His Healing by Faith

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our Advent journey and our preaching series entitled “‘Tis the Reason.” This third week of the series, Will Branch preached on two stories of healing by Jesus en route to Jerusalem in Matthew 17:14-20 and 20:29-34. Will really made me think about whether my faith is substantial or more like sand.

This message is part of the seventh part of our longer series on Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” and “Who Do You Say I Am?”

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

The Faith Problem – Matthew 17:14-20

  • The Father and Son: I want to believe
  • The Disciples: I thought I believed
  • The teachers of the law: I won’t believe
  • The Healer: No one believesThe Faith Solution – Matthew 20:29-34

Two Blind Men – Matthew 20:29-34

  • They heard so the cried
  • They met a mountain so the cried louder
  • They saw because they believed

The Faith Calling – James 5:13-16, 2 Chron 7:14; Luke 18:6-8

  • Have you Heard? Then cry
  • Is there a mountain? Then Cry Louder

Hearing the Stunning Invitation of Jesus

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Here we have the stunning invitation of Jesus our Savior. Do we hear Him?

It is not an invitation only for a few, but an invitation for “all you who are weary and burdened.” Are any of us weary? Are any of us burdened? Praise God that our weariness and burdens do not need to push us away from God but can lead us closer to Him. So what are our areas of weariness? Where are we worn down? What has caused sheer tiredness in our experiences and circumstances today? What burdens do we carry? What things from our past, our present, or our future feel like weights upon our lives? May we bring them to the feet of Jesus today.

Our encounter with the tender acceptance and care of God leads us beyond ourselves into a new way of living. The yoke that Jesus describes is a new way of learning from Jesus. When we think of a yoke, we probably think of a cattle yoke, where two animals are yoked together. But it is highly likely that Jesus is referring here to the human yoke, or shoulder pole, which is used to carry burdens more easily. The concept of the yoke was often used as a metaphor for how we live our lives. The yoke was then connected to the idea of walking in God’s wisdom and law. One took up that yoke by learning from God’s Word and teaching. So we have the opportunity turn from our own yoke—our own way of life—and turn to Jesus’ yoke—His way of living.

As we hear Jesus’ invitation we then discover and encounter His character. What is Jesus like? He is gentle and humble in heart. He is meek. He is lowly. He is, as we will continue to encounter throughout Matthew’s gospel, a servant Messiah. In fact, Jesus, as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), shows us that there is no one as gentle and humble as God. God is the most gentle and humble being we will ever meet.

When we respond to Jesus’ stunning invitation then we will experience true rest for our souls. Are any of us restless? Are any of us feeling like we are searching for a true place of peace and home to abide in? This is found in God through Jesus the Messiah. As St. Augustine writes near the beginning of his beautiful work Confessions, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

The Messiah’s Followers

This past weekend at Eastbrook, my friend, Will Branch, continued our series entitled “The Messiah’s Mission,” by looking at Matthew 9:9-17. This includes Jesus’ calling of Matthew from his tax booth, as well as teaching about Jesus as the bridegroom and new wine skins.

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here, as well as the devotional that accompanies the series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.

The Messiah’s Mission:

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.” Matt 9:9

Response to Jesus’ Call

  • Matthew: Obedience
  • Tax Collectors and Sinners: Fellowship The Pharisees: Contempt
  • John’s Disciples: Questions
  • The Lesson: Mercy not Sacrifice

Jesus’ Call and Response

  • To the sick: Eat and be well
  • To the Pharisees: Go and Learn
  • To John’s Disciples: Why fast? I’m here.
  • The Lesson: The old way doesn’t work with the new.

Lessons to be Learned

  • The doctor is in: Are you sick?
  • The sacrifice has been made: Are you merciful?
  • The Bridegroom is gone: Are you mourning?
  • The old is gone: Are you new?

The Messiah’s Authority

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our new series entitled “The Messiah’s Mission,” based in Matthew 8-12. This weekend I explored Matthew 8:23-9:8, where Matthew groups three miracles of Jesus around the theme of His authority. We see Jesus’ authority over nature, demonic spirits, and sin and forgiveness.

The entire series of episodes leads us to the sharp and important question: who is Jesus?

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here, as well as the devotional that accompanies the series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.

“When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.” (Matthew 9:8)

Who is this? (8:27)

  • The basic question about Jesus
  • Our need to answer it for ourselves

Jesus: The One with Authority Over Nature (Matthew 8:23-27)

  • Miracle on the water
  • “Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (8:27)

Jesus: The One with Authority Over Demonic Spirits (Matthew 8:28-34)

  • Miracle on the far side of the lake in the Gentile lands
  • “They shouted, ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’” (8:29)

Jesus: The One with Authority to Forgive Sins (Matthew 9:1-8)

  • Miracle back home in Capernaum
  • “They were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man” (9:8)

Getting into Jesus’ Boat

  • Following Jesus into the boat (8:23)
  • Calling to Jesus amid the storms of life (8:24-25)
  • Encountering Jesus’ authority and power (8:26)
  • Growing with Jesus from little faith to greater faith (8:26-27)

Dig Deeper

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into Jesus’ authority and our response to Him in one or more of the following ways:

  • Consider memorizing Matthew 9:5-6 this week.
  • In order to reflect more deeply on them, select one or more of the episodes of Matthew 8:23-9:8 to sketch, ink, or paint. As you do that, prayerfully reflect on the power and authority of Jesus in general but also in your own life.
  • Watch “The Messiah” theme video from The Bible Project
  • In order to dig deeper into the calling of discipleship consider reading either Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship or Os Guinness’ The Call.

Jesus Pursues Sick People

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)

I am glad that Jesus pursues sick people. In Luke 5, Jesus reaches out to a man with leprosy, a paralyzed man, a social outcast who collects taxes for Rome, and even calls some people peripheral to society to be His closest followers. Jesus does not always look for the respectable people. No, what He most often does is to search after those who know they need help. He heals them (the leper), He forgives them (the paralyzed man), He spends time with them (the tax collector), and He commissions them for His purposes (the disciples).

I am glad that Jesus pursues sick people. Although I was familiar with Christianity from my upbringing, I did not really know Christ until my later years of high school. When Jesus truly took hold of my life I was deeply sick. He sought after me and confronted me with His truth. I didn’t know how sick I was until then. It became so obvious that I needed help. When I responded to Him, Jesus saturated me with His grace and filled me with hope. He began to heal my life and transform me. Then He invited me to serve Him and brought purpose and direction to my life. I am sure that you have a story of your own about when and how Jesus pursued you.

But here are some pertinent questions for those of us who follow Jesus today: are we still glad Jesus pursues sick people? Do we let Him seek after the sick and needy through us? Do we let Him take us to risky or uncomfortable places so He can place His hands on the lives of others who need healing and life?

If He has pursued us and reached us, may He also pursue others and reach them through us.