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Lesson 20: Jesus The Compassionate (Matthew 9:18-38)

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I. Intro and Recap:

a.       It’s been said that studying God is like studying a diamond.  Each facet has it’s own splendour.  And each facet comes together to display something of glorious worth.

i.  This morning we are looking at Mathew’s gospel where He displays the glory of Jesus in His compassion and mercy on the desperate.

ii.                        Indeed, He is Jesus the compassionate.

iii.                      That’s the simple message of this Matthew’s gospel in this section.

iv.                      Jesus is compassion in the flesh.  He pities the pitiful and the helpless and the hurting.

b.      This will be enouraging to those who are hurting.

i.  Has anyone among us not felt beaten down and in dispair?

ii.                        Has anyone among us never been miserable?

iii.                      Some of you are hear this morning with heavy hearts.  Maybe fighting back the tears because of pain and hurt, and dissapointments.

iv.                      This is for you.

v.                         The message Matthew is preaching is that Jesus doesn’t just bring a message, He IS the message, and that’s the message.

vi.                      You don’t just need compasssion, you need Jesus who IS compassion.

c.       B.B. Warfield is one of America’s premier theological scholars.

i.  He was a professor of theology at Princeton in the late 19th century and early 20th.

ii.                        There’s an old story about Dr. Benjamin Warfield. 

iii.                      While he was still at the height of his academic powers, his wife got sick. In fact it happened on their honeymoon.

iv.                      The newlyweds travelled to Germany and were hiking on top of a mountain when Mrs. Warfield was struck by lightning and she became an invalid. He took care of her the rest of her life and it was reported he rarely (although some have said never) spent more than 2 hours away from his wife. Even though she was handicapped, she still loved to read. And so Dr. Warfield would sit at her bedside day after day. And read to her. He was always gentle and caring with her. 

One day, someone asked him, "Have you ever thought about taking your wife to an institution?" Then you could write bigger books and have a bigger ministry." But Dr. Warfield said, "No way. My wife is my ministry. I will never leave her side. I am going to love her and take care of her as long as God grants us life."

v.                         Maybe that’s what makes Warfield’s career as a theologian and thinker even more impressive?

vi.                      It was during this time he wrote books and continues to teach.

d.      One of Warfield’s most important book is called “The Person and Work of Christ”

i.  There is a chapter in that book is entitled, “The Emotional Life of Our Lord.”

ii.                        He tried to synthesize the biblical passages that spoke of the emotiuons of our Lord Jesus.

iii.                      He stated, “His whole life was a mission of mercy...His entire ministry is summed up as going around the land and ‘doing good.’”

iv.                      The world that best summarizes Jesus our Lord is no doubt the word “compassion.”  It is the emotion most frequently attributed to Him.

v.                         Personally, I prefer the synonym “pity.”  He went around and felt pity on people.

vi.                      He pities and relives the miseries of His people.

e.       That is what we will see this morning as we study Matthew’s gospel.

i.  At once we will see a Jesus who is moved with pity on the suffereing and the desperate.

II.                      Out of compassion Jesus Heals (9:18-34)

a.      Out of compassion the dead are made alive (9:18-26)

i.  “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”

1.      This man’s name is Jairus, although Matthew doesn’t mention his name, Mark and Luke do.

2.      He’s a synagogue ruler.  He’s a popular man.  A man of influence, and an unlikely candidate to come and plead to Jesus.

3.      Clearly he is desperate.

4.      He knelt before Him, in a posture of humility.

5.      “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”

ii.                        Sandwiched in this story is another story, a story of a woman in desperation.

1.      On his way to Jairus’s house, Jesus meets a woman who has been hemorrhaging blood for 12 years.

2.      She came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment.

3.      She is ceremonially unclean.  Like a leper, she was cut off in some ways from her community.  She certainly couldn’t touch anyone or be touched.

4.      She was desperate.  She believed that if she could just touch Jesus, she’d be healed.  She had faith.

5.      Luke’s gospel tells us that “no one could heal her” and “she had spent all her living on physicians, but no one could heal her.”

a.       You can just feel the emotion in this story.

b.      How many people can identify with this?

c.       She has an incurable problem.

d.      Doctor’s can’t help her.

e.       She has depleted her savings account on medical bills.

f.        This woman is sick and tired of being sick and tired.

