GOD WITH US:
Walking with Jesus
Matt. 9:18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.
~ Read Mark 5:21-43 ~
The first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) are considered the “synoptic gospels”. This means that they similarly tell many of the same stories. Throughout this entire series in Matthew 8-9, there has been a parallel narrative in the other gospels. It is always a good idea to read through the other accounts of a narrative. Sometimes we are able to glean a lot from the way the other authors record the narrative. Be careful that you do not get caught up on the fact that each gospel tells the narrative in a different way. This fact actually brings validity to the historical truth of the accounts. Each gospel author is going to have a different point of view, purpose, or even audience to whom he is writing.
You will immediately notice that the record in Mark is quite a bit longer than the one in Matthew. This is consistent with most of the narratives within this section. Matthew has a tendency to be a bit more concise than Mark here. Take some time to read both of these texts together and note the differences.
Talk it out:
1. What are the main transmission differences between these two accounts?
2. Note the differences when the narrative of the bleeding woman comes into play. How do the details in Mark help fill out the story in Matthew? Why do you think Matthew tells such a shortened version?
3. Does this text represent your faith? What aspects of the faith of these two who approach Jesus do you need to develop in your own life?
~ Numbers 15:37-41 ~
There are some small pieces of information throughout Matthew 8-9 that reveal Jesus’ obedience to the Law of Moses. Sometimes we are tempted to say that Jesus does not regard the Law as valid. However, we note things like his command for the leper to present himself to the priests in the temple (Matt. 8:4). This was in obedience to the Law according to Leviticus. Though it may at points seem like Jesus is breaking the Law, he actually keeps it within perfection. The Law is not over the Son of God, but rather, the Son of God is over the Law.
We can see a brief reference to Jesus’ obedience to the Law in the image of the woman touching the edge of his garment. This is the same language used for the four tassels that Jews wore on the end of their robes as a reminder of the commandments of the Lord. This was a command according to the Law that you have read here in Numbers 15.
Talk it out:
1. According to this text, why did God command the people to wear these tassels?
2. What do you think the end of verse 39 is saying about our ability to be obedient to holiness?
3. How does this convict you as a believer? Do you struggle to remember the gospel? Do you struggle with daily obedience?
~ Matthew 9:14-17 ~
This is the text that immediately precedes our sermon text from this past week. It is intimately tied to the text of Jesus reclining at the table with tax collectors and sinners. What is interesting is that we have seen a full-scale opposition to Jesus’ teaching and practice within the first seventeen verses of chapter 9. In the first section, Jesus is questioned by the scribes regarding his authority to forgive sins. In the next section, he is questioned by the pharisees about his table fellowship. While in this text, we see that even the disciples of John have some questions for the Son of God.
Why aren’t your disciples fasting? This is an interesting question and the answer is powerful. Fasting is an act to draw the believer into closer communion with God. The tone of this question has “holiness” written all over it. Why do the pharisees pursue holiness, but your disciples do not? Jesus’ answer is powerful and appropriate. When the source of holiness is in the midst of them, then what needs to be pursued (paraphrased from vs. 15)? There is a new way of viewing and doing things when God himself is among us!
Talk it out:
1. What stands out to you the most about this interaction between Jesus and the disciples of John?
2. State in your own words what you think Jesus means when he speaks verse 16-17.
3. What does this mean for you today? How are you to view this conversation regarding Jesus’ departure and the presence of the Spirit?
~ John 11:1-44 ~
This might be the longest section of text that I have assigned as a reading in any of the devotionals you have seen thus far. However, most of you know this story and are familiar. It is interesting that Jesus continues throughout his ministry to raise people from the dead. We are continuously confronted with the question of “why?”. Surely, he loved Lazarus, we can deduce that from the text, but we don’t really hear much from Lazarus after this point. Also, if Jesus is the eternal Son of God, then wouldn’t this seem silly if he would be with him before the Father in heaven?
It seems clear that these miracles are to glorify God through the power over death placed in Jesus, His Son (vs. 4). Notice the dialogue between Jesus and the disciples in this narrative. The disciples are struggling to understand what he is saying. In their minds, Lazarus is either dead or he is sleeping, it’s as simple as that. But, when it comes to the foreshadowed word of the cross and resurrection, it is not as simple as that. Death will be overwhelmed, and what was once simply dead can find new life in Jesus Christ!
Talk it out:
1. What do you notice about all the different characters in this text? How do they respond to Jesus’ statements?
2. Read verse 25 again. How does this capture the meaning of this narrative?
3. What would be your answer if you found yourself in this narrative? Do you have a resurrection faith?
~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-21 ~
This is the true Gospel that is being presented by Paul in this text. This past week’s sermon text highlighted faith’s special access to the power and authority of Jesus, even over death in this life. As we mentioned in yesterday’s devotion, all of this foreshadows the powerful act of death and resurrection that Jesus will accomplish at the right time. Paul drives his reader to understand that the very faith we claim to have in Jesus is nothing less than a resurrection faith. The baseline faith of any Christian is “death to life” faith. This is our great hope. One day we may taste the death of this world, but for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, they will experience the resurrection to life eternal. If we do not believe that there is any life after death in this world, then we deny the very resurrection of Christ and ultimately reject the foundation of our Christian faith.
Talk it out:
1. Read verses 3-7 again and describe the “Gospel” in the terms that Paul describes.
2. Read verse 19. What do you think Paul means by we should be “pitied”?
3. How would you describe to someone else the importance of the resurrection of Christ to what you believe?