SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- As with the previous chapter, here we find Jesus healing many people. What leads to each healing is a person having enough faith to seek His help. The power to perform miracles is not the question; Jesus has that. But we see the Pharisees (the religious leaders who are threatened by Jesus' popularity and His focus on love rather than laws) making the absurd accusation that Jesus' power comes from Satan (verse 34). They couldn't deny Jesus had power, so the only thing they could do to try and stop His growing popularity was question where his power came from.
- In Jesus' time, sick people (such as the paralyzed man in verses 1-8) were considered sinful; it was thought that sickness was brought on by sin. And the tax collectors (like Matthew in verses 1-13) were considered some of the most sinful people of all, because they were Jews who had sided with the Roman oppressors and were stealing money from the Jews. So in these stories we see that God is for the rest of us (and that the Pharisees hated that idea -- see verse 11). God's love extends to even the most sinful people.
- When Jesus says that He has not come for the healthy, or to call the righteous, His point is not that some people don't need Him, or that He is not for everyone. The point is that the people who will respond to Jesus' call are those who are not so self-righteous that they think they are healthy and don't need Him.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- In the first seven verses a group of guys go to great lengths to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus -- even to the point of physical exertion and social embarrassment. In verses 9-13 we see that once Matthew realizes Jesus could accept a sinful person like himself, he immediately throws a party so that all his sinful friends could meet Jesus as well. When you know Jesus, you realize everyone needs to know Jesus, and you do anything you can to get them to Him.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you realize that your only hope is the unconditional love of God? If you think you are fine on your own, or that you can do enough good to earn God's approval, you are wrong and will miss out on the grace of God. But if you realize you are sick and sinful, you will find a God who accepts you, loves you, and can bring healing and wholeness to your life.
- If you have met Jesus and become a recipient of His grace, how are you doing with sharing Him with others? Do you think of everyone you meet as someone who needs to meet Jesus? Are you doing anything you can to get them to Him? What have you tried? What haven't you tried? What creative thing could you do? Who could you invite (or re-invite) to Verve?