Roses and Thorns: Matthew 10:16-22

Roses and Thorns: Matthew 10:16-22
““16) Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17) But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18) and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19) But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20) For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭16‬-‭20
The training now extends for the long haul past His work on the cross. How do we know that? Matthew 10:8 restricted the target audience to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but Mathew 10:18 suddenly includes the Gentiles. That extension to the mission was added in Matthew 28:18-20.
But notice also, Matthew 10:20 includes the inner ministry of the Holy Spirit. He suddenly embraced post Pentecost dynamics. “20) For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Jesus emphasized the Fathers Promise of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:4-5 just prior to His ascension.
The training Jesus was giving His disciples extended into the church age. Everything transferred over with a few exceptions. First, the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection colored in the gospel of salvation, and second, He hinted at extending the invitation to the Gentiles. Paul devoted Romans chapter eleven to argue the phenomenon of the rejection of the Messiah by Israel and how it opened the gospel to the whole world.
Jesus was preparing these men for the long haul. Everything in this teaching also applied post Pentecost with the addition of the gospel going to all nations and the coming indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit.
At the point of Matthew 10, Jesus had not yet revealed the mystery of His coming death and resurrection, nor any mention of the church. That happens in Matthew 16:13-28. Peter reacted to that revelation with such denial that He took Jesus aside and rebuked Him. (Matthew 16:22)
It is important to observe that Jesus was preparing His disciples for hard times, rejection and persecution. Yes, they would experience miracles, but some would also suffer martyrdom. Some of them would be brought before governors and kings as a testimony. They were being sent out as sheep among wolves.
Jesus was balancing the healings, miracles and supernatural provisions that would accompany the spread of the gospel with the doctrine of suffering. He talked about both sides of the coin equally.
Many Christians focus on Matthew 10:7-10 but ignore Matthew 10:16-23. They like the appeal of healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers and casting out demons; but they are blind to being sheep among wolves, hated by the world and delivered up to death by family members for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.
Jesus prepared His disciples for both sides of what awaited them. Following Jesus is not all roses, there are also thorns. He Himself experienced both sides.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Preach saying, Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand: Matthew 10:5-15

Preach saying, Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand: Matthew 10:5-15
“5) These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6) but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7) And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8) Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9) Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10) or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11) And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12) As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13) If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14) Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15) Truly 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.” Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭5‬-‭‭15‬ ‭NASB1995
‬‬In this text, Jesus sent His twelve out to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom. Though He had fixed His sights on the cross, Israel had not yet rejected Him as Messiah. In these verses He warned His disciples not to take this message to the Gentiles or the Samaritans. He was still offering the kingdom exclusively to the nation of Israel.
People were transformed from life in a fallen world that is full of sickness, pain, suffering and demonic oppression into a foretaste of what things will be like when the Messiah sets up His kingdom on earth. The twelve were given His authority to heal people and set free them from everything that afflicted them.
John 1:10-13 presents the saddest story in the Bible. “10) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” ESV.
I certainly believe Jesus can and does heal today, but what was happening during His public ministry was different. This was a foretaste of the kingdom for Israel and they rejected Him. This kind of universal healing, health and longevity will happen when the Messiah comes back and rules on earth.
However, there is a difference between Matthew 10:5-15 and today. Those healings were based on His role as Messiah offering the Kingdom to Israel. Healing today is based on faith in His finished work on the cross. Universal healing during His public ministry was a foretaste of the kingdom for Israel. He came to His own and they rejected Him.
This helps explain the dialogue recorded in Acts 1:4-8 between Jesus and His disciples about Him restoring the kingdom to Israel. Because Israel rejected Him and He went to the cross, another system was put in place. Jesus summarized this as the age of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Take time to understand the significance of Acts 1:3-11 and how it shifted the dynamics of the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus as the Messiah was offering Israel and the age of the indwelling Holy Spirit that has now come by default.
The Gospel of salvation and regeneration through the indwelling Holy Spirit is different from the gospel of the kingdom with the rule of the Messiah present on earth. The promises of the restored kingdom to Israel in Old Testament texts like Isaiah 11:1-10 do not apply to today. They are still future tense.
Confusion comes when sincere believers try to force the universal healings of the gospel of the kingdom on today and the system we are under with the indwelling Holy Spirit. There is some overlap, but they are not the same.
