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147 - Helpless: Sheep Without a Shepherd

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2023 1:00 pm

147 - Helpless: Sheep Without a Shepherd

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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May 20, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 147 - Helpless: Sheep Without a Shepherd (20 May 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City


You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Today at Matthew's Gospel we'll read a story of two women. And the story has been 12 years in the making for both of them. And one died too young and the other had been 12 years walking a living death.

And then the touch of Jesus brought them from death to life. Today on More Than Ink. Hey, hey, look who's sitting across the dining room table from me. It's Dorothy. And Jim is sitting across from me. And we actually are sitting at our dining room table. And we really enjoyed this in case you're thinking this is all a bit fake. We have so much fun. Does it sound like we're having fun?

We're having fun. Well, you know, last time we were in the first half of chapter nine and we see Jesus doing some amazing things. And today we continue this ministry he's doing up in the Galilee area. But it starts off with his statement while he was saying these things. So what was he saying just before today? Remember he had been at a party at Matthew's house with a lot of tax gatherers and sinners.

And then he had answered this question from the disciples of John about fasting. And he starts talking about the bridegroom. And then he makes these two metaphors about a patch on an old garment and new wine.

Oh, yeah, the wineskin thing. So we talked a little bit about that, that the contrast between just trying to paste a different way of thinking on an old way of life. And Jesus is saying, No, no, no, we're starting completely new, new something new here. And then we spend a little bit of time talking about the New Covenant, knowing God and being forgiven of our sins and His Spirit being placed in us. So he's, he's not saying those things in that kind of detail, but he's talking to this mixed crowd. And then Matthew goes right on with the story saying, and while he was saying these things, so we're starting in verse 18. So yeah, so what he's saying is that this whole idea that Jesus is going to be doing stuff now, and it's going to be in a wholly new context, totally different. So don't judge him too quickly, because what he's doing is not going to map to anything you've seen in the past. This is a new thing. This is not... And yet there's a relationship to the past. That's right. So let's find out how, if you want to follow, we're in chapter nine, verse 18 of Matthew.

Okay. While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him saying, My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live. And Jesus rose and followed him with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for 12 years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment. For she said to herself, If I only touch his garment, I will be made well. Jesus turned and seeing her, he said, Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well. And instantly the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping. And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district. Well, I guess so.

Okay. Now it's important to read the whole story because we've got two parallel things happening. Two things being healed. Two people being healed.

A young girl and an older woman. And it's an important Bible study technique to look at the parallel accounts in the other Gospels. So Mark 5 and Luke 8 both contain this exact same story, but they add more detail. So we find out that this was a ruler of the synagogue, so he was a Jewish leader.

His name was Jairus, and the daughter was 12 years old. Well, when we find out that the woman had been suffering from her issue for 12 years, that is an interesting bit of parallelism in the story. There are other things like that.

But those are details that come from reading the parallel accounts. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's the only place we know that it's Jairus. Right.

So that helps. Although, you know, I don't think that means much to us because we don't have any other history about him. I don't think. No, except that Mark and Luke both include his name. So it must, their readers, they must have assumed that his name was important.

Exactly. Because these Gospels would be read to people who could still be alive who would recognize his name and say, that Jairus? Oh, that Jairus.

Especially Mark's Gospel because it was written very early. Yeah, yeah. So anyway, so Jairus comes desperate, desperate because he says his daughter's died. Just to let you know, the other passages, he says that she's dying, but apparently here he's saying, no, she might be gone already. So it's interesting that he's a ruler of the synagogue, and yet we had just had Jesus having this interchange with the Pharisees and the Scribes, and they're saying, you know, why are you eating with tax collectors and sinners?

But here is one of their own. Yeah. A Jewish leader coming right in and kneeling before Jesus. Right, and it's not a small thing to kneel before him, you know, because it takes me back in Acts when Peter goes up to Cornelius up in Caesarea, the centurion up there. And as soon as Peter shows up on the spot, Cornelius comes and kneels before him.

Right. It's a worship thing. That is deeply reverential. Right, and Peter says, hey, stand up, I'm a man just like you. So when this man kneels before Jesus, he's saying something from a worship context about who this Jesus is. And clearly he knows that Jesus is not just a man, so that's just why he's doing this. And in this case, as opposed to Peter, Jesus doesn't say, no, get up, get up, I'm just a man like you. He just lets him worship. He lets him kneel there.

