Scriptures

Matthew 9

Introduction

‘Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.’ Matthew 9:1-8

Jesus Forgives And Heals A Paralyzed Man

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This is one of those ‘mighty works’ mentioned by Jesus in his reproach of Capernaum, Matthew 11:23 / Mark 2:1. Important details are mentioned in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26 which are not contained in Matthew. Mark tells that he was carried by four men, and Luke relates the breaking up of the roof to let him down to Jesus.’

As a result of His teaching and miracles, Jesus’ popularity grew rapidly. So many wanted to hear Him that they filled the house in Capernaum where He was teaching and crowded around it. Just then, five men arrived, eager to see Jesus too. One of them was paralysed and the other four carried him on a stretcher.

It was impossible for them to get in through the door, so they climbed up on the roof, dug a hole in it and let the paralytic down through the opening they had created. You can imagine the commotion among the crowd in the house below.

When Jesus saw the faith, they had demonstrated, He told the lame man that his sins were forgiven. That was probably not what the man had expected, but it is every man’s greatest need.

His disability may have been caused by some sin he was involved in during his life, we can’t be sure, but we do know that sin can have a devastating consequence in our lives.

Notice the lame man, those who brought him in and everyone else didn’t say a thing, it was only the teachers of the law who were present who thought Jesus had blasphemed because God alone can forgive sins.

The scribes and Pharisees, Luke 5:21, thought it blasphemy to assume the position of God by forgiving sins, John 10:31-36 / Leviticus 24:15-16. Although they were right, they didn’t recognise that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh, John 1:1-3 / John 1:14.

Jesus read their minds and asked, ‘which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or get up and walk? Matthew 12:25 / Psalm 139:2 / Luke 6:8 / Luke 9:47 / Luke 11:17.

The answer to this question was simple, both were possible with God, but impossible with men. If Jesus has the power to heal someone, then He certainly as the Son of man, has the authority to forgive someone’s sins, John 3:2 / John 20:30-31 / Acts 2:22.

To prove His ability to forgive sins, something invisible and therefore impossible to verify, He healed the paralytic who then got up and walked.

Jesus proved His power to conquer invisible, spiritual problems by overcoming a visible, physical problem. The crowd was dumbfounded, Luke 5:26. They had never seen anything to compare with Jesus, Mark 2:12 / Luke 5:26.

Who Will Reach Jesus?

Consider the five men as they approached the house in which Jesus was teaching. They had come in order to see Him, but their way to Jesus was blocked by a big obstacle, the crowd. Many would have simply turned around and gone back home. Not these men.

They were determined, even desperate, in their desire to see Jesus. Their procedure, un-roofing the roof, was radical but it worked. Even today, those who want to come to Jesus frequently encounter barriers in their path.

The only ones, who actually reach Him, are those who are absolutely determined and who refuse to allow anything to keep them from following Him. How determined to be with Jesus are you?

The Calling Of Matthew

‘As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13

Because Capernaum was the location of the tax office, where taxes, tolls and land duties were collected for both the Romans, who occupied Palestine, and the Herodians, who ruled Galilee.

It hardly needs to be said, that those who were involved in the work of collecting money for either Romans or Herodians, were despised and hated by the general public, so that they had to find their friends among other ‘social outcasts’, who included prostitutes.

One of Jesus’ more surprising actions was calling Matthew to be a disciple. Matthew had been a tax collector, Mark 2:13-17 / Luke 5:27-32.

In that era, tax collectors were viewed as both thieves and traitors because they used dishonest tactics to raise funds for the hated Roman invaders, Matthew 10:3 / Luke 6:15 / Mark 3:18 / Acts 1:13. Adding a tax collector to His inner circle was hardly a move that could be expected to increase Jesus’ popularity!

The expression ‘many tax-collectors’, is also significant, because it reveals how lucrative the business of tax-collection was for both the Authorities and the Officials who served them!

We have evidence of this in this chapter, when Mark records the call of Levi, later named Matthew, Mark 2:13-17. After deserting his Tax Office at the call of Jesus, he called together ‘many tax collectors and sinners’ to a feast.

