Expectation and Reality (Matthew 8:14-22) by Bro. John Lao

Steve Jobs hinted in his presentation in 2007, a music player, a phone and an internet communicator. No, he wasn’t referring to three different devices but only one and some of you might have it in your pockets right now and in your bags. At that time, it was something big, something revolutionary. A day before its launch, thousands of people lined up outside of the store waiting to get their hands on this brand new device. The hype was so great that on the first 30 hours of its sales, it reported that it has sold 270, 000 units.

Now in our passage today, great things have been heard of Jesus and people have been following Him wherever He goes. These great things bore testimony of His identity that He is the Son of God. And some expectations were developed as well about Him but there is a reality that must be understood and embraced by those who are intending to follow Him. And so for this afternoon, I would want us to talk about Expectation And Reality. So please, if you have your Bibles please open with me to Matthew chapter 8. So this morning we look at verses 5 to 13. nNow for this afternoon it’s going to be a continuation. We’ll look at verses 14 to 22. Matthew chapter 8 verses 14 to 22 I’ll be reading from the ESV. So here now the words of our holy God and King.

And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 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.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

These are the words of our God. Let us pray. Our Almighty Father and King, oh God, as we come again before Your word to the preaching of it, we pray that You would humble our hearts to embrace your teaching and the reality of being a disciple of You. May we greatly consider, may we know for sure that in Christ, the greatest comfort that we can have from our greatest burden is found in Him and that You are absolutely worthy of our utmost devotion. We pray oh Lord that Your Holy Spirit would be the one to teach us and enable us to live in light of your teaching we ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Right about this time, Jesus have been generating quite a number of followers. Crowds have become curious about Him because of His teaching, His message, His messages and miracles. He came with a message that is plain and simple to understand that kingdom of God is right before your eyes. It is here, it has been launched, inaugurated. The long-awaited King, the long-awaited Messiah has come. He has come to establish His rule among His people. After hearing Him preach at The Sermon on the Mount on how life in the Kingdom looks like, the characteristics of its members, the governing principles that are taught in the law, the people were astounded with what kind of authority He displayed with the words that He spoke. Now in chapter 8, Matthew takes it even further. And shows us the authority of Jesus Christ through His action and His deeds. And so we’ve heard it from His words. Now in chapter 8, we’re gonna see it in His works. He takes into account the power and the authority of Jesus in the physical and as well as the spiritual realm or the physical realm, ito yung pagpapagaling Niya ng mga may sakit. In the spiritual realm, He has the power to cast out the demons or the spirits that are oppressing those who are being possessed by them. And in the previous sermon, He willingly heals a person with Leprosy who is considered as a social outcast. Hindi lang sila outcast pero they consider the person dead. That is from verses one to four and the Centurion servant was made well by a word Christ. Ganun lang ka-simple, Christ spoke and the servant, even without going there to the place, was made well. Unlike our time, we have different medications for different kinds of sickness, pero at that time, kapag nagkasakit ka, medyo mahirap because you don’t have much medicine to use in order to heal yourself. And to see someone having that ability to heal instantly, that’s kumbaga parang out of this world yun para sa kanila. And in all these, it is being shown to us and as well as the readers, that Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth is no ordinary man. He is a divine person. He healed instantly with a touch, with a word. He is gentle, merciful and kind, willing to stoop down upon the sorrows of the people, reaching out to the social outcasts whether Gentiles, as someone who is ceremonially unclean, and what we will see here later isa pang social outcast, isa pang babae. And He’s willing to grant healing as He pleases. And the reason why He says what He says, He taught and preached that way, He does what He did with all authority, for the simple reason: that He is God. He is divine. And Matthew wants to make sure that his readers really understands that this person is unlike no other. If you struggle to believe that He is the Messiah through His teachings and believe on the basis of His works. And moreover, the writer continues to demonstrate the authority and the compassion of our Lord through the miracle of healing. Pinapakita ulit sa atin dito sa passage na ito pointing to its ultimate significance on the basis of prophecy in the Old Testament. And having seen this convincingly great miracles, he then goes on to talk about the kind of commitment entails in following our Lord who sympathises with sinners.

