Matthew 9–10; Mark 5; Luke 9 | Mar 6 – Mar 12 | Come Follow Me Insights – powered by Happy Scribe
And I’m Kipwin.
And this is Scripture Central’s Come Follow Me Insights. Today, Matthew 9 through 10, Mark 5, and Luke 9. I’m so excited to welcome my sweetheart to teach with me as we cover these incredible scripture stories from the life of the Savior. So to begin, we’re going to jump into Mark chapter 5 and pick up where we left off last week when we ended with last week’s lesson, the Savior combed the stormy sea as he was on his way over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. So in chapter 5, we begin with this long list of things that are all considered very unclean to a first century Jewish person. You begin by going to the land of the gentiles in verse 1, verse 2, when he was coming out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs, a man with an unclean spirit. So we have a gentile living among the tombs with an unclean spirit. He was dwelling among the tombs, and no man could bind him. No, not with chains, because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces.
Neither could any man tame him. So he’s wild. They’ve tried to control him, but it’s not working. And always night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs crying and cutting himself with stones. This is is a constant thing, night and day. He’s living in this torment among the tombs. And you’ll notice back in verse 4, No man could tame him. He is beyond the help of the world’s best resources. And when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and ironically worshiped him. So this is a list of characteristics in this story. All of them are bad, and all of them are rooted in what happens when the devil takes control of a situation. All of these outcomes.
Something I was thinking about as we were reading through that passage and listing off these fruits of the devil’s influence in our lives, I was thinking about, well, what are the opposite fruits of the Savior Jesus Christ’s presence in our lives? And I guess here it would be…
There’s no more foreigners, no more strangers. We’re all one.
You know, a child of the covenant and unclean spirit, maybe purity, life, freedom, agency, joy, way instead of tears, healing instead of wounding, and steadiness, calm instead of the wildness that we have here. So there is that opposite side here, and we’re going to see that as we continue the story.
I love the fact also that here you have all of these things that seem to be ganging up on this situation, and yet the solution doesn’t reside in the world’s experts or the world’s techniques, the solution just arrived on that Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was a person and he has a name, and the Savior is now here. Jesus Christ has come to help this man. And by so doing, he’s going to end up planting a seed among these gentiles through what’s about to happen. So the devils come, and in verse 7, They cried with a loud voice and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not. And instead of saying, Listen, everybody, listen to what the devils know about me, he tells those spirits, Come out of that man. But then he asked them, What is thy name? And he answered and said, My name is legion, for we are many. Did you notice that? We’ve got a legion from hell possessing this man versus the Savior, Jesus Christ. And it’s not even close to a competition.
There’s no question here as to who’s going to win or who is presiding in this event. The Savior looks at that man and he says, No, you’re going to come out. But it tells us now there’s an additional unclean element in this story because you have a whole herd of swine pigs. There’s nothing more unclean to the Jewish people than these pigs. And these spirits said, Please, basically, let us go into the pigs rather than being cast out into nothing. Now, that’s a fascinating thing to request. I would rather be in a pig’s body than in no body at all. That tells us something about the physical nature of our existence on this Earth. Have you noticed how sometimes when we talk about our bodies, our physical bodies, we end up demonizing the body. We treat the flesh as if it’s bad and the spirit as if it’s good. But if you stop and think about the premortal realm, before we came to this Earth, sins were being committed by people who didn’t even have a physical body of flesh and bones. Lucifer and those who followed him committed sins as spirit children of heavenly parents.
And now here we are on this Earth with our spirits inside of physical bodies. And instead of seeing the physical body as this enemy of all righteousness or this thing that’s unclean and dirty, what if we saw it as one of the greatest gifts that we could have ever received from heaven to be created in the image of God and to be given a body of flesh and bone and blood and to be able to experience mortality.
This concept reminds me of a conversation that I had a few days ago with the three youngest. I told you about that. We were talking during the daytime about procreation and the beautiful gift that it is. And with that, we were talking about their physical bodies and some of the things that our physical bodies wrestle with and some of the things that our physical bodies can do for us. And it was very refreshing as I was in the middle of that conversation, I was praying, Please help me not mess this up. I need to help these little people understand the true doctrine behind their physical bodies. And the thought came, Grab the Proclamation off the wall. So I sent one of my little kids and I said, Go grab the Proclamation. And he pulled it off the wall and we sat on the carpet around the document and we started reading. And sure enough, the second paragraph, All human beings, male and female, are created in the image of God. As I read those words, I felt the Spirit distill on those little souls. And we talked about their bodies. We said, Your bodies, to the boys, are made in the image of God, heavenly father.