Notice, also, Matthew left his Tax-office and ‘followed’ Jesus, the word ‘followed’ is in the imperfect tense, and means that he ‘kept following’ Jesus. It was a defining moment in is life.

Matthew was not moved by a passing curiosity in this remarkable teacher. He made a commitment that day! I think that this ‘great feast’ was his way of marking his break with his past life, and used as an opportunity of introducing his friends to Jesus.

This calls to mind another incident that occurred about that time and in that region, when Andrew broke the news to his brother Simon Peter that he had found the Messiah.

His response to Peter’s scepticism was ‘Come and see!’ At that stage, neither Matthew nor Andrew knew enough to say very much about Jesus, but they could bring people to personally meet Jesus!

It is interesting also to compare Mark’s account with that of Luke in Luke 5. Luke describes the meal to which these guests were invited, as a ‘Great feast’, but his language used in describing them is different from that of Mark, Mark 2:13-17 / Luke 5:27-32.

He describes them as ‘a great company of tax-collectors’. As a Greek, himself, i.e., a Gentile, Luke does not use the religious designation used by Mark, who was a Jew, who describes them as ‘sinners’.

I wonder if Luke realised that he, also, as a Gentile, would have been included among the ‘sinners’? By the way, the difference in the use of the language used by Mark and Luke is an example of how divine inspiration worked. The Holy Spirit did not inspire Luke to use language that would have been foreign to his thinking.

Luke would never have described non-Jews as ‘sinners’ or ‘Gentile’, which was an even more offensive expression. Greeks would not use such a discriminative term.

It is true that he does use the word ‘sinners’ in Luke 5:30 but he does so because he is recording accurately, something that had been said by the Scribes and Pharisees.

Furthermore, the use of Luke’s expression ‘a great feast’ and the number of guests who were invited, reveals that Matthew the tax-collector and the ‘fourfold’ restoration he declared he would make, if he had ‘defrauded’ anyone!

Later, Matthew held a banquet in Christ’s honour. He invited his friends, other tax collectors and sinners, Mark 2:15 / Luke 5:29. The scribes and Pharisees were outraged because they thought it improper for a teacher of religion to eat with immoral people.

When Jesus overheard their criticism, He asked, ‘Who needs a doctor, the sick or the well?’ Mark 2:17 / Luke 5:31. His purpose, He said, was not to call righteous, but sinners. The Lord never hesitated to break society’s norms and customs.

Jesus tells them to go and learn what Hosea 6:6, means. Sacrifice was a command of God, 1 Samuel 15:22, but the greater law of mercy must be practiced in order to bring sinners to righteousness, Matthew 23:23-24.

Jesus is basically saying to the teachers of the Law, ‘I have no message for you! You guys think you are not sick and think you are already righteous’. I wonder what they must have thought when Jesus said those words!

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

‘Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:14-17

Some of the Pharisees and disciples of John came to Jesus asking why He and His disciples didn’t fast like other religious people did, Luke 5:30. These events took place at a time of fasting when the disciples of the Pharisees and John’s disciples were fasting and praying, Mark 2:18 / Luke 5:33.

Jesus explained by illustration. He said that no one would fast at a time of celebration, such as a wedding. Mark’s account says, ‘How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?’ Mark 2:19.

His own presence on the earth made it a joyous time of feasting because He was the bridegroom. Since fasting should fit the occasion, it was inappropriate in this situation but there will come a time when the bridegroom leaves, that’ll be the time to fast, Mark 2:20.

He also explained that just as no one would put new wine in old bottles or a new patch on old jeans, it was equally out of place to put the newly revealed Gospel of Christ into the old traditional forms of the Jews, Colossians 2:14 / Romans 7:1-4 / Hebrews 10:9-10. Fasting was just not the right thing to do when the Son of God Himself was present.

The ‘new’ is in reference to Jesus’ teaching and the ‘old’ is in reference to the Jewish system. Jesus is saying that fasting isn’t required under his new teaching but was under the Jewish system. John was practicing old system requirement, Acts 19:1-4.

