Summary: At the center of all true disciples of Jesus is the heart of a servant.
A Messiah Who Serves
1. Illustration: Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier and a Christian. One cold winter day, as he was entering a city, a beggar stopped him and asked for alms. Martin had no money; but the beggar was blue and shivering with cold and Martin gave what he had. He took off his soldier’s coat, worn and frayed as it was; he cut it in two and gave half of it to the beggar man. That night he had a dream. In it he saw the heavenly places and all the angels and Jesus in the midst of them; and Jesus was wearing half of a Roman soldier’s cloak. One of the angels said to him, "Master, why are you wearing that battered old cloak? Who gave it to you?" And Jesus answered softly, "My servant Martin gave it to me" (Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 326).
2. Outside of love and mercy there is no characteristic displayed more in the life of Jesus than that of a servant.
3. If we want to truly be His disciples we must learn how to serve. People who serve are:
Proposition: At the center of all true disciples of Jesus is the heart of a servant.
Transition: The first thing we must realize about people who serve is...
I. People Who Serve Are Humble (15-16).
A. Not to Reveal Who He Was
1. As you might recall, the last section we covered in Matthew's Gospel Jesus had just had a confrontation with the Pharisees about what is permissible on the Sabbath.
a. First they were upset because his disciples were picking heads of grain on the Sabbath.
b. Then they were upset because he healed a man on the Sabbath.
c. In the end, they wanted to kill him.
2. However, "Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area..."
a. Jesus could have taken the easy way out here. He could have merely called the power of heaven down on them, but instead he chose simply to slip away.
b. There are times when we must stand and fight and then there are times when it is best to simply walk away.
c. There would be a time in Jerusalem when Jesus would go toe to toe with the Pharisees, but here is not the time because he has a wider mission to accomplish first (France, NICNT: Matthew, 469).
d. Jesus didn't come to fight with the religious establishment, he came to serve.
3. As was usually the case with Jesus, "many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them..."
a. Those in need will seek him out, and Jesus will not disappoint.
b. From the beginning of his public ministry people came to Jesus for healing from the surrounding countryside, now including people from as far away as Idumea, over a hundred miles away (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 443).
c. He healed "all the sick" that he encountered.
d. Jesus' miracles of healing demonstrated His divine power, but they also demonstrated His divine love and compassion for suffering people.
e. He healed in order to reveal the loving heart of God, which continually goes out to those who are hurting, burdened, and persecuted (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15 (quickview) ).