In today's study from Matthew 9:23-10:4, we see how our Lord responded to ridicule, how he further proved that he was the Great Shepherd, and the calling of the Twelve.
The Shepherd of the Sheep
vv.23-38 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, (24) He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. (25) But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. (26) And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. (27) And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. (28) And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. (29) Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. (30) And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. (31) But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. (32) As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. (33) And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. (34) But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. (35) And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (36) But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (37) Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; (38) Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Here, Israel is depicted as a flock with no shepherd. (v.36). Their past shepherds had scattered them (Eze 34:1-6). Thus, they needed a shepherd who would regather and care for them. He was presenting himself as that Shepherd! He now begins to perform miracles to show that he was not only willing but able.
The Enemy of Death (vv.18-19, 23-26)
First, He shows them that he could protect them by defeating death and healing them. He does this by raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead. In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Paul also said in 1Co 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He was Ridiculed (vv.23-26)
The people ridiculed him. I am encouraged by the fact that Jesus did not let the stupidity of others stop Him. Neither should we! It’s been said, “When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish: it is then that you must not hesitate." We cannot allow other’s stupidity make us quit!
The Enemy of Disease (vv.20-22)
Second, He proved He could protect them by defeating disease. He did this by healing the woman’s issue of blood that even the doctors could not cure. In Luke’s account, he says that this woman had “spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any (8:43).” He did this to prove that He was their long-awaited Messiah.
Content to Touch the Hem
I find it interesting that the woman was so secretive about the whole thing. Why didn’t she just yell out to Jesus? Why was she content to only touch the hem of His garment? I submit to you that she was unclean and was not supposed to be there. The Law states in Lev. 15:19, “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.” She was violating Mosaic Law.
The Enemy of Darkness (vv.27-31)
Third, He proved He could protect them by defeating darkness. He did this by giving sight to the two blind men. Mat 4:16 “THE PEOPLE WHO SAT IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT, AND UPON THOSE WHO SAT IN THE REGION AND SHADOW OF DEATH LIGHT HAS DAWNED."
The Enemy of the Devil (vv.32-34)
Fourth, He proved He could protect them by defeating the Devil. He did this by casting the Devil out of a man who was dumb. This shocked the religious leaders because they believed that it was impossible to cast out a demon until you have first made him tell you his name. Well, that would have been hard because this man was mute!
Again, the Lord did these things to prove to them that he was indeed their long-awaited Messiah.
The Kingdom of Heaven
vv.1-4 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The 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 publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; (4) Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Here we see the selection of the twelve. The word “apostle” means “one sent forth.” Jesus was also called an apostle. Hebrews 3:1 “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”
Besides these twelve and Jesus, it is also used of Paul, Barnabas and Matthias. They were chosen by the Lord Himself (including Paul) or by the Holy Spirit as w/ Matthias and Barnabas (The Twelve, Matt 10:1; Paul, Acts 9:6; Matthias, Acts 1:16-26; Barnabas, Acts 13:2).
Are their apostles today? No. Why do I say that? The only qualification for the calling of an apostle is found in Acts 1:20-22 after the fall of Judas and a replacement was sought. It says, “For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. The Bible lists five ministry gifts found in Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; While I do not believe that the office of apostle is open today, I do believe that the missionary and church planter fulfill the function.
On that note, I do not believe the office of prophet is open today, I still believe in the gift of prophecy. The word prophecy can mean to “foretell” or to “forthtell”. While, no doubt, God can still use men to “foretell” through the gift of prophecy, the overwhelming use of the gift is used by the pastor/teacher to “forthtell”.