Yeah. So he makes his appeal, he says, my daughter's dead, but if you come, she'll live. Okay, that's a pretty amazing statement right there.

His expectation is that Jesus can either keep this girl from dying or bring her back from the dead. That's a huge statement. I mean, that's a big deal. And it's public, right? It's before everybody.

Yeah. So Jesus says, okay, so here's this guy who has some kind of audience with Jesus. And now we switch to a parallel story of a woman who's trying not to have an audience with Jesus.

She's trying to stay undercover. Well and remember, Jesus is in the middle of a crowd, so he's working his way through a crowd to go with Jairus across town or wherever to where his daughter is. And she technically, because of her illness, she technically is unclean and can't be with people. Right. And it'd be not only presumptuous to push into this crowd, but even to push in close to Jesus and make him unclean. And the issue of touch is very important here, because Jairus comes and says, if you come and lay her hand, or lay your hand on her, she'll... Right, right. So he's seeking Jesus to come and touch his daughter.

This woman is seeking to touch Jesus, and not even his hand. Right. Just the fringe.

The fringe of his garment. And previously we saw that Centurion who said, no, no, no, no, you don't have to come touch him. You just say the word, things will happen. So it's an interesting spectrum of faith here. But they all have enough faith to know that Jesus is someone special who can heal and he's from God.

So that they have in common in terms of their faith. So she does touch the fringe of his garment. She's doing it as undercover as possible. She just does not want to be spotted, because in the village, people know you're not supposed to be close to this woman. But she's going to brave the crowd. She's going to brave whatever Jesus' reaction might be. And she touches it.

She touches the fringe. And according to the other passages, she knows immediately that she's been healed. Immediately. And Jesus knows immediately that someone has been healed. That's right.

Even though he did not consciously turn around and heal her. Right. And he does something really unpredictable. He stops the whole parade. Right. I mean stops the whole parade. As you're trying to heal Jairus' daughter, I mean there's a lot at stake here.

I'm sure Jairus is going crazy when he stops the parade. Yeah. And he says, Allah, who touched me? And Peter responds, look, there's a lot of people around you. Right. Read the other passages. It's really great that way. The other details are just wonderful. But then at that point, it says in one of the other passages that Jesus actually scans the crowd.

He's like looking from eye to eye. And she's trying to hide. In fact, I suspect she was exiting. She was on her way out of the crowd. As soon as she realized she was healed, she says, okay, I'm good.

I'm going to kind of fade back. And so Jesus scans the crowd. And suddenly he makes eye contact with her. She realizes she's no longer hidden. And she has to fess up. And she makes it known who she is and what she's done. Go read the other passages.

It's really, really dramatic. What is so beautiful, and all the writers captured this, Jesus calls her daughter. Yeah, I think this is... Because she's, you know, the contrast here between the daughter of the synagogue official. She's the daughter of a somebody. Exactly. Right.

We're seeing a contrast in privilege here. And here we have a woman who is a daughter of Abraham. I think that's what Jesus calls her in one of the other passages. A daughter. Oh, daughter.

Oh, daughter. So there's a relationship established right there between Jesus and this nobody woman. She's so nobody because of her disease that she's just not included.

And it's fact that she's not even a citizen in a way. No, she had been ritually unclean and barred from ceremonial participation for 12 years. 12 years.

The same length of time as the age of this little girl. Exactly. Exactly. Oh, there's some beautiful, interesting symmetry here.

So you could say here at the same moment that this woman finds life after 12 years, the little daughter who's been living and died finds life again the same day. Intermingling these two stories is not a fictional device. It's the way it happened. No, it's the way it happened. God wants you to ask questions when you see the contrast to these two.

Yeah, it's really something. So I would just strongly encourage you go and read the parallel accounts because Jesus' conversation at this point with the father of the daughter, Jairus. I think it's Luke who records it. I think it is. Because Jairus is put out, Lord, you're wasting time. Yeah. And he says he gives Jairus an opportunity.