And your body is made in the image of your heavenly mother to that little girl. And we talked about the beauty and the gift that our bodies are, and they’re going to go with us into the next life. They’re part of our eternal destiny, not just our mortal mission. That’s something that if understood that the body has some struggles here in mortality, but it’s not because the body is inherently bad. The body is divine and it is created and given to us by God. The struggles that we face are a part of the natural fallen world that we’re in. And oftentimes we talk about our bodies as being the cause and our bodies aren’t the cause of those struggles. The devil, mortality often is the cause of those struggles. And our spirits and our bodies need to work together, our spirits mastering those appetites and passions and struggles and weaknesses that we sometimes face with our bodies. But as a friend, helping and working together here in mortality.
It’s different to look at that as a cooperative or a cooperation relationship between our spirit and our body rather than a competition. And if you’re struggling with things in the flesh, to be able to go to heavenly father and say, heavenly father, I thank thee for this amazing gift of having a physical, mortal body, but I’m struggling with knowing how to be in this cooperative relationship, my spirit and my body, help me and acknowledge the struggles and ask for guidance and direction so that it doesn’t demonize the flesh. The devils, based on our scriptures, would give anything to have access to a body, even a body that maybe is less than ideal. In this case, a pig’s body. Nothing’s more unclean to a Jewish listener back then. And I think it’s teaching us a principle about the power of having these physical bodies. So instead of spending time complaining that our body is too tall or too short, too fat, or too skinny, too old, or too young, too blonde, or too brunette, or whatever our complaint may be, instead of that, going to to the heavenly father and thanking him for this incredible gift.
And I noticed in the proclamation, it’s not just that first or that second paragraph, but the things that are now available to us because of the physical body. It’s everywhere in this document. Like in the third paragraph, it says, In the pre mortal realm, Spirit, sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their eternal father, and accepted his plan by which his children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. You’ll notice it doesn’t say in here that you attain perfection in the physical, mortal flesh of the body. But as we work through life, through the trials and the tests of life, the promise, as you mentioned, Kipling, is that in the eternities, salvation comes with a physical body. What a great gift that comes to us out of this story. So to finish off this part of the story, you’ll notice that the moment that the swine are possessed by these spirits, they run violently down the cliff and they drown. They’re choked in the sea, they drown. And then those who are watching over the swine, they come to the city and tell everybody what’s happened, who then come out and they say in verse 15, They came to Jesus and they said, See him that was possessed with the devil and had the legion, sitting and clothed in his right mind, and they were afraid.
I had an interesting thought or connection, maybe. When I was reading through this, those words jumped out to me, sitting, clothed, and right mind. I was seeing temple connections where we sit down with Jesus. We are clothed in his mercy and power and love and righteousness. And in our right mind in the temple, I feel like it’s easier to see clearly, to be in our right mind, to have thoseworldly distractions and things that so often get in our face and try to distract us fade away and to focus on Jesus Christ, his Atonement, our covenants, and our way with him back to heavenly father.
I love this because if we take this story and make it our own, we don’t have to be possessed with a legion of devils to be able to apply principles out of this story to say it may not be a legion of devils, but it’s a legion of opposition. It’s a legion of trials and tribulation and weakness that we all face to one degree or another in various combinations. And I love that analogy of finding ways to come unto Christ, especially through temple covenants and temple worship, to be able to experience this redemptive, cleansing power to turn all of these struggles and these outcomes of what the devil would want us to experience and to turn each of those into these triumphs as we move forward. Now, the ending of this story is fascinating because the people from the city, they began to pray him, meaning the Savior, Jesus Christ, to depart out of their coasts, leave basically. You’re not welcome here. You did something with those pigs. We don’t know exactly how you did this. We like that this guy is not a problem anymore, but leave. Verse 18 says, When he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
I think that’s a pretty good reflection of being in your right mind. When you’re in your right mind, you want to be with the Savior. You want to go where he goes. You want to follow him. And that’s what this man, who previously had been possessed with the devils, now wants to do. And for the first time in the Gospel of Mark, we break the pattern because you’ll notice every other time in his gospel up to this point, every time he’s healed somebody, he’s told them to one degree or another, don’t tell anyone because he doesn’t want them spreading it. But keep in mind, all of those miracles were largely among the Jewish population. Now, here we are over among the gentiles, and he shifts this. Look at verse 19, How be it Jesus suffered him not, but sayeth unto him, go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord has done for thee. And they have compassion on thee. He wants this man to go and spread the good word, to plant some seeds for future missionaries who are going to be coming that way in Decapolis. So it says, verse 20, He departed and began to publish into capitalist how great things Jesus had done for him, and all men did marvel.
