Explain the differences in the Episodes of Christ’s life as they are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, using the concepts of Contradiction and abbreviation.
On the basis of the student’s study of the miracles in Matthew 8 and 9. list five areas of authority in Jesus’ ministry and take part in a discussion of the importance of this for the students own life and ministry.
Explain the importance of Matthew 9:1-8 for our understanding of the two natures of Christ.
Explain to someone who believes that science has proven that miracles are impossible why this is not so and give a reason why it is possible for the miracles of Jesus to take place.
With today’s lesson we begin our study of the Evidence of the Kingdom. We have given this name to chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew because the main theme of the section is . However, as we have discovered, there is also a secondary theme which is .
We are going to study the miracle of the cleansing of the leper.
Read Matthew 8:1-4.
some one who has the dreaded disease called leprosy. While it is practically unknown in much of the modern world, it was quite common in Jesus’ day.
The various forms of leprosy are described in Leviticus 13. Turn to this Old Testament book and read verses 2-4 of chapter 13. Leprosy is a disease of the .
The book of Leviticus was written especially for the Old Testament priests. They had to act as the “Health Inspectors” for God’s people and so Leviticus 13 gives special instructions about leprosy. Although modern forms of leprosy are not contagious, many of the kinds described in Leviticus could be spread to others very easily. The priests were given instructions regarding this too. Read Leviticus 13:44-46. In order to keep the disease from spreading to others, a leper had to
Because leprosy was such a dangerous disease, few people wanted to come close to a leper. The Old Testament had said that they must be isolated from the rest of the community in order to keep the disease under control. Bu the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had made many more rules about lepers. It is said that some of them even threw stones at lepers to make sure they kept their distance. Others would hide themselves or run away when a leper was sighted, even if it was at a great way off. Read Matthew 8:3. What did Jesus do when the leper came to Him?
Jesus acted differently than the other religious teachers leprosy is an ugly, unpleasant disease which eats away at fingers, ears, toes, and even the hands and feet. large, open sores cover the leper’s body.
Although it would have been possible for Jesus to cleanse the leper from a distance, what did Jesus do which shows His special compassion for the leper?
Not only did Jesus touch the leper, but He completely cleansed him. In this first evidence of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus healed a leper.
We should all thank the Lord that Jesus has the same compassion for those who are set as; do by human society today. But remember the way Jesus approaches them today to bless them is through you and me!
The Centurion’s Servant
Read Matthew 8:5-13.
Now compare this portion of Matthew with Luke 7:2-5 and keep your Bible open to this passage. Here are the good qualities that the elders of the Jewish people said the centurion had.
He cared deeply for His servant.
He loved the Jewish nation.
He had built a synagogue to praise the true God.
According to the way the Jewish people saw things, they told Jesus that the centurion to have Jesus do as he asked (see Luke 7:4).
But what did the centurion say about himself? Read Matthew 8:8. “I do to have you come under my roof.”
Others said the centurion was deserving. He himself said he was not deserving. What quality of the centurion’s character did the Jewish leaders over look?
What kind of work did a centurion do?
The word Centurion comes from the same root as the word Century does. A Century is 100 years. How many soldiers were under the Centurion’s command?
What kind of rank did a centurion have in the Roman army?
Read Matthew 8:9. When a centurion gave a command to his soldiers, did they always obey?
Christ offered to come to the centurion’s house to heal his servant. However, the centurion replied: “I do not deserve….” He then drew a comparison between himself and Christ. The comparison has do do with Jesus’ authority and His ability to command just as the centurion commanded his soldiers. What did the centurion want Jesus to command?
The centurion compared his own authority as an army officer with the authority of Jesus over his servant’s sickness. When the centurion gave an order it was always obeyed. He also expected Jesus’ command to be obeyed in the same way.
The centurion knew that when Christ gave the order, what would happen to his servant?
Did the centurion believe that Christ could heal his servant or not?
It was because of this that Jesus said in verse 10 that He had not found anyone in the whole of Israel who had so much at the Roman centurion.
When the centurion said that he was not qualified for Jesus to come into his house, quality did he show?
