Walking Through the Book of Matthew
March 17th– 23rd, Matthew, Chap 8-12:
Storms, Matthew the tax collector called, disciples Sent, & God’s Servant
Sunday- Matthew 8, focused on 8:23-43
Does having faith mean we should never be afraid? No. Jesus meant that God is greater than whatever we are facing, and He is in control. Knowing God is present keeps fear from paralyzing us. Do you ever find yourself so focused on your fears that you miss the opportunity to trust in God?
Monday – Matthew 9, focused on 9:9-17
Who were these tax collectors? They were a group of Jews despised by other Jews for collaborating with the Roman government that ruled over them. Tax collectors paid the authorities for the privilege of collecting taxes; then they overcharged people, skimming off the top to line their own pockets. As a result, other Jews saw Jewish tax collectors as both traitors and thieves. What must this mean for Matthew to be called into Jesus’ inner circle of trust and to be added as a student? Clearly, Jesus showed us a way to “love one another.”
Tuesday- Matthew 9:18-38, focused on 9:35-38
How were the crowds harassed and helpless? The crowds to which Jesus spoke were made up of common people, and they were burdened for multiple reasons: (1) They were prisoners in their own lands, since the Romans had taken over Palestine. (2)They were overtaxed and needed to work overtime to pay their dues. (3) Most of them were farmers and were worn out by hard work in the fields. (4) Most of them were poor. (5) They could never live up to the rules and regulation of the Pharisees, so they felt hopeless to become right with God. In short, they had wearied souls.
Wednesday- Matthew 10:1-15
Is it wrong to use our own supplies or money to advance Jesus’ mission? Jesus wanted the twelve to be completely dependent on God for their provision. He wanted them to see that God would provide for them through hospitality of others. In fact, the New Testament churches were repeatedly encouraged to support those who ministered to them. A personal lack of funds or supplies should not prevent us from advancing the gospel. Sounds like a mistake, or an opportunity to trust in God?
Thursday- Matthew 10:16-42, focused on 10:16-25
Who is Beelzebub? He is theprince of demons, that is, Satan. Baal was a Canaanite deity: the name was expanded to Beelzebull (meaning “Exalted” or “Prince Baal”). Baal was a Canaanite god meaning “lord” or “master.” An early related form was Baal-Zebul. The Jews ridiculed the idol and its worshipers by changing the name to Baal-Zebub meaning “lord of the flies- or Baal-Zebul or Beelzebul meaning “lord of the dung” or “lord of the dung hill.” We might be careful to remember that Jesus is the way, and Satan is “lord of the dung hill.” ;-)
Friday- Matthew 11, focused on 11:11-19
What role, if any does doubt have in the Christian life? Even people with strong faith ask tough questions in stressful times. John was suffering unjustly, so it is not surprising that he sought answers from Jesus. Further, since Jesus’ action as Messiah differed from what many Jews expected, reports of Jesus’ activities must have puzzled John. Jesus answer was intended to bring reassurance: the miracles Jesus performed gave evidence that he was indeed the onewho was to come.
Saturday- Matthew 12:1-21, focused on 12:15-21
Why didn’t Jesus want anyone to know he was the messiah?Practical issues may have caused Him to shun popularity.The crowds were already becoming large and unmanageable, and at times Jesus needed to get away.At other times, he had to be firm in leaving one group of people so he could minister to another.Another factor, large crowds would have attracted even more attention.