He becomes probably our first Gentile missionary among the men and women of Decapolis. So now, verse 21 tells us that Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side. Much people gathered unto him, and he was nigh unto the sea. And so now we get ready for miracle number two in Mark chapter 5.
So as Jesus arrives back in Capernaum, he is met by an individual whom I love in scripture, a man named Jairus. Jairus is a ruler of the synagogue, and he comes to Jesus. And when he gets there, he falls to his feet and besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter, lieth at the point of death. I pray thee, come and lay thy hand on her that she might be healed and she shall live. Some of the things I love about Jesus is first, he knows where to go to get help. When he is in a desperate situation, when he needs help, he seems to know where to go to get that help, even to the point where he goes to meet Jesus and Jesus isn’t even there but is coming back from across the Sea of Galilee, and he meets him. And then it’s also the attitude in which he pleads for help. He falls down at his feet and he says, I pray thee. He pleads with the Savior for his health. I wonder if there’s some things we could learn about humility and about seeking Jesus in our troubles from from Jesus. Another thing I love here is how he asks him.
He says, Come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live. There is no question in this man’s mind what’s going to happen as soon as he gets Jesus involved. It’s not a question mark for him. He knows that if he asks for help and the Savior comes to help, that this little girl will be healed and will live. I love that. I strive to have that faith and that trust in my own challenges and trials. This next verse holds one of the sweetest phrases I think to my soul that is anywhere in scripture, especially considering what came just before it. And Jesus went with him. I love that phrase. The idea that Jesus goes with us in our trials, in our struggles and our challenges, in our dark times, in our times of uncertainty like Jairus was experiencing. Jesus walks with us. He goes with us through those things. And something that’s interesting you’re going to notice through the rest of this story, and there’s some things that happen in between the beginning and the end of Jairus’ story, Jairus doesn’t leave Jesus. And he could have at several points in this story, but he doesn’t.
He stays with him. And Jesus, at no point in this story, leaves Jairus. He walks with him. Even though it’s a little bit of a circuitous route from what Jairus was expecting, Jesus stays with him to the end of this story. I think he does that with us in our individual stories and challenges. He stays with us, and we get to decide whether we are going to stay with him as well.
I love that concept, Kipling, where you get this idea of usually we hear the invitation from the Savior, come, follow me. But what you’ve just pointed out here is that he’s willing to meet us and go with us to face our problems and our struggles. That’s where Jesus is taking him and the Savior is following him at this point. That’s a powerful principle here showing the mercy and the compassion of the Savior.
I love that. And we’ll see more of that mercy and love and compassion here as another individual who my love also is introduced. In verse 25, And a certain woman who had an issue of blood, 12 years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse when she had heard of Jesus came in the press. Let’s just pause there for a minute. This woman has been struggling with this health challenge for many years, and she has given all. She has spent all. You can imagine the struggle she’s had. An outcast shunned by her people. She’s on clean ceremony to be around them.loneliness, such loneliness. And the anguish of her soul just feeling like, Is anything ever going to change for me? Is it going to get better? And she hears that Jesus has come. And I love how it says, When she heard of Jesus, she came. And what a beautiful way to respond to Jesus when we hear of Him, when we know of Him, to immediately, despite the challenges and the struggles and the barriers that we all have to coming unto Christ, to break through those, to get over them, to go through them, to get to Jesus.
I wonder what barriers I have in my life. What are the things in my life that are creating an impediment or barrier and keeping me from reaching the Savior? What am I willing to do to overcome those things and get to him like she did? This requires a huge amount of effort, this story, her coming to the Savior. Not everyone’s going to be super happy with her as she’s out in the crowds in her condition and trying to make it to him. But she chooses when she hears that he has come to go to him. Another thing I noticed in this part of the story is it talks about how she had spent all she had, and she had obviously tried to find help and solutions in all of the places available to her, and nothing worked. I wonder sometimes in my life, if I’m this woman, I try to find solutions and help all around me, and some solutions are really good and helpful and effective. But at the end of the day, there is no solution, no fix to our problems that can even compare to the power and capacity that the Savior has to help us with those things.