Granted, healing is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for this present age, but starting with the book of Acts things changed. Healings were frequent but not universal in the book of Acts and the Epistles. They served the purpose of opening the door for the gospel as seen in Acts 3-4 and the healing of the lame beggar. Peter and John didn’t use the miracle to start a healing service, they used it as an open door for an evangelistic crusade… notable, there was only one healing!
So how does this harmonize with John 14:12 where Jesus promised that believers will do greater works than Him because He goes to the Father? Shouldn’t we see more healings than Jesus and the twelve performed in the gospels? That’s an awesome question. Let me give the short version.
Well, to start with, Matthew 4:24 says; “He healed them.” The wording implies He healed them all. That’s 100%. We can’t improve on that, so it must relate to other area’s beyond healing. Let me suggest a few area’s He may have been talking about.
First, the gospel of the kingdom was rejected. That part of His mission failed. Instead of staying to set up the kingdom, Jesus went to His Father! Second, He came only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and we are sent to the entire world. That is far, far, far greater. Third, His going to the Father instead of setting up an immediate kingdom brought the promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit on every believer. That was not part of the kingdom promise. Finally, His work on the cross because of His rejection as Messiah by Israel paved the way for eternal salvation for every believer. This is a far greater work.
I praise God for the healing power of the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus Christ for today, but I do not expect it to be universal. We are not in the kingdom age. That is still future for when Jesus comes back and sets up His Kingdom. When He rules on earth there will be no more sickness or oppression.
Here is the bottom line, not everyone is going to be healed in this present age, but everyone who calls on the Name of Jesus will be saved! This present age is still governed by 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. People age, the body wears out and they die. No one is going to beat aging and death in this present age.
But God does call us to pray for healing and He often validates the gospel and His power by healing people for His glory. The purpose for healing at this present time is to advance the gospel. I believe in miracles and the power of God, but my faith does not waver when God gives grace to endure suffering instead of healing. Both are essential and glorious. I am fully content letting God be God and depending on Him for both sides of the coin of healing and suffering with grace and power. Paul did both and taught both.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Short Term Ministry Trips: Matthew 10:5-7

Short Term Ministry Trips: Matthew 10:5-7
“5) These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6) but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7) And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭5‬-‭7‬ ‭
Jesus set an interesting pattern with the twelve. He called them, modeled ministry for them, gave them some basic training and then sent them out to preach. He wanted them to learn ministry by doing ministry.
In the next section we will look at His instruction to them, but for now I want to emphasize the principle of learning ministry by doing ministry. God wants to put His people on the front lines.
In the context, He sent them on a short term ministry trip. What a novel idea. I strongly believe in His approach.
I often hear the critics say; “wouldn’t it be cheaper to just stay home and send money?” Maybe, but in Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus didn’t entreat the disciples to ask the Lord of the harvest to send money, He asked them to pray for workers. It’s not about the money, it’s about people touching people. It’s about experiencing God and learning ministry skills.
This is why GoServ Global sends people on short term ministry trips. They are transformed in the process and a fire within them is ignited. They experience God working through them and often discover gifts and abilities they never imagined they had. The Christian life doesn’t work in a vacuum; it flourishes on the front lines.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Twelve Apostles of the Lamb: Mathew 10:2-5; Acts 1:15-26

Twelve Apostles of the Lamb: Mathew 10:2-5; Acts 1:15-26
“2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and 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 Thaddaeus; 4) Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.” Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭2‬-‭4‬
Jesus now calls His twelve Apostles by name. They represent a very important and select group. Revelation 21:14 identifies these as “the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Their office is perpetual with no succession plan. Let’s look at a few points about them.
First, they were directly called and appointed by Jesus. Second, they were eye witnesses of the public ministry of Jesus, including His death and resurrection. (See Acts 1:21-22) Third, they were part of the foundation of Christendom in laying down the doctrines of the church. (Ephesians 2:21) Fourth, they were the official source of the ministry and commandments given by Jesus Christ during His Public ministry. (2 Peter 3:2) Fifth, they were all placed in office prior to the day of Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:1-4; 15-26) Finally, this is the group Luke as an historian most likely spent time interviewing to compile the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 1:1-4)
This group of twelve are not be be confused with the spiritual gift of apostle given to some church leaders after the day of Pentecost. (Ephesians 4:11-12) The word “apostle” means “sent out.” Acts 13:1-5 records the sending out of Paul and Barnabas by the church at Antioch. Notice, the text specifically says they were “… sent out by the Holy Spirit.” Acts 14:4 and 14 calls them “apostles.”
