MATTHEW 9:18-26: NIGHT OF THE SLEEPING DEAD!
PREPARING TO READ MATTHEW 9:18-26
What's with all the fascination these days with the living dead? Zombies! If the "living dead" fascinates you, this story of the "sleeping dead" is a good fit for you. Watch for the amazing faith of a "ruler" whose daughter dies and seems confident Jesus can raise her from the dead. No one had ever seen someone raised from the dead, and in Matthew's story, this is the first time raising someone from the dead has been attempted.
Watch for what happens on the way to the bedside of the girl who had just died. A woman who had been bleeding twelve years thought if she only touched Jesus's clothes, she would be healed. In Matthew's account, Jesus is very tender and tells the woman to take heart, "Your faith has healed you." He had compassion, Matthew says, because as he went from village to town teaching in the synagogues, he'd meet people who seemed like "sheep without a shepherd," harassed and helpless. His answer to their condition was compassion with teaching. He was "preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness."
He also asked for the help of his disciples to call upon the Lord to send forth harvesters, pointing out that the harvest of souls is great but the workers are few. "Ask the Lord of harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Today's prayer is patterned after the prayer of the two blind men in Matthew 9:27, and this is a prayer I pray throughout each day, because it reminds us of our humble position in relationship to Jesus and of the mercy he extends to all people in need.
"Son of David, have mercy on us!"
When the Pharisees (a strict religious sect of the Jews) saw that Jesus cast yet another demon out of a man, and they heard the crowds saying, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!" the men said (to whom, I don't know) "It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons."
So as you see people doing good, practice giving thanks to God for the good that He is doing in the world through them. Demons don't get driven out by demon possessed people. Good works don't get done by evil people. Therefore, make it a daily practice to give thanks for the good things you see happening. You may be in the habit of downplaying the good others do because you are jealous, you don't want to acknowledge your own laziness, or for another reason only your heart and God knows.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.