Dear brethren, friends, Christ is a saviour of sinners, the biblical expectation is that His mission is to redeem His people from the greatest problem that we all have resulting to its miserable effects. He does not intend to simply make Himself popular by doing miracles, doing amazing things, but to have people who will genuinely embrace the reality of the cause and the demand of being His disciple. And this is what I want us to know in this message that Following Our Sympathising Saviour Entails A Costly Commitment , Following Our Sympathising Saviour Entails A Costly Commitment. So that is our first point we’re going to talk about who this Saviour is, what He does. The first point is Sympathising Saviour. The second point is Costly Commitment. And here we will be talking about what entails becoming a disciple of Christ: the cause, the demand and what kind of commitment that it demands from us.

So let’s look at the first point Sympathising Saviour. Unlike the other gospel writers Mark and Luke, Matthew deliberately zeros in on the healing miracles that Jesus did. From verses 14 to 16, we saw that He did it to Peter’s mother-in-law, so maraming mga commentators, sinasabi nila na yung kino-consider ng Catholic church na pope nila ay siya mismo ay kinasal. He had a mother-in-law. Crowds that were brought to Him who were either sick or demon-possessed, pinagaling ito ni Kristo. Similarly, in the previous healings, Jesus is once again also defying social customs. For one thing, women were considered second class citizen. Hindi sila binibigyan ng importansiya. In fact, there are Jewish writings that even give thanks to God that they were not born women. There were Jewish laws that prohibited them also to touch someone who has a fever. Unlike ngayon di ba parang pwede ka na pumunta sa drugstore, get a paracetamol or get a simple medicine that will address your fever. But that time fever is a big thing; it can be malaria, it can be a kahit simpleng fever lang, it’s a big deal for them. And third, these things, these miracles happened on the Sabbath which is greatly debated between Jesus and as well as the religious leaders of their time. And in both occasions the authority of Jesus over this physical and the spiritual realm was on display. We were told that in verse 15, He touched her hand and the fever left her and she rose and began to serve Him. And in verse 16 He casts out all the spirit with the word and He healed those who are sick. The miracles were again immediate and instantaneous regardless whether it’s severe or mild. It was independent of anything. It’s from His power in all these healing that Jesus did Matthew cites its purpose. And in verse 17, sabi niya rito, this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah. He took our illnesses and bore our diseases. He quotes from Isaiah 53 which is about the servant’s substitutionary suffering for His people. For one, he identifies Jesus as the suffering servant and part of his work was to bear the illnesses and literally the sorrows of His people. However, looking at the bigger picture or the bigger context of Isaiah 53, we will see that the Christ not only addresses pain and suffering, but ultimately, the one that caused it. And what is it? Sin. Verse 5 says of the servant that hHe was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquity. Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with His wounds we are healed. His work was substitutionary which means that He took our place. Through His perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross, He cleanses people from their sins, He secured their pardon, He gave gave them peace and redeemed and gave them the hope of restoration. The work of Christ deals with both sin and its sorrowful effects. We know the story sin came from one man, one man’s disobedience which puts the entire human race into misery. Through that disobedience, lahat tayo ay nagsimulang mamatay. As we grow older, death becomes closer and as soon as a child is born in this world, the child starts dying. But in the grace of God, the story doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end with sin triumphing, reigning supreme over the human race. Death would have its supremacy because the deliverer was promised all the way back from Genesis chapter 3, and He came two thousand years ago and accomplished redemption.