The calling and gift of the Holy Spirit sending out apostles could be better understood as “the gift of a missionary.” They were set apart and sent out to carry the gospel to new regions and establish churches. The ten plus men named as apostles in the New Testament beyond the twelve apostles of the Lamb could be looked at as missionaries.
I find it intriguing that the modern church commissions and sends out many missionaries but the word is not found in the New Testament. However, the “sent out” ones are found in the New Testament and included in the list of leadership gifts given to the church, but they are simply called “apostles.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
This has caused confusion in church history and in the modern church. For example, the Catholic Church believes in apostolic succession and looks at the Pope as being the successor to the Apostle Peter. That concept is nowhere taught in the Bible. The Mormon Church places the same mantle on its highest office. I underline again that Revelation 12:14 makes it clear that there are only twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The danger with Apostolic succession is that these churches give this position the authority to change church doctrine and practice. That is the exact opposite of what was intended for the twelve apostles of the Lamb. They laid down and confirmed the unchangeable doctrinal foundation of the Christian church. The tragic drift into heresy by churches that practice apostolic succession has long been documented. They have abandoned the authority of Scripture.
I have no problem with other modern churches that acknowledge and practice the five-fold spiritual gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-12. I am an advocate of multiple pastoral staff over a church as pictured in the church of Antioch in Acts 13:1-5.
However, I get a bit nervous with some groups that exalt what they consider an “apostle” to the status of Peter. I highly prefer a check and balance approach between gifted equals as pictured in Antioch. The easy fix is to simply understand this gift of the Holy Spirit as the “missionary gift.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Preparing the Church: Matthew 10:1

Preparing the Church: Matthew 10:1
“1) And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Matthew‬ ‭10:1
Many times chapter divisions interrupt the flow and continuity of a text. This is definitely the case between Matthew 9 and 10. To illustrate this point, let’s compare Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 10:1.
“35) Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
“1) Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
What Jesus alone had the authority to do He suddenly bestowed on His Disciples. He gave them the authority to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness as He alone was previously doing. The serious Bible student should ask the question; “What happened between these two verses to create this radical shift?” The answer has three parts:
Jesus was deeply moved by the universal suffering and brokenness of humanity. (Matthew 9:36-37) Jesus beseeched the disciples to entreat the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers. (Matthew 9:38) Jesus took action and bestowed His authority on twelve of His disciples to do as He was doing. (Matthew 10:1)
You may need to read the previous post, but I believe a major paradigm shift took place within Jesus. His focus shifted from sitting as King on the throne of a restored kingdom to going to the cross as the Savior of mankind. Instead of establishing an immediate kingdom on earth (Revelation 20), He decided to start building His church. (Matthew 16:18-19)
According to Ephesians 3:4-9, the church age was a mystery totally hidden from the saints throughout the Old Testament. The Jewish biblical mindset was expecting the Messiah to set up and rule over an earthly kingdom. This was the expectation of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus.
Look at their question to Jesus in Acts 1:6; “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”” He answered their question in the next verse by saying; “7) … it is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” He did not deny that the kingdom was coming, He merely pushed it to a future time. Then He focused on the promise of the Father related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Three phases are used interchangeably for the time or epoch that Jesus ushered in. It could be called “The Age of the Indwelling Holy Spirit”, or “The Age of Grace” or “The Church Age.”
When Christians talk about “the end times” it technically refers to “the end of this present age!” So you ask; “What comes next?” The answer according to Revelation 20:1-10 is “The Millennial Kingdom.” Jesus is going to rule on earth for 1,000 years. Messiah as King is going sit on His throne and rule the world from Israel.
This present age will end with a period of tribulation for both Israel and the church. But let’s not get further distracted for our text in Matthew 9:35 -10:1.
I may be reading to much into the text, but it appears to me that this is where Jesus shifted His focus from setting up the immediate Kingdom to building His Church. What in the text feeds my suspicion? The answer is the contrast between Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 10:1. Instead of consolidating His authority, Jesus starts handing it out to His followers.
