Jesus Reaches People
Over the last few days, we’ve studied the Gospel of Matthew and learned ways that Jesus reaches people. Jesus reaches people in five very important ways. He reaches up to his heavenly Father depending on him for guidance every step of the way. He reaches across to others who were in their own synagogues and gave them rest, life, and vitality. He reaches down to disciples who had gone overboard in their fears and failed in their discipleship. He reaches in to his own biological family and shows them a new way to be in a relationship with him. He reaches out to people like lepers who were in communities where he was teaching and traveling.
In Matthew 8, 12, and 14, we see several common themes. Each one of these helps us gauge our expectations as we work together.
- Jesus overcomes obstacles in the people and in the places to accomplish his purpose.
Each person had physical and spiritual barriers to overcome. Some needed healing; Peter needed faith because he was afraid of the storms around him. Jesus’ family needed patience.
- Each movement of Jesus requires a response from the person.
Jesus does not force faith or healing. A leper approaches him for a cure and asks Jesus to heal him; Jesus invites the man with the withered hand to respond. He also grabs Peter from the water when he was sinking. We are invited to respond but not forced to do so.
People responded to Jesus in many ways.
- Coming up to him
- Plotting against him
- Obeying him
- Working with other people
- Jesus uses each of these experiences to teach the disciples and the crowd.
Every healing is a teachable moment. As Jesus reaches others, the disciples learn better how to follow Jesus. He offers them an example to follow after the resurrection. These miracles glorify Jesus and reinforce the lessons learned. A new day is dawning. The Messiah has arrived. God is starting something new right in their midst.
Through the recipients of these miracles, Jesus illustrates to his disciples the kind of lifestyle they are to lead. They would reach out to others and teach people to depend on the God who calms storms, heals lepers at the risk of contracting the disease, touches the lives of faithful students of scripture, and strengthens his own family through a new relationship with them. Jesus sets the example, and now we have the opportunity to follow.
Take inventory of your life right now.
- Which one of these reaching directions – up, across, down, in, out – do you feel passionate about?
- What direction would you like to learn more about?
- Where would you like to spend time focusing during the Christmas and New Year Seasons?
- Who can help you on the journey as Jesus reaches out to you, and you stretch? Who around you needs to be reached today?