Matthew 9: Enlarging the Harvest (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 9.1-38.
1. How many different works did Jesus do in this chapter?
2. There is a focus in this chapter on preparing others for doing such works. How do you see that?
In Matthew 4, Jesus bound the devil in preparation for ransacking his domain. In chapters 5-7, Jesus set forth His agenda: bringing the Kingdom of righteousness to earth in fulfillment of the Law of God. The sermon on the mount reveals Jesus’ strategy for plundering the devil’s domain and reconciling the world to God. In chapters 8 and 9, Jesus set about establishing beachheads for the Kingdom, preparing the world for that great day when He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh, and the Kingdom of God would invade and begin to overcome the kingdoms of men (Dan. 2.44, 45).
Chapter 9 shows us more of what we saw in chapter 8. Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, enlisted followers, and continued casting a vision for the great harvest of souls that is to be gathered. He proclaimed His message against the backdrop of Pharisaical traditions. And He demonstrated His power over even the most intractable of maladies. All the while, He persevered in preaching and teaching in the synagogues of Galilee, as multitudes gathered to hear Him.
And nothing could stop Him from doing all that He came to do.
Jesus prepared the world for the coming of His Kingdom. He functioned as the Herald of the Kingdom, and He showed us a type or template of what the Kingdom would entail. All that Jesus did in these chapters is in some manner foretold in the Psalms and prophets. By His death and resurrection He would defeat sin and death, thus clearing the final beachhead for the coming of the Spirit. In His ascension He received the Kingdom, and by pouring out His Spirit He bestowed the Kingdom on His people (Dan. 7.13-18). Their pursuit of the Kingdom would follow the examples and path Jesus set for them in the gospels.
We need to pay careful attention to the works and words of Jesus, because they show us how we should think about the progress of His Kingdom in our own lives. By the power of God at work within us, the effects of sin are overcome and rolled back, and the teaching and presence of righteousness advances.
1. What do we mean by saying that Jesus was establishing “beachheads” by His words and works?
2. What kind of “harvest” was Jesus thinking about in this chapter?
3. What should they do who are laborers in that harvest?
An abundant harvest signified the multitude of people. The few laborers signified the dearth of teachers. He commands them to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. These are the laborers of whom the psalmist speaks: “May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Jerome (347-420), Commentary on Matthew 1.9.37
Lead me forth into the harvest today, O Lord, as I…
Pray Psalm 145.10-21.
Review the works of Jesus in chapters 8 and 9. What opportunities for Kingdom words and works will you have in the day ahead? Seek the Lord for strength and boldness in following 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).