First Corinthians chapter 15 verses 21 to 22 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Because of His suffering and death, those who are in Christ who have believed and repented of their sins have been made partakers of eternal life. If you want to fix your broken roof, let’s say may tumutulong tubig sa inyong mga bubong. Ang gagawin lang natin ay kukuha lang tayo ng duct tape; t-tapean natin yung bubong para hindi na tutulo yung water. You’re basically doing a Band-Aid solution. You are not addressing the problem. But if you would look into, bakit may tumutulo? Tignan ko nga sa likod, tignan ko sa taas, andun kaya yung butas? You do your fix there. You are exactly fixing the issue. Now church, brothers, sisters and friends, Christ did not just do a Band-Aid solution. Hindi lang Niya inalis yung mga inordinate desires natin, our sinful passions, our bodily ailments. But he addressed both the root and as well as the fruit. The root of the problem is sin and the results of it is death. Kasama na rin dito yung sickness and yung sorrows na ating nararamdaman because of sin. The healing because of Christ says Matthew was the fulfilment of the prophecy and it points to the complete reversal of the effects of sin. Same as our indwelling sin. At the present time even if we are believers, nagkakasakit pa rin tayo. We still die, we don’t get immunity upon conversion. But in glory when Christ comes again to redeem His church, we will be completely delivered from the presence of sin and as well as its effect. But if you are not in Christ, I am also giving you this warning that sickness, sorrow, pain, trials, body ailments, lahat ng mga bagay na ito ay umpisa lamang ng pinakamatinding punishment that can fall on you because you are apart from Christ. And so I plead with you, if you haven’t believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of your sins, place your faith in the one and only provision for our salvation and you will have eternal life. Turn away from your old sinful life, recognise that Christ is the sufficient Saviour, the Sympathising Saviour who knows every bit of our sins yet He came to die on the cross for our sins to redeem us, and to call us, and to give us a privilege to become His adopted children. And for you brother and sister, having been made alive by the sin-bearing work of the Lord, we are called to to serve, we are called unto service to both God and our brethren.

Peter’s mother-in-law, after siyang mapagaling ni Kristo, she rose and began to serve Him. Yun yung sinabi sa text natin. But you know what to serve here does not only pertain to binigyan ng pagkain, or nag-wait ng tables. It was actually the same word that is used for deacons. So presumably, she began a life of discipleship. She became a follower of Christ. And in fact, she did not just serve Christ. Sinabi sa atin ni Mark at ni Luke, she began serving them, not only the Lord, but as well as the apostles, the disciples. This is a picture of our conversion. Christ bore our burden, our sin and sorrow. We in turn should bear the burdens of our brother and sister. That’s my first challenge: Carry One Another’s Burden As Christ Took And Carried Our Greatest Burden. Maybe you’ve told yourselves if God could have simply took the effects of sin away upon conversion, siguro mas okay yun kung tinanggal na lang lahat ni Kristo upon conversion. That would have been great! Hindi tayo magkakasakit, hindi tayo mamamatay, we will live forever, okay lang yun. But again, sin remains in the world around us. But in His wisdom, He was pleased to keep it. Bakit? Because of affliction, it continues to humble us. It tests our hearts so that we would know what is exactly in our deep seated desires. We recognise the sufficiency of God’s grace whenever we feel weak and sorrowful. Nakikita natin yung strength natin sa Kaniya. Cino-conform tayo ng ating mga trials, ng ating mga sorrows, ng ating mga sufferings in the image of Christ. And hear this, it also gives us the opportunity to comfort others just as we have been comforted by God in Christ. In other words, it works for our sanctification brethren. As a fellow partaker of the Gospel, do we share carrying the burdens of your brethren? Realising that because of our remaining sins, we still battle with its effects. Kakasabi pa lang natin, andiyan pa rin ang sickness, problems in the family, discouragement, depression, sinful desires and inclination na nakikita natin sa ating mga kapatid, issues in our vocation, losses, tragic events, even death. Ask yourself, in what capacity should I serve and carry the burdens of my brethren? But we won’t know until we go out of our way at kausapin ang ating mga kapatid. And so we have to know, we have to reach out and really get to know what is happening in the lives of our brethren.

Our fellowship in the gospel goes beyond companionship or even friendship. And the concern is if we reduce our fellowship to such, na parang barkadahan na lang, parang kai-kaibigan na lang. Nandito lang tayo during the good times and whenever we gather and fellowship with one another, nandun lang tayo for the fun in itself. But the truth is, you don’t even have to join a church in order for us to experience yung mga ganung bagay. Kita yan sa labas eh. But what makes the church different is that being a fellow partaker of Christ in the gospel, we are united in Christ and we have been given the privilege to minister to the needs of the saints, to edify and encourage one another, rebuking one another if necessary, praying for one another, providing for the needs of the saints. What a glorious privilege we have in the church.

