Matthew 9

1 And he got into a boat and went across and came to his town.
2 And they took to him a man stretched on a bed who had no power of moving; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man who was ill, Son, take heart; you have forgiveness for your sins.
3 And some of the scribes said among themselves, This man has no respect for God.
4 And Jesus, having knowledge of what was in their minds, said, Why are your thoughts evil?
5 For which is the simpler, to say, You have forgiveness for your sins; or to say, Get up and go?
6 But so that you may see that on earth the Son of man has authority for the forgiveness of sins, (then said he to the man who was ill,) Get up, and take up your bed, and go to your house.
7 And he got up and went away to his house.
8 But when the people saw it they were full of fear, and gave glory to God who had given such authority to men.
9 And when Jesus was going from there, he saw a man whose name was Matthew, seated at the place where taxes were taken; and he said to him, Come after me. And he got up and went after him.
10 And it came about, when he was in the house taking food, that a number of tax-farmers and sinners came and took their places with Jesus and his disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, Why does your Master take food with tax-farmers and sinners?
12 But on hearing this he said, Those who are well have no need of a medical man, but those who are ill.
13 But go and take to heart the sense of these words, My desire is for mercy, not offerings: for I have come not to get the upright, but sinners.
14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees frequently go without food, but your disciples do not?
15 And Jesus said to them, Will the friends of the newly-married man be sad as long as he is with them? But the days will come when he will be taken away from them, and then will they go without food.
16 And no man puts a bit of new cloth on an old coat, for by pulling away from the old, it makes a worse hole.
17 And men do not put new wine into old wine-skins; or the skins will be burst and the wine will come out, and the skins are of no more use: but they put new wine into new wine-skins, and so the two will be safe.
18 While he was saying these things to them, there came a ruler and gave him worship, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and put your hand on her, and she will come back to life.
19 And Jesus got up and went after him, and so did his disciples.
20 And a woman, who for twelve years had had a flow of blood, came after him, and put her hand on the edge of his robe:
21 Because, she said to herself, if I may but put my hand on his robe, I will be made well.
22 But Jesus, turning and seeing her, said, Daughter, take heart; your faith has made you well. And the woman was made well from that hour.
23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house and saw the players with their instruments and the people making a noise,
24 He said, Make room; for the girl is not dead, but sleeping. And they were laughing at him.
25 But when the people were sent out, he went in and took her by the hand; and the girl got up.
26 And the news of it went out into all that land.
27 And when Jesus went on from there, two blind men came after him, crying out, Have mercy on us, you Son of David.
28 And when he had come into the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, Have you faith that I am able to do this? They said to him, Yes, Lord.
29 Then he put his hand on their eyes, saying, As your faith is, let it be done to you.
30 And their eyes were made open. And Jesus said to them sharply, Let no man have knowledge of it.
31 But they went out and gave news of him in all that land.
32 And while they were going away, there came to him a man without the power of talking, and with an evil spirit.
33 And when the evil spirit had been sent out, the man had the power of talking: and they were all surprised, saying, Such a thing has never been seen in Israel.
34 But the Pharisees said, By the ruler of evil spirits, he sends evil spirits out of men.
35 And Jesus went about all the towns and small places, teaching in their Synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and making well all sorts of disease and pain.
36 But when he saw all the people he was moved with pity for them, because they were troubled and wandering like sheep without a keeper.
37 Then he said to his disciples, There is much grain but not enough men to get it in.
38 Make prayer, then, to the Lord of the grain-fields, that he may send out workers to get in his grain.

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Matthew 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

Jesus returns to Capernaum, and heals a paralytic. (1-8) Matthew called. (9) Matthew, or Levi's feast. (10-13) Objections of John's disciples. (14-17) Christ raises the daughter of Jairus, He heals the issue of blood. (18-26) He heals two blind men. (27-31) Christ casts out a dumb spirit. (32-34) He sends forth the apostles. (35-38)

Verses 1-8 The faith of the friends of the paralytic in bringing him to Christ, was a strong faith; they firmly believed that Jesus Christ both could and would heal him. A strong faith regards no obstacles in pressing after Christ. It was a humble faith; they brought him to attend on Christ. It was an active faith. Sin may be pardoned, yet the sickness not be removed; the sickness may be removed, yet the sin not pardoned: but if we have the comfort of peace with God, with the comfort of recovery from sickness, this makes the healing a mercy indeed. This is no encouragement to sin. If thou bring thy sins to Jesus Christ, as thy malady and misery to be cured of, and delivered from, it is well; but to come with them, as thy darlings and delight, thinking still to retain them and receive him, is a gross mistake, a miserable delusion. The great intention of the blessed Jesus in the redemption he wrought, is to separate our hearts from sin. Our Lord Jesus has perfect knowledge of all that we say within ourselves. There is a great deal of evil in sinful thoughts, which is very offensive to the Lord Jesus. Christ designed to show that his great errand to the world was, to save his people from their sins. He turned from disputing with the scribes, and spake healing to the sick man. Not only he had no more need to be carried upon his bed, but he had strength to carry it. God must be glorified in all the power that is given to do good.

Verse 9 Matthew was in his calling, as the rest of those whom Christ called. As Satan comes with his temptations to the idle, so Christ comes with his calls to those who are employed. We are all naturally averse from thee, O God; do thou bid us to follow thee; draw us by thy powerful word, and we shall run after thee. Speak by the word of the Spirit to our hearts, the world cannot hold us down, Satan cannot stop our way, we shall arise and follow thee. A saving change is wrought in the soul, by Christ as the author, and his word as the means. Neither Matthew's place, nor his gains by it, could detain him, when Christ called him. He left it, and though we find the disciples, who were fishers, occasionally fishing again afterwards, we never more find Matthew at his sinful gain.