The progression goes from the twelve in Matthew 10, to the seventy in Luke 10, to all of His followers in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8. Beginning with Matthew 10:1, Jesus intentionally began preparing His Church to empower and unleash them all into the world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Way of the Cross: Matthew 9:35-38

The Way of the Cross: Matthew 9:35-38
“35) Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 36) Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37) Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38) Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”” Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭35‬-‭38‬ ‭
Jesus spent His time in the trenches with the hurts and needs of humanity. He came to redeem people from their sin, He focused on ministering to the painful consequences of fall.
He went from cities to villages teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. No broken condition of the human heart was to big for Him and none were to small.
As He surveyed the multitudes, He was moved to compassion because they were broken. They were distressed. This could be translated “harassed.” They were down-cast. This could be translated “thrown down.” They were like sheep wandering about having no shepherd to care for them. They were easy prey for Satan who roamed about as a hungry roaring lion seeking someone to devour.
Here is the sad part; lost and hurting people were everywhere. They were being ravaged by the consequences of sin and the fall. He saw the potential harvest for the gospel being exceedingly ripe and plentiful.
But keep in mind, He surveyed the lost and broken condition only among the nation of Israel. He went only to His own people who had every advantage of the Law, the priesthood, the temple and the Old Covenant. He did not venture into Gentile countries, but what He saw and encountered broke His heart.
He then instructed His disciples to beseech or beg the lord of the harvest to send out more workers into His harvest. At this point, He was still focused on the gospel of the kingdom, but that was beginning to change. This prayer request exposes the wrestling taking place within Him.
This begs the question; “How does the gospel of the kingdom differ from gospel of salvation? Jesus came as Messiah offering the coming promised kingdom to Israel, but according to John 1:10-13, they rejected Him as Messiah.
They needed more than a King to rule over them, they needed a Savior to redeem them from the consequences of sin and change the human heart. This could not be accomplished apart from His death on the cross to pay for the sins of humanity.
The more time He spent in the trenches with people the more He embraced the necessity of the cross. John 3:16 concludes that His focus embraced more than the nation of Israel, He loved the whole world. If His own people with every advantage of the Old Covenant were this distressed, harassed and cast down, the rest of humanity was predictably being ravished far worse.
This exposes a subtle twist in this call to urgent prayer. The gospel of the kingdom focused on the Messiah as the primary laborer in the harvest of Israel; the gospel of salvation would unleash the whole redeemed body of Christ to go as laborers into the harvest fields of the whole world.
The cross stood between the two gospels. Jesus was asking them to pray that He might have the courage to delay the throne as Messiah over Israel and go to the cross for all of humanity. In a very real sense, His love and compassion needed to go to the cross for sinful humanity was nurtured in the trenches while rubbing shoulders with broken people.
Let me be clear, it wasn’t the rejection of His people that sentenced Him to the cross, it was His deepening love and compassion for sinful and broken people. He was seeing clearly that the Law forcefully imposed from a throne could never change the broken human condition. He was asking them as the Lord of the Harvest to pray for the love, strength and grace to choose between an immediate throne or a painful cross. The choice was His!
Two paths stood before Him. The gospel of the Kingdom would immediately crown Him as Messiah King ruling over Israel and the world with an iron fist. The gospel of salvation would send Him to the cross to die for sinful humanity. It would usher in the age of grace, the mystery of the church, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and hope for all humanity. It would delay His earthly reign as Messiah, but send millions of laborers into the harvest fields of humanity.
From our vantage point in history, we know the path He chose. Ironically, we are now at the threshold of His second return and the establishment of His millennial kingdom. (See Revelation 20)
I believe Matthew 9:35-38 was the pivot point for Jesus. His deepening love for sinful and broken people set the compass of His heart on the cross. The power of sin could only be broken by the cross. He voluntarily chose the way of the cross because of His love for broken people.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Lessons From A Mute Man: Matthew 9:32-34

Lessons From A Mute Man: Matthew 9:32-34
“32) And as they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33) After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34) But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”” Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭32‬-‭34‬
This story illustrates potential side affects of demonic possession. Demonic activity can manifest itself as some form of physical impairment. In this case the man could not speak.
