Read Matthew 8-9 out loud
Having demonstrated his authority in word through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus goes onto demonstrate his authority in power through miracles performed in chapters 8-9. In the first seventeen verses of chapter eight, Jesus heals a leper and a paralyzed servant of a Roman Centurion. These stories highlight both the divine power of Jesus as well as the importance of personal faith in response to that power. Where chapter eight begins with positive examples of personal faith (the leper and the Centurion), chapter eight concludes with negative examples of personal faith (the scribe, the disciples, and the city of the Gadarenes).
Jesus’ authority and personal faith continue as themes throughout chapter nine as well. In it Jesus forgives (and heals) a paralytic, justifies the context and purpose of his ministry, and heals many others. Positive examples of faith are also represented throughout chapter nine. Matthew’s obedience, an ill woman’s faith, and the faith of two blind men all serve to show us the right way to respond to Jesus’ authority. Chapter nine ends with the negative example of the Pharisee’s unbelief, a summary statement of Jesus’ shepherding ministry, and a foreshadowing of the future ministry of his disciples.
- How did the Roman Centurion exemplify personal faith? Why was Jesus’ commendation of a Roman military official’s faith so surprising?
- Who in chapters 8-9 fail to exemplify personal faith in Jesus? What heart issues kept them from genuine faith? What heart issues keep you from fully trusting in the authority of Jesus?
- Reflect on Jesus’ words in Matt. 9:12-13. Who are the well/righteous and the sick/sinner? Who is better off in Christ’s Kingdom? How should Jesus’ words impact the way we see ourselves?
Ask God to grant you increasing faith in the absolute authority and power of Jesus Christ.