Matthew 9 Reading Guide
Chapters 8 & 9 are a whirlwind of activity for Jesus and His disciples. Yesterday we read about how busy Jesus was. It's not clear if the events of these two chapters all occured on one day, but the hectic nature is evident in the way Matthew segues from one event to another:
v1 - Jesus crosses the lake back to the other side again;
v2 - He's met (in a packed house, as we read in the other gospels), by a paralyzed man brought by the man's friends to be healed;
v9 - As Jesus went on from there, he called Matthew to be a disciple...
v14 - Then John's disciples came to him with a theological question...
v18 - While he was saying this, the synagogue leader came to him...
v27 - As Jesus went on from there two blind men call out to Jesus...
v32 - While they were going out, a demon-possessed man was brought to Jesus...
v35 - Jesus went through all the towns and villages.
You're busy too. Probably too busy. Take comfort by the fact that your Lord and Savior knows exactly what it's like to live at a hectic pace with all sorts of pressure just like you do.
Meditate (think about while you're working) on v36 today:
When he saw the crowds,
he had compassion on them,
because they were
like sheep without a shepherd.
Think of some of the reactions that Jesus could have justifiably had about the crowds that were constantly pressing in on Him:
The only reason these people like me is because I do miracles for them;
These filthy sinners, they've ruined my perfectly created world;
Some of these same people will clamor to kill me;
But instead Jesus has compassion on them (literally: His guts (heart) went out to them).
But why does He have this compassion? We often like to think that Jesus cares for us because we care for Him, and that He sees our efforts to be a little more righteous than the world around us; that somehow we deserve His compassion more than others.
But that's not it at all. He has compassion because He sees people wandering through the world as if they're lost, scarred sheep.
He then sets about sending out crews to harvest the sheep - to bring them back to Him, the Good Shepherd. We'll read more about this harvest tomorrow.
In the meantime, remember that Christ had compassion on you when you were harassed and helpless, so do your best to see the rest of the world as compassionately as Jesus does.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
As Moses neared the end of his life, he asked God:
“May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (Numbers 27:16)
It was then that God appointed Joshua to shepherd His people, who had the same name He would give to His Son, a name we now pronounce as Jesus.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In the last verse of this chapter, Jesus gave His disciples a brief, specific request to ask of God. What was that request?
What does Jesus mean by the word righteous in the way He uses it in verse 13?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Thank God that He desires mercy, and not sacrifice (v13 & Hosea 6:6).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the faith to 'follow Him' (v9), that He would enable you to work the harvest (v37-38), and not to 'laugh' (v24) when He promises to do great things. Pray that you will have compassion like Jesus did.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: