The Messiah’s Call

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 8:18-22, where Jesus encounters two would-be disciples and rebuffs their apparent commitment to Him. These two case studies reveal a lot about what discipleship is all about. In some ways this message echoes an earlier message, “Real Response,” from the end of our series, “Becoming Real,” on the Sermon on the Mount.

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.


“But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me.’” (Matthew 8:22)

Discipleship Practice: Drawing Away with Jesus (8:18)

  • The distinction between disciples and the crowd
  • Disciples draw away from the crowd
  • Disciples draw close to Jesus

Discipleship Case Study #1: Reorienting Stability (8:19-20)

  • What is stability?
  • Where do we find it?
  • Reorienting stability in Jesus

Discipleship Case Study #2: Reorienting Societal Norms (Matthew 8:21-22)

  • What is normal?
  • Who gets to define it?
  • Reorienting societal norms in Jesus

Entering the Disciple Life

  • Hearing Jesus’ call again: reading Scripture
  • Choosing Jesus: Baptism
  • Following Jesus: Daily Obedience

Dig Deeper

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

  • Depending on which one captures you more, consider memorizing Matthew 8:19-20 or 8:21-22 this week.
  • Set aside some time this week to pray about this week’s passage. Ask the Lord if there is anything that stands in the way of your absolute following of Him? Journal about this or talk with a friend and pray about it.
  • Read several passages where Jesus calls disciples. As you do, identify different aspects of Jesus’ call and people’s response (or lack of response): Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-51; Matthew 8:18-22; Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 10:17-27; Luke 14:25-35.
  • 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.

The Messiah Heals

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we began a new series entitled “The Messiah’s Mission,” based in Matthew 8-12. It was a blessing to have Lisa Sinclair open Scripture with us from Matthew 8:1-17, exploring the healing power of Jesus in three specific healing stories: the healing of the leper, the healing of the centurion’s servant, and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.

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.


And He healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.” (Matthew 8:16b-17)

Introduction: Half-truths distort our understanding of God’s character

3 stories of healing:

  1. Jesus and the leper
  • Jesus and the centurion
  • Jesus and Peter’s mother-in-law (and everybody else)

Application:                                                           

  1. Keep asking: He’s moved with compassion
  2. Keep praying for others: He is not limited
  3. Keep trusting: He sees and knows you
  4. Keep waiting: He promises final healing

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into your experience of Jesus the healer in one or more of the following ways:

  • “Practice makes perfect.” Pray for healing in your group for each other, for our city, and for our world.
  • Take this opportunity to memorize Isaiah 53.

The Messiah’s Mission – a new series at Eastbrook

This past Sunday at Eastbrook Church we begin a thirteen-week preaching series entitled “The Messiah’s Mission,” which continues our journey through the Gospel of Matthew, focusing on chapters 8-12. This is the fourth part of our longer series on Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” and “Becoming Real.”

After the Sermon on the Mount Jesus begins in earnest His mission of reaching people far from God and displaying the kingdom of God. He does the work and then invites His followers into the work.

You can join in with the daily devotional for this series online, as a downloadable PDF, via the Eastbrook app, or through a limited-run of paper copies available at our in-person worship services or by reaching out to the Eastbrook Church office.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

Here are the weekly topics for the series:

May 9 – “The Messiah Heals” – Matthew 8:1-17

May 16 – “The Messiah’s Call” – Matthew 8:18-22

May 23 – “The Messiah’s Authority” – Matthew 8:23-9:8

May 30 – “The Messiah’s Followers” – Matthew 9:9-17

June 6 – “The Messiah Delivers – Matthew 9:18-34

June 13 – “The Messiah Sends” – Matthew 9:35-10:25

June 20 – “The Messiah Sends, part 2” – Matthew 10:26-11:1

June 27 – “The Messiah and the Forerunner” – Matthew 11:2-19

July 4 – “The Messiah’s Challenge and Invitation” – The Messiah’s Challenge and Invitation

July 11 – “The Messiah and the Sabbath” – Matthew 12:1-21

July 18 – “The Messiah and Satan” – Matthew 12:22-37

July 25 – “The Messiah’s Sign” – Matthew 12:38-45

August 1 – “The Messiah’s Family” – Matthew 12:46-50

Emily Dickinson, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” [Poetry for Easter]

Each week during Eastertide I am posting a poem that helps me engage more meaningfully with Jesus’ resurrection. Here is Emily Dickinson’s poem “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers.” While Emily Dickinson was anything but an orthodox Christian, many of her poems, such as this one, capture the power of religious themes and the deeper life. Living in the United States in the 18th-century, Dickinson spent the majority of her adult life as a recluse. Her first volume of poetry was published posthumously in 1890, enjoying immediate success and laying the groundwork for Dickinson to become one of the most important American poets.


“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


Previous poems in this series:

George Herbert, “Easter Wings”

Denise Levertov, “On Belief in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus

Christian Wiman, “Every Riven Thing

T. S. Eliot, “East Coker,” Stanza IV