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Week 5: Matthew 8:14–10:42; 13 Mark 4–5; Luke 8:1-18; 22-56

Sunday (Matthew 9:1-17; 27-34; Luke 8:1-3)

Matthew

Healing and Forgiving a Paralytic

9:1 After getting into a boat he crossed to the other side and came to his own town. 9:2 Just then some people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” 9:3 Then some of the experts in the law said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!” 9:4 When Jesus saw their reaction he said, “Why do you respond with evil in your hearts? 9:5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 9:6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – then he said to the paralytic – “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.” 9:7 And he stood up and went home. 9:8 When the crowd saw this, they were afraid and honored God who had given such authority to men.

The Call of Matthew; Eating with Sinners

9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth. “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him. 9:10 As Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples. 9:11 When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 9:12 When Jesus heard this he said, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. 9:13 Go and learn what this saying means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Superiority of the New

9:14 Then John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?” 9:15 Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn while the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast. 9:16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, because the patch will pull away from the garment and the tear will be worse. 9:17 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the skins burst and the wine is spilled out and the skins are destroyed. Instead they put new wine into new wineskins and both are preserved.”

Healing the Blind and Mute

9:27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, shouting, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 9:28 When he went into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 9:29 Then he touched their eyes saying, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” 9:30 And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about this.” 9:31 But they went out and spread the news about him throughout that entire region.

9:32 As they were going away, a man who could not talk and was demon-possessed was brought to him. 9:33 After the demon was cast out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel!” 9:34 But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of demons he casts out demons.”

Luke

Jesus’ Ministry and the Help of Women

8:1 Some time afterward he went on through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 8:2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and disabilities: Mary (called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had gone out, 8:3 and Joanna the wife of Cuza (Herod’s household manager), Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their own resources.

Prayer

Lord, may I be faithful in copying the model of Jesus in the preaching and proclaiming of Your Word.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus travels “through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1). Traveling with an entourage including some women was somewhat counter to the male-biased culture of the day. Those traveling with Jesus included the twelve apostles who had been called by Him, three women who had been healed by Him, and others who had access to sufficient financial resources from which they supported His ministry.

Jesus heals a paralytic and, when challenged for telling him, “Your sins are forgiven” (Matt. 9:2), makes notice of His Heavenly authority by also healing him completely — “so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (vs. 6).

Jesus dines with a despised tax collector, and the religious leaders take the occasion to condemn Him. He responds that He is not interested in prayers and sacrifices from hearts filled with rebellious sin (the “healthy,” Matt. 9:12), but that He is reaching out to the sick who are aware of their need for spiritual healing from Heaven. [“Jesus’ point is that He associates with those who are sick because they have the need and will respond to the offer of help. I person who is healthy (or who thinks mistakenly that he is) will not seek treatment” (NET sn).]

When challenged as to the failure of his disciples to fast as the religious leaders do, Jesus explains that He is teaching them about the new covenant and they will have time to fast after He is “taken from them” (Matt. 9:15). There is no point in religious fasting for those saved by Grace — that is like pouring “new wine into old wineskins” (vs. 17). Once one has been saved and made new by the new covenant in Jesus, fasting will again have meaning, purpose, and be appropriate — as is pouring new wine in new wineskins.

Faith In Action

Consider

As followers of Christ, do we emulate Jesus in both the telling and explaining of His story?

Do we emulate Jesus in discerning whom God has sent as our students and preparing them well, so they may go forth and tell His story?

Reflect

Do we emulate Jesus by honoring women as well as men in their Biblically-defined roles to serve Him?

Do we observe God’s Word being better understood and more-readily accepted in response to speakers having rightly taken the time to understand their audience and then adapting the retelling of His story to their culture and/or experience?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where and when He wants you to preach and proclaim His Word.

Act

Today I choose to tell someone about the Good News, taking the time to explain it well, while on a chat site, texting or e-mailing, on the phone, or speaking face-to-face with someone. I will ask someone to pray with me for the courage and the wisdom I will need.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Monday (Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-15)

Matthew

The Parable of the Sower

13:1 On that day after Jesus went out of the house, he sat by the lake. 13:2 And such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat to sit while the whole crowd stood on the shore. 13:3 He told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 13:4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 13:5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly because the soil was not deep. 13:6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched, and because they did not have sufficient root, they withered. 13:7 Other seeds fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked them. 13:8 But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 13:9 The one who has ears had better listen!”

13:10 Then the disciples came to him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 13:11 He replied, “You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not. 13:12 For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13:13 For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand. 13:14 And concerning them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

‘You will listen carefully yet will never understand, you will look closely yet will never comprehend.

