Matthew 8–10: The Harvest & The Workers

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 4: Saturday

But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:11–13 LSB

Today’s Bible reading is Matthew 8–10. Matthew 8 begins the second section of this Gospel. Matthew 7: 28a says, “Now it happened that when Jesus had finished these words” You’ll find similar phrases in Matthew 11:1, 13:53, 19:1 and 26:1, that mark the end of a teaching discourse by Jesus. R. E. Nixon writes that these are arranged topically:

“It is evident that there are five discourses in the Gospel ( [1] 5:1–7:27, ‘The Sermon on the Mount’; [2] 10:1–42, the mission charge to the Twelve; [3] 13:1–52, the parables of the kingdom; [4] 18:1–35, relationships in the kingdom; [5] 24:1–25:46, the second coming). Each of these is followed by a note stating that when Jesus had finished this teaching He went on to further action.

“The first discourse is basically ethical, the second missionary, the third kerygmatic [proclamation of the Gospel], the fourth ecclesiastical and the third eschatological.”1

As you read, if you note and mark repeated words or phrases in a book, it can help iyou dentify people, ideas, main themes, or divisions. There may be some things that occur within specific sections, such as, “Truly I say to you,” and “But I say to you,” that occur within The Sermon on the Mount and the word, parable(s), later in Matthew. The phrases in The Sermon on the Mount highlight comparisons and contrasts. Other key words or phrases in Matthew include: king, kingdom; Son of David, Son of God, Son of Man; fulfill, fulfilled; marveled; and compassion.

Notice the many times Matthew quotes the Old Testament. These are written in small capital letters: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE.’ At Bible Gateway click on the gear icon to change the settings to include the cross-references and footnotes scattered within the verses.

Marking places can help you keep track of who is where and what’s taking place. Add time and you’ll see when something happens or the length of an event. Look for words that show you contrasts: but; comparisons: like; and conclusions: therefore.

I’ll repeat these helps from time to time as a reminder. While they may seem obvious at first glance, with their use you will find you are paying more careful attention to what you are reading and you will be able to understand connections you might otherwise have missed.

In Matthew 8–9, Matthew records numerous miracles of Jesus as He shows His authority over disease, demons, death, and nature.

Now when evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”
Matthew 8:16-17 LSB

Think of the hope people suddenly had in hopeless situations. Think of their marvel and joy when they or those they loved were healed. Look at those whose lives were changed: the leper, the centurion and his servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, the demon-possessed, the paralytic, the woman with the hemorrhage, the father and his little girl, and the blind men. Matthew records miracle after miracle. Is it any wonder the crowds came?

Matthew mentions the Pharisees more than any other Gospel. Watch for the reaction of the scribes and Pharisees to what Jesus says and does. This is their reaction when He heals the paralytic:

And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man blasphemes.”
Matthew 9:3 LSB

Look at Jesus’ reply:

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”⁠—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”
And he got up and went home.
Matthew 9:4–7 LSB

The healing of the paralytic attested to the fact that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins.

“Jesus proved his deity and his role as Messiah by means of the many miracles he performed during his earthly ministry (Matthew 11:4–5).”2

We’ll be reading these verses next week:

Now when John in prison heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the One who is to come, or shall we look for someone else?”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
Matthew 11:2–6 LSB

The miracles Jesus performed are attesting miracles. They attest to the truth of who He is.

“Jesus Christ’s miracles demonstrate his deity, his supernatural origin, his power as Creator, and his authority as the sovereign Lord of all creation.”3

In Matthew 8–10 we learn those who were considered outcasts and excluded by religious leaders: Gentiles, tax collectors, and sinners, will be included in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus finds the faith of a Roman centurion to be greater than any found among Israel. Jesus calls Matthew, the tax collector, to be a disciple and then He eats with other tax collectors and with sinners. Look at the Pharisees reaction, and Jesus’ rebuke:

“When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”
But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:11–13 LSB

The compassion of Jesus is a sharp contrast to the cold judgment of the Pharisees. Matthew 9 closes with these verses:

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. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Matthew 9:35–38 LSB

In Matthew 10, Jesus charges those who will be His primary workers in the harvest, the apostles, as He tells them what to do, how to face opposition, and the suffering and rewards of those who follow Him.

“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:39 LSB

In these chapters Jesus goes to the distressed and dispirited harvest and moves in their midst, teaching, proclaiming, and healing. He calls sinners. And He sends the twelve out into the harvest.

Those who know Him are part of His harvest. We stand in a long line of those harvested. Now it’s our turn to go.

Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Gear icon (Einstellungen Icon): Icons8. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
The Meal in the House of Matthew (Le repas chez Mathieu), James Tissot: Public Domain.
1R. E. Nixon, “Matthew,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 813.
2,3John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, gen. eds., “God the Son,” Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Biblical Truth (Crossway, Wheaton IL: 2017) 284, 386.
See also at Renewing Your Mind, an outreach of Ligonier Ministries, “Healing and Preaching,” A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul: “Jesus performed many miraculous healings out of compassion for the suffering. But Christ’s miracles were much more than acts of mercy. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in the gospel of Luke, showing how Jesus’ miracles attest to the divine authority and truth of His teaching.”

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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