Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Matthew's Gospel Studies|
General Introduction to these studies
Before you start reading the Notes, may we recommend the following:
1. You pause and pray and ask for God's help for the Bible to come alive to you.
2. You have your Bible open infront of you and read the passage through completely first.
3. You work your way through the questions looking for answers in your Bible.
4. Then and only then, read through the commentary.
The style and makeup of each set of individual studies - e.g. the first one immediately below - will become obvious. We have put in the verse answers to each of the 'Find Out' questions, but you will get most out of the study if you have an open Bible alongside you and you look out the verse yourself.
The primary objectives of these studies are a) to get you to read the Bible and b) to take in what you have read. At the end of each page of studies (normally a chapter) there will be a 'Recap' to remind you of what you have read. At the end of every 'set' (see the front Contents page) there will also be a 'Summary' and a 'Conclusions' that cover the pages in that set.
Chapter: Matthew 8 - Power Encounters
Moving on in Matthew's Gospel:
If you have started this set of Studies, you will probably have already been through the previous two sets in Matthew's Gospel, the Introduction (Ch.1-4) and the Sermon on the Mount (Ch.5-7). We now move from a pure teaching section to a mostly action section. Again and again in this next part we will find little action shots, a tremendous variety of specific incidents to do with people.
The Authority of the King
In the Introduction set of Studies, we noted how Matthew wrote for the Jews, particularly emphasising that Jesus was their coming king. He shows Jesus as the fulfilment of so much Old Testament prophecy that spoke of the coming messiah. As we go into this next part we will see Jesus exercising his Father's authority in bringing in the kingdom or rule of God on the earth, and teaching others to do the same.
What we will see in this set of Studies:
We will see this bringing in the rule of God and associated teaching, being worked out as follows:
Chapter 8 - power activity bringing healing & miracles
Chapter 9 - more power activity and some teaching
Chapter 10 - teaching the disciples to go with power
Chapter 11 - various teachings
These four chapters go from almost pure action to almost pure teaching. The bringing of the kingdom needs both.
PART 1 : “Power Encounters”
Power Healing is what we would call it today. It is simply Jesus exercising the authority of heaven to powerfully come against sickness, infirmity and demon activity to bring people back to the state that God originally intended for them. In this Part we will see three specific healings, an amazing miracle of nature control, and the deliverance of two demonised men, as well as mass healings and deliverance. As you read these passages, ask the Lord to touch you with the wonder of what is happening here. This is the Son of God unleashed!
Chapter: Matthew 8
Passage: Matthew 8:1-4
A. Find Out:
1. What was Jesus doing and who came with him? v.1
2. What did the leper do? v.2a
3. What statement did he make? v.2b
4. What did Jesus do? v.3a
5. What did he say with what result? v.3b
6. What did Jesus then instruct him to do? v.4
1. Apart from the obvious healing what would have been the leper's
2. How did Jesus meet that need?
3. How do we have a similar need?
The obvious, on-the-surface issue here was the man's need to be healed, and he is sure in his heart that Jesus can bring that; that's why he comes to Jesus. But there is a much greater issue here which makes this such a significant and poignant passage. It is the issue of acceptance!
As a leper, this man was an outcast. He probably looked terrible and he may have been contagious. He would probably have lived in a colony of lepers a long way away from anyone else. It would have been a long time, perhaps, since he had felt a loving touch. All of us need that touch from another that conveys love and concern, but for the leper that was something that had probably ceased when he contracted the disease. Jesus meets this man first of all at the point of his greatest need - the need to be loved and accepted, and so he does it with a simple touch. It may have been a hand on the shoulder or on the arm but it meant everything. It said, “I climb over all the natural distaste in mankind of your sickness and I love you”, and then he spoke the words of authority that brought the healing itself. Wonderful Lord!
1. Our greatest need is to be loved and accepted.
2. The greatest thing we can do is love and accept others, whoever they
are, whatever they look like. Can we be Jesus to them?
Chapter: Matthew 8
Passage: Matthew 8:5-13
A. Find Out:
1. What was wrong with the centurion's servant? v.5,6
2. What did Jesus offer to do? v.7
3. What did the centurion say was all that was needed? v.8
4. What illustration did he give to back this up? v.9
5. What was Jesus' reaction and what warning did he give? v.10-12
6. What was the outcome? v.13
1. What truth had the centurion grasped?
2. How did he show up others and what did Jesus say about it?
3. How does this show we can have different levels of faith
Remember Matthew seeks to show that Jesus is the coming King who is God's sent one, coming with power and authority. The first healing he chooses to recount shows exactly this.
