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A Soul-Searching Walk Alongside Jesus, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2021 7:05 am

A Soul-Searching Walk Alongside Jesus, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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April 30, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Kingdom: A Study of Matthew 8–13

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Imagine what it was like for the disciples to walk alongside Jesus in real time.

They had the privilege of watching Him encounter people at their deepest point of need. Jesus cast out demons, healed a paralyzed man, gave grace to a tax collector. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues our study through the Gospel According to God. We've come to the ninth chapter where Matthew recorded a sequence of remarkable events that shape our love and respect for Jesus. We'll begin by reading the passage together. And then Chuck presents his message titled, A Soul Searching Walk Alongside Jesus. Please turn to Matthew, the ninth chapter. And when you do, you will find in your worship folder an outline that will help keep you and me both on message so that we don't wander through this important journey. We want to walk alongside Jesus. We'll use our imagination some in the process as we relive the scene that is recorded in Matthew 9 verses 1 to 13. Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to His own town.

Some people brought to Him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, be encouraged, my child. Your sins are forgiven. But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, that's blasphemy.

Does he think he's God? Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? Is it easier to say, your sins are forgiven or stand up and walk?

So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins. Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, stand up, pick up your mat and go home. And the man jumped up and went home.

Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority. As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth. Follow me and be my disciple, Jesus said to him.

So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, why does your teacher eat with such scum? When Jesus heard this, he said, healthy people don't need a doctor.

Sick people do. Then he added, now go and learn the meaning of this scripture. I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I've come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scripture Studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, A Soul Searching Walk Alongside Jesus. Imagination is a wonderful thing. You stop and think about it. It can transport you from the very familiar surroundings to places, well, faraway places with strange sounding names, places you may never go in your entire lifetime, but you're there thanks to the imagination. You can be beside those that you have admired for years from a distance, who died centuries ago.

And you can almost hear their voices and see them in action and feel how they must have felt. One of the most intriguing books in my library is entitled, A Sense of History. It begins with a 36 page introductory chapter titled, I Wish I'd Been There. The scholars, the authors, the historians who participate in writing that chapter, name places in American history where they would love to have been in years past. For example, and listen to the imagination, I would like to have been among the small company of sailors in the moonlit pre-dawn moment, October 12, 1492, when a lookout aboard a small vessel hailed the sand cliffs of an island never before seen by the eyes of Europeans.

Had I rushed to the ship's rail, Christopher Columbus, with Christopher Columbus, I would have sensed his triumph and shared in the joy and amazement of his companions. Here's another. I would love to have been there when we declared our independence on that warm sunny day in Philadelphia, July 8, 1776, as the proclamation was made and the document was read. Another. I would have loved to have been a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition to confront unspoiled nature in a way that will never again be possible on this planet.

Yet another. I would have loved to have been there at Lincoln's farewell to his neighbors in Springfield, Illinois. In that intimate moment, the president-elect spoke of his facing a task greater than that which rested upon Washington. Another named January 1, 1863, when slaves legally received their freedom for the first time.

As flags waved, there suddenly arose a strong male voice, cracked and elderly, and began singing, my country, tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Another historian. I would have loved to have been there at the surrender at Appomattox. Another. I would have loved to have been sitting alongside FDR when he first got word of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Another, when the bomb exploded at Alamogordo, July 1945, and on and on and on it goes. Imagination. It can capture the moment and you literally can feel what was felt. I do that every time I open my Bible. Every time I read a story from the scriptures, I'm there. I can feel the pressure in the valley of Elah as David faces Goliath across the veil. I would have loved to have been alongside Daniel in the lion's den.

I don't want to be there alone. When the Lord gave the lion's lockjaw and he slept all that night comfortably because of the miracle that God had done. I would have loved to have been with the shepherds in the field outside Bethlehem when they heard the voice of the angel. Or sitting next to Paul in the Mamertime dungeon when he wrote his final words to Timothy. When we travel to Israel, we take a journey back guided by imagination. We're sitting on the steps of the temple, looking south across Jerusalem. To the left is the Kidron Valley and it leads up to the Mount of Olives, the little garden of Gethsemane. On a clear day, you can see in the distance.

We love to have our guest soloists sing as we're sitting there in a group. I walk today where Jesus walked, ending with marvelous words and felt his presence there. Imagination takes you there.

Without it, it's just black print on white pages, but with it, you're there. Today, you're in a disciple. You're one of the twelve. Not yet numbered twelve, you're among the early chosen disciples. And you're standing alongside Jesus when he deals with the one who is filled with demons.