Here she is after all this effort, finding the Savior and going to him. So we pick up the story again in the latter part of 27, she came in the press behind and touched his garment. And then 28, for she said, so this is her, this is what she’s thinking, if I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. Again, this is the same thing that Jairis was saying earlier. If you just come to my daughter, I know she’ll be made whole. This woman has that same faith. If I can just touch his clothes, I shall be made whole. Straight away, the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the plague. I think that’s a lot of faith. But I think it also reveals something about how the woman is feeling about herself and maybe about her relationship with the Savior. I think there’s a lot of uncertainty there. She’s hiding. She doesn’t want to be seen. She doesn’t want to be noticed. She doesn’t want to be the center of attention. She just wants to touch the hem of his garment and then possibly shrink away and go her way.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the Savior had just allowed her to touch the hem of his garment and she was healed, and then she faded back away. What would she have taken with her? She would have been healed. Her body would have been healed for sure. But her mind and her heart, her soul, I feel like still would have had some fractures in it. She would be questioning and wondering, Did I do the right thing? Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe if he would have known, he wouldn’t have wanted to heal me or wouldn’t have. And maybe I took something I shouldn’t have. Or maybe she would be experiencing regret like, I wish I would have talked to him. I wish I would have had the courage to fall down at his feet and say, Please help me. Anyway, I just wonder if Jesus hadn’t taken the time and stopped as we’re going to read about next for this woman, what the rest of her life would have been like. But Jesus did stop. And so here we have the next part of the story in verse 30, And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
And his disciples, they’re like, There’s a lot of people around here. And you say, Who touched me? So they’re a little confused here. I love the words here that are written in the scriptures. And he looked round about to see her. The Savior saw her. He saw her in all of her, her anguish and her pain and her suffering. And the Savior sees us. He sees us in our weakness and in our struggle and in our wrestles and in our sicknesses and in our brokenness. He sees us. I love that nd the woman is afraid. In Verse 33, she’s fearing and trempling. Knowing what was done in her, she came and she fell down before him and told him all the truth. This woman knew enough, apparently, about Jesus to know that she would be safe with him, to tell him all. And so as she falls down at his feet, she tells him all the truth. And I wonder, do I talk to God like that? As this woman talked to Jesus, when I go in prayer before my heavenly father, do I talk to him like this woman? Do I kneel before him and do I tell him all?
Sometimes when I’m having a hard time or a bad day, I will tell you all, probably more than you want to hear. But it’s healing and it’s helpful to be able to talk through things and to be able to tell someone all and how much more healing and more beautiful to be able to drop those things at the feet of the Savior and talk to our heavenly Father about our challenges and our struggles. He already knows all about them. We don’t have to tell him for him to know, but there is something healing for us in the telling of it. I like that about.
This story. That’s beautiful because that telling experience now opens the door for a different aspect of this miracle. Because keep in mind, the physical miracle has already occurred. She’s healed, but the Lord has more to give her. I love that this experience with her opens the door for that to occur.
Yeah. He didn’t seem to just want her physically healed. He wanted her holy, whole. He tells her, Daughter, I love how he claims her as one of his own. Daughter, thy faith, hath made thee whole. Go in peace and be whole of the plague. I love the use of the word whole and he wanted her completely whole, holy, whole. And so the physical miracle has already taken place. And now we have this conversation. And in doing what he did, the Savior, in front of these people that are in her community, and part of it, they know that she’s been struggling, he leaves them in no doubt about how he feels about this daughter of God.
That’s a beautiful insight involving the people in that community in this healing. Keep in mind, there’s a strong of people and they’re all hearing this. These are the very same people that in their culture have for 12 years been judging her as not just unclean but unworthy because in their culture, it’s their tradition that if you’ve got a sickness that goes on longer than it normally should, that that’s a sign of divine disfavor. You must have done something really wrong because God’s now punishing you. So she’s been judged harshly by probably many of these people, and now they can’t judge her anymore. They can’t claim anything against her, having listened to the Savior, not just heal her physically, but making her whole.
Yeah. I think the physical healing was beautiful to her, but even more beautiful perhaps was as the Savior works his miracle, again, to heal her of the shame and the doubt and the fear and the ridacle and the anguish and the loneliness that she must have experienced. And she walks away whole. And I love the word play here. These words, holy, whole. Sometimes in our journeys, Jesus also wants to make us holy, whole, completely and fully whole. And sometimes it takes a long time. This woman waited for 12 years. Some of us will wait many more years than that. Some of us will not experience this whole and complete wholeness until the next life, but it will come. The promise is sure. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when. And that process of us waiting with patience and faith and hope and trust also makes us holy. It’s a process by which we become more holy.
I love that because what you’re emphasizing here is that this is a process that consists of a whole bunch of events along the way. So this is a major event for this woman, no doubt about it. But she’s worked through this long process and it’s going to now continue. It’s not as if that’s the end for her. It’s the beginning of a new lease on life for her, which to me is tied into our covenantal connection with the Lord through baptism, through temple ordinances, these opportunities to be refreshed and become more holy, and every week at the sacrament table as well. So while this whole story has been taking place, this beautiful story has been unfolding with this woman with the 12 year struggle with her health. Keep in mind, that took time. Initially, there’s this crowd that’s been thronging them, and then the Lord stopped and took the time to turn around and complete the miracle so that we have both a physical and a spiritual miracle with her. But in the meantime, you have Jairis who’s been standing there, and we don’t know. There’s nothing in the scripture that tells us what his reaction is.
