Matthew 8:1-10:42 by Robert Dean
Did Jesus offer universal healthcare when He was on earth healing people? Listen to this lesson for a review of the first ten miracles of Jesus. Understand that there are patterns in these miracles that are exactly what will happen in history. Learn that the gospel went first to Israel, then to the Gentiles, and in the future to Israel again. Learn that Jesus doesn’t want part-time soldiers but He wants us completely sold out to Him. If you make the decision to be a disciple. it will involve following Jesus by studying God’s Word and walking by means of the Spirit.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:54 mins 27 secs

Patterns and Principles
Matthew 8:1–10:42
Matthew Lesson #066
February 8, 2015
www.deanbibleministries.org

At this point in our study I want to go back and review this section from Matthew 8 through Matthew 10. Matthew is a Gospel written by a Jew to Jewish Christians about the Jewish Messiah to confirm, first of all, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah. Second, to answer their question about why, if the King has come, the kingdom hasn’t come. He is telling them why the kingdom was offered and why it was postponed, and why they are living in a new age. That is really the setup. And it is Matthew that has emphasized discipleship, because discipleship, even though the word is not used once we get into Acts, the concept is there, which is that we are all challenged to be followers of Jesus Christ and to learn the Word. That is the priority in our life.

So Matthew is presenting that foundation and this whole concept of discipleship. It runs through this section like a laser targeting on those last verses in Matthew chapter ten and dealing with the reality and the obligations of discipleship on every believer. It is a reminder that just because you are a believer in Christ doesn’t mean you are a disciple. A believer is someone who has secured eternal life through faith alone in Christ alone; a disciple is a person who decides that after they are saved they want to follow Jesus.

So Matthew begins with a presentation of the Messiah. He goes through His genealogy, which establishes the fact that Joseph cannot be the human father of Jesus. It is an emphasis upon the virgin birth. He gives more of an emphasis to that in the latter part of chapter one than the other Gospel writers do. He brings in the wise men, the Magi, who recognize the royalty of Jesus. Jesus’ family then flees to Egypt, returns from Egypt, which is a pattern established in the Old Testament (Hosea 11:1). We have then the annunciation by John the Baptist that Jesus is the Messiah. This is the presentation of the King. Then we have chapters 5–7 which is where Jesus is proclaiming the implications of the message of the kingdom to His disciples. It is the preaching of the King, the training of the Twelve, in what we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount.

At the conclusion of that Jesus makes an interesting comparison, which indicates His claim to deity as He talks about building a house. Every person is building a house. Your life is a house. What are you building it on? What is the foundation? He talks about the person who builds solidly on the rock of His Word, and that he compares to Himself. He goes to Deuteronomy and compares Himself to the Word, and says that he who builds upon the Word will have a solid foundation. Again, He is applying to Himself the attributes of deity.

Then we come to Matthew 8–10. Matthew 8 and 9 covers ten miracles arranged in three groups of three. In the last group there are two miracles that are intertwined and are always connected together; but the episode is presented together in each of the three Gospels as one episode. It is important to look at that and see why Matthew arranged things in that particular way. The purpose of these miracles within the flow of Mathew’s Gospel is to authenticate the King: that the King has come; He is the promised Messiah, and that He is performing all of the works that are expected of the Messiah to establish His credentials. As we go from Matthew 9 to Matthew 10 we see the transition of His power and His message to the twelve disciples. This again fits a pattern that goes back into the Old Testament. We see Moses transferring to Joshua, Elijah transferring to Elisha, and Jesus now transferring this message and miracles to the disciples. From Matthew 10 we go into a new section. In Matthew 11 we start to see the heavy opposition develop to the kingdom message, and it culminates with the official rejection of Jesus by the religious leadership in Matthew 12, where they say He is casting out demons by the power of Satan.

Before we get into the opposition to the King in chapter 11, we will go back and take a look at some things a little differently in these chapters. Remember, one of Matthew’s major themes is to show why the kingdom has been postponed. It was because the Jewish leadership, political and religious, and the majority of the Jewish people rejected Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah. Tens of thousands of Jews did believe in Jesus: a huge number. And after the Resurrection and after we get into the book of Acts we see even larger numbers accept Jesus as Messiah. But the nation as a whole rejects Him. For that reason the kingdom is postponed.