6.      Nonetheless, in faith she sneaks up behind Jesus touched his cloak…

7.      Jesus says to her, “Take heart, my daughter.”

a.       This is similar to what Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son.”

b.      Jesus comforts her.  I’m sure she was scared.

c.       Jesus calls her his daughter.

d.      Ladies, imagine Jesus calling you His daughter.

e.       You realize you are, right?

f.        If you are “in Christ” you are His daughter, part of His family.

g.      On the inner circle.

8.      She is instantly healed.

iii.                      When Jesus gets to Jairus’s house there’s a crowd of people and great commotion.

1.      The professional mourners are already there, playing their instruments and singing away.

2.      Hebrew law stated that, “Even the poorest in Israel should hire not less than two flutes and one wailing woman.”

3.      The first time I witnessed such a site I was in Africa and got off a plane in Eldoret Kenya, got off this small little plane in the middle of rural Kenya, and walked outside this shanty of an airport and right to my left I heard this loud wailing and I could immediately see it was a funeral of some kind.  But it was different than anything I had seen. Loud wailing and mourning.  There was no holding back of emotions, but pure unfiltered and raw.  Bodies flung up and down near the casket, which was still above ground.

4.      I imagine this to be a similar scene to what we see in this passage.

5.      Emotions are high.  People are weeping and mourning and music is playing.  There is a great commotion.

6.      Jesus gets there and says, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.”  This was euphemism.

7.      …and they laughed at Him…

a.       The so-called healer has arrived, but He’s a little too late!  Maybe He could have healed, but now the little girl is dead.  The story has ended.

b.      This is comical to them.

c.       The laughter serves to underscore the greatness of this miracle.

8.      Jesus goes inside, takes her by the hand, and the girl arose.

a.       The girl who was dead, is now alive.

9.      And this was reported all through the district.

10.  Imagine how the parents felt…

a.       From the deepest fear and pain, to the heights of joy and celebration.

b.      Their little 12 year old girl is back from the dead!

iv.                      These two stories highlight some of the two most painful experiences of human existence.

1.      Parental love.

a.       I have never lost a child to death.  But I get it.  I cannot imagine the pain and the loss.

b.      Even the thought of my child going though pain evokes some of the strongest emotions that I have ever felt.

c.       How many parents would gladly take the pain or the place of their son or daughter?

2.      Chronic pain.

a.       Then you have this lady who has gone through doctor after doctor to the point of depleting her finances.  No help.

b.      Not to mentioned dealing with a chronic, never-ending problem that not only leaves her sick, but leaves her alone.  This is horrible.

c.       How many of you have chronic pain, or know someone who lives with chronic pain?

d.      How many of you have physical problems that the Doctor’s cannot diagnose or figure out, or know someone who has physical problems that have not been diagnosed?

e.       I was talking to one Doctor in the Emergency Room who told me, “You would be shocked to hear how many people come to the ER and we never get to the bottom of their problems.  There is so much we don’t know.”

f.        Or a neurologist who said that 80% of the people who come to her office leave without a diagnosis.

3.      These two stories illustrate the some of deepest possible pains and hurts that humans can experience.

a.       Again, I just think of my kids…I am a man who seriously struggles with Jesus’ command to not love son or daughter more than Him.

b.      “Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

4.      Others of you are sitting here, and you are desperate.

a.       You may have a smile on your face, but inside you are barely keeping it together.

b.      It could be health.  It could be medical bills.  It could be your family is falling apart.  It could be secret sin.  It could be people you care about who are suffering.

5.      But one thing we see here is that our faith will only grow in proportion to our desperation.

a.       Their desperation led them to Jesus!

b.      The greatest thing that could happen to you is for you to sense your need for Christ.

b.      Out of compassion the blind receive their sight (9:27-31)

i.  These two blind men follow Jesus, and cried out!

1.      They call Him “Son of David” which implies his messianic authority to heal.

ii.                        Jesus walks into the house and the blind men follow him inside!