Fasting was an accepted part of everyday life in Old Testament times. Bear in mind that Israel was not a political state, but a theocracy, that is a religious state in which the Law and will of God was preeminent.

The first reference to fasting is in the Book of Judges, Judges 20:26. The last in the Book of the prophet Zechariah and devout Jews fasted, Zechariah 8:19.

Most of the fasting was undertaken voluntarily and was not undertaken at the command of God but devout Jews undertook fasting for at least two reasons.

Not for health reasons, but,

1. Because they believed it was a way of attracting the attention of God. If they fasted, they thought that God noticed them.

2. Because they thought that, if they fasted, He would be prepared do something about the situation that had caused them to fast.

If you think about this second reason, you will see that if a man that his thought fasting had influenced God to act, it was very easy for him to imagine that he, personally, was someone special!

The reality, although, through the centuries, the Jew, especially after the Babylonian Captivity, introduced fasts for a whole range of reasons, but only one fast was specifically commanded by God, and that was the fast associated with the Day of Atonement. the most important and solemn Day in their religious year.

In Leviticus 16:29 this passage the expression, ‘deny yourselves’ or ‘afflict your souls’ is the expression for fasting, and this was the only fast that the Jews observed faithfully every year.

When we examine the New Testament, it surprises some people to find that the Lord only mentioned fasting twice, Matthew 6:16-18 / Mark 2:18-22. Notice that both passages above, record Jesus’ response to the practice of that time.

But also, notice, although about 16 times He says, ‘it was said by those of old time…. but I say to you’, Jesus doesn’t use these words because this kind of fasting about which He was speaking wasn’t covered by the Mosaic Law, but because it was something that the people had taken on themselves in the old law.

In the Book of Acts, Luke records that the church in Antioch sent Barnabas and Paul on the First Missionary Journey, with prayer and fasting, and in the next chapter, they fasted in connection with the appointment of Elders. on the congregations that they established during that journey, Acts 13:1-3.

Please note that the whole church didn’t fast, it was only those mentioned ‘Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen and Saul.’ Acts 13:1.

In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul mentions sexual fasting but neither here nor anywhere else, does he impose it as a command. In 2 Corinthians 6:5, and 2 Corinthians 11:27, he refers to what he suffered for the sake of the Gospel, and speaks of times when he went without food. But this wasn’t because he was ‘fasting’, but because he had no food to eat!

The answer to the question, should a Christian Fast? is, therefore, yes! If they want too! but remember that fasting, like ‘bodily exercise’ may do a little good, but ‘godliness is profitable for all things!’ 1 Timothy 4:8.

Jesus Raises A Dead Girl And Heals A Sick Woman

‘While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.’ Matthew 9:18-19

Jairus was a ruler of the Jewish synagogue in Capernaum, a prominent and respected leader of the people. His willingness to fall upon his knees before the Son of God emphasises the heartbreak which was crushing his soul.

Think about his situation for a moment, here is a man who sits in the synagogue and hears all the plans and plots to kill this same Jesus, but he comes to Jesus because he obviously believes who Jesus claims to be and can do.

There can be no doubt that many of his peers despised him for humbling himself before the Lord, but what a blessing he is going to receive. The phrase, ‘my little daughter’, Mark 5:21-24 / Luke 8:40-42, suggests that this was not only his only daughter, but his only child.

Mark says, ‘she is dying’, Mark 5:21-24, Matthew quoted Jairus as saying, ‘she is even now dead,’ Matthew 9:18 and Luke recorded that ‘she was dying’, Luke 8:42.

A useful timeline would be this, when the father left the child, she was at her latest gasp, and he didn’t know whether to regard her now as dead or alive and, because he didn’t receive any certain knowledge of her death, he was perplexed whether to speak of her as departed or not, expressing himself one moment in one language, and at the next in another. Jesus agrees to go with him, but it seems a large crowd had got in Jesus’ way.

‘Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.’ Matthew 9:20-22

Mark and Luke’s account gives us a lot more detail concerning this woman, Mark 5:25-34 / Luke 8:43-48.

As Jesus was journeying to Jairus’ house, a desperate woman in the multitude touched the Lord. She had been bleeding for 12 years, Leviticus 15:25, had gone to many doctors, and spent all of her money, Mark 5:26, but had only worsened.