13:15 For the heart of this people has become dull; they are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

13:16 “But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear. 13:17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

13:18 “So listen to the parable of the sower: 13:19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches what was sown in his heart; this is the seed sown along the path. 13:20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 13:21 But he has no root in himself and does not endure; when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. 13:22 The seed sown among thorns is the person who hears the word, but worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth choke the word, so it produces nothing. 13:23 But as for the seed sown on good soil, this is the person who hears the word and understands. He bears fruit, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”

Mark

The Parable of the Sower

4:1 Again he began to teach by the lake. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there while the whole crowd was on the shore by the lake. 4:2 He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching said to them: 4:3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4:4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 4:5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 4:6 When the sun came up it was scorched, and because it did not have sufficient root, it withered. 4:7 Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked it, and it did not produce grain. 4:8 But other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, sprouting and growing; some yielded thirty times as much, some sixty, and some a hundred times.” 4:9 And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!”

Luke

The Parable of the Sower

8:4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from one town after another, he spoke to them in a parable: 8:5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled on, and the wild birds devoured it. 8:6 Other seed fell on rock, and when it came up, it withered because it had no moisture. 8:7 Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up with it and choked it. 8:8 But other seed fell on good soil and grew, and it produced a hundred times as much grain.” As he said this, he called out, “The one who has ears to hear had better listen!”

8:9 Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 8:10 He said, “You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that although they see they may not see, and although they hear they may not understand.

8:11 “Now the parable means this: The seed is the word of God. 8:12 Those along the path are the ones who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 8:13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in a time of testing fall away. 8:14 As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 8:15 But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance.

Prayer

Lord, may Your Word find me fertile ground, both teachable and willing to apply what is learned.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower, which raises a number of theological principles based on the response of an individual’s heart (the “soil”) to the offer of salvation (the “seed”):

Seed which is sown “along the path” (Mark 4:4). A heart that has become hardened and worn down — as a well-trodden path becomes impervious to feet, rain, or wagon wheels — grows callous toward others and unresponsive to God.

Seed that falls on “rocky ground” (Mark 4:5). The hearts of shallow men, where the Word is therefore unlikely to take root, are more likely to respond to an emotionally-manipulative context (e.g., an invitation at a tent meeting or Christian concert, a charismatic praise and worship service, et cetera), but then fail will to be discipled toward maturity. Those of shallow heart may be like those who cry out “Lord, Lord” and declare “We did miracles in Your name,” to whom Jesus will respond, “I never knew you” (see Matt. 7:21-23). The shallow hearted cannot accept God at His Word, but require of Him signs — and even if given, they will still not believe.

“Among the thorns” (Mark 4:7). The hearts of “double-minded individuals, unstable in all their ways” (James 1:8) are those like Judas of Iscariot and “the rich young man” (see Matt. 19:16-30). Their hearts are truly owned by the world and unwilling to surrender the things of it, especially free will, that they might receive the Father’s gift of salvation in exchange. They have their own agenda — unless Jesus fits in it, He is not their highest priority.

Seed sown on “good soil” (Mark 4:8). Those who have a history of being teachable, making honest and good choices along the way, and genuinely seeking and recognizing the truth when they see it have hearts kept soft and open to Truth.

Jesus chastises that the Jews have written prophesy of the Messiah, so they should recognize Him, and yet “although they see they do not see” (Matt. 13:13). He quotes from the Prophet Isaiah regarding their hearts, which have become “dull...hard of hearing” (vs. 15) by man-made traditions ― little has changed since then.

Jesus notes the condition of each heart: Those with the seed of the Word sown on good soil bear fruit “with steadfast endurance” (Luke 8:15); those with the seed sown on rock do not bear fruit — the seed does not take root “in a time of testing” (vs. 13) or is choked by the weeds of “worries...riches...pleasures of life” (vs. 14).

Faith In Action

Consider

Will personal inventory reveal to what degree our hearts may be less than “good soil,” thereby limiting the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us?

What is more powerful evidence of Christ: The unsaved drawn to Christ when seeing evidence of the fruits of the indwelling Holy Spirit in another or the imagination of the unsaved thrilled by seeing a momentary expression of some sort of ‘power’ during a revival?

Reflect

Where are we choosing to cast the seed of the Good News? Perhaps in the lives of those who are not ready for seeds of Truth to be planted in them? If the Holy Spirit cannot prepare them (only because they resist Him), then nothing we do will.

Have you observed emotionally or intellectually manipulative environments which caused people to repeat words that sounded like surrenders of self and confessions of faith, but which later proved to be nothing more than compliance to the manipulators?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the difference between those who are ready to receive Truth and those who are not (who are themselves distracted or are a distraction to those who are reachable).

Act

Today I choose to pour my energy into those who are teachable.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Tuesday (Matthew 13:24-52; Mark 4:10-34; Luke 8:16-18)

Matthew

The Parable of the Weeds

13:24 He presented them with another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field. 13:25 But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 13:26 When the plants sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. 13:27 So the slaves of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ 13:28 He said, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the slaves replied, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’ 13:29 But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, but then gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

13:31 He gave them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 13:32 It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the wild birds come and nest in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

13:33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen.”