And you watch him as he casts them out with a word, go. When that ends and the demoniac is back in his right mind and clothed and sitting nearby, you get in the boat with Jesus. As we read in verse one, you climb into the boat. Smell the fish? A couple of dead ones are left there on the floor of the boat. Maybe you feel the wet net on your leg, as fishermen have once used it not too long ago and thrown it in the boat.

Just a little fishing boat to take you back across that six-mile trek from the Gadarenes back to Capernaum with Jesus. In light of what just happened, you wonder what the day will hold. You wonder if you will encounter anything like that, and you're in for another surprise.

Because it isn't long before you're in the house that's packed with people all the way out the door of that house. And you're listening to the Master as he teaches. Suddenly, you feel something on your shoulders and you look up and you notice daylight through the roof. Before long, you can see four men holding onto the four lines on the corner of the mat as they let down into the room the paralytic.

Quadriplegic, paraplegic, we're not told which. But there he is, and he can't move on his own. And you listen, wondering what Jesus will say, and you're surprised to know he doesn't first talk about his paralysis. He talks about his soul, because Jesus knew the culture in that culture. You had that happen to you because of sin, either in your life or someone before you.

Right or wrong, that's what the many people believed. And Jesus addresses the man's soul before he addresses his paralysis. And he says, be encouraged, my child. End of verse 2.

Your sins are forgiven. Your heart beats a little faster when you realize that the one you're following is able to do that. But there are others who are sneering, and they're thinking in their own minds. They're thinking as they say to themselves, that's blasphemy. Who does he think he is?

God? You know he is, but they don't. What I love about the story, and here I allow my imagination to race a little, I love it that Jesus can read their minds. They didn't say it out loud, they said it to themselves. Sort of convicting, isn't it?

Remember stuff you say under your breath and you think nobody heard you? It's all known by our Lord. He hears their thoughts. So he said to them, why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?

I mean, the man who is paralyzed is still there, nothing's been done yet. So Jesus is addressing the skeptics. You're listening because you're a young disciple and you wouldn't know how to answer them. He's not intimidated. He says, is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or stand up and walk?

What kind of a question would that be? Would you have to have authority to forgive sins and to prove that you have such authority? One is made to stand up and walk. You can do miracles, and he's showing his role as Messiah, the one who can do that. And they don't know that. They don't believe that. So they're standing and listening.

Interestingly, they don't answer. So he says, I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins. Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, stand up, pick up your mat, and go home. The man jumped up and went home.

You know what I like about the story here? It's so non-sensational. There are no signs outside the house that say, come see the miracle worker.

There are no tickets sold. There's no emphasis on the one doing the miracle. It's on the power, the authority of God working through him. And the man gets up, and he goes home. Fear swept through the crowd. Well, I would imagine. They saw what had happened, and by the way, the miracle was instant.

It wasn't, come back later and let's see how you're feeling. He was immediately healed of his paralysis. And they were grateful that they praised God for sending one with such authority. You think, that's it, that's the day. Now we can walk along with Jesus and spend time quietly by him.

But that's not the plan. As a matter of fact, Jesus, while he's walking along, we have Mark and Luke to thank to know that they were alongside the Sea of Galilee. So they're out by the water's edge. One of the writers says that everyone is following him. But there's one that isn't following. He's sitting in a tax booth.

He's looking, watching what's happening outside. But he's not a follower. He's sitting at his tax collector's booth. And he is one hated man. I told you he was a tax collector.

That ought to be enough. But if you knew then, if you knew now what they knew then, you'd be saying to Jesus, whatever you do, don't call him to join our group. He's a tax collector. Let me fill you in.

This may help. There was never a more unlikely candidate for the office of disciple or apostle than Matthew. The authorized version calls him a publican. Publican were tax collectors, tax gatherers, and they were so called because they dealt with public money and with public funds. The problem with the Roman government was to devise a system whereby taxes could be collected as efficiently and cheaply as possible. They did so by auctioning the right to collect taxes in a certain area. The man who bought that right was responsible to the Roman government.

Don't forget that. Matthew was a Jew, but he's working for Rome. And you already know what the Jews thought of the Romans. So he's a turncoat.

He's got his hands in Jewish pockets, but he's answering to Roman authorities. And there was an agreed sum he was to collect. Anything he could raise over and above that, he was allowed to keep as his commission. Obviously, the system lent itself to grave abuses. Many a tax collector became a wealthy person through illegal extortion.

The system had led to so many abuses that in Palestine it needed to be brought to an end. Taxes, however, still need to be paid, and there were still abuses. Three great stated taxes.

A ground tax by which a man had to pay one-tenth of a grain of his grain and one-fifth of his fruit and vine. There was an income tax, which was one percent of a man's income. There was a poll tax, which had to be paid by every male from the age of 14 to the age of 65.