1.      Even though they are blind—they can see, in a sense.

2.      It’s Ironic, they see before they can see.

3.      They call Him Son of David and when Jesus asks them a question they say, “Yes, Lord”  They perceive that He is the Lord!

iii.                      Jesus asks them what they believe…

1.      He doesn’t ask them what they want, that’s obvious.

2.      What do you believe?  “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

3.      They said, “Yes, Lord”

4.      And their eyes were opened.

iv.                      Jesus tells them to keep it a secret, because (I think) he doesn’t want the miracles to eclipse the cross.  He wants a mob of proclaimers after, not before, the cross.

v.                         Understandably, these two men, after they can see, tell everyone they meet.

vi.                      They displayed faith, but evidently lacked obedience.

1.      A great little illustration of people who like what they hear from Jesus and like what they receive, but are not willing to obey His Words.

vii.                    Nonetheless, the blind can now see.

c.       Out of compassion the mute can talk (9:32-34)

i.  Evidently, the reason this man couldn’t talk was because of a demon.

1.      We should note that we live in a world that thinks anything supernatural is phony.

2.      But Jesus and the Bible couldn’t be more clear that demons are real.  Satan is personal.  There is a power of darkness that comes over people and in some case possesses people.

3.      This man couldn’t speak and it was because of a demon.

ii.                        Jesus casts the demon out, and the man starts talking.

iii.                      The people see this miracle as unprecedented.

iv.                      The Pharisees, however, see this as evidence that Jesus is demon-possessed.

1.      They ascribe this miracle to Satan.

2.      Notice, they can’t deny the reality of what they have just seen, but they do deny that Jesus is empowered by God.

d.      Think about these three stories, what does Matthew want us to observe?

i.  #1- These stories illustrate salvation:

1.      The woman, for instance.  She is unclean, isolated, and hopeless.

a.       That’s all of us without Christ.

2.      We are unclean because of our sin.

a.       Is. 6:5

3.      We are isolated because of our sin.

a.       Sin isolates us from God and others.

b.      Sin thrives in isolation.

c.       Is. 59:2

4.      We are hopeless because of our sin.

a.       Eph. 2:1

ii.                        #2- Desperation and need lead us to Jesus.

1.      Weakness doesn’t get enough press.  We give way too much credence to giftedness, sufficiency, talents, and abilities.  It’s way overated.  In fact, it can be a distraction.

2.      Need and poverty and desperation are the place of blessing.

3.      The best thing that could happen to you is to be led to Jesus because of your need!

4.      These people would have never come to Jesus if all was well.

a.       Jesus would have never been precious to them!

b.      The ruler never would have come to Jesus.

c.       The woman never would have reached out to Jesus.

d.      The blind men never would have followed Jesus.

5.      The sickness, the death, the blindness made them poor in spirit and needy.

6.      Their deperation was GOOD and designed by God.

7.      The worst thing that could happen to a person is to sense no need for Christ.

8.      The worst thing that could happen to you is to sense no deperation for Jesus.

9.      When we lose our health its as though God is pulling back the mask!

a.       We suddenly see things more clearly!

b.      We become poor in spirit.

c.       We are needy, and Christ is rich.

d.      Sickness leads us to Jesus.



iii.                      #3- Jesus is merciful.

1.      Phil Ryken tells a simple but marvelous illustration of a merciful love took place during a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals during the 2009 pennant race. Phillies fan Steve Montforto was sitting with three-year-old daughter Emily when a foul ball curled back into the upper deck. Montforto leaned over the railing to catch his first and only foul ball—every fans dream. But when he handed the ball to little Emily, immediately she threw it back over the railing and down into the lower deck. Everyone gasped. Monforto himself was as surprised as anyone to see her throw the ball away. But rather than getting irritated with his little girl, he did what a merciful father would do: he wrapped his daughter up in a tender embrace.

2.      “This is the way God loves us. He puts gifts into our hands that we could never catch for ourselves. Without realizing what we are doing, sometimes, we throw them away. Yet rather than getting irritated with us, he loves us again. Then he gives us the freedom to go love someone else with the same kind of love. He even gives us the grace to go back to people who throw our love away and love them all over again.”