The Purpose of Parables

13:34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the crowds; he did not speak to them without a parable. 13:35 This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,

I will announce what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

Explanation for the Disciples

13:36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 13:37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 13:38 The field is the world and the good seed are the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 13:39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 13:40 As the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes sin as well as all lawbreakers. 13:42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears had better listen!

Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven

13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field.

13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 13:46 When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it.

13:47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea that caught all kinds of fish. 13:48 When it was full, they pulled it ashore, sat down, and put the good fish into containers and threw the bad away. 13:49 It will be this way at the end of the age. Angels will come and separate the evil from the righteous 13:50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13:51 “Have you understood all these things?” They replied, “Yes.” 13:52 Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.”

Mark

The Purpose of Parables

4:10 When he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 4:11 He said to them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those outside, everything is in parables,

4:12 so that although they look they may look but not see, and although they hear they may hear but not understand, so they may not repent and be forgiven.”

4:13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand any parable? 4:14 The sower sows the word. 4:15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: Whenever they hear, immediately Satan comes and snatches the word that was sown in them. 4:16 These are the ones sown on rocky ground: As soon as they hear the word, they receive it with joy. 4:17 But they have no root in themselves and do not endure. Then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 4:18 Others are the ones sown among thorns: They are those who hear the word, 4:19 but worldly cares, the seductiveness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it produces nothing. 4:20 But these are the ones sown on good soil: They hear the word and receive it and bear fruit, one thirty times as much, one sixty, and one a hundred.”

The Parable of the Lamp

4:21 He also said to them, “A lamp isn’t brought to be put under a basket or under a bed, is it? Isn’t it to be placed on a lampstand? 4:22 For nothing is hidden except to be revealed, and nothing concealed except to be brought to light. 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, he had better listen!” 4:24 And he said to them, “Take care about what you hear. The measure you use will be the measure you receive, and more will be added to you. 4:25 For whoever has will be given more, but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

The Parable of the Growing Seed

4:26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who spreads seed on the ground. 4:27 He goes to sleep and gets up, night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 4:28 By itself the soil produces a crop, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 4:29 And when the grain is ripe, he sends in the sickle because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

4:30 He also asked, “To what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to present it? 4:31 It is like a mustard seed that when sown in the ground, even though it is the smallest of all the seeds in the ground – 4:32 when it is sown, it grows up, becomes the greatest of all garden plants, and grows large branches so that the wild birds can nest in its shade.”

The Use of Parables

4:33 So with many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear. 4:34 He did not speak to them without a parable. But privately he explained everything to his own disciples.

Luke

Showing the Light

8:16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in can see the light. 8:17 For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be made known and brought to light. 8:18 So listen carefully, for whoever has will be given more, but whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Prayer

Lord, You give so much of Yourself so that Your children we may be good soil which is teachable and readied to receive fresh seed. May we also be sowers who plant Your seed in others and vessels through which You pour Your living water, nourishing their new-found life.

Scripture In Perspective

After Jesus presented the Parable of the Sower, introducing the Good News, He gave a series of parables to His disciples which address the consequences to seed sown both in good and poor soil:

Parable of the Weeds. Seed planted in good soil is compromised by weeds the “enemy” (Matt. 13:25) sows, and “the owner” (vs. 27) then chooses how to manage the harvest. Jesus explains that God (the Owner) does not allow the good growth to be destroyed by weeds [“The Greek term...refers to an especially undesirable weed that looks like wheat but has poisonous seeds,” NET tn] Instead, He separates them at the harvest: The “wheat” (vs. 30) He stores for His purpose, the weeds are bundled to be burned.

Parable of the Mustard Seed. The beginnings of the Church that Jesus is building to be His Kingdom on earth, as well as the beginnings of faith in the heart of a true Believer, both begin as tiny as a mustard seed, but grow to where they are attractive to the “wild birds” (Matt. 13:32), a reference to curious potential Believers.

Parable of the Yeast. Jesus encourages that big things, like “the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 13:33), can have small beginnings, but we are not to be fooled by that. A small amount of yeast mixed with a large amount of flour causes all the dough to rise; a Believer sharing Truth with others causes the Church to grow incrementally.

Jesus reminds His listeners that He did not bring Truth to them to be kept secret (kept “under a bed,” Luke 8:16), but to be a light shining to displace the darkness around it. When Truth is “brought to light” (vs. 17) it reveals the secrets of the arrogant and deprives him of false gain — so that even what he thinks he has will be “taken from him” (vs. 18).

Parable of the Growing Seed. Jesus notes that the good news of salvation planted in a readied heart (seed in good soil) “sprouts and grows” (Mark 4:27) and is ready “when the harvest has come” (vs. 29).

