Heavenly Father, we praise You for Jesus and His authority over illness, nature, demons, death, and every curse that stems from man’s sin. Thank You for sending Him not to call the righteous, but sinners. Help us follow Jesus by faith and spread His gospel to all. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Matthew 8-10
Matthew 8:1–9:34 Jesus Christ has authority over all things. He demonstrates power over illness, disease, and death (8:1–17; 9:18–33), healing those who believe in His authority; in doing so, He fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy (8:17). Jesus also defines true discipleship (8:18–22; 9:9–13), explaining plainly the costs of following Him. Both the physical and spiritual worlds recognized Jesus’ authority, even as many of the religious leaders remained skeptical. Many in the crowds, however, praised God for the authority they saw Jesus exercise, both to forgive sins and to heal bodies (9:1–8).
Notice that Jesus is looking for disciples who know and feel their need of Him; He did not come for “righteous” people (9:10–13).
In these verses, we observe several aspects of Jesus’ authority:
- He is compassionate: Jesus touched the shunned leper when He could have simply healed him through His Word. Jesus called the outcast sinners to follow Him (8:1–4; 9:9–13).
- He has cleansing power: When Jesus touched the unclean, they were cleansed (8:1–4).
- His authority is comprehensive: Jesus did not need to be physically present to heal (8:5–13).
- His authority seems divine as He recognizes and commends genuine faith (8:10–13; 9:1–2; 9:18–26; 9:27–30).
Matthew 9:35–10:42 Jesus’ disciples are called to follow him in a variety of ways, regardless of the circumstances or cost.
- In prayer: asking the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers (9:37–38). Note that the first step is praying to the Lord of the harvest!
- In witnessing with gospel power: proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom with Jesus’ authority (10:1–15).
- Expecting and enduring persecutions: as our Lord was persecuted, so will persecution come to all who follow Him faithfully. We must take up our cross and follow Him (10:16–25; 10:34–42).
- Finding God’s protection: despite persecutions, we have nothing to fear because our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ protect us in love (10:26–33).
Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’
- Following Jesus is fairly simple, but it’s not easy. What hinders you from proclaiming the gospel of Jesus and His kingdom? Lack of compassion for sinners? Fear of persecution? Journal some reflections and share with your group or accountability partner for prayer.
- Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers. Where are the near harvest fields? The distant ones? Perhaps you are the answer to your own prayer. Share the gospel with at least one person this week, and recruit another Deepen Discipleship participant to go along.
- Look again at the guidelines and description of a local church. Notice what’s not included: meeting location, meeting time, the amount of people who should gather, whether gatherers are able to read or just listen, the length of meetings, the kind of music—this list goes on and on. Which aspects of your church experience are cultural expressions and not essential guidelines for a biblical church? [Local Church]