She thought that by touching Jesus she could be healed, Mark 5:28. Sure enough, when she touched Jesus’ coat, she could sense that the flow of blood immediately dried up and she was well, Mark 5:29.

Mark and Luke record that Jesus insisted on being told who touched Him. The woman subsequently came forward in fear and trembling, Mark 5:33.

1. Physically she has suffered from a debilitating haemorrhage for 12 years, as long as the daughter of Jairus has been alive, and all the doctors have been unable to help her, she was physically exhausted.

No doubt the doctors tried all they knew, which by our standards wasn’t very much, but they had done their best.

They had probably recommended such medication as ‘locust eggs’, ‘powdered eggs of grasshoppers’ or ‘the finger-nail of a man who had been hanged’.

All of which were expensive medicines in those days! Indeed, she had spent all the money she possessed, and Mark doesn’t speak very flatteringly of the doctors when he says, ‘instead of getting better she grew worse’, Mark 5:24-34.

2. That wasn’t the only effect of her illness, according to Jewish Law, this illness rendered her unclean, so that she was banned from entering the temple or the synagogue.

She was cut off from her religion and the support it should have given her.

3. And it didn’t stop there, there would have been a domestic consequence, maybe she was now divorced, Deuteronomy 24, at some point in those twelve years she would have lost her husband and according to Jewish Law, her husband had the right to divorce her and considering the fact that if he had continued to live with her, he would also have contracted uncleanness and the consequences of it, I have no doubt this is what had happened.

4. Think about the social consequences, she had lost all her friends and relatives, because they also wouldn’t dare to associate with her lest they became unclean.

According to Leviticus 15, anything with which the woman came into contact with was unclean, and anyone who had contact with her also became unclean. Indeed, they wouldn’t sit on a chair which she had sat on.

Think about this woman for a moment, she’s a widow, a woman with an incurable disease.

1. She was unclean.

2. This would give her husband the right to divorce her.

3. She was penniless. Spent all she had on doctors looking for a cure.

Locust eggs were given, the nail of a dead thief was another remedy but these all cost lots of money.

4. Ex-communicated from her religion.

5. Ex-communicated from society.

Put all this together and you see the terrible consequences of her sickness, we can understand how desperate she was. There was no one to help her, it seemed no one cared, nobody wanted to know her, she was a ‘nobody’.

She’s a nobody at this moment in time but when she heard that Jesus was back in Capernaum, this appeared to her, to be her only hope of a cure and she is determined to reach him.

Mark 5:27 in the Greek says, ‘if she could get to ‘The Jesus’. As Jesus was a common name, she knew ‘the Jesus’ she was seeking, the Jesus who had the power to cure her.

I don’t think that she expected to be able to have a conversation or a consultation with the great Teacher, but she told herself, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’

Now, like all male Jews, the outer garment of Jesus, something like a shawl, had tassels of Blue on its corners. They were there to serve to remind the wearer to keep the Law, and they were regarded as holy.

Not surprisingly, this poor woman thought that, with such a holy person as the Teacher, they would be especially holy, if only she could manage to reach Him.

Of course, the problem she faced was immense! Weak and frail and fragile as she was, what chance of reaching Him did she stand, when faced with such a crowd of pushing, jostling, excited, noisy healthy people, milling around Jesus?

But she persisted and somehow managed to reach Jesus and she touched Him, and immediately she was healed. She not only knew it, but she felt it and so did Jesus.

Now, she would then have quietly gone away, but Jesus stopped and said, ‘who touched me?’ Not surprisingly His disciples were astonished! ‘Master, you see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’

Well, I believe that Jesus already knew who touched Him, and He was giving this poor woman the opportunity of coming forward and declaring herself!

In any case, Jesus knew the difference between the touch of the jostling crowd and the touch of faith, and He said, ‘somebody touched me.’

Do you see what has happened? The ‘nobody’ has become a ‘somebody’! Luke records this story in Luke 8:43-48. She’s gone from being a nobody, ‘who’ to a ‘someone’, to a ‘daughter’.