Jesus illustrates “the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:44) as a treasure one finds and then abandons everything for; as a “pearl” (vs. 46) one searches for and then sells everything to buy; and as a “net” (vs. 47) one casts and then pulls in both good fish, which are saved, and bad fish, which are thrown away . He admonishes that anyone who truly understands the Old Testament will recognize Truth and that one day angels will be sent to “separate the evil from the righteous” (vs. 49).

Faith In Action

Consider

We need to discern if the enemy has sown some weeds among our wheat and what sort of soil we are: good (teachable) or of lesser quality (arrogant, prideful, close-minded).

Reflect

Jesus draws attention to only the seed planted in good soil when He discusses seed’ sprouting (new Believers), growing (through discipleship), and being harvested (for eternal life in Heaven).

When have you observed the Enemy sowing weeds among wheat in the life of a fellow Believer or within a fellowship? Did you confront and challenge it? What was the result?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you have allowed the enemy to sow weeds among the wheat in your life of faith, discipleship, fellowship, and service.

Act

Today I choose to partner with God to come against any poor soil I am presenting to the Holy Spirit and to defeat the lies the Enemy has sown as weeds among my wheat.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Wednesday (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25)

Matthew

Stilling of a Storm

8:23 As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 8:24 And a great storm developed on the sea so that the waves began to swamp the boat. But he was asleep. 8:25 So they came and woke him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die!” 8:26 But he said to them, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was dead calm. 8:27 And the men were amazed and said, “What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Mark

Stilling of a Storm

4:35 On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” 4:36 So after leaving the crowd, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat, and other boats were with him. 4:37 Now a great windstorm developed and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was nearly swamped. 4:38 But he was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. They woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” 4:39 So he got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Be quiet! Calm down!” Then the wind stopped, and it was dead calm. 4:40 And he said to them, “Why are you cowardly? Do you still not have faith?” 4:41 They were overwhelmed by fear and said to one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and sea obey him!”

Luke

Stilling of a Storm

8:22 One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 8:23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. Now a violent windstorm came down on the lake, and the boat started filling up with water, and they were in danger. 8:24 They came and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are about to die!” So he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they died down, and it was calm. 8:25 Then he said to them, “Where is your faith?” But they were afraid and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him!”

Prayer

Lord, Your power is beyond human understanding. May I be humbled by it and have an appropriate sense of awe leading, honor You are due.

Scripture In Perspective

The event of Jesus stilling the storm (Luke 8:22-25) challenges the disciples traveling with Him (and readers today). While Jesus sleeps in one of the boats a terrible storm suddenly arises, something common on the Sea of Galilee. He is awakened by their emotional “Master, Master” (vs. 24), desperate for Him to say or do something.

Jesus commands the storm to be calm and then challenges His disciples, “Why are you cowardly?” (Matt. 8:26). His question is a harbinger of things to come, when their association with Him will bring similar threats to their well-being. Jesus’ “you people of little faith” (ibid) reminds His disciples that their faith will bring comfort when others have only fear.

They are suddenly confronted both with the reality of their fear and weak faith and with the overwhelming presence of the One among them Who has God-like power over the winds and the sea — “What sort of person is this?” (Matt. 8:27).

Faith In Action

Consider

Do we understand that Jesus is God? In the beginning, He created the waters with words, so it should come as no surprise that He can control it with words.

Do we observe that His power and His protection are provided equally to people of faith; be they male, female, old, or young? Do we appreciate that there is no special treatment given based on religious status or position, only to the measure that one has a true saving faith (albeit a faith not yet perfected in them)?

Reflect

Do we respond to the threats of this world with fear or with faith? Recall a time when Jesus was all that stood between you and a very challenging, perhaps frightening, situation. Did you allow Him to give you comfort and strength through the Holy Spirit, or did you rely on your own strength? What was the result?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to appropriate Bible passages and to fellowship with sound Biblical mentors so you might be matured in having courage born of faith.

Act

Today I choose to review how I respond to frightening events in my life — financial, health, relational, or other. I will ask someone to pray in agreement with me for the faith to trust Jesus and the wisdom to allow the Holy Spirit to be my courage. I will share with them the change God works in a specific event as a result.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Thursday (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39)

Matthew

Healing the Gadarene Demoniacs

8:28 When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way. 8:29 They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 8:30 A large herd of pigs was feeding some distance from them. 8:31 Then the demons begged him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 8:32 And he said, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned in the water. 8:33 The herdsmen ran off, went into the town, and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 8:34 Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

Mark

Healing of a Demoniac

5:1 So they came to the other side of the lake, to the region of the Gerasenes. 5:2 Just as Jesus was getting out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came from the tombs and met him. 5:3 He lived among the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 5:4 For his hands and feet had often been bound with chains and shackles, but he had torn the chains apart and broken the shackles in pieces. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5:5 Each night and every day among the tombs and in the mountains, he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him. 5:7 Then he cried out with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I implore you by God – do not torment me!” 5:8 (For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of that man, you unclean spirit!”) 5:9 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 5:10 He begged Jesus repeatedly not to send them out of the region. 5:11 There on the hillside, a great herd of pigs was feeding. 5:12 And the demonic spirits begged him, “Send us into the pigs. Let us enter them.” 5:13 Jesus gave them permission. So the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake, and about two thousand were drowned in the lake.

