My sweet Desert Road Mappers!
This week I first want to open up and ask how the last week went?
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Let's get into more of Matthew then...
Last week we started with the first book of Matthew, all about discipleship. There were stories of John the Baptist, Jesus being tempted, the sermon on the mount, Jesus being baptized, and about the Torah and Jesus' purpose.
This week we will dive into the second book of Matthew, Apostleship. Now, keep in mind the book itself is not divided into these separate 'books,' but these are well accepted divisions of the book among many scholars.
The second book on Apostleship is from Matthew chapters 8-10 and these chapters focus on the early ministry of Jesus.
THE TEN MIRACLES:
Something that we should keep in mind with this section is the idea of ritual impurity. What is ritual impurity? I'm referring to what is considered impure by The Law, which is what the Jew's would know and practice. As Matthew was written first and foremost for Jews, we need to consider their understanding to better understand what is being said in this gospel.
So, the issue of ritual impurity is caused by various sorts of contact which would ban someone from temple worship. Typically, Jews would avoid such contact in any way as to not be banned from the temple. Another topic we should be aware of in the next chapters is the language used by Matthew concerning demonic issues. There are two Greek words used which mean to be “possessed” by a demon and to have an evil spirit. In this gospel Matthew uses the term that refers to being “possessed.” The verbiage that Matthew uses in reference to the demonic powers is three Greek words that mean: to drive out, to enter, and to come out.
Be sure to keep this information in mind when studying the 10 miracles!
These two chapters tell stories of ten miracles. Let's talk a bit about each one:
1. The Leper Healed-
Jesus touches this man, when no one else would because he is ritually impure. Why is this significant? Instead of the uncleanness being transferred to Jesus as it normally would, the sanctity and holiness and cleanliness of Jesus transferred to the leper (8:14).
In one way this expresses that Jesus is truly divine, because in the Old Testament only God is perfectly holy in Himself, anything else that is holy is only because it is in the presence of God. That holiness couldn't transfer. Anywhere God manifests himself, that place becomes holy because he is fully holy, which is why in the Tabernacle it is called The Most Holy Place: because God is there.
1. Roman Officer's Servant Healed-
When Jesus offered to go with the Roman officer to his home (8:7), Jesus became vulnerable to ritual impurity from contact with Pagans (John 1:28).
1. Peter's Mother-In-Law Healed
2. The Calming of The Storm
3. Two Demon-Possessed People in Gadara Healed
4. Healing of Paralyzed Man
5. Synagogue Ruler's Daughter Raised from The Dead-
When Jesus touched the dead girl (9:25), he reversed the ritual uncleanness of contact with a dead corpse by raising her to life.
For references about these laws, refer to the books of Leviticus 19:14 and Numbers 19.
1. Woman With Bleeding Hemorrhage Healed-
In Jesus' robe being touched by the woman, the ritual uncleanness of contact with blood was reversed by Jesus' act of healing (9:20-22).
References to The Law can be found in Leviticus 15:25-27, 31.
1. Two Blind Men Healed
2. The Demon-Possessed Deaf Mute Healed
All of these miracles point to Jesus being, and having, the full power of God. As we read in these chapters, ritual impurity was sincerely important to the Jews in the time of Jesus.
The number “12” seems to have been a deliberate play on the original 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus chose 12 men:
1. Simon- also known as Peter.
2. Andrew- who was the brother of Simon.
3. James- was the first apostle martyr.
4. John- was the brother of James and the two were referred to as Sons of Thunder.
6. Bartholomew- we assume he was the same as Nathanael.
7. Thomas- also known as Didymas.
8. Matthew- also known as Levi.
9. James Bar Alphaues- sometimes called James the Less.
12. Judas Iscariot- treasurer who betrayed Jesus.
THE SECOND GREAT DISCOURSE:
This section focuses on the Twelve's mission in Galilee. Some thought that what Jesus said to the disciples, about going into Galilee, was training for going into the nations later. If Jesus was preparing them for the missions work in the church, it would make sense why he said some of the things on their journey. So this discourse became somewhat of a double reference: something for now and something for later.
This week has much detail and information about specific people and experiences, but it is certainly important.
In this next seven days, take some time in prayer and see what God has to say about what he wants you to learn from some of this.
But let's take a minute and look at the calling of the twelve. What is significant about this?
Jesus called the twelve and sent them out, preparing them to spread the gospel and warning them of persecution for it. One of his main points Jesus makes is that all things are under control, even when it's all out of control.
What can this mean for us? Do we feel like life is spinning out of control sometimes? Do you feel like you don't have a hold on things?
Take out your journal you've been keeping for the study, and write down some areas you feel you have lost control in your life. Maybe you're feeling this in the sense of relationships or at work, perhaps in your ministry or in your daily busy life. Make a list and spend some time in prayer, giving these things to God and asking him to take control or bring you peace.
We must remember, God has us in his hands and has control of all things, even our crazy hearts.
Be blessed this week.
In all hope and love and prayer,