When he said that he, too, was a man under authority, what quality did he show?
Christ said that the centurion had notable faith. Read Matthew 8:8 and then mark the two things that the centurion believed about the power of Christ to heal. The centurion believed that Jesus could heal:
at a distance
with just a word.
Read Matthew 8:10-12.
What did Jesus say would happen to many “Subjects of the Kingdom” (that is, the Jews) because they would not believe in Him? They will be
What did Jesus say was going to happen to many “from the east and the west,” (that is, Gentiles like the centurion) who did believe in Jesus Christ? They will
What did happen to the centurion’s servant?
Read Matthew 8:14-17
These verses tell about the healing of a woman who had a fever. The woman was a relative of one of Jesus’ disciples. Which disciple was she related to?
In what way was the sick woman related to Jesus’ disciple?
Since Peter is said to have a mother-in-law, it is only logical than that he was:
Look up each of the following Bible references: Acts 21:8-9, 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12.
Of course, we cannot say that Christian ministers must marry either! There are some advantages to being a single minister, just as there are some advantages to being a married minister. On the basis of the teaching of the Bible we can neither forbids marriage nor require marriage:
He knows from his own experiences the problems which face families today.
He has less danger of temptation in his dealings with women.
He has the understanding and support of a family in difficult times.
He can live in less comfortable circumstances if necessary.
He doesn’t have to take time to take care of the needs of a wife and children.
Let’s look at the story a little closer to see what did take place.
What was Peter’s mother-in-law’s condition before Jesus touched her?
What happened when Jesus touched her?
What did Peter’s mother-in-law do then?
Turn to Luke 4 and read verse 39.
When did she serve Jesus and His disciples?
How can we apply this to our life:
“Pastor, I gave my life to Christ tonight. Is there something i can do the help?”
“Let’s see, how can I use the things I have learned in this lesson on the way to my class meeting?”
How can we summarize this: that we should the Lord as soon as .
Matthew 8:14-16 seems to indicate that Jesus stayed in Peter’s home for a time, casting out demons and healing those who are sick.
Read verse 17 carefully. The cleansing of the leper, the healing of the centurion’s servant, and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, along with all of the others who were brought to Jesus, was the fulfillment of what prophecy? “He took up our and carried our .”
What is the Old Testament reference for this prophecy?
Exercise: Underline Matthew 8:17 and Isaiah 53:4 in red in your Bible. Place a red “F” in the margin beside the verse in Matthew.
Calming the Storm
We are now studying the Evidence of the Kingdom. Matthew 8 and 9 tell us about a series of miracles Jesus did which could only be done by the power of God. In fact, the healings Jesus performed were in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy which is found in
Like the Roman centurion, we know that these miracles show us the of Jesus over disease and sickness.
Verses 18-22 deal with the secondary theme of Matthew 8 and 9 so we will study them at a latter time. Read Matthew 8:23-27 now.
What was Jesus doing during the storm?
What did He say when the disciples awakened him?
Then what did He do?
Compare Matthew 8:26 with verse 10 of that same chapter.
The Roman centurion had believed that Jesus had authority over
The disciples, however, did not believe that Jesus had authority over
According to verse 27, what did the disciples say to each other after Jesus calmed the sea?
Demon-possessed Men of Gadara
Read Matthew 8:28-34. It is the story of the Gadarene demoniac.
Here in Matthew; it says that Jesus healed TWO demon-possessed men near Gadara. But mark says that there was only one. There is an explanation and we will look at it as we study the miracle.
A contradiction is a statement which is just the opposite of something that has already been said.
There is an important difference between a Contradiction and an Abbreviation. When we abbreviate a word we shorten it so that it is easier to write (e.g. Television = T.V.).
Abbreviations like this one are common in the Synoptic Gospels. Compare the accounts of this episode (the Gadarene demoniacs) in the Synoptics. Which of the Gospels, Matthew or Mark, abbreviates the account of the Gadarene demoniac by drawing attention to just One of the demon-possessed men?