Matthew doesn’t develop his story chronologically. Luke gives us the chronological framework of the life of Christ, but Matthew is developing his message thematically. He is writing a theological argument to answer this question of who Jesus is and why the kingdom has been postponed. So these episodes that we see in Matthew 8 and 9 are not arranged in the order in which they took place; we see that in the other Gospels. They are put in this order for a reason. Matthew isn’t just haphazardly doing this.

Many times what we see in Scripture, because we dig down so much and look at all the details, we see that the greater organization of a book often has as much significance for us as the details of the text. That is why I like doing these reviews. It gives us more of a bird’s eye view where we can catch these patterns—which is why I have entitled this review “patterns and principles”. What we are seeing here is that there are certain patterns that we observe in Matthew’s arrangement of these ten miracles that he is trying to make clear to us. He is making a number of key points simply in terms of the arrangement of the miracles. He arranges them in groups of three, interspersed with these episodes related to discipleship. These episodes related to discipleship focus on the future ministry. At this point in Matthew’s order, Jesus hasn’t sent the disciples out yet, so chapters 8 & 9 are really a prelude establishing the foundation for why He is sending out the disciples to the house of Judah and the house of Israel in Matthew 10.

As we look at this we see a certain pattern take place in each of these triads. First, there is a miracle related to Israel. Second, Jesus goes to a Gentile. Then He returns to the Jew. This is a pattern that we see throughout the New Testament: that God’s grace goes first to the Jew, then to the Greek; and then He is coming back to the Jew. Just because Israel rejected Christ at the first advent does not mean that He is done with Israel. He is going to return His plan and His purpose back to Israel.

We have these three episodes interspersed here related to discipleship, and that is going to focus us and lays the groundwork for Jesus sending out the Twelve when we come to chapter ten. And in these three separate episodes that relate to the concept of discipleship, Jesus lays down the groundwork that those who follow Him must submit one hundred per cent to His authority and follow Him without looking back, and that they understand the particular mission that they have been called to.

We start off with the first episode in Matthew 8:1–4 where Jesus cleanses a leper. There is the context of great multitudes and the leper comes to Him and worships Him. We have to understand some things here. First, the individual had leprosy. In the Bible this was a skin disorder, probably not identical to what we call Hansen’s disease today; it was a more general term for any skin disorder. Leprosy itself in Scripture is used as a picture of sin and the disfigurement that comes from sin. It was something that could be caught. The leper himself was scorned and rejected by society. The disease would disfigure, and the lepers were horrible to look at; they would have to cover their body, their faces. Often part of their nose would fall off, other extremely ugly sores would develop on their skin as well as upon their organs, and leprosy would go down into the bone. Overall the individual with leprosy was greatly disfigured.

Whenever a leper would go into the public they were to cry out, “Unclean”, and the crowds would part. So we can imagine this scene where the leper comes to Jesus who was surrounded by multitudes, and they would have just parted like the Red Sea as he came into the presence of Jesus. Jesus does not have to draw back because He is going to cleanse this individual who is unclean.

This miracle is mentioned in all three Gospels. Luke gives a little more detail. He says that this individual is white with leprosy. It has developed to an extreme case; he has been profoundly affected so that he is extremely repulsive in his appearance. This is a depiction of sin. In the context he is Jewish and is a representative of how Israel has been disfigured at this time in history because of sin, because of their disobedience to God. That is not picking on Israel because all human beings are disfigured by sin; we have all been corrupted by sin. But in this picture, because of the teaching of the Pharisees, Israel believed they had a right to salvation because they were the descendants of Abraham. So there wasn’t a doctrine of sin in Pharisaical theology that would mean that every Jew, every person who came into the world was spiritually dead; they were somehow exempt from that.

And so the leper comes and presents himself to the Lord, and he recognizes who the Lord is. He bows down to Him and he worships Him, and the Lord accepts that worship. In Scripture whenever we see someone trying to worship someone other than God they are always rebuked, but when men bow down to Jesus He accepts their worship. Matthew 8:2 NASB “And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean’.” He understood. He is picturing what should be the response of Israel to the message of John the Baptist and Jesus: to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He is exemplifying that concept of repentance as he is coming to the Lord, and the Lord says, “I am willing; be cleansed”.  He is demonstrating as the Messiah, of course, His power over sin, His power to cleanse sin, and to heal that problem.