3.      That’s the kind of mercy and compassion Jesus gives and fosters.  He’s merciful.

iv.                       #4- Jesus is Lord over death, Jesus is Lord over disease, and Jesus is Lord over the Devil.

1.      Jesus has come to reverse the curse!

2.      Jesus has come to right the wrongs of the curse!

3.      Jesus has come to introduce the Kingdom!

4.      Jesus is doing something new!

5.      Death is defeated!  Disease is defeated!  The Demons are defeated!

6.      Crawford Loritts, “100% of the people Jesus healed and raised and delivered all died.  The point is not the miracles, the point is the Messiah.”

7.      All these miracles point to the coming Kingdom.

v. #5- There is no person or circumstance that is beyond the reach of the Savior.

1.      Crawford Lorritt’s tells the story of a man who was a master chess player who was walking down the streets of Manhattan and looking at store windows and he saw in the store window of an art gallery a painting of two players playing chess, and the name of the painting was “check-mate.”  It was a picture of two men playing chess.  And the pieces on the board were arranged in such a way in which it appeared the one player was in check-mate.  And the chess player kept looking at this piece and something just wasn’t right.  And left and he came back.  And it bugged the dickens out of him.  Three times he did this.  Then he finally said, “you know, that painting is wrong…There is one more move.”  God always has another move…And other move…Another move.  God is never out of options.  Our problems are nothing to Jesus.  God’s solution to all of our problems is Jesus.”

III.                   Out of compassion Jesus prays for workers (9:35-38).

a.      Summary: V. 35

i.  First of all I want you to see that Matthew summarizes the ministry of Jesus in V. 35.

1.      The inclusio:

a.       Mat. 4:23-5:2 and Mat. Mat. 4:23-5:2 and Mat. 9:35-10:4.

b.      We have seen Jesus authority in his words (5-7) and in His deeds (8-9).

2.      This section began at 8:1, and ends here.

3.      We have seen Jesus heal leprosy, paralysis, fever, demon possession, blindness, and muteness.  Not to mention He raised a girl from the dead.

4.      This was all done out of compassion.

5.      These miracles were not so much about the felt needs, as they were about God’s ultimate deliverance from sin and it’s affects.

6.      All the people Jesus healed eventually died.

7.      Sin is the root of all the problems in the world.  Jesus is dealing with it, and will ultimately deal with it on the cross.

ii.                        Summary of Jesus ministry:

1.      Teaching.

2.      Preaching.

3.      Healing.

a.       He taught out of compassion.

b.      He preached out of compassion.

c.       He healed out of compassion.

iii.                      His entire ministry is summed up by the word “compassion.”

b.      His ministry is summarized by compassion (9:35-36).

i.  “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them.”

1.      “They were harassed and helpless.”

2.      “They were like sheep without a shepherd”

ii.                        Jesus has compassion:

1.      Mat. 14:14, “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

2.      Mat. 15:32, “Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

3.      Mat. 18:33, “And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’”

4.      Mat. 20:34, “And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.”

5.      Jesus has compassion on the desperate…

c.       His prayer for world missions is motivated by compassion (9:37-38).

i.  World missions is directly connected to compassion.

1.      Notice, right after he sees the crowds and feels compassion, he prays for workers.

2.      We have seen Jesus compassion for sick and outcasts, now we see it for the harvest.

a.       Jesus sees the crowds because they were harassed and helpless, and then He prays for laborers to show them mercy

b.      This is a prayer for world evangelism.

c.       This is a call for missions!

3.      This prayer comes from a heart of compassion!

4.      Out of compassion workers are called.

ii.                        As much as this is a prayer for workers, this is a prayer that compassion would be instilled in the disciples.

1.      Jesus wants to awaken a similar compassion in His disciples.

2.      Jesus has compassion on the people and He wants His disciples to have compassion on the people.

iii.                      Pray!

1.      Jesus seems to be saying that prayer matters!  Prayer does things!  This isn’t a disingenuous command because God’s just gonna do it anyways!  This is a call to pray!

