:18a At this point in Jesus’ narrative He is gaining popularity because of his authoritative teaching style and content as well as the amazing miracles that He is performing among the people. Great multitudes started following Him. People were interested in this man who claimed to be the Son of God. But were these people sincere in their willingness to follow Jesus? Or were they just wanting to come to Jesus to see what He could do for them? Were they interested in the physical healing Jesus had to offer but not willing to pledge their allegiance to Jesus as the Lord of their life?
  • 8:18b When Jesus saw the multitude was about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the sea. We aren’t told why Jesus wanted depart from the multitude, but it seems that one of the reason could be that He was testing them to see who would follow Him, even if it cost them to do so. If the journey across the sea was too inconvenient for people to dissuade them from following this Prophet who is teaching and doing things that they never seen before, then their faith probably wasn’t genuine.
  • 8:19a This is exactly what happens. As they make preparations to depart, a certain scribe came unto Jesus and said, “Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” Jesus apparent test has called out a man who is pledging his allegiance to Jesus. He refers to Jesus as “Master” or “Teacher” which indicates he was familiar with His teaching or position. Jesus is about to embark on a journey and so this man wants to follow—to go with Him. But his commitment is much deeper than this single journey, he adds “whithersoever thou goest”. He is pledging to be a full-time committed follower of Jesus. But was this artificial or genuine allegiance? Was this decision really thought through or was it just an impulsive decision? Was he just looking for a new job?
  • 8:19b What did this pledge of allegiance mean for a scribe? A scribe was a Jew who could read and write and acted as a secretary. Moreover they were often involved in teaching, making copies, and interpreting the Old Testament. Thus, the scribes often became authorities concerning the law. When Jesus came, He challenged their authority and interpretations of the law—showing the hypocrisy of many. So for this man to pledge his allegiance to Jesus, the one who often challenged the scribes, would be seen as joining forces with the enemy. His peers would most likely disapprove of him. Genuine allegiance to Jesus comes with a price.
  • 8:20 The cost of this allegiance is what Jesus points to in His response to the man. Jesus says to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Jesus answer could point to the physical journey they are about to make across the sea, telling the man that the journey doesn’t have anywhere to stay for the night once they arrive but it points to so much more. Jesus used the example that foxes and birds both have places that they call home, but the Son of man, Jesus, doesn’t have such a place while He is on earth. This means several things for the scribe or anyone else who is willing to follow Jesus: (1) No home—our home is the place we feel comfortable, where we store our possessions, and where we sleep at night. Jesus is saying that true allegiance to Him means being willing to give up those things in order to be free from earthly ties. How many people don’t serve Jesus because of they’re earthly desires? (2) No security—a home also gives a sense of security. But Jesus is saying that you are to trade in that security for faith. How many people choose to not follow Jesus because they rather live “secure” lives instead of “faithful” lives? The Bible doesn’t record the man’s response. What is your response?

8:21-22 Genuine Allegiance Means Following Jesus Today

  • 8:21 Then another disciple of Jesus said unto Jesus, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” This man had apparently already made a decision to follow Jesus to some degree. But when he decided to follow Jesus there was a loyalty conflict in his life. This man still felt an obligation to take care of his parents. His allegiance to his family came in conflict with his allegiance to Jesus. The phrase “bury my father” doesn’t necessarily mean that his father was already dead and he needed to quickly bury him (otherwise why is he talking with Jesus and not already at home taking care of the funeral), but it has the deeper meaning of going and taking care of his parents until they pass away and he receives his inheritance—then he would be willing to serve Jesus. The idea behind his words is that he will serve Jesus: (1) after his father has died—possibly sometime in the distant future when his family obligation is fulfilled; (2) after he receives his inheritance—when he is more financially stable. There was going to be a delay between his willingness to serving Jesus and actually serving Jesus. Maybe he felt this obligation or maybe his parents were putting pressure on him to do so.

 

  • 8:22 How does Jesus respond to such a request? (1) First he says, “Follow me”—meaning that His disciple it to continue following Him. He was not to leave Jesus until it was more convenient for him to serve Jesus, but was to keep on the path he already started. Jesus was teaching him and all future disciples that allegiance to Jesus is more important than allegiance to their earthly families. (2) Second, He says, “Let the dead bury their dead”—this is a strange saying unless we understand it as the “spiritual dead” (unbelievers) can take care of the things of this world (maintaining life until burying the dead), but the “spiritually alive” (believers) are to be busy with the heavenly and spiritual matters. To be a disciple meant to take immediate action and the allegiance to Jesus was the absolute priority in your life.
  • Salvation: Jesus is looking for genuine disciples. He is looking for real believers—those who truly believe in their inner-most-being that He is the Son of God who holds the key to eternal life. Those who through repentance and faith have decided to follow Him no matter the cost. A person who realizes the Jesus is the number one priority in their life. Jesus comes first. Are your truly following Jesus? Or are you saying you will become a believer later in life when it is more convenient?
  • Service: Are you following Jesus plan for your life? Maybe like the twelve disciples you have been chosen out to serve God full-time—to be a preacher of the gospel. If you are a man with this call on your life, are you being obedient? Discipleship means being obedient to Jesus in all areas of your life. It means at salvation you said, “Yes” to Jesus’ will for your life and you are willing to try and live that out. What excuse are you using to avoid His will for your life?—Jesus looks to you and says, “Follow Me”.

Review Questions

  • What does the first man say to Jesus?
  • What is Jesus response to the first man? What does it mean?
  • What does the second man say to Jesus?
  • What is Jesus response to the second man? What does it mean?
  • What is the cost of genuine allegiance to Jesus?

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?