Matthew 8:4 NASB “And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them’.” This follows the Levitical protocols of Levitical offerings for cleansing. Another reason He tells the leper not to tell anyone is because at this point in His ministry Jesus is not offering “universal health care”. He doesn’t want the word to get out and everybody to get confused and say: Well, Jesus fed the 5000, He is cleansing the lepers; let’s go to Jesus for a meal ticket and He is going to give us universal health care. That is not His mission. That is a distraction. These are only ways in which He is establishing His credentials as to who He is.

The second episode involves a centurion’s servant. A centurion would be one of the top non-commissioned officers in the Roman Army. As such a centurion was thought of in very negative terms in the context of Judea because a centurion represented the Gentile Army, the enemy. He represented the oppression that in biblical terms had come to Israel since 586 BC when they came into the times of the Gentiles and under the dominion of the Gentiles. But this centurion is a God-fearer. We know that he was also responsible for giving a large amount of money to pay for the construction of the synagogue. He represents that the gospel will go to the Gentiles. After healing the Jewish leper Jesus then goes to him and the centurion says, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”  Notice that all of these miracles have to do with people who are diseased, deformed, demon possessed or dead. All of those are things that represent the consequences of sin and total depravity in the human race, and throughout all of these miracles we see that the only solution to the problem is the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the Messiah, the only One who can heal, save and deliver from the ultimate problem that plagues the human race.   

Matthew 8:7 NASB “Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him’.”

Notice also from Scripture that when we go to the book of Acts and the gospel goes to the Gentiles for the first time, to whom does it go? It goes to the centurion at Caesarea by the sea. So there are these patterns that we observe throughout Scripture indicating that the gospel isn’t just going to any Gentile, but it is going to someone because his position of authority represents the enemy to Israel and the enemy to God.

Jesus heals this servant to the centurion, which is a real slap-down to the Pharisees who taught that Jews had a special relationship with God and by virtue of their relationship with Abraham they would be saved. This is exemplified in the last couple of statements Jesus made in vv. 12 and 13.

Matthew 8:11, 12 NASB “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline {at the table} with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The point is that the gospel is not just for Israel; it is for everyone. It is for Gentile as well as Jew, whereas the teaching of the Pharisees had elevated the Jews to the status of special spiritual status, and that just because of their relationship to Abraham they would be automatically saved. This is alluded to in John 1:12, 13 (John said in contrast to the previous verse, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him”): “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” The issue is just believing in Jesus’ name; “being born” is talking about being born again, regeneration; “not of blood”, not based on genetic relationship to Abraham; “nor of the will of the flesh”; you can’t just exercise your own will and save yourself; “nor of the will of man”, man cannot determine it, ultimately it is God. We don’t have any merit in the case; it is based upon God and His Word and the condition He lays down in the Scriptures.

Then we come to the third miracle: Peter’s mother-in-law is healed. Matthew 8:14 NASB “When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.” Peter’s mother-in-law represents Israel. She is Jewish, and so Jesus has gone to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. Now He is coming back to the Jews, which is exactly what will take place in history. He came to Israel, offered the kingdom; He is rejected. Then He turned to the Gentiles, we have the establishment of the church, but that doesn’t end God’s plan for Israel. He will come back to Israel, they will accept Him, and then He will return and establish His kingdom. The situation here is that the mother-in-law is sick with a fever and so she can’t do anything.

Matthew 8:15 NASB “He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.” It is only going to be the Messiah who can enable her to fulfill her purpose, which is stated at the end—”she got up and waited on Him”. Israel was called by God to serve Him. This is stated several times in Exodus (4:23, 8:1), but Israel is sick with sin. They were condemned for idolatry in the Old Testament and disobedient to the Law—which is why they were removed by God in divine judgment in 722 BC for the northern kingdom and 586 BC for the southern kingdom—and now they are under the dominion of the Gentiles. But before they can serve God they have to recover from the sickness of sin and idolatry and rejection of God, and that only comes as a result of Jesus coming and touching them, and their recovery. 

