Sabbath School Lesson for August 15-21, 2020

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We understand how Jesus ministered by knowing…

  • Jesus’ attitude toward people (Sunday)
  • Jesus’ treatment of people (Monday)
  • the difference between external, felt needs of the body and internal, deep needs of the heart (Tuesday)
  • Jesus’ holistic approach to healing body, mind, and spirit (Wednesday)
  • what really matters to Jesus (Thursday)


There is no better model of sharing our faith than the one Jesus provided, when He went about ministering to the people while on earth. We can accomplish our goal of reaching people and witnessing for God when we approach our task with the same compassion and gentle, humble demeanor of the Master Soul Winner.

When people sense that we sincerely care about them, barriers of prejudice are broken and hearts are open to the gospel message. All the needs of the people, whether physical, mental, or emotional, must be recognized and addressed by God’s witnesses, if people in the world are to understand the full scope of God’s love for them.

Mingling with others enabled Jesus to have sympathy for their needs and for them to have trust and confidence in His presence. He was able to see what their needs were, and they were able to feel comfortable accepting His help when it was offered.

Memory Text: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew 9:36 NKJV

How fortunate that Matthew recorded what He observed about Jesus in this verse. It captures the essence of why Jesus and the disciples felt so compelled to go about their ministry in the way they did.

Only by seeing for Himself what the people suffered was He able to step in and relieve their needs the way He did. It was love and compassion that drove Him to such untiring service for others, and that same love must be a part of our witnessing today.

Sunday: Jesus’ Attitude Toward People

Jesus could only establish a realistic, compassionate attitude toward people by associating with them whenever possible. We saw Him attending a wedding, privately meeting and conversing with Nicodemus and other prominent people, becoming friends with a lonely, Samaritan woman at a well, going to dinner parties with various groups of people. His was not a life of seclusion, but of wholehearted engagement with the social affairs of the people around Him.

No wonder He advised us to to be like salt of the earth. Salt at that time was a valuable commodity that, if distributed in the right way, served many useful purposes. We are also to be a light to those around us, reflecting the Light of the World, “that all through Him might believe” (John 1:7).

Bible Verses to Consider:

Matthew 5:13 and Colossians 4:6

  • What does being like salt have to do with our communication?

Matthew 5:14-16 and Philippians 2:15

  • How and why are we to be lights in the world?

John 17:15-18

  • What does it mean to be in the world, but not of the world?
  • In what way does the world “own” some people, and how do we prevent that from happening to us?

Monday: Jesus’ Treatment of People

Part of Jesus’ glory was demonstrated by His grace and truth (John 1:14). John tells us He was “full of grace and truth”. We are also told in Ephesians 4:15 to speak“…the truth in love, [that we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ” NKJV

Nothing shows the love of God more than speaking to and treating people with grace and truth. The truth is hard to hear sometimes, but hearing it from someone who loves us and knows how to gently deliver the truth is far more likely to get a favorable response.

The words in Isaiah 42:3 might be difficult for our non-agrarian minds to understand, except for how we saw the Messiah treat people during His earthly ministry.

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.” Isaiah 42:3 NKJV

In other words, Jesus did not needlessly hurt people’s feelings. He was tender with even the weakest individual. He did nothing to make them stop loving Him.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Isaiah 42:3

  • What does this verse say about how the Messiah would treat people?

Ephesians 4:15

  • Why must the truth always be spoken in love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  • What part, or parts, of this definition of love do you find lacking in your own life, and why?

Tuesday: Jesus’ Healing Ministry, Part 1

The felt needs of people are usually pretty obvious. These would include the external needs of clothing, food, housing, a need to have better health, a strong marriage and family life, and so on.

When these felt needs are met, people are in a place that their deeper, spiritual needs can also be addressed. As they witness our love in action, they are prepared to listen to how they can also have a closer relationship with God, whose love they have experienced through us.

