Forest Park Church
Follow Me
February 6, 2022

Follow Me

February 6, 2022

In the opening phase of Jesus ministry we find him teaching but also gathering those who will be his closest followers, friends and, and servants. Throughout the gospel accounts one word is repeated over and over to these me.

FOLLOW ME:

But what does it really mean to follow Jesus?

After Jesus finished His “Sermon on the mount”, He came down and large crowds followed Him everywhere.

The message that He had just delivered would have been enough to gain such a following; but the fact that He spoke and acted with perfect authority commanded attention.

And so in the next few chapters Matthew has presented us with case after case of events in which Jesus demonstrated His authority,

  • Authority over disease,

  • Authority over nature,

  • Authority over demons,

  • Authority over sin

  • Authority over death,

  • And authority over those who follow him.

These were the credentials of the King. They show that He could realize a victory as well as project a vision.

In chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew lays nine examples of Christ’s authority.

And these of these are arranged into three groups of events, followed by the effect.

  1. The first three miracles were the cleansing of the leper, the healing of the centurion’s servant, and the restoration to health of Peter’s mother-in-law. Immediately after that a man said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever You go,” to which Jesus replied with a teaching on the cost of discipleship.

  2. In the second Jesus showed His authority over the elements by stilling the storm, over the spirit world by casting out demons, and over sin by healing the paralytic. Immediately after these three the response was that people were afraid and glorified God.

  3. Then we have in the third group, we see situations that seemed impossible; raising the child from the dead, the healing of the woman who touched Him, and the healing of the blind man. The response to these things was awe.

In the eighth chapter of Matthew, there are three times that the word follow is used.

  • In Greek, to follow is ἀκολουθέω, Transliteration: (ak-a-luthó)

  • It is in the present, active, imperative tense

  • Meaning that when Jesus says to follow him, he is giving a command.

These teachings ask and answer one of the most powerful questions of life. Why should we follow Jesus?

I. and .

To handle this passage properly, we must be sure that the statements we make from it align with the miracle’s parallel text in Luke 7:1-10.

While Matthew’s Gospel makes no mention of it, Luke’s account shows us that the interaction between Jesus and the centurion was carried out through a delegation of Jewish elders. This is crucial to understanding why Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith.

Matt 8:5

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

A: Authority

vs 8

But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

The centurion knew he did not have to be in the direct physical presence of Jesus for Jesus to carry out a miracle

  • He realized Jesus’ power was beyond Jesus’ direct physical proximity.

  • Think about that for a minute. This means that the centurion chose to ask Jesus to carry out a miracle precisely the way that we do today.

  • Because we live on this side of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we must do as the centurion did and that is send word to Jesus.

  • The centurion sent word through a delegation. We send word through prayer

B: and Authority

vs10

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Jesus was pointing out the sad truth that a centurion who grew up in a pagan culture had more faith than the learned Pharisees who grew up under rigorous Hebrew education system.

vs.11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

How amazing would it be to be at the centurion’s house the moment the servant realized he had been healed.

II. The of .

The costs of following Jesus is highlighted in four areas. They are our security and safety, our family life, our fears, and ourselves.

Matthew 8:18-34

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

During this phase of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus was for substantial periods homeless.

  • Uprooting himself from family and friends, Jesus was an itinerate preacher for much of this time, walking from town to town with his followers in tow, criss-crossing ancient Israel on foot

  • So that he might show compassion to Israel’s lost sheep.

  • Jesus, when he came to the earth to save his people from their sins, he lived in no king’s palace, nor did he have a comfortable place to lay his head.

And so when a teacher of the law says ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go’, Jesus’ reply tells us how much he gave up when He left his Father’s glory to become human.

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Jesus’ life had all the restlessness and unsettledness and hardship of a soldier. Even the foxes and birds have somewhere to call home, but not the Son of Man.

VS. 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

Many considered honoring parents a son’s greatest obligation, and burying them was the greatest expression of that obligation.

  • The obligation fell most heavily on the eldest son.

  • To neglect this duty was unthinkable; it would make one an outcast from the extended family and dishonored in one’s village, normally for the rest of one’s life.

But a son whose father had just died would not normally be out talking with a rabbi; on receiving news of the father’s death, he would immediately see to the father’s burial.

  • “I must first bury my father” sometimes functions as a polite request for delay until the father dies — sometimes a delay of years — so the son can continue with my life in the meantime.

  • Others suggest that this son refers to secondary burial — the custom of reburying the father’s bones a year after the initial burial.

  • On either of these views, the son could be requesting a considerable delay.

Luke adds the following in his account:

Luke 9:60 

Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

This is the first time in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus uses the title, Son of Man.

In the title ‘Son of Man’, we see the paradox that we find in Jesus himself.

  • He comes humbly, as a human, as one of us, indeed, with nothing his hands, with nowhere to lay his head, no mighty palace, no raised fortress on mountain top.

  • Yet, the title also reminds us that Jesus Christ is God with us, who must be worshipped for who He is.

III. It’s Natural to .

We all have a storm theology. Storm theology is what you believe about God when storms come into your life.

  • When a crisis comes into your life is God a good God or a bad God for allowing it to happen?

  • When you pray during the storm do you see God as caring or uncaring based on how He answers?

The storms in life have the ability to bring to the surface what’s really inside all of us. Storms will reveal to you whether you live by fear or by faith?

Jesus has just finished a long day of teaching by the Sea of Galilee.

  • He has been teaching about the Kingdom of God in parables, illustrative stories woven through with imagery from everyday Jewish farm life.

  • These parables speak of how the Kingdom of God comes like a farmer sowing seed, or like a mustard seed, planted small, but over time growing into a large plant that offers shade even to the birds of the air.

Calming the storm is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels, reported in Matthew 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, and Luke 8:22–25 (the Synoptic Gospels).

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.

The Sea of Galilee is known for its’ sudden and severe storms. The geography of the area makes it ripe for quick and violent storms and that’s exactly what happened as Jesus and His disciples were crossing the sea.

  • The severity of the storm is evident not only by what Mark says, but in light of the reaction of these experienced fishermen – they feared for their lives.

  • Amid the chaos of the storm there is one thing that is out of place; Jesus is asleep in the rear of the boat.

  • His sleep is a reminder both His humanity (He required rest) and also a powerful teaching moment.

The response of the disciples reveals both their fear and their lack of trust in Jesus.

  • They are frustrated and angered by His apparent disregard for their situation and they tell Him so.

  • The Scriptures are full of examples of people who question God’s seeming negligence or lack of care.

  • At times we may find ourselves echoing the sentiments of the Psalmists and doubting God’s presence and watchfulness (Psalm 13:1-2, 22:1-2; 10:1).

  • It’s a common temptation.

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we lose control in a storm?

  • As long as life is going the way we want it to go, we feel as if we are in control and that gives us a great sense of security.

  • In fact, we work very hard all our lives to be in control.

Unfortunately, that feeling of control gives us a false sense of security.

Vs 38. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The message for us is the same.

  • Even when the seas threaten to engulf us and life threatens our home and the heart of our identity,

  • Jesus is always in the boat with us.

  • Christ’s words, “Peace! Be still!” still promise to carry us safely through the night.

Conclusion:

Jesus Calls Matthew

Matthew 9:9

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

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