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Lesson 5: The Wonder of His Works *

Introduction: Last week we studied Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the kind of attitude it teaches that we should have if we want to be happy. Attitudes result in actions. This week we look at the kinds of actions which Jesus displayed towards us. Are these the same we should display towards others? Are these the natural out-working of the Sermon on the Mount? Let's dive into our lesson and find out!

  1. What Works?

    1. Read Matthew 7:15-18. I firmly believe that we are saved by faith, not works. What does this text teach us about the relationship of works to faith? (It says that a life of faith produces works in line with the faith. Works are evidence of faith just like apples are evidence that you have an apple tree.)

    2. Read Matthew 7:21. What is insufficient for salvation? (Talk.)

      1. Read Romans 10:13. How do you reconcile these two texts?(You should read the entire chapter: Romans 10:1-21. Paul argues that you can have "religious" actions without understanding God. Specifically, you do not understand God if you do not believe in Jesus. Paul instructs us that you have to put your faith in Jesus to be saved.)

    3. Read Matthew 7:22-23. If apples prove we have an apple tree, why do not miracles, prophesy and exorcisms prove these are righteous people?

      1. Read Matthew 12:24-25. How can you reconcile Jesus' statement that demons can only be driven out by the power of God, and His statement in Matthew 7:22-23 that God does not know some who drove out demons? (The whole thrust of Matthew 7 is identifying faithful people by their works. I can only conclude that these people are lying or self-deceived. Jesus calls them "evildoers!" Their lives reflect evil deeds, not God's deeds.)

  2. The Leper

    1. Read Matthew 8:1-3. Jesus just finished the Sermon on the Mount and He came down the mountain to be confronted by a leper. If you were a leper, what kind of an attitude, what kind of outlook would you have on life?

      1. List how you would feel. (I would have no hope or dreams for the future. I would know that life was only going to get worse. I look ugly and that will get worse. I smell bad. No one wants to be around me. No one has respect for me because they think it is my sin which caused my illness. I will never have a full life, instead I'm going to die miserably and alone.)

    2. Can you think of any problem that a person could have in life that would not, in a sense, be a part of the leper's problem?

    3. The leper said, "Lord if you are willing...." Put yourself in Jesus' place. Would you want to help this smelly, ugly fellow? What if you thought that touching the leper might give you leprosy and cause your nose to fall off? What about the problem of making you religiously "unclean?"

      1. Is there any benefit to Jesus in healing the leper?

      2. Is the Lord always willing to heal us?

      3. Which Beatitude is involved in this situation? ( Matthew 5:7. Happy are the merciful.)

      4. Do we see at any time in the New Testament where someone came to Jesus and Jesus said, "No, I'm not willing to heal you?"

        1. Does the tree of your life reflect "mercy apples?"

  3. The Centurion

    1. Read Matthew 8: 5-8. What is the positive significance of this man being a centurion? (He was a Roman military officer in command of 100 men. The centurions were the backbone of the Roman army.)

      1. What is the negative significance of this man being a centurion? (He represented the foreign occupation army of God's land. He was a Gentile.)

      2. Do you think that it is unusual for the centurion to be asking Jesus for help for his servant? (I imagine the centurion was uncertain how he would be received by a Jewish teacher. Barclay says that in Roman law a slave was defined as a living tool. He had no rights.)

      3. A Roman writer on estate management recommended that farmers examine their implements every year and to throw out those which are old and broken - and to do the same with their slaves! Here the slave was paralyzed--why not just kill him?

        1. What does all of this say about the character of this centurion? Does he display the character Jesus commends in the Beatitudes?

        2. Or, is this just like the centurion coming to Jesus to get his tractor fixed?

    2. Notice that Jesus offers to come into the home of the centurion and, second, the centurion asks Jesus not to come. What is going on? Lousy housekeeping? (Read Acts 10:28. Here, Peter is talking to a Roman centurion! It was not proper for a Jew to visit the home of a Gentile. Both Jesus and the centurion know this and the centurion is trying to save Jesus from a difficult situation.)

      1. If I'm correct about this, why didn't the centurion bring the slave on a bed to Jesus? Do you think Matthew 5:5 (happy are the meek) has anything to do with this? (Assume that the centurion originally hoped his authority might have some influence. As soon as Jesus gave him a meek answer (instead of a righteous objection), the centurion immediately responded with a meek, face-saving response.)

    3. Read Matthew 8:9-10. Is the centurion modeling one of the Beatitudes here? (It may sound odd, but I think the centurion is modeling Matthew 5:9 - he is a peacemaker. Remember that peacemakers make peace between God and man? They show how Jesus bridges the gap between God and man. This centurion says that I can order people to do things at a distance. Surely God can do such a thing too!)

      1. Did the paralyzed slave have faith? (There is no indication.)

      2. Can you be healed based on the faith of someone else? (Seems so.)

    4. Was Jesus willing to heal the slave? (Yes)

      1. At what point? ( Matthew 8:7 shows Jesus decided to heal before He heard the great faith statement of the centurion!)

        1. Why? (I think this is a demonstration of Matthew 5:7. The centurion was merciful to his slave. Jesus then showed mercy to the centurion and his slave.)

  4. The Sick and Demon Possessed

    1. Read Matthew 8:16-17. The reference is to Isaiah 53:4 where the prophet speaks of Jesus carrying our infirmities and diseases. Isaiah also writes of Jesus taking our punishment for sin. What do you understand this to mean? Can we claim physical healing to the same extent we can claim forgiveness from sin?

      1. Or, is Jesus suggesting that He identifies with the diseased, and therefore we sometimes suffer disease as part of our existence here? (I think both are true. When Jesus comes to permanently destroy sin and death He will also destroy disease. In the meantime, part of the human condition is to suffer from disease.)

  5. Ultimate Hope

    1. Read Mark 5:22-24. Put yourself in the place of this father, what kind of state of mind does he have in verse 22 and what kind of state of mind does he have in verse 24?

    2. Read Mark 5:25-32. What kind of state of mind does the father have now? (I would be ready to pop an artery. My daughter is dying, this is an emergency and Jesus is looking around to see who touched Him in the crowd!)

    3. Read Mark 5:33-35. What is the reason for the daughter dying? (Delay.)

      1. What does this tell you about Jesus' sense of priorities? Could He work in a hospital emergency room?

    1. Read Mark 5:36. What is the father supposed to believe? His daughter just died because Jesus was fooling around with a non-emergency case!

    2. Read Mark 5:42-43. Does the delay matter now? Would you now allow Jesus to work in a hospital emergency room? (This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because it is a parable of our lives here. Things happen which make no common sense. God disappoints us sometimes. We think He is not paying close enough attention to His duties (at least with regard to our life). We learn from this story "Don't be afraid; just believe." We must believe that Jesus has conquered death. Time does not matter to Jesus. He will make all things right. When He does, the delay will not matter to you.)

    3. Friend, will you commit today to live without fear? Will part of the "apples" of your life be trust in Jesus even though you cannot see the logic in what is happening?

  1. Next week: The Challenge of His Sayings.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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