And the woman came forward and told Him everything. No doubt she was apprehensive as she had broken the Law by deliberately touching Jesus and furthermore, in Jewish society of that time, you didn’t touch such people as Priests or any religious leader! They were looked upon as holy men, and they liked it that way!

She probably expected a rebuke from Jesus, but, there was no rebuke, there was the compassion about which Jesus knew that the heart of that woman was beating fast.

She was afraid of the consequences and she may even have feared that Jairus, the ruler, would speak sharply to her for having touched the Teacher.

But Jesus looked at her and gently spoke some of the tender words of His ministry record, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering!’ Luke 7:50 / Luke 8:48 / Luke 17:19 / Luke 18:42. Notice again what Jesus called her, ‘daughter’! She came to Jesus a ‘nobody’, for whom nobody cared.

She heard Jesus refer to her as a ‘somebody’, but her status has now changed and now she hears Jesus call her ‘daughter’, she is everybody.

This is the change that occurs when we come into faith to Jesus. This poor woman had been cut off from the Jewish faith, but she was received into the faith of heaven.

She was rejected by her family, but was received into the family of the Son of God. She was excluded from the fellowship of human society but was received into the fellowship of those who believe. She was reconciled back into society and her religion.

And Jesus still changes people and many of those who have done the most good in the world started out as ‘nobodies’ but they learned through the Gospel of Christ that they really are a ‘somebody’ for whom God declares, that they realised that in the eyes of God they are ‘everybody’, the most important people on earth.

‘When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.’ Matthew 9:23-26

Mark and Luke’s account again give us a little more detail about this event, Mark 5:35-43 / Luke 8:49-56.

It’s possible that some of Jairus’ fellow-rulers of the synagogue had been embarrassed by one of themselves appealing to the humble Prophet of the poor and there seems to be a kind of calloused argument here to the effect that, ‘Look, she’s already dead, and we all know that this Teacher cannot raise the dead, why bother with him any further?’

Whether or not this was exactly what they had in mind, that was certainly the attitude of their class. It’s as though they had said, ‘we are already proceeding with the funeral,’ which from Mark 5:38 it is plain they were actually doing!

When Jesus said, ‘don’t be afraid’, He means, don’t fear for your daughter’s life, don’t fear the scorn of your peers, don’t fear that our purpose has been upset by this delay in healing the woman. Jairus was instructed to retain his faith.

When Jesus arrived at the house, He allowed only Peter, James and John to follow Him into Jairus’ house, Mark 5:37. This marked a new milestone in Jesus’ ministry, already the abilities of these three had earned for them a closer relationship with the Lord.

That relationship, however, wasn’t predicated merely upon ability, but upon the role each of these would have in the future spread of Christianity.

James would set the grand example by being the first of the apostles to die for the faith. Peter would preach the first sermon. John would be the last witness and write the fourth Gospel.

Other instances in which these three were singled out for greater intimacy with Jesus were in the transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane. The probable task assigned to the other apostles was that of controlling and dispersing the multitude.

We are surprised to find so quickly the presence of the ‘hired mourners’ who were raising such a tumult in the house of Jairus, which might be explained by supposing some further delay necessitated by the dispersal of the multitude, during which Jairus had returned home and initiated this phase of the funeral himself, but this is denied by the fact that Jairus evidently remained with Jesus.

This leaves open the possibility that advance preparations had been made to become effective on the daughter’s death, or the additional possibility suggested under Mark 5:35, namely, that Jairus’ peers were proceeding with the customary funeral activities, the latter being the view accepted here.

When Jesus says, ‘the child is not dead but asleep’ He certainly didn’t mean these words as a denial that the daughter’s death had actually occurred, but it was His customary language regarding death, John 11:11.

In context, it also meant that He intended to raise her to life again. The attitude of the ‘professional mourners’ and the pipe players, Jeremiah 9:17 / Jeremiah 16:6 / Ezekiel 24:17 / Amos 5:16, shows conclusively that the girl’s death had indeed occurred and had been proven.

