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Mat 8:23-27          Recall that after attracting much attention by His healing ministry in Capernaum, Jesus “gave orders to depart to the other side” (Mat 8:18).  How many disciples might there have been who followed Him?  See Mar 4:36.  How does Matthew’s description of the storm that arose differ from that of Mark and Luke?  See Mat 8:24 and the NASB text note and cf. Mar 4:37 and Luk 8:23[1].  What does it mean that “the boat was covered with waves”?  See again Mar 4:37.  What does this indicate about the ferocity of the storm assailing them?  Where in the boat was Jesus during all this, and what was He doing?  Cf. Mar 4:38.  Where is the stern?  How is it that Jesus could rest so peacefully in the midst of such a terrible storm?  Cf. Psa 34:7, 91:11.  What does this teach us about Jesus’ faith in God and His understanding that He would preserve His physical life until His appointed time to depart?  Do we have this same faith and understanding?  What did Jesus call His disciples because of their fear?  See Mat 8:26.  Note: “timid” means “cowardly”; see Deut 20:8, Jdg 7:3, Rev 21:8.  In this light, what are we to learn from Jesus’ example about how one is able to act with courage in the midst of dire and frightening circumstances?  What did Jesus do to demonstrate that they really had nothing to fear, and what was the result?  What does this teach us about the common notion that nature and its processes are completely inanimate and subject only to inviolable physical laws?  Cf. Lev 20:22, Num 16:32, Psa 114:3-7, Rom 8:22 and think: does it make sense to rebuke something that is completely inanimate?[2] What answer to the disciples’ question in Mat 8:27 was Jesus’ action in this passage meant to elicit?  Cf. Psa 65:7, 89:9, 107:23-30.

Mat 8:28-34          Next lesson!!

Mat 9:1-8              What was Jesus “own city”?  See Mat 4:13, 7:5.  What is a paralytic?  Hint: what English word sounds like it?  What in particular demonstrated the faith not only of the paralytic, but of the men carrying him to Jesus?  See Luke’s account in Luk 5:18-19.  What did Jesus say to the man that offended the scribes?  See Mat 9:2.  Why were they offended?  See Mar 2:6-7.  How does this differ from the reason people today would be offended by such a statement?  Think: would people today be more concerned that Jesus was blaspheming God, or that He was being judgmental in associating the man’s physical affliction with his sins?  What does this teach us about the different regard people had for God’s character in Jesus’ day, as well as the different understanding they had about the relationship between sin and physical afflictions?  What is the implied answer to Jesus’ question in Mat 9:5?  How did Jesus demonstrate that He had authority to forgive sins?  What do Jesus’ words in this episode illustrate about what God views as man’s greater need: healing or forgiveness?  What do they illustrate about a connection between the two?  While Scripture is clear that one’s sin will bring physical affliction, does that necessarily mean that because one is afflicted it is because of some sin?  See Joh 9:2, Psa 34:19.  What was the people’s response to Jesus’ healing of the paralytic?  See Mat 9:8.  For what reason does Matthew say they glorified God?  What authority were they beginning to perceive in the person of Jesus?  See again Mat 9:6, 7:28-29, 8:8-9,27, Mar 1:27.  Why is this incredible authority of Jesus so important to us?  See Mat 10:1, 28:18-19.

1. Note: the word Matthew uses is seismos, translated every other time in the NT as an “earthquake”; most literally we would translate his words as “there happened a great earthquake in the sea”.

2. Consider: If man had not fallen into moral sin, just as there would be no physical sickness, disease and death, neither would there be earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc….  For just as people’s moral sins affect them personally and physically, they also affect all of creation, so that the land itself may become so “sick” as to vomit out its inhabitants.  Consider how this applies to the common notion that what goes on behind closed doors between “consenting adults” or in an abortion clinic is a matter of “personal privacy” because it doesn’t affect anyone else. Consider too how man’s exalted view of science has deceived him in this regard.

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