But if you seek to live apart from the church, maybe kapatid ka namin sa pananampalataya, you are joining us here and you don’t have any sort of desire to be part of the church, kasi sinasabi natin, well, wala naman ako matutunan na mabuti and lahat naman tayo makasalanan eh, so wala namang essence to join a a church..parang ganun din naman. You only not miss the opportunity to minister to a fellow brother, but you also miss out on the opportunity to be ministered upon. And so that’s a warning and may I encourage you to join and make yourself a member of a local church and carry one another’s burden along with your fellow brethren. As we bear each other’s burden, Christ, be reminded, Christ is the greater burden-bearer. May dinaramdam ka ba na sakit ngayon? Ikaw ba ay mayroong ailment na nilalabanan? Take comfort because His work didn’t just, again, address the service level, He addressed the root of the problem and because of the Gospel, we can go through life’s trials with a great sense of hope and encouragement in Christ, knowing that He loves us and cares for us. We can encourage one another because there is a sympathetic Saviour who gave us hope through the sin-bearing work of the Saviour.

And so we looked at who the saviour is. The kind of sympathy that He gives to His people. Now I would want us to see the kind of commitment that it entails in following this Messiah, the Saviour. That’s going to be my second point, The Costly Commitment. So because of His authoritative words and works, His popularity grew even further. A lot of people would want to follow Him and Matthew reports this to emphasize the reality of what it means to become a disciple of Christ. Merong cause ito at meron itong dine-demand sa atin. In verse 19 we begin to be introduced to a certain person who came up to Jesus and said teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. And this is a scribe. A scribe is someone who has great honour. Meron silang privilege in the synagogue to even teach the fellow Jews. And most of them underwent training sa mga Rabbi. They are honoured individuals. And maybe looking at what Jesus did, sinabi Niya, well, this is great. Ang galing ng Rabbi na ito, ang galing magturo tapos gumagawa pa ng mga miracles. He’s committing his life to become a disciple of Christ. So siguro tayo kung binabasa natin itong gospel, we would say that, oh, parang okay ito ah. Someone, a Jewish and then coming to Jesus committing himself saying that I will follow you wherever you go. But look at the response of Christ. Verse 20. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” By calling Himself the Son of man should remind him of the prophecy of Daniel. He is the one, He is the glorious One. People from every nation, tongue would serve Him. He was given dominion to have the kingdom forever and ever. And he’s saying I don’t have any Earthly good nor honour I don’t even have anything. In other words, if that’s what you’re looking for; honour, prestige, it ain’t gonna be this way. Being God, Christ knows the hearts of men. He wanted something else and he’s not going to find it in Christ. You may even be losing all of your possessions for the sake of following Christ. Then comes the disciple in verse 21. he said to Jesus “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” It seems like a an understandable, lawful and a noble request but what was the response of Jesus? Verse 22. “Follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Now, yung mga commentators, nag vary sila dito. Some are saying that you know what, the the father is not dead. Some are saying that yes, patay na yung tatay niya and he just want to give him a proper burial. So, bakit nga ba nag-respond si Christ in this way? Maybe Luke could help us. In Luke chapter 9 verse 60. He tells us what kind of calling is this. Sinabi niya rito, it is a call to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom, to become a minister of Christ Jesus. But the disciple wants to entangle himself first with the world affairs rather than responding to the call of Christ in becoming a minister of the Gospel. There is a desire to follow Jesus but he needed to make time first on other things. In other words, dini-delay niya ang kaniyang obedience. In both cases, the examples again in order for us to consider our motivations, our priorities because being a disciple of Christ requires a costly commitment. It would cost us brothers and sisters. It challenges both the things that drives us to follow Christ, the things we consider of prime importance, if it is arising from a desire for worldly advantage, a step towards your dream, a support for your goals and priorities in life. Christ is saying you’re not gonna get it in following Him. If we choose the world first, deceiving yourself into thinking that once you’re good with your priorities, then you’ll give yourself in obedience to the duties that you have in the Kingdom, Christ says, follow me. As the song says: “if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all. Arise! go to Jesus. He will embrace you in His arms.” The Apostle John as well wants the churches not to place your affections about the worlds, upon the world’s goods. Its system, what comprises it for the one who loves the world, he says, the love of the Father is not in him. And he goes further to say in verse 17 and the world is passing away along with its desires but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