5:14 Now the herdsmen ran off and spread the news in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 5:15 They came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind – the one who had the “Legion” – and they were afraid. 5:16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demon-possessed man reported it, and they also told about the pigs. 5:17 Then they asked Jesus to leave their region. 5:18 As he was getting into the boat the man who had been demon-possessed asked if he could go with him. 5:19 But Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you.” 5:20 So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed.

Luke

Healing of a Demoniac

8:26 So they sailed over to the region of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 8:27 As Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man from the town met him who was possessed by demons. For a long time this man had worn no clothes and had not lived in a house, but among the tombs. 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before him, and shouted with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I beg you, do not torment me!” 8:29 For Jesus had started commanding the evil spirit to come out of the man. (For it had seized him many times, so he would be bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard. But he would break the restraints and be driven by the demon into deserted places.) 8:30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 8:31 And they began to beg him not to order them to depart into the abyss. 8:32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and the demonic spirits begged Jesus to let them go into them. He gave them permission. 8:33 So the demons came out of the man and went into the pigs, and the herd of pigs rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned. 8:34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran off and spread the news in the town and countryside. 8:35 So the people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus. They found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 8:36 Those who had seen it told them how the man who had been demon-possessed had been healed. 8:37 Then all the people of the Gerasenes and the surrounding region asked Jesus to leave them alone, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and left. 8:38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 8:39 “Return to your home, and declare what God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him.

Matthew

Healing the Gadarene Demoniacs

8:28 When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way. 8:29 They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 8:30 A large herd of pigs was feeding some distance from them. 8:31 Then the demons begged him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 8:32 And he said, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned in the water. 8:33 The herdsmen ran off, went into the town, and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 8:34 Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

Mark

Healing of a Demoniac

5:1 So they came to the other side of the lake, to the region of the Gerasenes. 5:2 Just as Jesus was getting out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came from the tombs and met him. 5:3 He lived among the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 5:4 For his hands and feet had often been bound with chains and shackles, but he had torn the chains apart and broken the shackles in pieces. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5:5 Each night and every day among the tombs and in the mountains, he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him. 5:7 Then he cried out with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I implore you by God – do not torment me!” 5:8 (For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of that man, you unclean spirit!”) 5:9 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 5:10 He begged Jesus repeatedly not to send them out of the region. 5:11 There on the hillside, a great herd of pigs was feeding. 5:12 And the demonic spirits begged him, “Send us into the pigs. Let us enter them.” 5:13 Jesus gave them permission. So the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake, and about two thousand were drowned in the lake.

5:14 Now the herdsmen ran off and spread the news in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 5:15 They came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind – the one who had the “Legion” – and they were afraid. 5:16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demon-possessed man reported it, and they also told about the pigs. 5:17 Then they asked Jesus to leave their region. 5:18 As he was getting into the boat the man who had been demon-possessed asked if he could go with him. 5:19 But Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you.” 5:20 So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed.

Luke

Healing of a Demoniac

8:26 So they sailed over to the region of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 8:27 As Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man from the town met him who was possessed by demons. For a long time this man had worn no clothes and had not lived in a house, but among the tombs. 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before him, and shouted with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I beg you, do not torment me!” 8:29 For Jesus had started commanding the evil spirit to come out of the man. (For it had seized him many times, so he would be bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard. But he would break the restraints and be driven by the demon into deserted places.) 8:30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 8:31 And they began to beg him not to order them to depart into the abyss. 8:32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and the demonic spirits begged Jesus to let them go into them. He gave them permission. 8:33 So the demons came out of the man and went into the pigs, and the herd of pigs rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned. 8:34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran off and spread the news in the town and countryside. 8:35 So the people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus. They found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 8:36 Those who had seen it told them how the man who had been demon-possessed had been healed. 8:37 Then all the people of the Gerasenes and the surrounding region asked Jesus to leave them alone, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and left. 8:38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 8:39 “Return to your home, and declare what God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him.

Prayer

Lord, there is spiritual battle raging all around, in the world and in my life. Help me to read Your Word and recognize Your divine protection and provisions for victory.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus healing the demoniacs demonstrates His power over all things, especially when the demons declare they know Who Jesus to be, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God” (Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28).