Following that, in Matthew 8:16–17 we see a sort of summary statement where many people come to Him with the demon possessed and sick, and this relates to the fulfillment in Isaiah 53:4, that “He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses”.

Then we have the interlude related to discipleship. This is interesting when we put this in context. I have often had trouble with verse 20. A scribe comes to Him and says NASB “I will follow You wherever You go.” Note the word “follow” which will show up several times in the next verses. Jesus responds to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air {have} nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” However, as we read through the Gospels we see that Jesus did have somewhere to lay His head. He wasn’t just camping out the whole time. Several times there are references to His house. So what is the significance of this? It is that He is warning the disciples that things are going to get difficult. That runs all the way through these little vignettes with the disciples in this chapter and is fully developed in Matthew 10. There is going to be rejection. And Jesus is going to be rejected.

What He is saying here is what John makes clear in John 1:11, that Jesus came unto His own and His own received Him not. He came to His home but the family didn’t accept Him. Israel did not accept Him, so He had no place to lay His head because they were rejecting Him. Matthew 8:20 is a cryptic way to talk about the fact that He would be rejected and He wouldn’t have a home; He wouldn’t be accepted.

We see a second would-be disciple in Matthew 8:21 NASB “Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” This is another idiom for saying wait a minute, I’m ready; I want to say I’m committed, but I’m really not. In this context, before the father was buried there was an initial burial and then they would wait a year or more for the body to be fully decomposed, and then the bones would be taken and placed in an ossuary. So what he is saying is not let me go home real quick and do the funeral and then I’ll come back, he is basically saying, I have other things to do in this world and a lot of obligations, let me just focus on those things and I’ll catch up later. Matthew 8:22 NASB “But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead’.”

That sets up the next triad, which begins with the storm and the ship with the disciples.   

Matthew 8:23 NASB ”When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.” That thread is now being emphasized. A disciple follows Jesus no matter what the cost, no matter what the circumstances. The disciples here present Israel in a slightly different way. Jesus gets on the boat; His disciples get on the boat. Jesus is the one who is carrying the message; He is the one who is the teacher. He goes to the back of the boat and goes to sleep. The storm comes up and the disciples who are in control of the ship panic, and they turn to Him in order to save them. They recognize that He is the solution.

What are we seeing in this pattern? Think about it. Men get on a boat and the one who is entrusted with the message gets on board and goes to sleep. A storm arises, the sailors panic and turn to the one who is sleeping to somehow save them, and somehow He has a solution to the problem. But in the earlier story it is Jonah. Jonah is the one who got on the ship; Jonah is the one who was commissioned by the Lord to take the message of the gospel to the Assyrians. Jonah was a racist; he hated the Assyrians. He said he would do anything but take the gospel to the Assyrians, and so he went down to the port of Joppa and got on a ship to go as far as he could in the opposite direction, to Spain, and to the settlement there called Tarshish. He wants to escape the responsibility of God and his basic position is: I would rather die than take the gospel to these awful Assyrians.

So the disciples here represent in some way Israel and their lack of faith. Since they were called almost, they had been characterized by a lack of faith—a lack of faith at the exodus generation, lack of faith at the conquest generation, failures of faith throughout the period of the judges, had more faith demonstrated during the time of David and Solomon, but then the split of the kingdom into north and south. All of the kings in the north are evil, and all but six in the south. So over this period from about 930 to 585 BC, a period of over 340 years, what did they have? Only six good kings! There is a lack of faith in Israel.

The storm comes up, the disciples panic, and they turn to the Lord: “Save us, we are perishing”. This is what Israel is expected to do at this time in their history. They are to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. They are supposed to turn to the Lord and say, “We are perishing”, and look to Him as the only solution. Their failure to do that led to the disaster of AD 70. Jesus responds to His disciples: “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” In other words: you are not trusting me. Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” He was demonstrating His power over creation.

This also foreshadows the storms that will come later in the lives of the disciples, especially in Acts, and that the only solution to life’s problems is to call upon the Lord; He is the one who can sustain us. So it is a picture primarily of Israel and what they should be doing, but they are not doing.