You already believe, keep on believing and you'll see the glory of God. So they get to the house. They get to the house. The paid mourners are there. Right. According to law, you had to pay for at least two flutists and at least one crier. That was the minimum requirements during the day. Okay, but that was not Mosaic law. That was Rabbinic law. No, that was just, yeah, it's a tradition. Yeah. And he gets there and they're making quite commotion.

And he says, he tells him, go away. The girl's dead and not dead. She's sleeping.

She's sleeping. Which of course, they being experts on what death looks like because they are professional mourners, their response is to laugh at him. Which, you know, they're convinced this girl's dead. They just know it.

They know. They know what death looks like. But it is interesting that Jesus says she's sleeping. She's not dead. And actually all through the rest of the New Testament, death's how Christians are described when they die. They're not permanently gone, dead like. They're just sleeping and one day they'll wake up again.

Because whatever happens to the body is a temporary thing. That's right. Because there's more after that. Yeah.

So that's exactly what he says here. She's sleeping. She's not dead. It is interesting how fast that mourning crowd turns from mourning to ridicule. Yeah, to ridicule.

I think this is like instantaneous. Well, because the whole thing is a show. Right.

There's a whole lot going on. So, I mean, last time they called Jesus a blasphemer. Here they're ridiculing him because he doesn't understand what death looks like. And here's the guy who knows life and death probably, well, yeah, more than anybody. He's the author.

He's the author of life. Yeah. So, again, you see Jesus taking dings here for doing the right thing. But sure enough, the crowd gets put outside. He goes in. He takes her hand. Again, another lovely kind of gesture.

He takes her hand and the girl arises. And then when she appears, the report goes throughout the entire region. It's just a beautiful picture.

Beautiful picture. And it didn't matter if they delayed on the way to Jairus' house to deal with this other woman who had the 12 years of sickness. It didn't matter at all. But that's what Jairus had to believe. That's what he had to believe. Right.

Right. It's a similar kind of thing because when Lazarus is close to death and his sisters send a message to Jesus who's a couple days off, Jesus decides to deliberately stay. He deliberately waits. And he waits until Lazarus dies.

And it becomes quite well known. And so, you know, many times we look at when we ask God for things and we ask God to do things like now and they're not happening, the timeline kind of messes with our expectations. Where the timeline with Jairus' daughter is, you know, it's irrelevant. He's in charge of that.

And with Lazarus, timeline's irrelevant. He's in charge of that. He's in charge of all time.

It just doesn't matter. But we, like Jairus, get hung up. You got to hurry or things are going to be lost. He's not only in charge of all time. He is in charge of all life. Yeah. Life belongs to him. Yeah. It's just a reminder to me that when my clock gets impatient with God, he is, he's on top of things.

And I'm sure that's what Jairus is thinking here, too. He was always on top of things. Yeah.

You want to push on past stuff? There's so much more we could say about that. Just tons.

Yeah, really tons. But Matthew's purpose is to make it very clear, indisputably clear that this is Messiah. This is the sent one. Without question. Right. And so the things that he is doing are indisputable evidences that he is the sent one. So picking it up in verse 27. And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him crying aloud, Have mercy on us, son of David. Okay, so they're using a messianic title. They're calling him Messiah. They can't see him with their physical eyes, but they know who he is.

Right. And when he entered the house, the blind men came to him and Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I'm able to do this? And they said to him, Yes, Lord. Then he touched their eyes, according to your faith, be it done to you, and their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, See that no one knows about it. Right.

How could that be? We've heard that before. But they went away and spread his fame throughout all the district. Well, for one thing, how could nobody know about it when these guys who were blind now obviously see?

Right, right. I chuckle every time I read this because it says the two blind were following him and I always write in the margin, Well, how did they follow him if they're blind? But you know, they were following the crowd. They followed the crowd. Exactly. And but they followed the crowd and they cried aloud.

But also blind people hear things. Yeah. Right. They are better at following along what's happening than you think they are.

Yeah. But they just have to get close enough to the hubbub of the crowd so that they can cry out, you know, Have mercy on us, son of David. Now it's interesting that they asked for his mercy, because we were talking about that before about mercy. And this always indicts me as well, when I when I have a problem, I'm not blind, but when I, you know, have a cold or fever or something like that, what I always ask for is God heal me from this. And what I really probably should be praying for is God, just be merciful.