When the demon cries out with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God!’“ (Mark 5:7), he uses the term “Son of the Most High God” rather than Lord God, because demons recognize power-based rather than righteousness-based relationships.

Mark and Luke add detail missing in Matthew: The extraordinary physical power of the demon-possessed man, who had “torn the chains apart and broken the shackles” (Mark 5:4) before approaching Jesus; and the self-identity of the demons as “Legion” (Luke 8:30), a qualification of the number of demons involved which underlines the power of Jesus one-versus-many.

Matthew 8:29, “Have You come here to torment us before the time?” illustrates that the demons are indignant because they knew that the agreement between God and Satan did not provide for then as the time of their judgment. [Note: “Before the time” requires one to understand that there was an agreed-upon time for the demons and Satan to face their judgment (they were not equal negotiators, but the Lord played Satan and his evil ego against himself to accomplish His purpose).]

The demons beg Jesus to give them permission to enter a herd of pigs after He casts them out of the man. Luke adds that the demons beg Him “not to order them to depart into the abyss” (Matt. 8:31) ― they did not want to face their judgment yet! “He begged Jesus repeatedly not to send them out of the region” (Mark 5:10) is notable in that Legion did not fear being removed from the man so much as being removed from the region — better to be moved in to a herd of pigs on the earth than to the pit of Hell.

“So the unclean spirits came out and went in to the pigs” (Mark 5:13), but God has the last word when the herd then rushes down a steep slope and is drowned in the lake! The preference of the demons to be allowed to enter other creatures, and Jesus’ response to their request, reinforces that even demons are subject to Him.

The demon-possessed man Jesus had freed asks to travel with Him, but he is told instead to remain with his people, “and tell them what the Lord has done for you” (Mark 5:19).

The reaction of the local people to this event is somewhat bizarre: They witness one of their number being freed from demonic bondage and, instead of wanting the One with the power to free them to remain as long as possible, they beg Him “to leave their region” (Matt. 8:34). [Some speculate that “they were seized with great fear” (Luke 8:37) implies that their fear was more about additional loss of pigs (their livelihood) than fear of Jesus. Others have speculated that they feared demonic retribution as payment for what Jesus had done to the legion of demons. It is also possible that they were simply fearful of that which they did not understand — Jesus’ show of power over the demons was a lot for them to take in. Their fearing what is not understood is no different from most people today.]

Faith In Action

Consider

Do we value the peeks into the realm of spiritual warfare that God provides: Agreements that form the boundaries of the relationship between God and Satan (especially as found in the Book of Revelation) and the supreme authority of Jesus?

Are we frightened sometimes of spiritual battle, preferring to distance ourselves from it rather than engage (be in the midst of) it — even if that results in distancing us from Jesus?

Reflect

Remember Jesus says that, due to the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the same power in the spiritual realm as He did when in His earthly flesh? This is a truth few of us truly comprehend — neither did His disciples — that we have the power in and through Him to heal the sick, raise the dead, command the weather, and silence demons!

Have you been somewhere and felt troubled in your spirit? Did anyone else have the same sense? Did the source of that spiritual unrest find you (the presence of the Holy Spirit in you) disturbing?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to Biblically-safe people and resources to assist you in better understanding spiritual warfare.

Act

Today I choose to consider the times that I have refused to invoke my authority as a child of God, because of my small faith or for fear of the Enemy escalating the confrontation. I will ask a fellow Believer to pray in agreement that I will stand fearless in future spiritual battles, due to my knowing that the Holy Spirit of God in me is greater than any power on earth.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Friday (Matthew 8:14-22; 9:18-26; 35-38; 13:53-58; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56)

Matthew

Healings at Peter’s House

8:14 Now when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying down, sick with a fever. 8:15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve them. 8:16 When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. 8:17 In this way what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled:

“He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.”

Challenging Professed Followers

8:18 Now when Jesus saw a large crowd around him, he gave orders to go to the other side of the lake. 8:19 Then an expert in the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 8:20 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 8:21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 8:22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Restoration and Healing

9:18 As he was saying these things, a ruler came, bowed low before him, and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.” 9:19 Jesus and his disciples got up and followed him. 9:20 But a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 9:21 For she kept saying to herself, “If only I touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 9:22 But when Jesus turned and saw her he said, “Have courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed from that hour. 9:23 When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the disorderly crowd, 9:24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but asleep.” And they began making fun of him. 9:25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and gently took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 9:26 And the news of this spread throughout that region.

Workers for the Harvest

9:35 Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 9:38 Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”

Rejection at Nazareth

13:53 Now when Jesus finished these parables, he moved on from there. 13:54 Then he came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and miraculous powers? 13:55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary? And aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 13:56 And aren’t all his sisters here with us? Where did he get all this?” 13:57 And so they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own house.” 13:58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

Mark

Restoration and Healing

5:21 When Jesus had crossed again in a boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he was by the sea. 5:22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came up, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 5:23 He asked him urgently, “My little daughter is near death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may be healed and live.” 5:24 Jesus went with him, and a large crowd followed and pressed around him.