And by every female from age 12 to age 65. These were statutory taxes and could not well be used by tax collectors for private profit. However, in addition to the taxes, there were all sorts of other taxes. A duty on anything from 2.5 percent to 12.5 percent on all goods imported and exported. Tax had to be paid to travel on main roads, to cross bridges, to enter marketplaces and towns or harbors. There was a tax on pack animals, tax on wheels and axles of carts. There were purchase taxes on goods bought and sold. In light of that, all kinds of people were needed to collect these taxes, and it wasn't difficult for such a person to line his own pockets.

In addition to collecting taxes, which were illegally done. These tax gatherers were therefore universally hated. They had entered the service of their country's conquerors, and they amassed their fortunes at the expense of their country's misfortunes, they were notoriously dishonest. They made a flourishing income by taking bribes from rich people who wished to avoid taxes, which they should have paid and on and on. So these guys were hated.

In fact, I thought about this. I think the average Jew looked upon those fellow Jews who were tax gatherers as independent Roman scums, or I-R-S, independent Roman scums. That's who they were, and they hated them for it. So don't call Matthew to be one of the disciples. I mean, he ripped off my uncle. He's the same guy who got rich. Jesus reaches out and says to Matthew, Follow me and be my disciple.

He's going to be one of us. This tax gatherer, Matthew, got up and followed him. Luke adds he left everything and followed him. He closed down his business.

He sent words to his colleagues, I'm through. He notified the Roman authorities, I'm no longer involved. I'm now a follower of this man who has changed my life. If that wasn't enough, now pay attention, being a disciple, Matthew invited Jesus and us, see it? Jesus and his disciples to his home.

Luke tells us it was in honor of Jesus who was the guest of honor, and he brought him along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. Don't you love the word others? It's kind of like saying, I want you to come and bring along your wife and other gossips.

See what it does? It puts everybody in the category of a gossip. Bring along this man and also other crooks who worked alongside him. The point is the room is filled with people that you and I would have looked down on because of what they did for a living. They're all sitting together at this table and having the time of their life. Matthew is there because he's so excited about their meeting, his master whom they do not know. But as you would imagine, the Pharisees were looking in the windows and they were squinting their eyes and so they asked his disciples, so maybe one of you heard them, what does your teacher eat with such scum?

Can you tell me how he gets away with this and calls himself a spiritual leader? What would you have answered? And by the way, great point. Would you have felt uneasy at the table? Would you have felt yourself comfortable sitting with a whole group of people like those your parents had taught you to hate and those that you had learned now that you're an adult that you cannot trust? Got a whole table full of these disreputable sinners. And the Pharisees saw it being self-righteous as they were.

They wanted to know how you can eat with such scum. At that moment, it's great to be a disciple. You look to Jesus for the answer and he gives a classic answer.

Look at this. Without any preparation, he responds, healthy people don't need a doctor, sick people do. Isn't that great?

I love that answer. Another refreshing response from Jesus when the Pharisees attempted to trap him. Healthy people don't need a doctor, Jesus said, sick people do. You're listening to Insight for Living. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, A Soul Searching Walk Alongside Jesus.

To learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org. In addition to encouraging you to visit us online, we're inviting you to add Swindoll's Living Insights commentary on Matthew to your personal library. Chuck's commentary on Matthew comes in two hardbound volumes and they're laid out in a format that's simple to navigate. Plus, Chuck's conversational style and humor bring a warmth and accessibility rarely found in commentaries. To purchase Swindoll's Living Insights commentary on Matthew, go to insight.org slash store. Or if you prefer, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. Insight for Living Ministries is a nonprofit organization made possible not by the purchase of commentaries, but through the voluntary donations of grateful supporters. And we're thankful for the loyal friends who have come alongside us with their generous donations, especially during this complicated season when the pandemic has collided with a variety of cultural issues that are pressing us into unfamiliar territory.

There's never been a season quite like this one. And we're intent on walking alongside you every step of the way. To provide the means necessary to broadcast Chuck Swindoll's messages on radio and the internet, you can send a donation right now by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or give online at insight.org. And then finally, as we enter into the first weekend in May, remember you're invited to join us online for Sunday morning worship at Stonebriar Community Church. You'll find all the instructions for streaming the live worship service at insight.org slash Sundays. Our soul-searching walk alongside Jesus continues Monday with Chuck Swindoll right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, A Soul-Searching Walk Alongside Jesus, was copyrighted in 2016 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-24 02:37:45 / 2023-11-24 02:46:23 / 9

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