Session #061 Mountain To Multitudes
Scripture Matthew 8:1
Summary In this teaching, launching from Matt 8:1, Henson provides a broad overview of how Matthew has organized his material. This big picture brings clarity and continuity as we move forward from the Sermon on the Mount to the next chapters. As Jesus moved from mountain to the multitudes, we are likewise challenged to do the same.
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. Matthew 8:1
This paints a big picture that has clarity and continuity as we move forward from the Sermon on the Mount to kingdom ministry. As Jesus moved from mountain to the multitudes, we are likewise challenged to do the same.
General Observation & Broad Overview
Matthew had organized the material carefully and meticulously to allow readers to see that Jesus had not simply stayed at the mountain and taught. He came down from the mountain to the people, to meet their needs (Matthew 4:23-25, 9:93-36).
Jesus saw the multitudes and went up to the mountain with His disciples (Matthew 5:1). After delivering the Kingdom Manifesto, The Sermon on the Mount, He came down and the people followed Him (Matthew 8:1).
Jesus had included His Disciples as He invited them to a deeper commitment (Matthew 4:18-22) and giving them instructions for Kingdom Ministry (Matthew 10).
Jesus The King declares with authority (Matthew 7:28–29) and demonstrates His authority (Matthew 8-9). The Master teaches His disciples, Alignment, to understand God’s Will and to do in His Way. The Master trains His disciples by bringing them on missions and showing them how it is done. Discipleship is both teaching and training.
Jesus then delegates and assigns which is the Practicum for His disciples. The King delegates His authority (Matthew 10:1); and tasks His disciples, giving them their Assignment (Matthew 10:5).
Matthew 8 & 9: Demonstration & Training
Matthew has 9 accounts that contain 10 miracles that demonstrate the power and authority of the King and His kingdom,
8:2-4 Leper: the King restores wholeness in the community
8:5-13 Centurion’s servant: the King breaks ethnic and racial barriers
8:14-15 Peter’s mother-in-law: the King removes gender prejudices
8:23-27 Wind and waves: the King is king over natural/physical elements
8:28-34 2 demon-possessed men: the King has authority over spiritual powers & principalities
9:1-8 Paralytic (and friends): the King breaks the power/dominion of sin
9:18-26 Girl raised to life and Woman with the issue of blood: the King has power over death & disease
9:27-31 Two blind men: the King restores both physical and spiritual sight
9:32-34 Demon-possessed mute: the King releases praise for the kingdom of God
Is faith required for miracles? Most, but not all, involved faith on the part of the one who received healing (Matthew 8:14, 28-33, 9:1-8, 18-23, 32-34).
Instead of a ‘name-it-claim-it’ entitlement mentality, it is more important to note the posture of humility and worship for each of these who were seeking healing:
Leper: “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.”
Centurion: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.”
The ruler came and worshipped Jesus
Blind men: “Son of David, have mercy on us.”
Where there is faith, there may be healing. But where there is no healing, will there still be faith?
There are different forms of healing with no standard formula. Jesus touched some but not all. The woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus. Jesus spoke the word on location or off location. Jesus cast out demons with simply one word “Go.”
In Matthew 8:18-22, people were drawn to want to follow Jesus but Jesus never lowered the bar and always presented it as it is. Discipleship is not only about the WOW. It is not the odd mission trip, once in a while. It is about following Jesus wholeheartedly so be prepared to give up comforts and relationships.
In Matthew 9:9-13, Matthew responds to the grace and mercy of the King. Jesus is comfortable with tax collectors and went to his home. We prefer to hang out with spiritual superstars but Jesus is happy to hang out with sinners. We revel in our sacrifices but the King desires to reveal His mercy (Hosea 6:6, cf Matthew 9:13).
Jesus is questioned about fasting in Matthew 9:14-17. This was a teaching tucked in between all the miracles. Fasting is not to be done in the old ways, but in new wineskin to contain the new wine.
Matthew’s Big Idea
The Mountain-Multitude Connection
Matthew is not focused on the mountain Or the multitudes, but both the mountain AND the multitudes. There is a time to learn, to sit at Jesus’ feet, to rest in His presence, a time for mountain top experiences. Then there is a time to put into practice what we have received and learned, to share it with others around us.
Alignment will lead to Assignment, from Mountain to Multitudes. Assignment will show up misalignment. We very much prefer the mountain to the multitudes, the fresh mountain air as opposed to the stale smell of sickness and suffering.
Moses enjoyed the mountain but had to go down to the multitudes. Elijah would have loved to stay at Horeb, the mountain of God, but was asked to get back on assignment, to anoint Hazael, Jehu and Elisha.
The condition of the people is recorded in Matthew 9:36 which is similar to Ezekiel 34:5,
Jesus saw beyond the surface, and deep into their hearts. The people were weary (tired, exhausted, faint, harassed) and scattered (having no community, no relationship, no sense of belonging; feelings with aloneness).
We tend to associate this with the unsaved and the lost which is not wrong. The world needs hope, peace, restoration found only in Jesus Christ. They need the good news of the kingdom.
But these were the people of God, His covenant people, described as “sheep having no shepherd”. Sadly, many Christians are no different from the world. These believe in Jesus, but do not know their Shepherd. They also need the good news of the kingdom and not just salvation.
What do you see around you? In our fast-paced society, it is so easy to miss this. When we are only consumed with ourselves and our needs, it is so easy to miss this. In the family, workplace, even in the Church, do we see people as people or people only as numbers and resources to be used?
The condition of the spiritual and religious establishment is revealed as in Ezekiel 34:1–4. They are supposed to be shepherds, and yet they are not caring for the flock. Instead of the shepherd existing for the sheep, the sheep existed for the shepherd. The sheep are exploited, harassed, used, and abused. This is a form of godliness, but denying the power.
The condition of the people reveals the condition of the leaders. Are we having the right impact and influence? Are we running programmed activities or purposeful assignments?
Compassion (Aware but not Apathetic)
The condition of the people deeply moved Jesus. The Greek word splagchnizomai with the first part of the word (splagchna) means “internal organs,” so splagchnizomai literally means to be moved so deeply by something that you feel it in the pit of your stomach. This word is used by Jesus in his famous story of the Prodigal Son.
The English word compassion is made up of “com” (with) and “passion” (suffering), literally means to suffer with. Jesus felt deeply with the people. He identified with their struggles and sufferings. He did not just pity without action, but with compassion that moves to act. Jesus moved.
Jesus felt deeply against the institution. He did not just complain or gripe. Jesus moved. He is the True Shepherd and He is going to make things right. Matthew was referring to God’s promise in Ezekiel 34, pointing to Jesus as the True Shepherd in Ezekiel 34:23.
When was the last time you were moved so deeply? To which moves you from Mountain to Multitudes. To which moves you from Area of Assembly to Area of Operation? Moving you from the confines of the church to the crowds on the outside?
Jesus did not die for programmes, but for people. Many who are harassed, weary and struggling, lost and lonely; and scattered are in need of a family. Our Shepherd King wants us to reach these for Him.
In Matthew 9:37–38, Jesus says that the harvest is plentiful and prays to God for labourers. This prayer was answered in Matthew 10:1. You are the answered prayer. You are the labourers.
Jesus delegates and tasks them immediately, giving them instructions for their assignments in Matthew 10:1.
Archippus Awakening is the awakening of aimless saints to know and fulfil kingdom assignments. To move from Mountain to Multitudes.
This is a broad overview of Matthew 8 and 9 where we are moving from the Mountain to the Multitudes. As we journey with Jesus to learn from our King and Master, let us not remain passive. Let us put teaching and training into practice. Jesus moved, will we move too?