The scorners were put out by Jesus, the spiritual implications of this being profound and perpetual. Their conduct here denies any other status to them except that of hired performers at a funeral.

Scornful laughter is never the behaviour of broken-hearted friends and relatives, John 11:13 / Acts 20:10. Jesus’ questioning of the noise they were raising also supports the same conclusion.

Mark recorded the actual syllables that Jesus used in this calling of the little girl back to life. The words are Aramaic, supposed to have been the language Jesus used and from Peter who was present in that inner room, Mark remembered the very words that Christ used. The words, ‘little girl’ can also be translated as ‘little lamb’ which again shows the tenderness of Jesus’ voice to the young girl.

Jesus actually takes the young girl’s hand and tells her to get up, Mark 5:41 / Luke 8:54.

Both Mark and Luke record that Jesus didn’t want this miracle to be made known. The reason for this was simply because He didn’t want the crowds to get excited, Matthew 4:24 / Matthew 14:1 / Mark 1:28 / Mark 1:45 / Luke 5:15 / Luke 7:17. Nevertheless, news about the event spread through all that region.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This miracle of raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead is the first resurrection recorded in the New Testament. There were three such wonders, forming a sequence.

1. Jairus’ daughter had been dead only a very short time.

2. The son of the widow of Nain had been dead longer and was being carried to the tomb.

3. Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days, Luke 7:12 / John 11. Christ considered raising the dead a part of his ministry, Matthew 11:5 / Luke 7:22, and he delegated the power to the apostles, Matthew 10:8. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, acting under this commission, Acts 9:40.

It is a strange coincidence that the age of this child corresponded exactly with the twelve years of sufferings endured by the woman, suggesting some connection here that is not apparent to us. All commentators are intrigued with it, but none has the solution.

It has been pointed out that there was no way to prevent public knowledge of a funeral in progress having been broken up by Jesus.

From this, it is clear that Christ intended merely that Jairus and the other witnesses of it should make no announcement of it, thus leaving Jesus’ earlier statement that the child wasn’t dead to remain fixed, to some degree at least, in the popular mind concerning the incident.

That they indeed cooperated in this charge of Jesus is seen in the fact of there being no great clamour, nor any extraordinary efforts of the hierarchy to put Jesus to death.

Jesus Heals The Blind And The Mute

‘As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.’ Matthew 9:27-31

After raising Jairus’ daughter back to life, two blind men follow Jesus and they recognized that Jesus was the Son of David, the Messiah, Matthew 6:7 / Matthew 6:11 / Matthew 6:20 / Matthew 6:28 / Matthew 6:24.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘From various Old Testament passages, it is clear that blindness is a type of sin, Deuteronomy 28:29 / Isaiah 59:10 / Job 12:25 / Zephaniah 1:17 / Isaiah 29:8 / Ephesians 5:8 / Matthew 15:14. A number of examples of Jesus’ restoring sight to the blind are recorded and were prophetically included as a positive mark of the Messiah’s power when he should be revealed. Isaiah said of the Messiah and his times, ‘then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,’ Isaiah 35:5.’

They followed Jesus and cried out for mercy, Isaiah 35:5 / Matthew 12:23 / Matthew 15:22 / Matthew 20:31 / Matthew 21:9 / Matthew 21:15 / Matthew 22:44-45.

They followed Jesus indoors which is a demonstration of their faith and Jesus asks them if they think He is able to heal them. In other words, Jesus is asking, do they really believe He is who they claimed Him to be? As a result of their faith in Jesus, they were healed, Matthew 9:22 / Matthew 8:13.

Jesus then warns them sternly, not to tell anyone else about this, Matthew 8:4 / Mark 5:43, however, any maybe understandably they did the opposite, they told everyone what had happened, Matthew 4:24 / Matthew 14:1.

‘While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” Matthew 9:32-34

After healing the blind men, a man who was demon possessed and mute was brought to Jesus, Matthew 11:5 / Mark 7:32 / Luke 7:22, and so, Jesus drove the spirit out of him and the man was able to speak.

The crowd were amazed because they had never seen anything like this before, but the Pharisees, who couldn’t deny what had just happened, accredited the miracle to ‘the prince of demons’.