Another example of abbreviation in the Synoptics can be seen in the accounts of the healing of the centurions servant which we have already studied. In this case, it is Matthew rather than mark that makes an abbreviation. Matthew’s account sounds as if the centurion himself came to Jesus. However, Luke gives us more details. According to Luke’s Gospel, how did the centurion ask Jesus to heal his servant?
Use your own words to explain how you would answer someone who said that there were contradictions in the stories about Jesus life.
We have already seen that Mark abbreviates the account of the Gadarene demoniacs in order to draw our attention to One of the demon-possessed men. We are going to study this episode from the Gospel according to Mark.
According to Mark 5:15 and 5:18-20, what was the demon-possessed man life after his encounter with Jesus?
He wanted to follow Christ
He was ready to testify for Christ
One would think that everyone would have been happy when a man who had been so afflicted and tortured was healed, wouldn’t you? But according to mark 5:17, what did the people of the area want when they found out about the miracle?
Why did Jesus want to leave? He had just done a spectacular miracle – two demon-possessed men were set free. They would no longer be a bother to the community. Read Luke 8:35 and 37. What was the reaction of the people when they discovered what had happened?
It is clear that the motive for asking Jesus to leave was fear. Two thousand pigs had just been lost-quite a financial loss. Demons had been cast out – quite a display of power and authority!
Here are some people like the people of Gadara:
“I’m not going to accept Christ because I would have to leave my job as a bartender.”
“I don’t want to be a Christian because I don’t like all that business of praying for the sick and casting out of demons.”
“I don’t want to be a Christian. All they ever do in church is take offerings and ask for money for something or another.”
“I can’t really live the Christian life. A person just can’t be honest and stay alive in this business.”
“I’m not going to accept Christ as my Savior. God is so holy and pure and just look at me. I will never be acceptable to Him.”
This episode leaves us with many unanswered questions. For instance:
Why did the demons want to enter the pigs?
Why did they destroy the pigs as soon as they entered them?
Why did Jesus allow this?
The Bible doesn’t explain this. However, there seem to be two possible answers:
To protect the demon possessed men. Mark 9:26 shows that it is possible for a demon to do physical harm to a human being. In Mark 9 only one demon is involved. If it could do this much harm, how much more could the “legion” of demons in the Gadarenes do? Perhaps the pigs became “spiritual lightening rods” to absorb the power of the demons and protect the men.
To assure the demon possessed men and the others who were there that the demons did actually come out of the men. They could all see what happened to the pigs.
Take a moment now to thank him for his miraculous power. He is just the same today as he was back then.
Read Matthew 9:1-8.
As was true in the episode of the Gadarene demoniacs, Matthew does not tell as many details as do the other Synoptics about the healing of the Paralytic. For this reason, we will be studying the story of the Miracle in the Gospel of Mark, Read Mark 2:1-4.
How many friends carried the paralytic to Jesus?
Why couldn’t they get through the door?
What did they do to solve the problem?
It was possible for the men to make a hole in the roof because of the way in which the houses were built in Palestine. The roof was usually flat. A ladder or staircase ran up the outside of the house, allowing people to make use of the flat roof for storage and other purposes.
Why did the four men go to so much trouble to see Jesus?
Read Mark 2:5. What did Jesus say to the paralytic? “Son, your are .”
Jesus had a special purpose for dealing with the paralytic in this way. Here we are given another evidence of the kingdom. It is not that Jesus overlooked the man’s serious physical problems, but rather than there was something He felt was more important. Because Jesus saw that these men had faith, what did he do?
Following Christ’s example then, we should deal First with; People who are for from God because of their sins.
Perhaps we should look at Mark 2:11 now. Did Jesus heal the paralytic?
It is important to notice this fact since it is possible for someone to think that the physical needs of people are not important. But, Jesus was concerned about the many physical problems of men as the healings we have already studied prove. We should also be doing what we can to solve the many problems of health and sanitation in our communities. however, we must never forget that the most important problem men and women face is the spiritual problem of . It is the cause of many other problems people have today.
Jesus’ actions didn’t go unnoticed. Read Mark 2:6-7.
Who criticized Jesus for saying that the paralytic had been forgiven of his sins?