So you have this wide range of possibilities. As a father, I can picture my own perspective if our daughter, one of our daughters was age 12 and she’s at home on her deathbed, I can feel this angry, angry, angry anxiety, this anxiousness, I’ve got to get this solution to the house before she dies. And yet you’ll notice that Jesus Christ is not in a big hurry. He knows what’s going on with Jairus and his wife and their daughter. And he still took the time to complete this miracle to wholeness with the woman. And I don’t know about you, but as a father of children, I’d be standing there a little bit anxious, maybe getting a little more impatient with the situation of, Okay, this is all good, but my daughter, I need you to come now.
Do you feel like this may be as part of our journey here in mortality sometimes on our walk, our journey with Jesus as he is coming with us to help us with our healing and our wholeness that needs to happen. There are people along the way that we are asked to stop for and heal. Even though we are in desperate need of healing ourselves, we are asked to wait with other people. I think sometimes that’s part of journey with Jesus is making those stops on our journey to healing and being willing to do that.
I love that. Trusting not only in the Lord, but trusting also in his timing, as we’ve heard from multiple prophets through the years.
So regardless of how Jairis is emotionally, physically, mentally handling this situation. He is a man of great faith. He stays with Jesus throughout this whole thing. There’s no mention of him taking off at any point, as we mentioned earlier. And there’s still hope. You sense his faith in this story, like, okay, it’s going to be all right. It’s going to be okay because I’m next, we’re next, and it’s going to be okay. And then you get verse.
35, While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagog’s house, certain, which said, Thy daughter is dead. Why trouble is thou the Master any further? As a father, I can imagine the flood of emotions, both sad and struggling emotions that would come in in that moment of, no, we were so close. We almost had healing for my daughter.
I love the wording of the next verse because Jesus doesn’t let that go on very long. It says, As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken. So the message comes and as soon as Jesus hears that, as these emotions and thoughts are hitting Jairis right then, Jesus, as soon as that happens, he speaks to Jairis and he says, Be not afraid, only believe. I love that Jesus is willing to give us these reassurances that we need. I always remember a testimony meeting one Sunday, and as I was sitting in the congregation, our dear friend Ron Simmons got up and he was talking about Jesus Christ. He was talking about how Jesus seems to be willing to give us reassurances over and over again of his love and his kindness and that he’s there. And those words, sunk into my soul. And I thought, how many times in my life has Jesus done this for me? But I’m in a situation where I’m stressed out, I’m in anguish, I’m in pain. Whatever the situation is, and Jesus comes and says, Be not afraid, only believe. It’s an anchor. He’s basically telling Jairus, It’s going to be okay, but you have to trust me.
And how many times in our lives do we need to hear that? Do we need that anchor? And to hear those words, it’s going to be okay, but you have to trust me. And Jairus does.
Trust you. He does. Now, one additional thought here is we don’t get any mention of how the Savior said those words. And the scriptures don’t often go into that detail. But in my mind, I could be wrong, but I can’t picture Jesus Christ coming to this man and standing there with no emotion and simply saying, Be not afraid, only believe. I can’t picture him being flippant with Jairus in that moment. I can picture a kind and compassionate Christ looking in his eyes deep into his soul and reassuring him, be not afraid, only believe. We’re putting an arm around him in that moment. The Savior is the embodiment of all of these commandments and covenantal obligations that heavenly father gives us, including things like, Mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. And so in my mind, I can see a compassionate Christ working with this man who all of theworldly expertise, all of the wisdom of society would have told him to rip his shirt right then and run home and get in sackcloth and ashes and mourn and weep and wail over the loss of his daughter. But the Savior is with him and he’s giving him hope that this is not that day to get into sack cloth and ashes because there’s a miracle for you now, Jairis.
Verse 37 tells us that the Lord suffered no man to follow him save Peter and James and John, the brother of James. And he came to the house of the ruler of the singgog, Jairis’ house, and there’s a whole group of people with a tumult because they’re in their weeping and wailing greatly. It’s a very common practice among the first century Jews to have these mourners at the death of a loved one. And when he was come in, he sayeth unto them, why make he this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. At which point all of them laugh him to scorn. Those words are fascinating in the first line of verse 40. They laughed him to scorn. In that moment of intense sorrowing and mourning, they shift to now laughter of scorn against Jesus Christ. And so when he had put them all out, they get kicked out of the house. They miss the miracle. They don’t get to witness one of the greatest miracles that he’s going to ever perform because they won’t see him for whom he really is.