In the next example they go across the Sea of Galilee to the other side. What is on the other side? The Gentiles! He is leaving the Jews and is going to the territory of the Gentiles—to the Gergasenes on the opposite shore in the area today that is near the Golan Heights. Jesus is going to the Gentiles who are in hostility to Israel. The first two people He meets are demon possessed. They represent the Gentiles. The Gentiles are under the dominion of Satan; they are in darkness, and have been since the tower of Babel. We learn from reading the accounts that these two demon possessed men were naked. That reminds us of what? Adam and Eve after they had sinned. They had become aware of their nakedness and tried to sew clothes from fig leaves, and they hide from God because they are spiritually dead. These men are out in a graveyard, indicating that they are living with the dead; they are identified with the dead, representing the spiritual death that the Gentiles have.

We know that these demons cried out to Jesus because they recognize His authority but they do not want to be tormented or sent to Torments at this particular time. Jesus then delivers the two demon possessed men. How do we see them at the end of the story? They are sitting; they are relaxed; they have recovered; they are reconciled to the other Gentiles and reconciled to God—they are saved.

Then we see reaction from the city. They are excited about what happens. Matthew 8:34 NASB “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.” Look at what this man did; He is remarkable! I think this pictures the fact that in much of history in the Church Age, Gentile nations have initially been receptive to the gospel and receptive to Jesus. But then what happens? They turn against Him. We see this time and time again, and the historical pattern is that once an area, once a territory, once a country accepts the gospel and then rejects the gospel, they never recover from that. We see in the most recent history the tremendous things that happened in Britain and Europe during the last two or three hundred years. They have turned against the gospel and turned to darkness, and they won’t recover from that. And we are following in those footsteps as a nation today and we will likely see that same pattern.

Then we come back to the Jews. This is in the second pattern. It has a miracle representing Israel first, then a miracle representing Gentiles. Then third, He comes back to the Jews and He heals the paralytic. He heals this paralyzed man who is unable to move, to function or do anything, and he is a picture of Israel at that time. A paralyzed man is a man who can think, but he can’t act; the body is cut off from the head just as Israel is cut off from their Head, which is God. They are paralyzed by sin, and this is the state of Israel and the state of all human beings who are rejecters of Jesus as Messiah; they are paralyzed by sin. The solution is forgiveness. Only the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins and to demonstrate that He tells the paralyzed man to take up his bed and go to his house. This is a picture of what is needed and what will take place in the future with Israel. They will be restored through the forgiveness of sins, and the kingdom will eventually come. 

Then we have the episode of the tax collectors. What does Jesus say to Matthew? Follow me. “And he got up and followed Him.” That is what disciples do. When the Pharisees see it they are critical because it doesn’t fit their superficial external righteousness. They look at a tax collector who has received the grace of God and are critical of him. It is interesting that there were only two Pharisees that we know of in the Gospels—there were several Pharisees and a number of priests, according to Acts, who were saved after the Resurrection—that were saved: Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea. Most of the religious leaders did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Who did? Tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes, and the people of the street who knew that they had no hope of any salvation other than the grace of God.

In this section, and also Jesus is talking about His disciples again in Matthew 9:14–17, and in both of these there is an emphasis that there needs to be a change and that this change is related to repentance—v. 13 “… for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners”—to repentance. That is what is being demonstrated throughout all of these episodes. Then in vv. 14–17 He concludes with the fact that new wine doesn’t go into old wine skins; there needs to be something new. There is something new coming.

Now we come to the last part. There are two miracles, and what He demonstrates is that He goes first to a Jew. Then there is a miracle for a Gentile, and then He comes back to the Jew. The resurrection or the recovery of the synagogue official’s daughter doesn’t happen until after He heals the Gentile woman who comes to Him. There are two women. First is the synagogue ruler’s daughter. The ruler’s name is Jairus. Jairus means to be enlightened, or God is the one who enlightens. There is something here that is brought out in terms of enlightenment. Jairus thought his daughter had taken her last breath when he left. In the other Gospels she is dying. Here he has gone to Jesus thinking she has already died: “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” What we learn from Luke is that she is twelve years old. She is still a child because in Judaism you don’t reach adulthood until you are thirteen years old. Jesus is going to follow him back to heal her but a woman who has had a hemorrhage for twelve years interrupts him. Do we think that that is just chance, that this woman had had this blood flow for twelve years, and the little girl is twelve years old? As long as that little girl has been alive this Gentile woman has had this malady. Chance?