5:25 Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years. 5:26 She had endured a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet instead of getting better, she grew worse. 5:27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 5:28 for she kept saying, “If only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 5:29 At once the bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 5:30 Jesus knew at once that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 5:31 His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you and you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 5:32 But he looked around to see who had done it. 5:33 Then the woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 5:34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

5:35 While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue ruler’s house saying, “Your daughter has died. Why trouble the teacher any longer?” 5:36 But Jesus, paying no attention to what was said, told the synagogue ruler, “Do not be afraid; just believe.” 5:37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 5:38 They came to the house of the synagogue ruler where he saw noisy confusion and people weeping and wailing loudly. 5:39 When he entered he said to them, “Why are you distressed and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” 5:40 And they began making fun of him. But he put them all outside and he took the child’s father and mother and his own companions and went into the room where the child was. 5:41 Then, gently taking the child by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up.” 5:42 The girl got up at once and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). They were completely astonished at this. 5:43 He strictly ordered that no one should know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Luke

Restoration and Healing

8:40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, because they were all waiting for him. 8:41 Then a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue, came up. Falling at Jesus’ feet, he pleaded with him to come to his house, 8:42 because he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds pressed around him. 8:43 Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years but could not be healed by anyone. 8:44 She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, and at once the bleeding stopped. 8:45 Then Jesus asked, “Who was it who touched me?” When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are surrounding you and pressing against you!” 8:46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I know that power has gone out from me.” 8:47 When the woman saw that she could not escape notice, she came trembling and fell down before him. In the presence of all the people, she explained why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed. 8:48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

8:49 While he was still speaking, someone from the synagogue ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 8:50 But when Jesus heard this, he told him, “Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 8:51 Now when he came to the house, Jesus did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 8:52 Now they were all wailing and mourning for her, but he said, “Stop your weeping; she is not dead but asleep.” 8:53 And they began making fun of him, because they knew that she was dead. 8:54 But Jesus gently took her by the hand and said, “Child, get up.” 8:55 Her spirit returned, and she got up immediately. Then he told them to give her something to eat. 8:56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

Prayer

Lord, may we not be anxious but comforted, in that we know all things are in Your hands. May we have a sense of urgency in seeking You, as we know not our time in this world or when You may return to call all yours home to Heaven.

Scripture In Perspective

Fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, “He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases” (Isa. 53:4), Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever and casts out demons “with a word” (Matt. 8:16).

Jesus challenges a follower, or one who claimed he wanted to follow Him, to be willing to break the tradition of the one-year wait to bury his father. He tells him to follow Him immediately and leave those spiritually dead to their religious traditions — “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:22).

Jesus heals a woman “suffering from a hemorrhage” (Luke 8:43). She merely touches “the edge of His cloak” (Matt. 9:20) and is healed the moment Jesus senses her touch. He tells her “your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34).

A formerly hostile “ruler of the synagogue” (Luke 8:41) asks Jesus to come to his home and lay His hand on his daughter who is “near death” (Mark 5:23) so that “she will live” (Matt. 9:18). This request of Jesus by the local ruler is a major act of humility and a risk to his position in the culture. Jesus enters the ruler’s home, tells the father “the girl is not dead” (Matt. 9:24), and takes the child “by the hand” (Mark 5:41) — “her spirit returned, and she got up immediately” (Luke 8:55).

Jesus encourages His disciples to recognize the many who have been led by the Holy Spirit to accept the gift of salvation — “the harvest is plentiful” (Matt. 9:37) . He encourages them to ask the Lord to “send out workers into His harvest” (vs. 38), those He has equipped to share the Good News, to join the disciples in baptizing, discipling, and sending out new Believers in turn.

The people in Nazareth doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, because He had grown up among them and they can not imagine one of them being the Messiah — “Isn’t this [just] the carpenter’s son?” (Matt. 15:35) reveals that they are blind to what they had seen in Jesus as He grew up and clueless as to how He is fulfilling prophesy.

Faith In Action

Consider

Do we really trust in the healing power of God? Do we go wherever God sends us, no matter the inconvenience? Are we active in the harvest?

Reflect

Do we sometimes fail to recognize those among us whom Jesus has called apart to serve Him — thus failing to encourage and equip those called for ministry or even refusing (consciously or unconsciously) to submit to their spiritual leadership over us?

Have you been in a situation where medical professionals declared a health problem for someone to be either terminal or very grave, yet many Believers prayed in agreement for a healing which occurred and which the doctors could not explain away?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a sense of urgency in getting about the work He has assigned to you and others who claim His name.

