Vs. 11, “He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” The Kingdom of Heaven…Jesus is not talking about the saved church as we know it…Jesus is talking about all those who profess Jesus. Now, the cognitive word is “profess” for not all who profess are saved. God is sowing His word in the world and it depends upon the condition of our soil (our hearts) to receive it and let it grow! We all presuppose our soil is, of course, the good soil because we are saved….but we need to carefully reconsider our soil. Speaking of soil…when I first began eating apples as a child, I was simply amazed that these little small seeds in the apple could grow to produce that which I was eating! A seed looks so small and so defenseless…and that is a picture of the Christian. Yet plant that seed in good soil (God’s Word) and this once small seed can produce a tree bearing much fruit!
Vs. 12, “How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Hypocrisy…I think this is a stark reminder for us all about how we need to be careful to not let legalism keep us from serving. In this instance…they accused Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. We need to remember that while sacrifice is very important…we also need to rememeber that people and mercy are more important. We can get so busy serving God and sacrificing our lives…we forget about why we are here in the first place.
Vs. 11, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Though John was discouraged, Jesus would be so compassionate upon John and give him such a incredible compliment. It shows that all of us are prone to getting down at times in our lives…and John the Baptist was no exception. On the flipside, notice Jesus’ rebuke for the immature and childish behaivor of God’s people. Even though Jesus and His apostles would do incredible miracles…many still would reject Him…goes to show us the overestimation of sign gifts & miracles that unfortunately many Christians today are getting wrapped up into.
Regarding application…Rest for the Weary. Vs. 28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The church of the time and the Pharisee’s had put many burdens and rules in the live of God’s people. Though we stopped being slaves to sin and became slaves to righteosness…the yoke we carry with Christ is not one we carry alone. Often times, it is Jesus who carries both us & our yoke more than we will ever realize…rememember the illustration of “Footprints”. No matther how stressful and tired we can get of life & all its challenges and pressures…know that Jesus will get us through!
Vs. 1-2a, “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles…” Jesus would tell them earlier that they were to go out to the harvest, and now He has them go and do it. Notice how they went from disciples to apostles…as Jesus gives them the power to be the first missionaries for Christ! Remember that the Gospel is absolutely meant for all, but in this case…the Jews were given the Gospel but the final kingdom will not come (2nd coming) until they respond. The sending out of the twelve was like a survey to see what the condition of the nation of Israel was at. You also can’t help but notice the stark words Jesus chooses to use to warn and tell the apostles of the reality of this world.
Regarding application…Different Perspective. Vs. 34, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” While Jesus is a lamb…He is also a lion! Quite the different perspective…remember that the anti-christ will be coming to preach a message of peace. We live in a world where the United Nations continues to bring peace upon the earth (or at least try)…and yet the inevitable is coming and Jesus is the reason!!! We cannot choose to love the world and love the Jesus…when it comes down to it….we must choose Him! It’s time to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.
Vs. 37, “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Once again Jesus gives us a great image of the reality of the world we live in…there just aren’t enough workers. And bear in mind…working doesn’t mean you have to be on the fronlines of ministry. As Jesus continues His ministry, we also see those who begin to oppose Jesus and see the threat that He poses. They scrutinized and tirelessly found ways to try to point out false teachings…only to realize they were the false teachers. Jesus also would show us that He has power over death as He heals against the laughter of the crowds.
Regarding application…Are You Sick? Vs. 12, “On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Sometimes we joke with each other by saying, “You’re sick in the head!” And strangely enough…we’re all sick with sin in our lives. There is always the danger that we think we are spiritually fine….but often times we can be sick in the head. Think about it…most people die of cancer because it is not detected early enough. They didn’t realize they were physically sick until it was too late. Likewise…let’s check our spiritual condition and go to the Great Physician who can write us a prescription that will heal us for eternity!
Vs. 3, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cure of his leprosy.” We now see a move into the recordings of some of Jesus’ miracles. We you look at leprosy…it was one of the more horrific diseases to have, perhaps you remember some movies like Braveheart that had an example of what it might have looked like. In some ways…we all have leprosy from sin and need the healing touch of Jesus! And we also see the response of faith in those whom Jesus healed. As we move on in the chapter, we see Jesus’ power of nature, though some believe the storm must have been summoned by satan due to the severity of it and the fear of those who were expect fishermen. And lastly, we see Jesus’ power of demon-possession and satan…remember that our fight is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6).
Regarding application…BIG or little Faith. Vs. 10, “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” I love the fact that we see the word “astonished/marveled”…not to mention this faith did not come from a Jew, but a Gentile. I sometimes wonder what kind of faith I truly have…how would I respond if God took everything I love away from me. I think of Job and his plight. I would like to think that I would be a man of faith, but faith starts somewhere and remember that faith as a small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Where is your faith?
Vs. 24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” We discussed this passage in a message awhile back…and it is a stark reminder of what and where we build our foundation. How we judge others before we look at ourselves, what road we choose (road of life), what fruit we bear and of course what foundation we build on. Jesus shares with us some incredibly vivid illustrations of how we can grasp some of these concepts of what God desires for His children.
Regarding application…God’s Answer. Vs. 8, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” This is a wonderful promise, but a promise that comes with a caveat…we must ask according to God’s will. Just as Jesus prayed, “Not my will but Yours be done.” We cannot simply ask for the college we prefer to go to and expect to have God lay it before our feet, or pray for the Powerball lottery winnings. Don’t ever forget, God sometimes says..Yes, Wait or No. The only way we can know is the peace that transcends all understanding. God said “No” to me when it came to desiring to be a missionary…but perhaps He told me “Wait” and someday I will get the opportunity to go. There are many things we will want to do…sometimes selfish and even sometimes Godly…yet God will answer us if we pray and truly seek His will.