2.      This is a call world the gospel to go out to the nations!

3.      Jesus says this as though prayer is actually effectual and changing things, because it does.  God uses means to bring about his purposes, and prayer is one of these means.

iv.                      Why should we be concerned with world missions?

1.      Because God is!

2.      Because He tells us tp pray about!

3.      Because He tells us to pray for workers!

4.      Because He tells us to develop and cultivate a compassion for the lost.  For the helpless.

v.                         How do we cultivate a heart for the helpless?  How do we cultivate a heart of evangelism?

1.      Think about how lost you were with without Christ.

2.      Think about the reality of heaven and hell.

3.      Pray to God that you would Fear God more than you fear man.

4.      Ask for God to increase your heart for the lost.

vi.                      We will see this more in the weeks to come starting in chapter 10 where Jesus begins a discourse on discipleship and what it means to follow Him.

IV.                    Application: Two Lessons…

a.      Jesus is compassionate:

i.  Jesus is not far from the brokenhearted.

1.      Even if you feel your issues don’t warrant the attention of the Most High.  The Lord knows our frame.  He knows our weakness.  He sympathizes with hurting and the outcast.

2.      He is near to the poor in spirit.

ii.                        Notice how in many of these stories in chapters 8-9 Jesus touches the people.

1.      Jesus stretches out His hand and touches the leper.

2.      Jesus touches Peter’s mother in law and her fever is healed.

3.      Jesus took the little girl by the hand.

4.      Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men.

iii.                      He is not afraid our put off by our deformities and inadequacies.

1.      He is drawn to the hurting and the needy.

2.      If you are miserable.  If you are poor in spirit.  If you have no other options.  Than know this.  Jesus cares.  Jesus has pity.  Jesus takes thought of you.

3.      Is your heart heavy?  Are you burdened?

4.      Jesus cares.  Jesus cares.  Jesus is merciful.  Jesus will provide you with rest for your souls.

iv.                      Illustration:

1.      John Knight and Denise Knight were happily anticipating the birth of their first child, a son. They had already decided to name him Paul. But when Paul was born, there was a big problem: Paul was born without eyes. John and Denise would later discover that their son had other serious issues, including severe autism and a growth hormone deficiency.

2.      Two months after Paul's birth, as John was looking at his son hooked up to tubes and sensors and surrounded by medical professionals, he quietly told God, "God, you are strong, that's true, and you are wicked. You are mean. Do it to me—not to this boy. What did he ever do to you?" Shortly after that prayer, John and Denise stopped going to church.

3.      But one couple from the church refused to give up on them. Karl and Gerilyn never pressured John and Denise about spiritual issues. Instead, they would often stop by and leave simple gifts, like a loaf of fresh bread or a basket of soap and shampoo for Denise. John said that it was like Karl and Gerilyn were saying, "I notice you. I see you. I know you're hurting and I love you."

4.      Eventually John and Denise accepted a dinner invitation from Karl and Gerilyn. During dinner John told Karl, "You can believe whatever you want. I don't care. I have evidence that God is cruel." Karl softly replied, "I love you, John. I have regard for you, and I love your boy."

5.      Karl and Gerilyn's four children also showed and lived unconditional love for their son. John described it this way:

a.       They'd throw [my son] up in the air and make him laugh and do funny bird sounds and—and that was confounding, because most people, most adults couldn't do that. And so I would have this extraordinary expression of love and affection at the dinner table here, and I would turn to my left—and there would be at least one of these children playing with my boy like he was a real boy. I wasn't even sure he was a real boy at times.

v.                         This family illustrates the accurate kind of love and compassion that Jesus has for us.

vi.                      Jesus is compassionate!

b.      Jesus is calling His disciples to be compassionate.

i.  Compassion marked Jesus, it should mark His disciples.

1.      Jesus even prays that His followers with be moved with compassion like He was.

2.      If one of the chief characteristics of Jesus was His compassion, is it going to far to say that the same should apply to His disciples?