Act

Today I choose to prayerfully discern those whom God has brought into my sphere of influence to disciple. I will initiate a mentoring agreement with them to facilitate their growth toward becoming fellow harvesters. I will pray in agreement with another for patience and wisdom.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Saturday (Matthew 10)

Sending Out the Twelve Apostles

10:1 Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness. 10:2 Now these are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter), and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee and John his brother; 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 10:4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

10:5 Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them as follows: “Do not go to Gentile regions and do not enter any Samaritan town. 10:6 Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 10:7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near!’ 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 10:9 Do not take gold, silver, or copper in your belts, 10:10 no bag for the journey, or an extra tunic, or sandals or staff, for the worker deserves his provisions. 10:11 Whenever you enter a town or village, find out who is worthy there and stay with them until you leave. 10:12 As you enter the house, give it greetings. 10:13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 10:14 And if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your message, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or that town. 10:15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town!

Persecution of Disciples

10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 10:17 Beware of people, because they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues. 10:18 And you will be brought before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them and the Gentiles. 10:19 Whenever they hand you over for trial, do not worry about how to speak or what to say, for what you should say will be given to you at that time. 10:20 For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

10:21 “Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 10:22 And you will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 10:23 Whenever they persecute you in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

10:24 “A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave greater than his master. 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much more will they defame the members of his household!

Fear God, Not Man

10:26 “Do not be afraid of them, for nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. 10:27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops. 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 10:29 Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 10:30 Even all the hairs on your head are numbered. 10:31 So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

10:32 “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. 10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 10:36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.

Rewards

10:40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 10:41 Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 10:42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.”

Prayer

Lord, may I dwell in Your Word so that my perspective and priorities are rightly aligned with Yours.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus sends out His twelve disciples, first warning of persecution to come, instructing whom they should fear (God, not man), reminding that His ministry is not “to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34), and encouraging that those who welcome them will be rewarded.

Jesus tells the disciples to first travel to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (10:6) and to travel light, trusting God to provide for them through those whose hearts He has prepared. When they enter a house or town, they are to seek out those who are “worthy” (10:11) — if welcomed, they should share their blessing; if not, they should depart and take their blessing with them.

The disciples are warned to beware those who reject His message — Jesus says they will betray them to the religious leaders “because of Me” (10:18). He warns that they will persecuted for being a threat to the religious establishment’s traditional ways. [Note that what they are to experience parallels what Jesus is to experience to a greater degree.]

Jesus instructs them to wait for words to be given them when they are brought before men for trial because of His name ― the Holy Spirit will speak through them. And they are not to fear mere threats, which have no power over salvation — “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (10:22).

The Good News will cause conflict between family members and neighbors — the Enemy will resist Jesus’ invasion of what he misbelieves to be his territory by pitting Believer against unbeliever. Luke states that Jesus will reward well the one who receives His disciples — “he will never lose his reward” (10:42).

[Note: Jesus was preparing for the Cross — He had not yet been resurrected or had sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Therefore, care must be taken not to draw too much specific direction from this transitional period for determining our post-cross, post-Easter, post-ascension, post-Pentecost Christian walk.

If religious doctrine or practices regarding this transitional period are applicable to our post-Pentecost walk, they must be found re-affirmed (still reflecting the desires of Christ) in post-Pentecost Biblical text.

Some old doctrines and practices ended at the Cross, some new began at Easter, and some elements of our relationship with God are altered by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We must intentionally observe and practice those changes, “leaving the old things behind” (Eph. 4:17-24). A good discussion pertaining to this can be found visiting the bible.org study “Leaving Our Old Ways Behind,” by Bob Deffinbaugh.]

Faith In Action

Consider

The truth of Christ will be resisted in the world, often violently, but there are willing and teachable hearts among the many unteachable. Sometimes we will be required to “brave enemy fire” as we work to fight for the willing-but-wounded.

God needs no man with clever words to defend Him, He will defend Himself with His Holy Spirit speaking through His humble servants.

Reflect

How difficult it must be for a completed Jew to accept Christ as their Messiah and adapt to giving up or rethinking doctrines and traditions which have been central to generations of their family and their religious and social culture.

Have you found yourself sharing the love of Christ without actually mentioning His name, yet you were assured by His Holy Spirit that the ones to whom you were serving or witnessing were being convicted by Him of His presence and love?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment as to where, when, and how to share His Word.

Act

Today I choose to seek a place new to me in which to bring the Good News of Jesus to the unsaved-but-teachable. This may be through ministering to the homeless or those in prison, making friends through hobbies or sports, tutoring English as a second language, or taking another opportunity God provides.

Be Specific __________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study –”The Chronological Gospels” – “Week 5 of 12” - prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in July of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

 

Related Topics: Devotionals, Curriculum