No details are given in the story how long this condition plagued the man. It may have been from childhood or for several years as if caused by some form of trauma.
This story in no way suggests that all speech problems have a demonic connection. The opposite is actually true. It merely points out that demonic activity may result in physical impairment for no other apparent reason. This leads me to believe that the condition of being mute may have been a sudden development at some point in his life.
The wording that he was both mute and demon possessed indicates that he had other symptoms beyond an inability to speak. They often included things like mental anguish, emotional torment, episodes of violence, self destructive tendencies, abnormal social behaviors or seizures like manifestations. It appears that the people who brought him to Jesus had a strong suspicion of demonic possession.
After Jesus cast out the demon, the dumb man suddenly started speaking normally. We can only wonder what he had to say. This indicates that the impairment was connected to the demon and not the man.
A detailed study of every case of demon possession mentioned in the Bible is very enlightening. They were often accompanied by some form of physical condition. Jesus healed many people with sicknesses, diseases and physical injuries. Most of them had no connection to the demonic realm. Yet there were occasions when casting out a demonic spirit immediately healed a corresponding physical condition.
I disagree strongly with those who believe there is a demonic spirit behind all physical disease or sickness. They give way to much credit to Satan. On the other hand, when nagging physical conditions persist for no apparent reason and they do not respond to standard medical treatment, it may be wise to test for a spirit. I also believe in praying for healing according to James 5:13-18.
Matthew 9:33-34 gives two radically different reactions to this story. The multitudes recognized the miraculous significance of what Jesus did for this man. It definitely increased their view of Jesus. It put Him in a class far above the religious leaders in Israel.
By contrast, the Pharisees were mocking Jesus and accusing Him of channeling demonic powers. This controversy eventually comes to a head in Matthew 12:22-32. In that context, Jesus strongly rebuked them and issued a challenge. We will examine that discussion in a few weeks when we get to that context.
The take away from Matthew 9:32-34 is that Jesus Christ has total dominion over the spiritual realm. Throughout the four gospels, every demon He encountered was subject to Him. Why?
The gospel of John correctly presents Him as Creator from the beginning. (See John 1:1-5) He was not a man who became a god. He was God who became a man to accomplish human redemption. (See John 1:14-18) Conclusion: The demons were subject to Him… because He is God!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Do You Believe? Matthew 9:27-31

Do You Believe? Matthew 9:27-31
“27) As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28) When He entered the house, the blind men came up 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, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” 30) And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!” 31) But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭27‬-‭31‬
As Jesus passed on, two blind followed Him crying out “Have mercy on us, “Son of David!” It intrigues me that Jesus did not immediately stop and heal them. He allowed them to do some research into His identity. They asked Him for mercy as they called Him the “Son of David!” This was a Jewish reference to the Messiah.
It seems that He initially ignored them as He passed on and settled into the house. Why? Was Jesus insensitive to them? Not at all! I believe Jesus was allowing them to wrestle through the evidence.
It is often our trials that motivate us to seek God. Faith should not be easy. Jesus wants us to seek Him! After a lapse of some time, they showed up at the house where Jesus was staying. It is not easy for blind people to find their way around, but they persisted until they stood in His presence.
This is the point at which Jesus gave them His attention. I am not an advocate of “easy believing” or “convenient faith!” Their actions in seeking Jesus proved their faith.
Notice the question Jesus asked them; “Do you believe I am able to do this.” They had undoubtedly heard the story of Him raising the daughter of the synagogue official from the dead and healing the woman that suffered from a hemorrhage. They may have heard other stories about Him as well. They concluded that He was the Messiah and therefore could heal blindness as well.
He then touched their eyes, saying, “Be it done to you according to your faith.” I often hear people conclude that healing is based on the amount of our faith. But Jesus was not measuring the amount of their faith, He was assessing their true view of His identity. Did they really believe He was the Messiah?
Though they were physically blind, they could see spiritually. They pondered the stories and concluded that Jesus was indeed the Son of David. They did not have faith in faith, they had faith in the true identity of Jesus Christ. That is where the healing came from.
It intrigues me that Jesus warned them not to tell anyone, but they did just the opposite. They openly shared their story. Were they being disobedient?