To follow Christ means to recognise His person, who He is, the Son of man He came and offered Himself and became the servant; suffered and died for sinners so that those who would repent and believe in Him would share in His glory. And having understood who He is, we embrace His will over our lives leaving the old that is passing away, now living in the newness of life in the power of His Spirit. Now when we became members of the local church, what did we do? First, we enter into a covenant with its members. You’ll be under oath to fulfill certain commitments and obligations. If you have the wrong motivation and if your desires are still wrapped up in the world, the obligations and the commitments will not sit well with you. Pursuing the world either runs on a collision course or an opposite course from being a disciple of Christ. And so my question is church, do you have a worthy motivation in following Christ? Are you struggling with reluctance to follow Christ? Alam mo na na very clear ito that this is a calling for you of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, you still stick with your priorities, you still stick with what you want, with your worldly desires thinking that following Him would get in the way of your current priorities. Now this is my last challenge to you Rest In The Absolute Sufficiency Of Christ! Let That Motivate You To Completely Follow Him. Of course this is not a call for you to depart from your responsibilities. We have our respective callings in our family, our vocation, our neighbours. We often think that these things are mutually exclusive na parang sa mind natin, meron tayong thinking na responsibilities outside of the church, responsibilities within the church. Meron ngang ganung bagay, pero we often think that there is a mutual exclusivity of these things. But really, they’re not! Hindi sila two separate things. It is simply a call for us! The calls of discipleship is to be subject to the will of God. It is living in light of His rule over us. My fellow husbands, are we taking it upon ourselves to love our wives and exercise headship and washing her with the word by leading family worship in our home? Talking to our children of Christ, talking about the gospel to them, what the word of God says, what the word of God teaches. In submission to Christ have you been submitting to your husbands, wives! Children, following Jesus means loving God and obeying what He commands. Have you been obedient to your parents? Have you talked back to them? Have you apologised to them? Have you been honouring them? God’s law tells us to obey Daddy and Mommy. If we don’t, we are sinning against God. You have to understand that. If you’re someone who is employed, do you give your best because you are working for the greatest Master of all, our Lord Jesus Christ? The greater immediate Head that you have. Accommodating and pricing what the world offers shrouds our view of the beauty of the gospel of Christ. And that is the problem for the most of us. We make an attempt to place our hearts on both sides. Gusto ko meron din akong riches ng world, yung mga ino-offer sa akin ng mundo. But at the same time, I want to be a follower of Christ. And then you end up being torn on both sides when the rubber meets the road.

In the Pilgrim’s Progress, there’s a place where Christian and Faithful went to. Ang tawag sa lugar na ito ay Vanity Fair. The people prize doon sa Vanity Fair young worldliness, immorality, idolatry. And since Christian and Faithful stood firm on their conviction, they did not conform to the values and the principles of the Vanity Fair. As a result, they were persecuted, they were reviled, they were put into prison. And in the story ultimately napatay si Faithful. Brothers and sisters, following Christ will cost each of us. There is a cost that we have to pay. But if you are in Him, do not worry about your life. We may suffer loss for the sake of Christ. We may not receive honour and even be persecuted for His sake. But marvel on the fact that Christ is all for you. If Christ is everything para sa iyo, then God is your portion. And if God is your portion, what more, what more can we ask for? Look into what is in your heart brothers and sisters. Is Christ everything to you dear brethren? Do you see His absolute sufficiency? Where does your time, talents and treasure usually go? I encourage you rest in the absolute sufficiency of Christ. Our faithful Redeemer and King, who takes away both sin and sorrow is worthy of our absolute devotion. May God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ unveil the glorious beauty of His Son through His spirit and take His truths and plant it deep in our hearts that we live in conformity to our faithful great God and Saviour.

Let us pray. Our great God and Heavenly Father, oh Lord, we are grateful for this truth that You condescend upon our weakness. That in our sins, You died in our stead. You took it upon Yourself to become our substitute so that You can redeem us from all of our sins. And knowing this great truth, we pray Lord God that we would be disciples who will follow You and be willing to pay the cost and pursue the demands of being a disciple knowing that You’re worthy of our absolute devotion. We thank you oh Lord. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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