3.      If Jesus was known for His compassion, is it a stretch to say the same ought to apply to His followers?

4.      If we claim to be disciples of Jesus we are called to be compassionate.

a.       We are to have a heart for the hurting and the lost.

5.      This means, among other things, that we will spread the gospel out of compassion, not compulsion.

a.       We have a gospel of compassion.

b.      No compassion equals no mission.

c.       No compassion equals no evangelism.

d.      No compassion equals no church planting.

ii.                        Compassion adds validity to the gospel.

1.      Illustration:

a.       In 1967 Doug Nicols was doing missions work in India when he contracted tuberculosis and was committed to a sanitarium for several months. In the TB sanitarium, Doug found himself in a lonely, confusing, and troubled place. He did not know the language of the other patients, but he wanted to share the Good News of Jesus with others.

b.      All Doug had in the sanitarium were a few gospel tracts in their language, Parsee. He tried to pass them out, but nobody wanted them. Then one night, Doug woke up at 2:00 AM, coughing so violently that he could not catch his breath. During this coughing fit, Doug noticed a little old emaciated man across the aisle trying to get out of bed. He was so weak he could not stand up. He began to whimper. He tried again, but to no avail.

c.       In the morning Doug realized that the man had been trying to get up to use the bathroom. The stench in the ward was terrible. The other patients were angry at the old man for not being able to contain himself. The nurse cleaned up the mess and then slapped the man.

d.      The next night, again Doug saw the old man trying to get out of bed, but this time Doug got out of bed, iced up the old man, and carried him to the toilet (just a hole in the floor) and then brought him back to his bed. The old man kissed Doug on the cheek and promptly went to sleep.

e.       Early the next morning, Doug awoke to a steaming cup of tea beside his bed. Another patient had kindly made it for him. The patient motioned that he wanted one of those gospel tracts. The next two days, one after another patient asked, "Could I have one of those tracts too?"

2.      World magazine last year had as their “book of the year” a book by a sociologist Rodney Stark.

a.       I don’t know whether or not Rodney is a Christian.  The book is not written from a Christian perspective, but from a historical and sociological perspective.

b.      Rodney asked the question, “How did the birth of Jesus change the world?” 

c.       Stark argues that there was one huge factor that helped capture the attention of the ancient world—Christianity's revolutionary emphasis on mercy.

d.      Stark writes:  In the midst of the squalor, misery, illness, and anonymity of ancient cities, Christianity provided an island of mercy and security ….. It started with Jesus ….

e.       In contrast, in the pagan world, and especially among the philosophers, mercy was regarded as a character defect and pity as a pathological emotion: because mercy involves providing unearned help or relief, it is contrary to justice …. [Thus] humans must learn "to curb the impulse [to show mercy]"; "the cry of the undeserving for mercy" must go "unanswered." "[Showing mercy] was a defect of character unworthy of the wise and excusable only in those who have not yet grown up."  This was the moral climate in which Christianity taught that … a merciful God requires humans to be merciful.

iii.                      LBC, this passage is a call for us to be known for our compassion.  Let us be know for being merciful.

1.      Not only in our ministries (like drilling water wells in Central America), but in our neighborhoods and our workplaces.

2.      This is a reminder to seek to cultivate a life of compassion and mercy.

3.      If you don’t naturally have this, pray for it!

4.      If you do naturally have this, pray for more!

5.      Our compassion is directly connected to evangelism.

a.       If you have no compassion for people, why would you feel compelled to share the gospel?

6.      Is there suffering you can help alleviate?

7.      Is there spiritual needs around you?

8.      Are their sick people around you?

9.      Are there lonely people around you?

10.  Be a man, be a woman, of mercy and compassion.

V.                       The Gospel.

a.       The Good News of Christianity.  The Good News from God to us.  Is that God has had pity on us.  God has pitied you.  God has had compassion on you.

b.      He loves you.  He pities you.  He feels for you.

c.       And He sent His Son to redeem you and purchase you.

d.      Respond to Him today!

e.       Respond with faith and repentance and thanksgiving!

BI: Jesus is compassionate.  There is a direct connection between the Great Commission and mercy.

Related Topics: Character of God, Christology, Discipleship, Love

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