You see my situation, can you just sort of, however you see the situation needs to move forward for my good. I'll go with that. So mercy has to do with the alleviation of suffering. Yeah, yeah. Right. And God, we know, describes himself as compassionate and merciful. Right. God is all about alleviating our suffering, ultimately suffering that's caused by our sin.

Yeah, yeah. He sees that and he's merciful. And he's merciful. So why do you think it is that Jesus asked him the questions?

Do you believe I'm able to do this? I mean, doesn't it sound like they are already proclaiming that? Well, maybe it's for the benefit of the people who are standing around. I think it is. I think it totally is.

Because I think they're already there. They're calling him the Son of David. They're calling him Messiah.

So they're saying publicly, yep, you can do this. And so he touches their eyes. And according to your faith, he says, be it done to you. So it's interesting because they had already seen him in reality, right? They knew who he was. Yeah, yeah. So he says, okay, let's make your physical condition consistent with your faith condition.

Yeah. And once again here, he does not correct them for them calling him the Son of David, the Messiah. He does not correct them.

He takes that because that's who he truly is. And then he proves that their acclamation of who he is with that name is indeed who he is by them healing the blind. In fact, healing blind, that was like the top of the healing list. I mean, if you could heal a blind person, you were really something. Because nobody had ever done that. Because it had never been done.

Never been done. And if you want to look at another blind guy healed, go to John 9. Oh, yeah. It's a fascinating section because just no one wanted to accept that it had happened. It was just so beyond the pale. I mean, it's just way out there. And here's two blind guys who get healed. So of course, they can't, they got to tell somebody. And so they run around and they tell of fame through the district. We need to move on. You think?

Okay. And as they were going away, boy, we have action on action on action. As those two were going away, verse 32, behold, a demon oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke.

And the crowds marveled saying, never was anything like this seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, he casts out demons by the prince of demons. Oh, they got their theology messed up. Again, we're back to, you know, they accuse him of blasphemy.

But they are profoundly guilty of it. Yeah, yeah. Now, it's interesting because we've been reading the story. We were already on the other side of the Sea of Galilee when the two guys with the demons named Legion. So I mean, for us, we're reading the story going, Oh, no, we've seen this happen before.

But on this side of the lake, I don't think it has. I mean, it's just a remarkable thing that they're seeing the demons come out. And there's also, there's sort of a hidden little detail right here. You know, in this case, the demon oppressed man was mute.

Right. Which is really interesting because the rabbis at the time, they tried to do exorcisms of demons and stuff like that. And their idea was, the process was, first you had to trick the demon into telling you his name. And then once you had the demon's name, it was kind of like a handle or a way of getting a power of getting him. So once you had their name, then they could proclaim to the name of the demon, be gone, you know. But until you had the name, you couldn't get anywhere in terms of rabbis traditions. Now, this is not biblical. That's rabbis traditions. And so here's this spirit who makes a mute so he can't tell what his name is to the rabbis.

So in a way, this is a closed case. This is a way none of the rabbis was ever going to be able to heal this guy because if you don't have the name of the demons, what are you going to do? But of course, to Jesus, it's like, who needs a name? Now, you remember on the other side of the lake, when he does confront those guys, he asks their name. He says, we're legion because we're many. Yeah.

So that was actually part of the idea of doing the casting up. But here, this is why this is so remarkable. We've never seen anything like this. Jesus doesn't need a name. He doesn't need a name. He can command them to be gone and they're gone.

And so the crowds marvel as a result. And then proof, the man can speak. He's mute no more.

Yeah. So what do you take of the fact that Pharisees, they really get all twisted here trying to explain what was just so obvious that they just saw happen. He casts out demons by the prince of demons.

That's Satan himself. Well, on another occasion, when they said that, he said, a house divided itself against itself can't stand. Logically, this doesn't work. This does not make any sense.

Yeah, this doesn't work. But they do know that what they're saying right here is we have seen something supernatural. Then they have to have a supernatural explanation for it. So since he could not be Messiah in their thinking, there must be another answer. So you go to the other supernatural source, which is Satan himself.