Maybe, but there may be a deeper meaning to the warning of Jesus. He may have been saying, “You can share the story of your healing, but don’t spread the news of my true identity.” People need to do their own research and wrestle through to their own conclusions about the true identity of Jesus Christ!
According to Matthew 8:27, the disciples were wrestling with the question of the true identity of Jesus. After witnessing Jesus calm the storm they expose their thinking process; “27) And the men marveled, saying, “What king of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?””
By the time we get to Matthew 9:27, the evidence was piling up exponentially. We can now ask, “What kind of man is this that has authority over leprosy, time and space, the weather, demons, paralysis, a chronic hemorrhage, the dead and physical blindness?”
The same is true for each of us today. We need to wrestle with the evidence and arrive at our own conclusion about the true identity of Jesus Christ. Then each of us has a decision to make. We must either accept Him as your Savior and Lord or reject Him.
No one can make that decision for you. You cannot surf on other peoples faith. It has to become personal.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Touching Jesus: Matthew 9:20-22

Touching Jesus: Matthew 9:20-22
“20) And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21) for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” 22) But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.” Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭20‬-‭22‬ ‭
We now have the story of the woman who was suffering from a hemorrhage touching Jesus and being healed. Mark 5:24-34 adds significant details to this story. Let me highlight a few.
Great multitudes were now following Jesus and pressing in on Him. The woman had been suffering from her condition for twelve years. She had spent all of her money on many physicians and not been helped. They had evidently tried extreme treatments on her, some of which actually added to her suffering. Her goal was to touch Jesus but remain unnoticed. This story impressed Mark as much as Jesus raising the synagogue officials daughter. Let’s look at some key points in this story.
First, some people are desperate to get help. She had tried everything and depleted all of her money. Good health is worth more than great riches. Study good nutrition and physical fitness. Once your health is jeopardized it may be very difficult to recover.
Second, there are many medical treatments for bad health issues. Some may be helpful and others harmful. Take time to study your own condition and seek a second opinion. I will restrain myself from saying more about this matter.
Third, the medical community focused on treatment while Jesus specialized in healing. She had been seeking treatment for 12 years… but Jesus healed her instantly. It might prudent to seek healing first and not as a last resort. (See James 5:13-16)
Forth, this may sound trivial but I think it is significant. Most people asked Jesus to touch them but she reached out and touched Jesus. She viewed herself as insignificant. She didn’t want to bother Jesus or become a spectacle. She as very humble.
Fifth, Jesus felt power go out from Him but didn’t know who had touched Him with healing faith. When He questioned the crowd, she came forward and fell before Him and told the whole truth.
This was most likely where Mark learned the details of her tragic story. The disciples recognized that many people brushed against Jesus, but only this woman was healed.
Finally, Jesus said to her; “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.” Jesus will never reprimand anyone for seeking Him. Her methods were unconventional, but her heart was sincere. Jesus honored her faith.
I love this story. You might not feel like Jesus notices you or is actively seeking you. Don’t let that stop you from seeking Him! This story illustrates that the path to Jesus goes both ways. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you!” (Matthew 7:7) Take positive initiative in seeking God! Actively reach out and touch Jesus!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Authority Over Death: Matthew 9:18-26

Authority Over Death: Matthew 9:18-26
“18) While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” 19) Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples. 23) When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, 24) He said, “Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him. 25) But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26) This news spread throughout all that land.” Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭18‬-‭19‬, ‭23‬-‭26‬ ‭
We now have the story of a synagogue official whose daughter had just died. He came and bowed down to Jesus and begged Him to come and lay His hand on his daughter that she might live.
Five things stand out. First, the synagogue official did not send for a priest or rabbi. He knew they had no power over death.
Second, he had heard the stories about Jesus and concluded that His touch would bring life. He believed Jesus had authority over death.
Third, Jesus didn’t hesitate to follow him. He never encountered a challenge to big for Him. He was always ready and willing to help.
Fourth, Jesus had critics. When He came to the house to heal the girl, people laughed and mocked. This did not hinder Jesus from performing a miracle.
Finally, after He raised the girl from the dead, the news spread through the whole land. Jesus had become headline news. His popularity soon caught the attention of the religious leaders.
I don’t know what you’re facing, but I encourage you to turn to Jesus. He is more than willing to walk into your life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global