The Scriptorium

Deeds and Words

They're how the Kingdom advances. Matthew 8.1-34

Matthew 8: Setting Things Right (7)

Pray Psalm 145.1-3.
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.

Sing Psalm 145.1-3.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
I will extol You, God, my King, and ever praise Your Name!
I bless You, Lord, for everything each day, and e’er the same!
Great are You, Lord, my praise I bring; unsearchable Your fame!

Read and meditate on Matthew 8.1-34.

Prepare.
1. How many different ways do you see the power of Jesus in the works reported in this chapter?

2. How do the works Jesus did validate the words He taught in chapters 5-7?

Meditate.
Paul reminds us that the Kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power (1 Cor. 4.20). Perhaps he was thinking of this part of the Gospel of Matthew as he wrote those words. Having spent three chapters speaking about the Kingdom of God, and calling all who heard Him to seek that Kingdom as the defining priority of their lives, Jesus promptly moved to back up those words with demonstrations of Kingdom power.

And what power we see in Him in chapter 8! He heals with a touch, or even merely a word. He commends great faith and warns half-hearted would-be followers. He overcomes the ravages of leprosy, paralysis, fever, and all manner of sickness; and He initiates the plundering of Satan’s domain by casting out demons and sending them to their destruction. He even commands the wind and sea to obey Him.

The power of the Kingdom inheres in Jesus. He rules the world and exercises His power to deliver people from sin and its destructive effects. The works of Jesus validate His words, and should lead us not so much to do the same works He did, but, believing His words, to do works of mercy and righteousness in our own Personal Mission Field, drawing on His power as we rely on His words and seek the progress of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

To follow Jesus is to trust His words, to increase in His righteousness, and to draw on His power for overturning the ravages of sin and bringing peace and joy into the world. In the Kingdom of God, words and deeds combine to turn the world rightside-up for Jesus.

Reflect.
1. How can you improve in your ability to hear the words of the Kingdom from Jesus?

2. Who are the people in your Personal Mission Field? How should you seek the Kingdom of God among them?

3. What works of Kingdom mercy and righteousness do you expect Jesus to do through you today?

nothing ought to be to us more urgent than the affairs of the kingdom of heaven. We ought with all diligence to cling to these and not to put them off in the slightest, though our engagements be exceedingly indispensable and pressing. John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 27.3

Be at work in me today, O Lord, so that I…

Pray Psalm 145.10-21.
Meditate on all the good and mighty works of the Lord. Praise and thank Him for them. Call on Him to be near you throughout the day, and to grant you rest in Him.

Sing Psalm 145.10-21.
Psalm 145.10-21 (Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your works shall thank You; all Your saints shall bless and praise You, Lord.
Your reign we bless without restraint; Your power fills our words.
Our children we shall educate in all Your splendor, Lord.

Your Kingdom evermore shall be; You reign forever, Lord!
Your works You do so faithfully, according to Your Word.
The falling You uphold and the oppressed You rescue, Lord!

The eyes of all look up to You to meet our needs each day.
Open Your hand, provide the food we need, O Lord, we pray!
Kindness and righteousness You do, O Lord, in every way!

Be near to all who call on You; all those who fear You, bless.
Preserve all those whose love is true; save us in our distress.
Our mouths will speak with praise of You; Your holy Name we’ll bless!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore