(16) What Sort of Believers?
Healing the paralytic (and getting the roof fixed), dealing with streets so crowded that no one can get to the door… it’s not surprising Jesus and his disciples move out of Peter’s house again and head for the open spaces/open countryside. Of course, to get there, they’ve got to pass through the city walls and confirm all their taxes have been paid. No surprise that Jesus meets a taxman there, but perhaps it’s a little surprising that the taxman follows him.
1. Read Matthew 9:9-10 Most readers believe Matthew is Levi (as will soon become clear!).
a. What might have gone through Matthew’s mind before he saw Jesus? And why doesn’t he tell us?
b. What kind of things went through your mind before you committed to following Him?
2. Read Mark 2:13-16 (same event, different view). Did Matthew/Levi leave his job straight away?
a. What’s the difference between demons following and proclaiming Jesus’ name, and taxmen and fishermen taking time to ask questions before they follow?
b. What sort of followers are we? Is it okay to ask questions and delay making decisions?
3. Read Luke 5:27-30. Large (rich people’s) houses were often open to the street. A large event, such as a communal meal, would be held in the open courtyard where everyone could see in.
a. Were the Pharisees listening to Jesus (as Matthew was) and trying to decide if they should follow?
b. Were they eating with tax collectors? If not, why not?
c. Who would you not expect to find Jesus eating with/answering prayers for/comforting?
4. Read Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31-32, Matthew 9:12-13 What extra details does they give? (Read Hosea 6:6)
a. How comfortable are you calling yourself unrighteous, sick and a sinner?
The Pharisees and their spies are busy now, perhaps because Jesus’ miracles (and his claiming to forgive sins without being zapped by lightning) just might indicate he’s the Messiah.
1. Is it a good thing to have a questioning mind when it comes to spiritual issues? (Read 1 John 4:1)
2. What’s the difference between a questioning mind (find out) and a disbelieving (find fault) mind?
3. Read Matthew 9:14, Mark 2:18, Luke 5:33 How important do you think should fasting be? (And were these fasts Biblical or traditional? How important is tradition?
4. Read Matthew 9:15-17, Mark 2:19-22, Luke 5:34-39
a. When does Jesus say they shouldn’t fast? Read Luke 5:34
b. When will they want to fast? Read Luke 5:35
c. What has cloth got to do with it? Read Luke 5:36 Have you ever had a problem sewing a new patch onto an old garment?
d. Why can’t you put new wine into old wineskins? Read Luke 5:37 Have you ever had a problem putting something new into an old container?
e. So what are old wineskins good for? Read Luke 5:38
f. And what is new wine good for? Read Luke 5:39
g. How open to new praise music, Bible translations, forms of worship, prayer practices etc are you?
The disciples are about to be seen breaking another rule too. Not only don’t they fast, but they even pick grain on the Sabbath! And Jesus even heals on the Sabbath! And maybe we shouldn’t allow school sports, or shopping at the mall, or meetings of writers’ groups etc to take place on Sundays… Next week we’ll look at Jesus’ response.