Matthew chapter 9:18-38 (continued)
“While Jesus was still speaking, an official came and knelt in front of him. The man said, ‘My daughter has just now died! Please come and place your hand on her. Then she will live again.’ Jesus and his disciples got up and went with the man. A woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, ‘If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.’
Jesus turned. He saw the woman and said, ‘Don’t worry! You are now well because of your faith.’ At that moment she was healed. When Jesus went into the home of the official and saw the musicians and the crowd of mourners, he said, ‘Get out of here! The little girl isn’t dead. She is just asleep.’ Everyone started laughing at Jesus. But after the crowd had been sent out of the house, Jesus went to the girl’s bedside. He took her by the hand and helped her up. News about this spread all over that part of the country.
As Jesus was walking along, two blind men began following him and shouting, ‘Son of David, have pity on us!’ After Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came up to him. He asked them, ‘Do you believe I can make you well?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they answered. Jesus touched their eyes and said, ‘Because of your faith, you will be healed.’ They were able to see, and Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anyone about him. But they left and talked about him to everyone in that part of the country.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, some people brought to him a man who could not talk because a demon was in him. After Jesus had forced the demon out, the man started talking. The crowds were so amazed that they began saying, ‘Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!’ But the Pharisees said, ‘The leader of the demons gives him the power to force out demons.’
Jesus went to every town and village. He taught in their meeting places and preached the good news about God’s kingdom. Jesus also healed every kind of disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in.”
We ended our discussion last time talking about how Jesus came to reconcile us to God through His sacrifice on the cross. He came to rebuild the path to friendship between man and God. He is that path to friendship. In Jesus we have the power to talk with God, call Him Father, have Him as our friend and to no longer be under His wrath. I think that we have gotten away from this over the years, the idea that God is a God of wrath.
Yes He loves us, and yes, He longs for us to be redeemed. But He also sent the flood, and He rained fire on Sodom and He swallowed Korah in an earthquake and He sent snakes to kill thousands one day in the wilderness and He will destroy the whole world in the Tribulation that is soon to come.
The same God who reigns in heaven also made hell. We have stopped talking about hell. It is offensive but it is real and people go there every day. What are you and I doing to quell Situations, the flow of people into hell?
The God Who Changes People and Verses 18-34
When Jesus came to earth He put on some of the limitations that we have. Unlike the Omnipresence of God Almighty, Jesus could only be in one place at a time just like us. He became hungry, He got thirsty, He had to sleep and rest and He was attacked by Satan, just like we are. The one thing He did not lose was the power to change lives. This is essentially what Jesus came to do; He came to change lives.
In these 16 verses we see some of the examples of how He changed lives. He healed the sick, He raised the dead and He made the blind to see and the dumb to speak. He made tangible changes in the lives of the people that He came in contact with. From the Old Testament we see that God was a God of change, a God who took man and made him better.
With Abraham he went from being fatherless to being the father of two great peoples, the Arabs and the Jews. Jacob was a scoundrel, but God changed him into a price. David as a young sheep herder and God made him into a great king. Gabriel cowered in fear to thresh out some wheat; God made him a mighty man of valor.
In the New Testament God took men of no reputation, fishermen, tax collector and other unknowns yet Jesus changed the whole world with these men. Paul was the Pharisee of the Pharisees and God made him into the greatest missionary to the Gentiles ever known. God changes people, cowards become mighty warriors and tough guys become gentle souls.
Here the sick and the dead were made well and alive. Jesus changes people. An encounter with Jesus makes profound changes in a person that should be easily seen and should draw attention to Him and His power. The most important change is that we are passed from death to life eternal. We were dead in our trespasses and sins but now we are redeemed and alive in Christ clothed in His righteousness.
It is important to know that the people in these accounts could not change their situations on their own. The official in verse 18 could not bring his dead daughter back, the woman with the blood disorder in verse 20 had spent all her wealth trying to fix herself and she could not, the two blind men in verse 27 asked Jesus to have “pity on us,” they could not make themselves see and the man possessed by a demon in verse 32 could not free himself. Only Jesus could make the difference. Only He could change their circumstances, their lives and only He could change their future.
Jesus is still the God of change. He limited Himself to take away our limitations and He clothed himself in a frail limiting body so we could one day be free from this frail limiting body. He became hungry and thirsty so we could eventually never hunger nor thirst. Not only does Jesus make changes, He makes eternal changes. Changes that transform us form death to life like the young girl, from blindness to sight like these two men, from hopeless to hopeful like this woman with blood issue and from being possessed by the Devil to being owned by God.
Has Jesus changed you? Has he raised you from the dead? Has He opened your eyes? Has he cast out your demons? Sometimes this old flesh can play trick on you and it appears to be alive but it is not, it is dead in Christ and you live as a new person, a new creation, a new destiny and a new history, the history of one who has been redeemed; once I was lost and then Jesus found me. Has Jesus changed you? He changed me in the spring of 1981 and he is still changing me.
The Heart of God, Verses 27, 35-38
“’Son of David, have pity on us,’ this was the cry of the blind men. Later in verse we see that ‘Jesus felt sorry for them.” Jesus felt sorry for us and he had pity on us. Remember the dream that Satan pitched to Eve in the Garden way back in Genesis 3, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). How did that work out for us? Talk about false advertising…
What ended up is that we have become rotten to the core. Our homes are falling apart, our churches are failing, our lives are filled with the realization that death is the solution to all of our issues and our nations are in tatters. We have learned firsthand that we are NOT gods, we not capable of running this planet without God.
Sadly, too many of us are so filled with pride that we cannot bring ourselves to admit that we are bankrupt and inept at running our own lives furthermore the lives of others. We have destroyed God’s perfect creation. His image in us is marred and simply a shard of what it should be. The apostle Paul’s pen summed it up like this in Romans 3:10-18:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Jesus came to a people that He had freed from Egypt, a people that He had given the land of Israel to and a people that were free men and women, now they were slaves to the Roman Empire, their temple simply a relic and their history a horrible remembrance of what could have been. This is how it is with all of us. We were created to have “dominion” over the earth and its creatures.
We were created to be free of shame, sin and guilt. We were created to have a face to face friendship with God, but we chose the lie and turned our backs on God and this is where we have come. God could have simply erased the slate and like an Etch-a-Sketch shaken the whole earth and started again. But no! Instead He had pity on us, He felt sorry for us and He had compassion on us and He came and bore our sins and offered to us the way back to Him. He offers the way to be overcomers again, the way to be free of shame, sin and guilt again and the way to be friends again.
His pity and compassion are offered freely, BUT don’t take them for granted, they come with an expiry date. Jesus is coming to judge the world and those who refuse His pity and compassion will have to suffer His wrath. Time could run out today, choose Jesus as your Savior. Take Acts 16:30-31 as your hope:
“‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”