Reading 1, Mathew 8:1-22
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am
willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
1) Question (1-4): What does the leper’s confession say about his level of faith to be healed?
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
2) Question (5-13): What was amazing about the centurion’s faith that was over the top compared to what Jesus and seen in others?
Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed
14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served [ba]them.
Many Healed in the Evening
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“He Himself took
And bore our sicknesses.”
3) Question (14-17): Did Jesus always use the same “method” to heal people? If Jesus had a “formula” for healing people, what do you think it was (see John 5:19-20)?
The Cost of Discipleship
18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Reading 2, Matthew 8:23 – 9:13
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, [bb]“Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
4) Question (18-27): How do you think we can grow in faith in our heavenly Father?
Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed
28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the [bc]Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, [bd]permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”
32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
33 Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
5) Question (28-34): Why do you think the town begged Jesus to leave? What do you think that might say about sinful human nature in general?
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic
So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. 2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 7 And he arose and departed to his house.
8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled[be] and glorified God, who had given such power to men.
6) Question (1-8): Why do you think Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”? How would Jesus know his condition was related to sin rather than something else?
Matthew the Tax Collector
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, [bf]to repentance.”
Notes: “I desire mercy not sacrifice” comes primarily from Hosea 6:6. God desired His people Israel to really know Him and love Him. In fact, know and love Him so well that they would know He was a merciful God, and know how much He had given them mercy. Instead, they did not know Him, they had only come to know a religion about Him, and had become all about religious activities and offering sacrifices so they would be “righteous” for doing so. However, they would not be merciful to others, because they did not really know their God, and how He was merciful to them. They were only fulfilling religious rites that left them feeling self-righteous. Being merciful to others should come out of the overflow of us knowing our God and appreciating how merciful He has and is being toward us, and passing that same mercy along to others.
7) Question (9-13): There is a huge difference between knowing God and knowing about Him. This could be compared to the difference between a married person knowing their own spouse and knowing their neighbor’s spouse. How can we grow in knowing God, what He has done for us, and practice sharing what He has done for us with others?
Reading 3, Matthew 9:14-31
Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting
14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [bg]often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
15 And Jesus
said to them, “Can the [bh]friends
of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days
will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they
16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for [bi]the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins [bj]break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Notes: Through turning from our rebellion, sin and self-righteousness, and putting our faith in Jesus’ righteousness, we are “born again” (new wine skins) by the Spirit of God (new wine).
8) Question (14-17): How can we continue to walk in and grow in this new life, being filled with the Holy Spirit rather than the old us?
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
18 While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19 So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.
9) Question (18-19): How did the ruler worship Jesus?
20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25 But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went out into all that land.
10) Question (20-26): How was the woman made well?
Two Blind Men Healed
27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31 But when they had departed, they [bk]spread the news about Him in all that [bl]country.
11) Question (27-31): What do you observe in this healing of the two blind men?
Reading 4, Matthew 9:32 – 10:15
A Mute Man Speaks
32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. 33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!”
34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
12) Question (32-34): How did Jesus know the man was made mute by demons that needed to be cast out for the man’s healing?
The Compassion of Jesus
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease [bm]among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were [bn]weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
13) Question (35-38): Why do you think the people were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd?
The Twelve Apostles, Sent Out
And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and [bo]Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the [bp]Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven [bq]is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick,[br]cleanse the lepers, [bs]raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.
11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it.13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
14) Question (1-15): What is the connection between telling others (preaching) the good news of the kingdom of God and healing the sick?
Reading 5, Matthew 10:16-45
Persecutions Are Coming
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless[bt] as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house[bu]Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
15) Question (16-26): Why do you think it is normal or common for people following Jesus to be harassed and persecuted? What do we need to help us when we are in the midst of harassment or persecution for doing what God considers right or for our Faith in Christ?
Jesus Teaches the Fear of God
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in [bv]hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a[bw]copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
16) Question (27-33): Why should we fear God more than people? How can we practice walking in the love and fear of the Lord at the same time?
Christ Brings Division?
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set[bx] a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
17) Question (34-39): Why do you think the impact of Christ in this sin infected world ends up bringing the opposite of peace between family members and others? Who must we love more?
A Cup of Cold Water
40 “He who
receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent
Me. 41 He who
receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.
And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall
receive a righteous man’s reward.42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only
a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I
say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”