The pattern here is that as long as Israel has been called out by God—since Genesis 12 —the Gentiles have been sick; they have not been productive, because while this woman has had this ongoing hemorrhage for twelve years, she is barren. She can’t have children; she is non-productive. It is going to take the Messiah to change her condition, to change the condition of the Gentiles so that they can fulfill their purpose from God and be productive. He turns to her and heals her. She sort of sneaks in the back door, touches the hem of his garment or the tassels of His robe, and says to herself: “If only I can touch the tassels of His garment I will be made well.” He turns around, catches her in the act, and says: “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.

Notice: Many times before He has told people not to tell anybody. He doesn’t tell the Gentile woman that because in the church age the Gentiles are supposed to go and tell everybody, and they will fulfill that.

He comes into Jairus’s house and says the girl was just sleeping, and He raises her from the dead. This is what will happen in the future in the pattern. Israel as a nation is still spiritually dead. That doesn’t mean all Jews reject Christ but most do during the church age. There are many who don’t; there are numerous Jews who have accepted Jesus as Messiah. But it is a minority. That is what Romans 11 pictures. There will be a turning, a future, when Israel will return as a nation and accept Jesus as their Messiah.

Both of the last two episodes relate to what happens with Israel in the end times. There are the two blind men who come out of Jericho. Matthew 9:27 NASB “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ [28] 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’.” The next episode deals with a mute man. He is demon possessed and mute and he can’t speak. So what is going on here? 

Isaiah 35:4 NASB “Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come {with} vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you’.” When does this happen? This is focusing on the end times, the end of the day of the Lord, which is the end of the Tribulation period. Then, at that time! What we see in the Gospels is just a preview of coming attractions. [5] “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.” Israel is blind. They can’t see God at this stage in history. During the first advent they couldn’t see who Jesus was; they did not hear what He was teaching. Their eyes were blind. Their ears were deaf. They couldn’t walk with God. They were lame, and they couldn’t talk about God because they were unable to speak. [6] “Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.”

So in these two episodes we see that Jesus is the one who enlightens those who are blind; their eyes were opened. And He is the one who gives the mute man to speak, by casting out the demon. This is a picture of Israel’s future regeneration: that they will once again return to a place where they are seeing God, hearing God, walking with God, and they will praise God for their salvation.

That is a summary of chapters eight and nine. Chapter ten flows immediately out of chapter nine. Chapter nine ends with Jesus going out to the cities and synagogues teaching and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Multitudes are following Him but He turns to His disciples and says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” The Lord sends them out, and that is the first four verses of chapter ten. He gives them their mission in Matthew 10:5-15 to go to the house of Israel. They are to do what? Verse 8 NASB “Heal {the} sick, raise {the} dead, cleanse {the} lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” They are carrying on the ministry of the Messiah and authenticating His message.

Then there is the warning that they are to beware of men. They would be delivered up to persecution and this would continue until the Son of Man comes. They can expect that this will be the trend of the age, but it is especially true in that period just before the Son of Man comes, which is at the Second Coming, mentioned in Matthew 10:23.

The issue for us is that we are to be completely sold out to the Lord and committed to Him, and that is the focal point of the statement that Jesus made in Matthew 10:38: “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” That is what this whole section drives to. It is calling these disciples and the ones to whom they preach to this level of commitment to be a disciple and follow Jesus. The application for us is the same. Jesus doesn’t want part-time soldiers. There is not a reserve unit in the army of God where you just go out for weekend duty. But that is how most Christians treat it. They are too busy. All they have time for is church on Sunday. Now some people are very busy and don’t have a lot of time; that can be genuine. Most people just think they are too busy.

Some people can just carve out fifteen minutes a day. That is where you start. It starts with small steps. You have to have baby food before you can eat steak and really get into the meat of the Word. You have to start somewhere. A lot of Christians think they are too busy. That isn’t true; you can always carve out a little time. Some people really are busy. At times and seasons in our life we get very busy but we have to carve out something, keep it going and push forward in the Christian life. This is the issue that this whole section challenges us for. Are we willing to follow the Lord, or are we just giving it lip service? Most Christians who show up on Sunday only are just giving it lip service.