Essentially, their doubt in the Savior causes them to miss the miracle that is happening here. I feel like in our lives, personally, if we are not careful, our doubt in the Savior can cause us to miss out on mighty miracles in our lives.
So we come into the room where the damsel was laid on the bed, and verse 41 says he took the damsel by the hand and said unto her, talitha kumi, which is being interpreted damsel, I say unto thee, arise. It’s this beautiful rebirth on life for this 12 year old girl to come back to life. And straight away, the damsel arose and walked. For she was at the age of 12 years, and they were astonished with a great astonishment. Fascinating to me that Mark would point out this fact that the woman with the issue of blood had that for 12 years. And now here’s this damsel, 12 years old, and both of these women are given a fresh start through the power, the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I think about this particular story, I think about what is it within me that has died that needs to be brought back to life? Is it my hope? Is it my faith? Is it relationships that I have? What within my life needs to be brought back to life by the Savior? I love that with these words, damsel arise, daughter arise, it’s a powerful injunction to me to let Jesus take me by the hand and give me new life. And he can. He has the power to do that, the healing in his wings, so to speak. I also love at the end of this story how he commanded that something should be given her to eat. The big things raising her from the dead, he cares about, but he also cares about the small things in our lives, the little things, giving her something to eat so she can feel nourished and full as she’s coming back to this state. He will help us on our journey as we let him bring us back to life in those areas of our life that need that healing, and he will nourish us along the way. The Savior loves us, and it is beautiful to watch him do his work, both in the scriptures and in our own lives.
I love those thoughts. Now, we tie that miracle in with the next one we’re going to cover, which is over in Matthew chapter 9. So in the beginning of chapter 9, keep in mind, he’s already given you Matthew chapter 8, which is a whole series of miracles that we covered last week. And here in this very first miracle of chapter 9, you have that paralytic man, the man who’s paralyzed, who they can’t fit him into the house. Now, this story was also covered in Mark chapter 2, and it’s covered in other chapters as well. But it’s this idea of the man can’t come unto the Savior himself. So it’s in Mark’s gospel where you find out that it’s four men, four friends who have to carry him, but they can’t fit him into the house. So what did they do? They took him up on the roof, broke through the roof, and lowered the man down, thinking, Wow, this was a lot of effort to bring this man who couldn’t bring himself, but we brought him. Now the Savior is going to heal him. And oh, they’re surprised probably when they hear Jesus say, verse 2, Behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed, and Jesus seeing their faith.
Isn’t that amazing? It’s not just the man, but it’s the man combined with those four, their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer. Thy sins be forgiven thee. I don’t know about you, but if I were in that group, I would think, Wait a minute, we brought him so that you would heal him. And I think the Savior would say in response, I just did. With a more powerful healing than anything associated with the physical body, to forgive sins is the greatest miracle. That spiritual cleansing, that spiritual healing is impossible for anybody else to do but the Lord himself. And you’ll notice verse 3, Behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. In other passages, it says, Who can forgive sins? Save God alone. Well, the irony is there stands God who is forgiving these sins. And then he sets up this interesting question. He says, Which is easier, to say thy sins be forgiven, or rise, take up thy bed and walk? So it’s beautiful to me that the Savior would take the time now to perform the physical healing that all of the people expected.
But he does it as an added witness to show that he does have power, not just to forgive or not just to heal him, but to forgive his sins. He says, But that ye may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins. Then saith he to the sick of the palsy, ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose and departed to his house. But when the multitude saw, they marveled and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. There’s another miracle that just occurred. The people saw it and they recognized the power of God and they give God the glory, which we learn in other scriptures, is the whole emphasis for the Savior Jesus Christ to say, Nevertheless, glory be to the Father. Now, I love this next part. After we finish this miracle, here’s the author of this book, Matthew, and in verse 9 it says, And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom, and he sayeth unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. I think it’s fascinating because Matthew is in the mode of showing us all of these miracles.
And then right after that miracle of this pulsed man, he tells this one little verse about his own story. And to me, it looks like Matthew is saying, this is one of the miracles that Jesus Christ would come to me, a publican, an outcast among my own people, the Jews. And he would call me not just to follow him as a disciple, but to follow him as an apostle, to be given that responsibility, considering the social implications of having a publican in your close circle of Apostles. It’s a miracle. It’s as if Matthew might be signaling, I’m like the palsied man, the paralyzed man. I can’t rise up above this bed that I’ve made for myself. But with the help of the Lord, there’s hope. And Matthew becomes one of these great Apostles and one of our four evangelists, one of these four gospel writers, giving us the stories of Jesus from his perspective. And it’s powerful.