The centurion's servant is seriously ill and so he approaches Jesus, asking for healing for him. Now most people would have been quite happy to let Jesus come to the man, place a hand on him and pray over him and bring healing. Yes, that IS faith, it IS believing in the power of Jesus, but this centurion goes further than that. He understands something of authority, being a man under authority who also had it. He knows in his heart that Jesus has similar authority and therefore he also knows that it only needs Jesus to speak a word and the healing will come. In some ways this is the pinnacle of faith: “Lord you decree it, and it WILL happen”.
Jesus acclaims this sort of faith which he knows vastly exceeds anything he has encountered so far. He also takes the opportunity to give a warning: many of those who should be in the kingdom ( Israel ) will actually miss it while many outsiders (Gentiles) will receive and enter. Faith is not a matter of which family you come from; it is a heart response to Jesus, and it has consequences!
1. Where is our level of faith? How do we view Jesus?
2. Faith is a heart matter. Is my heart convinced about Jesus?
Chapter: Matthew 8
Passage: Matthew 8:14-17
A. Find Out:
1. Who did Jesus meet and what was wrong with her? v.14
2. How did Jesus deal with the problem? v.15
3. Who came to Jesus when and what did he do for them? v.16
4. How did Matthew view this? v.17a
5. What was the specific prophetic promise? v.17b
1. Read Luke 4:39 What was involved in this healing?
2. Who didn't Jesus heal?
3. How was Jesus simply fulfilling God's declared intention?
The Centurion's servant is healed and they move on to their destination, which obviously, was Peter's home there in Capernaum . When they arrive they find Peter's mother-in-law (Peter was obviously married) ill. Matthew said Jesus simply touched her but other accounts add that he rebuked the fever. End result? She's fine again. When Jesus comes into the home, the home will be blessed!
At the end of the working day the crowds begin to gather, having heard that he was there, crowds who are sick or demonised. Again note that many who were demon possessed were brought to him. The indication is that the moral and spiritual state of the land was in a mess! But it doesn't matter who comes, Jesus heals them ALL and drives out all the demons. This again, is raw authority being seen.
This is the second general reference to mass healing, the first being 4:23 but now Matthew gives us the reason this is happening: it is to fulfil God's stated intention. God intended Jesus, on the Cross, to take our sins AND the results of our sins, i.e. our infirmities and sicknesses. The way is open now for Jesus to bring healing to us today. Then he brought healing on the basis of what he would do on the Cross. Now he can bring healing on the basis of what he has done on the Cross.
1. Jesus desires to bless our home life.
2. Jesus comes to heal the sick and deliver the demonised, as the
expression of the rule of God on earth, today as then.
Chapter: Matthew 8
Passage: Matthew 8:18-22
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus instruct? v.18
2. What response did this evoke from whom? v.19
3. Who, said Jesus, has a home and who doesn't? v.20
4. What did another disciple ask? v.21
5. What did Jesus instruct, and why? v.22
1. What was at the heart of the first dialogue?
2. What was at the heart of the second dialogue?
3. How do these things apply to us today?
Jesus is about to move off, probably to escape the crowds and is going to take the inner group of disciples with him. Another man, a scribe, volunteers his life. Note first he acknowledges Jesus is a teacher, and he presumably is wanting to be a pupil. His desire is to become part of this inner group going with Jesus away from the crowd. Note next Jesus reply which is basically, all right, but understand that the animals have their own places of refuge but I haven't got anywhere. If you come with me you will have no such security to rely upon. Also note that this is the first place in this Gospel where Jesus refers to himself as “Son of Man”, a prophetic picture from the Old Testament indicating that he is the promised one come from God.
A second would-be follower of Jesus makes a request to go and bury his father. We always tend to assume his father had just died. Perhaps, or perhaps he was just elderly and the man was saying, as soon as my family responsibilities have been satisfied I'll come with you. Jesus' answer must imply, let the spiritually dead look after such practical matters; you come and follow me so that you can be more concerned with bringing life than wrapping up death. Whatever the truth about this man, the challenge is to weigh up priorities in life for following Jesus can't be shared with other priorities.