The prince of demons is the devil, Matthew 12:24-32, and so they were saying that Jesus was working on behalf of the devil, Matthew 12:24 / Mark 3:22 / Luke 11:15 / John 7:20ff / Acts 5:39.

This is the first time they said Jesus was working for the devil, but later they will accuse Him of this again. Please note the next account of this in Matthew, is different from this account.

In this account we have a man who is demon possessed and mute but in the next account we have a man who is demon possessed, blind and mute, Matthew 12:22.

The Workers Are Few

‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38

This records Jesus’ own reaction to the extensive tour of Galilee, in which the opposition of the Pharisees had been so evident, with the consequent confusion and distress of the people.

Christ viewed the situation with profound pity for the multitudes and proposed, at once, to correct it by sending out His disciples as missionaries to bear widespread testimony to the truth.

The word ‘compassion’ here gives an insight into the benevolent and gracious heart of Christ. It indicated a combination of love, pity, concern, and deep emotional feeling for the ‘lost sheep’ of the house of Israel.

It was always the work of Jesus to go about teaching and preaching. He didn’t stay in one village, but went to everyone He could physically go to during His ministry.

Every Kind Of Sickness

Emphasis here is on healing every kind of sickness and disease, there were no physical sickness was too difficult for Him to heal. Unlike what many people claim today, we obviously can’t miraculously heal people today, but we can certainly pray for them and help them where we can.

Moved With Compassion

Jesus as always was sympathetic for the physical needs of the people. As a church it always good to be on the lookout for people in need and try to meet those needs. If you personally can’t help someone, find someone who will, Matthew 14:14 / Mark 1:40-41.

Sheep Having No Shepherd

The multitudes had no spiritual leader who would guide them unto the truth of God. How sad this is and still true today among many churches. No leadership or a weak leadership often leads to a watered-down version of the truth Numbers 27:16-17 / 1 Kings 22:17 / Ezekiel 34:5 / Mark 6:34.

Those religious leaders who were in their presence were only leading the people away from God through their traditions. Traditions can become a real problem for some congregations and in some places the tradition becomes law, Mark 7:1-9.

The Harvest

The people were being blindly led by legalistic teachers whose ambition it was to maintain their own positions and power over the people. There were few among the people who were spiritually leading the people according to the grace and love of God.

It’s so important not only to recognise a harvest but be able to lead them to the truth of God’s word and not bind of them things which God never asked to be bind, 1 Corinthians 4:6.

It’s always the case that there are too few labourers for the need of harvesting, Luke 10:2 / John 4:35. Christians live in a world where much preaching of the Gospel must be done to reach the whole of the world.

The problem is usually that the harvesters are diverted from the harvest to use their talents on things other than preaching the Gospel to the lost.

People are busy working and involved in their past times and hobbies, but they forget they can still share Jesus with others whilst they are involved in those things.

We must also keep in mind that no one really has a right to hear the Gospel a second time, when there are countless millions who have never heard it once.

Pray

Christ here asked His disciples to pray for that which He himself was about to initiate, namely, the sending out of more witnesses to the truth of the kingdom.

The sending out of the twelve was Jesus’ own response to the marvellous opportunity for reaping a great harvest of souls. Significantly, Christ asked the disciples to pray about it and He, Himself continued all night in prayer before naming the twelve, Luke 6:12-13.

In view of this, should Christians today undertake any project without prayer for guidance and blessing? I believe that some Christians get this the wrong way around sometimes. They want the harvest, but they don’t pray first.

They hit the streets with Bibles in hand, proclaim the Gospel to others and ‘after’ they’ve finished, they get together to pray! We should pray first, pray that the message is presented clearly and present it carefully with love, Colossians 4:2-6.

If Jesus leaned so heavily upon prayer, how much more should His disciples ask, and seek, and knock to obtain that providential support?

One of the commands Jesus gave concerning prayer was that we express in our prayers a plea for more evangelists to take the good news to the people. It’s the duty of every Christian, therefore, to pray for more messengers to proclaim the Gospel to the lost, 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

Go To Matthew 10

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."

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