Verses 10-13 Some time after his call, Matthew sought to bring his old associates to hear Christ. He knew by experience what the grace of Christ could do, and would not despair concerning them. Those who are effectually brought to Christ, cannot but desire that others also may be brought to him. Those who suppose their souls to be without disease will not welcome the spiritual Physician. This was the case with the Pharisees; they despised Christ, because they thought themselves whole; but the poor publicans and sinners felt that they wanted instruction and amendment. It is easy, and too common, to put the worst constructions upon the best words and actions. It may justly be suspected that those have not the grace of God themselves, who are not pleased with others' obtaining it. Christ's conversing with sinners is here called mercy; for to promote the conversion of souls is the greatest act of mercy. The gospel call is a call to repentance; a call to us to change our minds, and to change our ways. If the children of men had not been sinners, there had been no need for Christ to come among them. Let us examine whether we have found out our sickness, and have learned to follow the directions of our great Physician.

Verses 14-17 John was at this time in prison; his circumstances, his character, and the nature of the message he was sent to deliver, led those who were peculiarly attached to him, to keep frequent fasts. Christ referred them to John's testimony of him, Joh. 3:29 . Though there is no doubt that Jesus and his disciples lived in a spare and frugal manner, it would be improper for his disciples to fast while they had the comfort of his presence. When he is with them, all is well. The presence of the sun makes day, and its absence produces night. Our Lord further reminded them of common rules of prudence. It was not usual to take a piece of rough woolen cloth, which had never been prepared, to join to an old garment, for it would not join well with the soft, old garment, but would tear it further, and the rent would be made worse. Nor would men put new wine into old leathern bottles, which were going to decay, and would be liable to burst from the fermenting of the wine; but putting the new wine into strong, new, skin bottles, both would be preserved. Great caution and prudence are necessary, that young converts may not receive gloomy and forbidding ideas of the service of our Lord; but duties are to be urged as they are able to bear them.

Verses 18-26 The death of our relations should drive us to Christ, who is our life. And it is high honour to the greatest rulers to attend on the Lord Jesus; and those who would receive mercy from Christ, must honour him. The variety of methods Christ took in working his miracles, perhaps was because of the different frames and tempers of mind, which those were in who came to him, and which He who searches the heart perfectly knew. A poor woman applied herself to Christ, and received mercy from him by the way. If we do but touch, as it were, the hem of Christ's garment by living faith, our worst evils will be healed; there is no other real cure, nor need we fear his knowing things which are a grief and burden to us, but which we would not tell to any earthly friend. When Christ entered the ruler's house, he said, Give place. Sometimes, when the sorrow of the world prevails, it is difficult for Christ and his comforts to enter. The ruler's daughter was really dead, but not so to Christ. The death of the righteous is in a special manner to be looked on as only a sleep. The words and works of Christ may not at first be understood, yet they are not therefore to be despised. The people were put forth. Scorners who laugh at what they do not understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ. Dead souls are not raised to spiritual life, unless Christ take them by the hand: it is done in the day of his power. If this single instance of Christ's raising one newly dead so increased his fame, what will be his glory when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation!

Verses 27-31 At this time the Jews expected Messiah would appear; these blind men knew and proclaimed in the streets of Capernaum that he was come, and that Jesus was he. Those who, by the providence of God, have lost their bodily sight, may, by the grace of God, have the eyes of their understanding fully enlightened. And whatever our wants and burdens are, we need no more for supply and support, than to share in the mercy of our Lord Jesus. In Christ is enough for all. They followed him crying aloud. He would try their faith, and would teach us always to pray, and not to faint, though the answer does not come at once. They followed Christ, and followed him crying; but the great question is, Do ye believe? Nature may make us earnest, but it is only grace that can work faith. Christ touched their eyes. He gives sight to blind souls by the power of his grace going with his word, and he puts the cure upon their faith. Those who apply to Jesus Christ, shall be dealt with, not according to their fancies, nor according to their profession, but according to their faith. Christ sometimes concealed his miracles, because he would not indulge the conceit which prevailed among the Jews, that their Messiah should be a temporal prince, and so give occasion to the people to attempt tumults and seditions.

Verses 32-34 Of the two, better a dumb devil than a blaspheming one. Christ's cures strike at the root, and remove the effect by taking away the cause; they open the lips, by breaking Satan's power in the soul. Nothing can convince those who are under the power of pride. They will believe anything, however false or absurd, rather than the Holy Scriptures; thus they show the enmity of their hearts against a holy God.

Verses 35-38 Jesus visited not only the great and wealthy cities, but the poor, obscure villages; and there he preached, there he healed. The souls of the meanest in the world are as precious to Christ, and should be so to us, as the souls of those who make the greatest figure. There were priests, Levites, and scribes, all over the land; but they were idol shepherds, ( Zechariah 11:17 ) ; therefore Christ had compassion on the people as sheep scattered, as men perishing for lack of knowledge. To this day vast multitudes are as sheep not having a shepherd, and we should have compassion and do all we can to help them. The multitudes desirous of spiritual instruction formed a plenteous harvest, needing many active labourers; but few deserved that character. Christ is the Lord of the harvest. Let us pray that many may be raised up and sent forth, who will labour in bringing souls to Christ. It is a sign that God is about to bestow some special mercy upon a people, when he stirs them up to pray for it. And commissions given to labourers in answer to prayer, are most likely to be successful.

Matthew 9 Commentaries