From verse 9, it seems that Matthew, when Jesus said, Follow me, it was an immediate thing. He arose and followed him. And I think sometimes for a lot of us, there’s a lot of space between those two phrases. Sometimes when the Lord asks us to follow him in whatever way or particular commandment, there’s some time between him asking and us arising and going. So we need to be patient with loved ones and with ourself in this process of learning to follow him and heed his words, follow me. And we’re going to get better at it. We’re going to get there.
That’s excellent. Now this next verse says, It came to pass that as Jesus sat at meat in the house, if you go over to Luke’s account, you find out that it’s in Matthew’s house, the public, and he’s rich, he’s well to do. And now the Lord is sitting at meat in the house. Behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. So it’s not just sitting down, it’s sitting down at meat. It’s table fellowship, which means something in the first century. When you have table fellowship, when you share a meal with somebody, it is full fellowship with that group. Do any of you notice the incredible symbolism here? When we read stories like this, often, not always, but often for many of us, the approach is to read them and think, oh, publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. I’m glad I’m not one of them. When in reality, if we’re honest with ourselves, every sabbath day, we fulfill verse 10. We’re all sinners to one degree or another, and the Lord invites us all into his house to have table fellowship with him. He feeds us these elements of his sacrament to remind us of the price that he paid to redeem our souls.
So verse 11, you get the pharisees coming in and it says, When they saw it, they said unto his disciples, why eateth your master with publicans and sinners?
And Jesus, when he heard that, he said unto them, They that behold, need not a physician, but they that are sick. I love this scripture because clearly we are all sick. We fall into this category of people that need a physician. We’re all sick in our various ways, and we were never intended to be our own healer. And he makes that clear here. It is not my job to heal myself. It is my job to come unto Christ, and he, the great healer, will heal my hurts and bind up my wounds and dry my tears. I love that visual that he paints here with the doctor, the physician analogy. As we come unto him, like all of these people in the stories we’ve read about today, as we come and we make those efforts to come to Jesus Christ, he heals us, he saves us, and he works those miracles in our lives.
That’s beautiful. Now, you’ll notice in Matthew 9 that over there, starting in verse 18, you get the story of Jairus. In verse 20, the woman with the issue of blood. So that’s where Matthew inserts those two miracles in the flow of his gospel. Now we come over to Matthew 10, and this is a significant chapter where Christ calls 12 Apostles, and they’re named in verse 2, 3, and 4. This is an amazing group. They’re coming from a variety of backgrounds. You get a publican, Matthew, who is basically in league with Rome, and you get Simon the Zealot on the other far extreme, and then everything in between, and he brings them together, these 12 men, with the expectation they become one. He could have made this so much easier by calling everybody who is cut out of the exact same cloth, but he didn’t. He could have made your family situation so much easier by sending only people into your family who think exactly the same way as you do, who see the world the same way as you do. But probably in most cases, he didn’t do that. He could make our callings in the Church so easy by surrounding us by people who feel exactly the same as we do, whether it comes to political issues or social issues or personal issues or personal preferences.
He could have made life so easy, but he usually doesn’t. He usually puts you in situations where you have to struggle to figure out how to become one, how to become unified with people who aren’t like you.
Sounds a little bit like a marriage, too, doesn’t it? Where you bring differences together and you work and you wrestle and you strive in Jesus Christ and within those covenants that we’ve made to.
Figure it out.
To become one. And to become one.
It’s beautiful. What a great process. So then it’s not just getting the 12 called, but then he truly helps them to become apostles because the word there in the Greek means to be sent. So he sends them out, not because they’re going to go out and perfectly perform these missions, but because they’re going to be on the Lord’s errand and they’re going to learn some things that they would have never learned staying with him side by side, letting him do all of the teaching and the healing and the works. Now they have to go out and try to model what they’ve learned from him. That to me, is a beautiful pattern for all of our church worship. It’s not just about going to church to feel good. It’s about going to church to learn the things and reading our scriptures to learn the things we could do to become more like the Savior. And then we go out. He sends us out to practice and to work on those things. And that’s exactly what happens here. Verse 7, it says, As ye go, preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils freely you have received, freely give.