And yet Jesus is doing and has done things that no one else has done. Right? Healing the blind, giving utterance to the mute, healing the lame. The lame, yeah.

Cleansing lepers. Right, right. Raising the dead, right? Yeah, little stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah, who, in fact, I brought up Isaiah 35. Oh, right.

I have that actually on my page here. Yeah. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped.

And then shall the lame man leap like a deer in the tongue of the mute, sing for joy, for waters break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Yeah. So you know, that's what God does. And only God does that. So for these Pharisees to say, well, it's Satan doing it. Right, it's just a bigger, worse demon. Yeah, man, are they messed up.

That's just really messed up. Well, we've got to push on. Shall we push on? Okay. And Jesus went throughout all the cities, this is verse 35, in villages teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. So okay, so he's doing things that the king, the one in authority only can do. That's right. Right. He's serving notice on the whole nation. And that's how he proclaims the gospel of the kingdom.

Yeah. Okay, verse 36. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

This just makes me smile. Because that first batch of laborers sent out were going to be these very guys. He's saying pray to the Lord of the harvest. Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, it's such a beautiful picture. He's summarizing what's going on in the general region is his healing diseases, every affliction, you know, teaching in synagogues. By the way, there was... All over the country he was traveling everywhere. There was always in the synagogues what I like to jokingly call the open mic time.

There was always a section where you could get up and speak. And so that's what he's taking advantage of. Paul did that as well as he traveled around to the Mediterranean to use those times. But he proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom. And when he saw the crowds, and just somewhat a wonderful comment, when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them. And in my looking, I was really curious about that word compassion. Found out that it's an extraordinarily strong word for compassion. And in fact, some commentators, as they went through classic Greek literature and tried to get an understanding of what this word is, they can't find it anywhere. So a lot of people think that in this first century, the apostles or whoever wrote these kind of made up the word.

It was a synthesized word because there was no word in classic Greek that adequately captured the depth of this word compassion right here. Deep compassion for them. They were harassed. They were helpless sheep without a shepherd. Boy, what an indictment against the Pharisees who were supposed to be their shepherds.

Yeah, but not the case. Sheep without a shepherd. And then he said, the harvest is plentiful.

The laborers are few. So let's pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Wow. Which actually he'll do in the next chapter.

That's right. So you know, I wonder you see him actually forming hearts of compassion in his followers, in the disciples, the ones he had chosen, saying, don't you see it? Yep, yep. Don't you see the need? And don't you see what God can do to meet that need in people's lives? This is clearly a huge investment in softening the hearts of the apostles to the people that they would eventually see for the rest of their life.

I mean, it really is something. Sheep without a shepherd. And if you know anything about sheep, and how helpless and how easily deceived and how easily spooked they are, Jesus looks at these people and says, these are just like a sheep that have no shepherd.

Easily spooked, easily taken advantage of, and being harassed and helpless. Isn't it interesting that he had just been called Son of David? Yes.

Right? Who was a shepherd. Yep.

Who God anointed King. Yep. And here we have him, the king, seeing the people as a shepherd would see them. They're just desperately in need of the care that their shepherd can give. Yep, yep. It's interesting here too, at the end of 38, he doesn't say pray earnestly for some shepherds, because that would be consistent with what he was just saying.

No. But he talks about the fact that there's a harvest, something has become quite ripe, and it needs someone to come in and collect it. There's an urgency when the harvest is ripe. Right, right.

And the timing is perfect. And so he's asking for laborers, because when you come to a harvest, you got to harvest fast. Right. It takes a lot of people. All hands are required.

Yeah, all hands are, it's just it's just urgent. So he's talking about we're at a cusp in history now where we need people to be sent out to do this harvest. And that's what we continue to do today. Well, we are out of time. Like I mentioned, this prayer to find more harvesters is going to come up next time when Jesus names his apostles, and then he sends them out. But before he does so, he sends spends the chapter equipping them. And so if you want to see how do you equip these raw fishermen and tax collectors to go out and speak about the kingdom and the gospel, you'll find it next week when we come and look at chapter 10 on More Than Ink.

There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself.

And you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Okay, are you ready? Yeah.

Okay. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-20 14:15:45 / 2023-05-20 14:27:45 / 12

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