Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.” This week Pastor G delivers part 43 of his “Just Jesus” series.
We’re covering Matthew 9:18-38 today. Pastor G talks about several more healings Jesus performed as well as His first known resurrection miracle. We also see the depth of Jesus’ compassion for people and His command for all of us to care for others as deeply as He does.
While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” ~ Matthew 9:18
Literally means “to kiss toward.” But it carries the word picture of bowing in humility, kissing the feet of a person, or kissing the ground the person walks on.
Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples. ~ Matthew 9:19
And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; ~ Matthew 19:20
for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” ~ Matthew 9:21
But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well. ~ Matthew 9:22
When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, ~ Matthew 9:23
He said, “Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him. ~ Matthew 9:24
But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. This news spread throughout all that land. ~ Matthew 9:25-26
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” ~ Matthew 9:27
Calling Him Son of David is a very specific Messianic title. They may as well have been screaming “MESSIAH! MESSIAH!”
When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” ~ Matthew 9:28
Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!” ~ Matthew 9:29-30
Jesus is not yet ready to make the truth of Him being the Messiah known. The time will come eventually but He knows when news of that claim is clear to the power brokers of Israel His arrest and crucifixion won’t be far behind. It’s simply not time to reveal this yet. So, it’s not Jesus healing their blind eyes that Jesus wants kept on the DL right now. That would make no sense. He has publicly healed MANY other people already. What Jesus wants kept quiet is the truth that these men have seen – He is the promised Messiah. He is likely telling them this for their own protection as well.
John 9:22 tells us that the Pharisees judged that anyone who proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, would be removed from the synagogue. Jesus is telling them it is not in their best interest to keep shouting Messianic Titles for Him.
But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land. ~ Matthew 9:31
As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” ~ Matthew 9:32-33
But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” ~ Matthew 9:34
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Matthew 9:35
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. ~ Matthew 9:36
Distressed – refers to losing inner strength, becoming weary to the point of fainting. Originally the word refers to an unloosed bowstring. It no longer has any power to do anything. All the potential energy put into it by pulling it tight has been lost.
Dispirited – to be cast off, to be discarded, or to be thrown to the ground. They have lost their inner strength. They are weary.
That’s a pretty good description of many of the people I encounter online and in person these days. A lot of us are probably feeling pretty ekluo and rhipto – distressed and dispirited – by the broken world we live in as well, yeah? Matthew says as Jesus looked at them and interacted with them and healed them, He felt compassion for them. This is one of my favorite Greek words.
Splangknidomai is not found in classic Greek. It was a word coined by the Gospel writers themselves. There was no word in existence to describe the depth of Jesus’ compassion so they have to make one up. Splangknidomai – means to be moved in the inward parts, the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, and bowels. Jesus felt their pain like a major gut punch to Himself. It hurt his heart to see them in such an anxious state.
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” ~ Matthew 9:37-38
Now, more than ever, the fields are ripe for the harvest. Now, more than ever, people are hurting, anxious, frightened, stressed, distressed, dispirited. Now, more than ever, people need to find Jesus and receive what only He can give. Healing of body, soul, mind and strength. Abundant life. Eternal life. Forgiveness. Peace. Patience. Hope. Billions of people need to hear and embrace that message. What’s the holdup? The workers are few. The workers are few. In every church the workers are few. They have been few for 2,000 years and they still are! It is no longer enough to pray for others to be sent. The time is here for each of us to be a harvest worker. If not you then who? If not now then when? Let’s follow Jesus’ example of showing compassion to all. The time of harvest is now.