Jesus was an expert at healing on both levels. He not only healed their broken minds and bodies, He showed them the way to eternal life through His powerful sermons and even His simple parables. But only after they had their felt needs met were they able to benefit from His deeper ministry to them. Only then could they understand that God was longing to forgive and cleanse them on the inside, as well as on the outside.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Matthew 9:1-7

  • How did Jesus know that the paralyzed man needed his sins to be forgiven, as well as the physical healing his friends wanted him to have?
  • Why is it sometimes more important to have our spiritual needs met before our physical needs?

Mark 5:25-34

  • In this case, the woman already had her deepest needs met (she had faith enough to be healed), but she still needed the healing of her physical body that only Jesus’ touch could provide. Why must we let the Holy Spirit guide us in meeting any of the needs of our community?
  • Why is it difficult for us to know what people’s needs are without the Holy Spirit’s help? In other words, why should we listen to God AND the people in determining their needs?

Wednesday: Jesus’ Healing Ministry, Part 2

Jesus’ first priority was always to see that people were fed and healed of their illnesses and diseases, including their emotional issues of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

It was then that the second part of His ministry was able to have the effect He knew was needed for their deeper healing. His preaching and teaching of spiritual issues would then fall on receptive ears. The invitation to love God was easier to accept, when God’s love for them had already been so fully demonstrated to their needy souls.

This holistic approach made Jesus’ ministry widely accepted by the people at large. Jesus reached them on all levels–including their mind (He went about teaching them), body (He healed all their diseases), and spirit (He preached to them the gospel). See Matthew 9:35.

Our ministry today must still incorporate all these aspects of living. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, and other denominations, have taken this ministry model to heart, when they decided that hospitals and schools were just as necessary as churches, and established all three as necessary for the fulfillment of their gospel mission.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Matthew 9:35

  • How did Jesus meet the needs of the people?
  • Why do you think His methods worked so well?

Mark 1:32-39

  • What did Jesus see as His greatest purpose in ministry?
  • Why was it first important to heal and provide attention to their physical needs?
  • Just as Jesus prayed for guidance in the midst of His ministry efforts, why must we constantly depend on the Holy Spirit to direct our attempts at witnessing?

Thursday: What Matters to Jesus

Jesus told three parables that are recorded in Matthew 25, which follows the chapter that explained the Second Coming and the end of the world.

  • The first parable about the ten virgins informs us that having the Holy Spirit (represented by oil) was very important in being ready for the bridegroom.
  • The second parable about the talents reminds us not to hide the things we’ve been given by the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual gifts are not to be buried and forgotten.
  • And the third parable about the sheep and the goats lets us know that when we minister to others, we are actually doing it to Christ.

The things which may not seem important to us now, might end up being very important in the Judgment. Having and using our spiritual gifts to benefit others seems to be of primary concern and interest to Jesus, as we ponder the meaning of these parables.

How we treat strangers, those who are sick, in prison, or those who are needy in any way will always be what matters to Jesus. When we relieve the suffering of anyone, it’s the same as doing it to Him, we are told. His love reaches out to the unloved. And so should ours.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Matthew 25:37-40, 44-46

  • What was the difference in these two groups in the Judgment?
  • Why is it so important to Jesus that we minister to others?

Revelation 3:14, 17, 18 and Revelation 19:7, 8

  • Who are the needy ones in the last days?
  • What does the clothing represent? And why is that important to the survival of the church?

John 6:35 and Matthew 5:6

  • What are we hungering and thirsting for?
  • How does Jesus satisfy that hunger?

Friday: Conclusion

Seeing the way Jesus ministered to others in and around Judea, leaves us with only one conclusion about what mattered most to Him. It was everything that pertained to the people He encountered. All of their needs and concerns were important to our compassionate Savior.

Jesus not only had compassion, He was an expert in conveying that love to others. He was full of grace and truth, as it says in John 1:14. Only by actively showing our love by providing for the needs of our community will we also be able to address their deeper, spiritual needs.

Only then will we be able to minister like Jesus did.

Next Week’s Lesson: Developing a Winning Attitude

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