According to them (Mark 2:7), who is the only one who can forgive sin?
They were absolutely right about this! The Bible, Jewish religion, and the teaching of Christianity are all in agreement here. Jesus Himself did not argue about their point. This is the most important evidence of the kingdom. Jesus agreed with the teacher of the law that only God could forgive man’s sin. Never-the-less, Jesus said this: “Son your sins are forgiven.” In other words, Jesus said, “I forgive you of your sins!” When Jesus said this it was the same as saying “I, Jesus, am .”
That is a rather amazing claim for any man to make! The teachers of the lawfully understood what Jesus was saying, too! Read verse 1 again. What did the teachers of the law accuse Him of doing? God.
A person is blaspheming when he talks about God with disrespect. Since we know that only God can forgive man’s sins, it is obviously disrespectful to claim that power for oneself. This was what Jesus was doing; He was claiming the power to forgive sin. The teachers of the law did not believe Him and so they called Him a blasphemer. Read Mark 2:10-12 carefully. The teachers of the Law were wrong and Jesus was right! He is God and He was not blaspheming.
Mark 2:10 and 11 clearly state the proof Jesus gave for saying that He had forgiven the sins of the paralyzed man. What proof did Jesus give that He had authority to forgive sins?
What does this tell us about Jesus’ nature? That He is truly
The Woman Who Touched Jesus
Read Matthew 9:18-26.
These verses tell us about two miracles. We are going to deal with them one at a time, looking first at the Woman who touched Jesus’ cloak.
he technique of comparison to get more details from the other gospels. Begin by reading Mark 5:30 and 31.
What did Jesus ask? “Who My .”
But, what did His disciples answer Him? “You see the people against you, and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched Me?'”
Crowds of people often followed Jesus wherever He went. Un-doubtedly the sight if a synagogue official (see Mark 5:22) falling down on the ground at Jesus’ feet brought even more people to Him. According to the Bible, there were so many people that they were “crowding against” Jesus. Many people must have brushed up against Him and touched Him as the people tried to get a closer look. Did these people receive any special benefit from touching Jesus?
This one woman did receive a great deal by just touching Jesus’ garment. Read Mark 5:34. What was the difference between the woman and the others who touched Jesus? This woman had
Compare this verse (verse 34) with Mark 2:5. In both cases Jesus noted that the people came to Him in .
There are many people today who came close to Jesus and “touch” Him without any change in their lives. They go to church on Sunday morning, listen to a Bible message on the radio, read a tract or listen to a friend tell about the difference Jesus has made in their lives without ever getting any benefit from their contact with Christ.
This woman had something these people needed. What is necessary if we are to receive the blessings Christ wants to give to us?
Knowing that she had been healed, the woman was going to leave. However, Jesus was no going to leave the matter at that. According to verses 33 and 34, what did He require her to do?
Here is a simple lesson for all of us. We have received many blessings from the Lord. What does the Lord want from us in return? It is the same thing He wanted from the woman who touched His cloak.
Now let’s take a look at the other miracle in this passage from 9:18-26. We are going to compare the episode in all three of the synoptic gospels so you may want to mark the places with strips of paper so you don’t lose them. You can find the episode with the help of your crosss references.
Were you able to find all three of the passages and mark them? Good! Let’s Go On. Read each of the accounts carefully.
There are some differences between the three accounts of the healing of Jairus daughter. The three gospels seem to give three different answers to the question. When was Jesus told that the Girl had died?
Which gospel gives the impression that Jesus was told when Jairus’ first came to him?
Which gospel gives the impression that Jesus was told after He began to go to Jairus house (and after the interruption from the woman who touched His garments)?
Is this a real contradiction? Well, since you remember what we studied in our lesson, you know that the reason for this apparent contradiction is that the one author made a (an) in the account. which writer was this?
Only 6 verses in Matthew’s book have been given to this episode while both Mark and Luke have more than double that number. So then, we can take our detailed account from Mark and Luke. This means that the news of the girl’s death came to Jesus.
