“How Fathers Help Roll Back the Curse”

My mother was eighteen when she married my father; nineteen when I was born and twenty when they divorced. For a brief time, I had a step-father – he left my mother with three more children. Though very poor (I didn’t know it at the time), I had a wonderful childhood – yet all the time I longed in some respects to know my father, to have a father. Boy Scouts, sports, and Church provided some marvelous male examples and relationships for me. I would meet my father for the first time when I was eighteen, I took him to the ASU-UA football game. Continue reading ““How Fathers Help Roll Back the Curse””

“Hope for the Hopeless”

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of His garment.” Was it not desperation that drove this woman to Jesus too? The woman is nameless, but she is introduced as a desperate case since she “had suffered from bleeding for twelve years,” to which Luke also adds, “No one could heal her” (Luke 8.43). It is important to think about her condition since it so obviously illustrates our own desperate condition due to sin. Continue reading ““Hope for the Hopeless””

“Growing Opposition”

We have already seen the beginning of opposition in the story of the healing of the paralytic in Matthew chapter 9. The teachers of the law objected when Jesus forgave the paralyzed man of his sins, claiming that only God can forgive sins. They accused Him of blasphemy. In the continuation of the story of Matthew’s conversion and in the discussion about fasting that follows in verses 14–17, two more criticisms emerge. Continue reading ““Growing Opposition””

“Matthew’s Calling”

Everything we have been saying about Jesus’ authority to forgive sin carries over into the next story, which is why Matthew has included the account of his own calling to be a disciple in Matthew 9. He told about the calling of some of the first disciples earlier. He will provide a full list of the Twelve in chapter 10. Here he includes his own calling to indicate that, like the paralyzed man, he too needed to be healed by Jesus and that the malady he most needed to have cured was his sin. The account shows that his friends needed the same healing as well. Continue reading ““Matthew’s Calling””

“Who Can Forgive Sin?”

People who read Matthew for the first time may think the arrangement of material is haphazard or at best merely topical. It is not haphazard. It is topical. But it is more than topical. First of all, we see a progression in the nine miracles. They start with simple physical healings: the man with leprosy, the sick servant of the centurion, Peter’s mother-in-law. Then they advance to Jesus’ power over nature, as He quiets a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and even over demons when He casts many of them out of the demon-possessed men from Gadara. In chapter 9, Jesus raises the dead and restores sight and speech to people who are blind and mute. Continue reading ““Who Can Forgive Sin?””