1. The call to follow requires abandonment to Jesus.
2. The call to follow Jesus challenges any other call in life.
Chapter: Matthew 8
Passage: Matthew 8:23-27
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus next do and what happened? v.23,24a
2. What was Jesus doing when it happened? v.24b
3. What did the disciples do? v.25
4. What was Jesus' response to them? v.26a
5. What did he then do? v.26b
6. What was their response? v.27
1. How was this episode something completely new and different from all
that has gone before in this Gospel?
2. Why do you think the disciples reaction was deemed “little faith”?
3. What do you think Jesus expected of them?
Leaving the crowds behind, Jesus takes his closest followers with him across the lake. Remember, for at least four of them who are fishermen, this is their natural element. Suddenly a very strong storm whips up, but Jesus is asleep. Perhaps here is an indication of how much ministry took out of him for Jesus, like us, got tired (see John 4:6). However from his response to the disciples there is also another reason he slept in the face of a storm.
The storm is so fierce that the disciples fear they are going to drown and they do what most “good Christians” do, they turn to Jesus in a crisis. Jesus' response to them however, is not what we might have expected. He sees their agitation as unbelief! Turning to Jesus was not wrong, but turning in unbelief is. First of all there was no quiet confidence in them that their heavenly Father would look after them. They are not yet secure in God's love for them. Second they are not yet secure in their confidence in Jesus. It almost seems as if they are blaming the Lord, as if they are saying, “Lord what are you doing getting us into this mess?”. Jesus with quietly deals with the storm!
1. Are we secure in the Father's love for us?
2. When we turn to Jesus is it with secure confidence that he is in control
and can deal with the problem?
Chapter: Matthew 8
Passage: Matthew 8:28-34
A. Find Out:
1. Who met Jesus when they landed and what were they like? v.28
2. What did they expect of Jesus? v.29
3. Yet what else did they expect? v.31
4. So what did Jesus do and what happened? v.32
5. What did the workers there do? v.33
6. So then what happened? v.34
1. Were the demonised men thinking good or bad of Jesus first of all?
2. Why was this?
3. Why do you think the workers and crowd thought so badly of him?
Jesus knows where he is going and what he is to do, so this isn't a chance encounter. Jesus was led by his Father (Jn 5:19 ,20) and so it is the Father's desire to bring change to this area. They immediately encounter two men who are terrorising this area, because they are demonised. You would think that having the area cleared of this terror would have been welcomed, but no! This is an area that has clearly allowed Satan to rule over it and even the ordinary people cannot receive the wonder of what takes place, so blinded are they!
Note first that the two demonised men cry out under the influence of the demons, for they think Jesus has come to terrorise them; they expect the worse. Satan always brings fear with his presence. Then they acknowledge that they don't have a right to be living in these men, that's not how God made it to be; they are usurpers! Why did Jesus allow them to go into the pigs? We are not told. Perhaps these were Jews and they were forbidden to keep pigs and therefore it was a form of judgement on them. We don't really know.
Seeing people freed from demons should be a cause of rejoicing but the local populace are so materially minded that they miss it. They also miss the wonder of who it is they have in their midst.
1. Satan always puts a bad view on Jesus' activity.
2. Can we recognise the wonder of Jesus' activity? If not...?
RECAP: Power Encounters - Matthew 8
In this first group of 6 studies we have seen Jesus:
If this was happening in our churches we would call this revival. It is the Son of God freely at work. It tells us that it is God's desire for mankind to be free from all the works of sin and of Satan, and when He is allowed to, He comes with power and authority to ensure it happens.
1. Man's greatest need is to be loved and accepted
2. Faith comes in different levels
3. Jesus wants to bless our home life
4. Jesus' work on the Cross opens the way for healing
5. The call to follow Jesus outranks any other call
6. Jesus is in supreme control and we are to be secure in that
7. Jesus is Lord even over the demons
Thank the Lord for the above lessons. Make your response to them accordingly.
PART 2 : "Power and Preaching"
In this next Part we will find a combination of healings, miracles and teaching. Watch particularly for the characteristics of Jesus that Matthew shows us: his ability to forgive and to know men's minds, his magnetism to draw men after him, his ability to heal and dispossess demons. Again, the Son of God unleashed!