So listen to a couple of these verses along the way in Matthew 10 as he’s commissioned his 12 to go out and do this work, to basically do the things that you have seen me do, which is the invitation to all of us. But listen to some of these beautiful phrases. Verse 16, Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be there for wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak, for it is not ye that shall speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. It’s a powerful promise. Here’s another one, fear them not, therefore, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed and hid that shall not be known. Then one more, verse 39, He that findeth his life shall lose it. Joseph Smith changed the wording there to say, He who seeketh to save his life shall lose it, and he that looseth his life for my sake shall find it. I love the fact that we have prophets, seers and revelators, and other general officers in the Church, general authorities who consecrate and devote their entire life and their families and these efforts to building up the kingdom of God on the Earth as they fulfill these promises that are outlined and these injunctions given in chapter 10.
Now let’s turn over to Luke chapter 9, and this will be our final miracle this week that we cover. And this one’s unique because of the feeding of the 5,000, it appears in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So we’ll cover it in greater detail in greater depth when we get to Matthew 14 and John 6. But let’s introduce it here the first time as Luke introduces it, recognizing this is a significant point in the Savior’s ministry to the point where all four gospel writers are talking about it.
And before we get into the actual story of this miracle, I just want you to ask yourself, what is the feeding of the 5,000 in your life today, currently? What metaphorical multitude is before you that is requiring your time and your energy and your resources, and your spiritual and physical and emotional capital? And what in your life right now feels overwhelming and impossible, insurmountable? So let’s just give a brief overview of the story as we’ll be covering that later on in a different lesson.
Yeah, we’ll go into much greater detail with this particular story when we cover Matthew 14. But here, just as a quick overview, you have this multitude of 5,000 men. It’s getting late in the day. They’re hungry. The Apostles keep telling the Savior, send them home. And he says, don’t send them home, feed them. And they’re basically saying, that’s ridiculous. That would take so much money and so much bread to feed them. And in John’s account, we find out that it was a lad who brought five loaves and two fishes, and Jesus asks for that food to be brought to him.
And then Jesus multiplies that food, and there is enough for the entire multitude. And then some left over. We are not Jesus in this story. We are not attempting to feed the 5,000 in our lives, whatever that is. That’s not our job. That’s his job. Our job is to be the lad. And I’m a little more comfortable with that, although I’m about a half a loaf and a fish tail g al sometimes. But if I bring all that I have and all that I am and hold nothing back and lay it in the hands of the Savior and say, Take it all and do something with it, because it’s not very good. I know that he will perform this same miracle. And the way I know that is because I’ve seen it over and over and over again in my life, in our life. As we bring what we have and we give it to him and he takes it and he multiplies it and he feeds the 5,000. And there is somehow enough, enough of everything, time, energy, resources.
Hope, love to feed those multitudes in my life. Something else that we need to point out is we often see others and we’re like, Wow, that gal over there, she’s got 15 loaves and 100 fish. I’m just sitting here with my little half a loaf and fish tail. And whatever anyone has to offer the Savior, plus infinite loaves and fishes is still infinite loaves and fishes. And so it doesn’t matter how small of a pittance I feel like my offering to him is if I give it to him, if I give it all to him and I say, take it and multiply it, he will, and it will be enough and to spare.
Oh, how we love the Lord for his goodness, for his mercy, for his power that he grants to us, for his grace to be able to say, you’re enough. Just offer what you have and he multiplies that offering and that consecrated sacrifice. What a blessing that is for missionaries, for bishops and Relief Society presidents and stake presidents and ministering brothers and sisters for mummies and daddies and siblings. There are all these needs, and if we just give our best to the Lord and then watch Him do his miraculous, multiplying. It’s amazing. We walk away singing amazing grace.
As we conclude today, Tyler and I would like to add our witness to these people that we have spent time with today in the scriptures, that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us. He sees us. He knows us. He walks with us in our trials. He feeds our 5,000. And that if we will bring the little that we have to offer and place it in his Almighty hands, it will be infinitely and eternally enough because Jesus Christ is infinitely and eternally enough. And we say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Amen. Know that you’re loved. youyou.
Matthew 11: Jesus acclaims John as more than a prophet—The cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are rebuked for unbelief—The Son reveals the Father—The yoke of Christ is easy, and His burden is light.
Matthew 12: Jesus proclaims Himself Lord of the Sabbath and heals on the Sabbath day—He is accused of casting out devils through the power of Beelzebub—He speaks of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and says that an evil and adulterous generation seeks signs.
Luke 11: Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer—He discusses the casting out of devils—He acclaims Himself as greater than Jonah and Solomon—He rebukes the Pharisees and says that the blood of all the prophets may be required of their generation.
Come, Follow Me Insights
How did Jesus Christ “plant a seed” among the Gentiles?
How do I ask questions that will get and keep students involved?
Which Matthew stories are also in other Gospels, and how do they vary?
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