When Jesus arrived at the house, what did He tell the family? That the girl was simply
What a strange thing to say in light of the fact that they had just told Him the girl was dead! Why do you suppose Jesus said this? Let’s use the technique of comparison again to find out. There is a similar case in the Gospel of John, chapter 11. It will help us understand what Jesus meant by His talent.
Read John 11:11. What does Jesus say about Lazarus?
In John 11:13-14, Jesus explains that Lazarus was really?
And, in a little while (John 11:43-44), what did Jesus do?
In the case of Lazarus, when Jesus said that he was a sleep, what He really meant was: “Lazarus is dead, but only for a little while. Then, I’m going to bring him back to life.” Since Jesus uses the same words in the story of Jairus’ daughter, we can assume that He meant the same thing. Jesus said: “She sleeps” although she war really just as the family had said, because he was going to
According to Mark 5:43, what instructions did Jesus give to the family after He had raised the girl from the dead?
They were given orders not to
They were to give the girl something to
Why did Jesus tell them to give the girl something to eat?
The girl would be hungry after such a serious illness.
The parents may have forgotten this in their excitement.
Jesus had done the miracle by the power of God, but her parents were capable of giving her something to eat.
Two Blind Men
Read Matthew 9:27-31
What did the two blind men call Jesus? “Son of “.
Read Luke 20:41 and by using the technique of comparison answer the following questions.
Luke 20:41 shows us that it was common among the Jews of Jesus’ day to call the , “the Son of David”.
The word in Hebrew which means the something is the word
In English, the title means
In fulfillment of this promise, Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem which is the City of .
When these two blind men called Jesus “the Son of David”, what were they really saying: That Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and He was the Messiah who was to come.
The Dumb Man
There is one last miracle which is recorded in Matthew 9:32-34. Compare these verses with Matthew 12:22-24.
What caused the one man to be dumb (unable to speak) and the other to be deaf and blind?
In both cases, the Pharisees said the same thing about Jesus. What did they say?
This was certainly a serious charge against Jesus! However, we are not going to study it further just yet. We will look into the matter again when we study the opposition of the religious leaders to Jesus.
We have looked at many different miracles Jesus did. I hope that this study will make your faith stronger for Jesus is still the same and He will still do great things for his own.
BUT, there are people who don’t believe that Jesus ever did these things: they say that modern science has proven that such things cannot happen. In our next lesson we are going to look more closely at this objection to the miracles in the Bible.
BIO:Alva J. McClain 1888-1968
Alva J. McClain, the founder and first president of Grace
Theological Seminary and Grace College, was born in Iowa and later grew
up in Sunnyside, Washington. Shortly after his marriage to Josephine
Gingrich in 1911, he and his wife were saved under the preaching of Dr.
L.S. Bauman. He had been at- tending the University of Washington, but
removed to Los An- geles, where he attended the Bible Institute of Los
Angeles and sat under the teaching of Dr. R.A. Torrey.
Upon graduating from Biola, he enrolled in Xenia Theological
Seminary and completed work for the B.D. and Th.M. degrees–following
which he was called to the First Brethren Church of Philadelphia, where
he served from 1918 to 1923. During the pastorate he taught at the
Philadelphia School of the Bible. Because of ill health, he resigned
and removed to California, where he finished his work for the A.B.
degree at Occidental College, graduating as valedictor- ian. Later he
was awarded the honorary degree of LL.D. at Bob Jones University, and
the D.D. degree at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.
In 1925 and 1926, he served as professor of Bible at Ashland
College. In 1927-1929 he taught Christian theology at the Bible
Institute of Los Angeles. In 1930, the first gradu- ate school of
theology in the Brethren Church was organized at Ashland College under
his leadership, where he served as its first academic dean and
professor of Christian theology.
In 1937 Grace Theological Seminary was organized un- der his
direction, and as first president and professor of Christian theology,
he served from 1937 to 1962.
Dr. McClain authored many short treatises, but will be remembered
for his monumental work on Christian theology, The Greatness of the
Kingdom, one of seven volumes he had projected concerning the entire
scope of Christian faith. He will long be remembered as scholar,
theologian, educator, master teacher, and Christian gentleman.