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!
- What Works?
- 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.)
- Read Matthew 7:21. What is insufficient for salvation?
- 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.)
- 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?
- 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.)
- The Leper
- 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?
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
- Is there any benefit to Jesus in healing the leper?
- Is the Lord always willing to heal us?
- Which Beatitude is involved in this situation?
( Matthew 5:7. Happy are the merciful.)
- 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?”
- Does the tree of your life reflect “mercy
- The Centurion
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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?
- What does all of this say about the character of
this centurion? Does he display the character
Jesus commends in the Beatitudes?
- Or, is this just like the centurion coming to
Jesus to get his tractor fixed?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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!)
- Did the paralyzed slave have faith? (There is no
- Can you be healed based on the faith of someone else?
- Was Jesus willing to heal the slave? (Yes)
- At what point? ( Matthew 8:7 shows Jesus decided to
heal before He heard the great faith statement of the
- 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
- The Sick and Demon Possessed
- 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?
- 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
- Ultimate Hope
- 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
- 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!)
- Read Mark 5:33-35. What is the reason for the daughter
- What does this tell you about Jesus’ sense of
priorities? Could He work in a hospital emergency
- 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!
- 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.)
- 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?
- Next week: The Challenge of His Sayings.