Matthew 9:1-38 - Outline of Matthew (Book Notes menu page)
9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over,
and came into his own city.
{cp. Mat 4:13; 11:23}
9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed:
and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy;
Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves,
This [man] blasphemeth.
9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said,
Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
9:5 For whether
{ie., which} is easier, to say,
[Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man
hath power
{ie., authority} on earth to forgive sins,
(then saith he to the sick of the palsy,)
Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
9:8 But when the multitudes saw [it], they marvelled,
and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
And he... came into His own city... - ie., He returned again to Capernaum.
This event may have occurred in Peter's house. (Mat 8:5,14-16)
a man sick of the palsy {GK=paralutikos, paralytic}.-
See the parallel accounts (in Mark 2:1-12; Luk 5:17-26), where the man's friends, upon finding no entrance to the house, broke up the roof and let him down into the midst of the crowd before Jesus. If this was Peter's house, Peter was learning about the cost of discipleship. Matthew bypasses this detail to focus on the central purpose for this event.
the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.-
They reasoned (rightly) that only God can forgive sins. cp. Mark 2:7; Isa 43:11,25
which is easier, to say...?-
  • 'Thy sins be forgiven thee.'- Any false prophet could claim to forgive sins.
    It is beyond the capability of men to determine the truth or falsity of such a claim.
  • 'Arise... and walk.'- The result of this command to a paralytic man would be easily verifiable by any observer.
    Jesus' demonstrated ability to do the latter, verified His authority to do the former.
    The healing was a sign (''that ye may know,'' v.6) to Israel concerning His identity (cp. Isa 35:5,6).
Jesus is the Lord with authority to forgive sins. cp. v.6; Joh 3:35; 5:21-23; Acts 4:12; 13:39
  • His authority to forgive is based upon who He is and what He has done for the sinner.
  • The basis for the forgiveness of sins is His blood sacrifice, because sin cannot be put aside until the sinful flesh is dead. cp. Rom 6:23; Lev 17:11; Heb 9:22; Mat 26:28
When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled...-
Have your sins been forgiven, through faith in Christ?
Then, tell others what the Lord has done for you (Psa 107:2). To be set free from the guilt of sin, is no less an act of God, than deliverance from a storm, or from a legion of demons. The message, which Jesus' disciples proclaim, is 'the forgiveness of sins' through faith in Him (Act 5:31; 13:38,39; 26:18; Eph 1:7; Col 1:13,14).
9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence,
he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom:
and he saith unto him, Follow me.
And he arose, and followed him.
9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house,
behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
9:11 And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples,
Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
{cp. Rom 3:23}
9:12 But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them,
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
9:13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:
for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew- the author of this gospel, also called Levi. cp. Mark 2:14-17; Luk 5:27-32
at the receipt of custom- GK= telonion, the place where taxes were collected
(for the Roman government).
publican(s)- GK= telones, a tax collector. Most Israeli citizens despised the publicans
as traitors because they were in league with the occupying Roman force,
and as sinners because their business was rife with greed and graft.
the Pharisees- were self-righteous, and condemned Jesus for associating with sinners.
cp. Luk 15:2; 19:7; Isa 65:5
They that are whole {ie., well, able, strong} need not a physician... I am come...-
Not only does Jesus have authority to forgive sins, but also,
He is the Lord who can cure a man's sinful condition. (cp. Psa 103:2-4)
But only those who recognize their need will come to Him for that cure. (Rom 10:3,4)
I will have mercy and not sacrifice...- (quoted from Hos 6:6; cp. Mat 12:7)
ie., God does not desire the external 'righteousness' of religious ritual. He wants hearts that are right with Him.
See Paul's testimony, in 1Tim 1:12-16, for an example of God's mercy to a man in need of mercy.
to call... sinners to 'repentance' {GK=metanoia, having another mind, a change of mind}.-
(ie., in regard to sin, self and God). cp. Isa 55:6,7; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 20:21; 2Pet 3:9
Repentance, in the sense of 'sorrow for sin' (or, even 'turning from sin'), cannot in itself save (cp. Mat 27:3-5; Heb 12:16-17).
You must turn from sin, to the Savior, who alone can deliver from sin's grasp.
"Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone." [Hymn, 'Rock of Ages']
Salvation is by faith in the Savior. In the NT, repentance is frequently used as the equivalent of ''believing in Christ'' (cp. Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2Pet 3:9). In this sense, repentance means 'a change of mind concerning my need for the Person and work of Christ.' Previously, I recognized neither my sinfulness nor my need for the Savior. But now, I have changed my mind, acknowledging my guilt and trusting in Him for deliverance. Since 'repent' and 'believe' are each used separately to refer to saving faith, it can be seen that they are not two required steps to salvation, but rather one turning (from sin to Christ). In fact, John's gospel never uses the word repent (eg., Joh 20:31).
     In any case, before these religious people could come to repentance, they must see themselves as sinners (v.12,13). In Luk 18:9-14, Jesus presented a parable contrasting the need of self-righteous listeners with God's provision for a repentant sinner. Could it be, that Matthew was that publican?
9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying,
Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft
{often}, but thy disciples fast not?
{cp. Mark 2:18-22; Luk 5:33-39}
9:15 And Jesus said unto them,
Can the children of the bridechamber mourn,
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them,
and then shall they fast.
9:16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment,
for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment,
and the rent is made worse.
9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles
{ie., wineskins}:
else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish:
but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Why do we... fast...?
(You may wish to review the Notes at 6:16, regarding 'fasting.')
Jesus answered this question about the practice of 'fasting,' with a discussion about the changing Dispensations.
[See Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Lesson 2, the Seven Dispensations (also accessible via the Resource Menu).]
  1. The dispensation of Law was about to end.
    The Pharisees and John the Baptist lived under the OT system established by Moses.
    For them, fasting was a matter of religious duty and an external display of righteousness.
  2. The dispensation of Grace was about to begin.
    The NT system was made possible by the Lord Jesus, and is centered around Him. Joh 1:17
    He is the Bridegroom. His disciples feasted on His Presence while He walked among them (as John the Baptist had observed, in Joh 3:29). They would fast later (in sorrow at His death, Joh 16:20-22; and in deep prayerful dependence upon Him after His ascension, Acts 13:2,3; 14:23).
no man putteth... new... unto... old...-
'Law' and 'Grace' are incompatible systems (cp. Rom 11:6; Gal 2:16).
Jesus compares them to...
  1. new cloth on an old garment...- New cloth will shrink at a different rate than old cloth.
    If the old garment is repaired with a patch of new cloth, the resulting stress on the fabric will soon extend the damage beyond the original torn area.
  2. new wine in old wineskins...- Wineskins are bottles made of animal hides.
    New wine is not yet fermented. The fermentation process produces pressure which will stretch a new wineskin, but would rupture an old wineskin (which had already been stretched to its limit).
new wine into new wineskins.-
Through Grace, God places His Spirit only into those men that He has made new.
cp. 2Cor 5:17; Rom 8:8,9
both are preserved.- That is...
  • both the new wine and the new wineskins.
       -- The filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18), and
       -- the new creatures (born-again believers) in which the Spirit dwells (cp. 1Joh 3:24; Jude 1:20,21,24).
  • both the old bottle and the new bottle.
       -- the Law (the old bottle) was fulfilled by Christ (Mat 5:17), and
       -- Grace (the new bottle) is filled and expanding for those who are in Christ (cp. Rom 5:20,21; 2The 1:2,3).
9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold,
there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying,
My daughter is even now dead:
but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
9:19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and [so did] his disciples.
9:20 And, behold, a woman,
which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years,
came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment:
{hem, border, fringe, cp. Num 15:37-40}
9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said,
Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.
And the woman was made whole from that hour.
9:23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house,
and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.
And they laughed him to scorn.
9:25 But when the people were put forth,
he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
This account is reported in greater detail in Mark 5:21-43 and Luk 8:40-56.
     [Take time to read all three narratives.]
It shows that Jesus is Lord over 'the issues from death.' Psa 68:20
twelve years-
The number '12' in Scripture ''in general is regarded as suggestive of divine administration.'' [WEVine] (eg., God divided the year into 12 months, organized Israel into 12 tribes, and administered the early Church through the 12 apostles...)
      The very different life stories of these two 'daughters' were arranged by God to meet at Jesus, at the proper time (cp. Eph 1:10; Gal 4:4).
  1. the woman had an issue of blood {GK=haimorrheo, a flow of bood}, twelve years (v.20)-
    • The cause of her condition is not stated.
      Perhaps a pregnancy had ended tragically in miscarriage, with the complication of continual bleeding as a constant reminder of her sorrow. Perhaps she desired to have children, but was unable due to continual menstruation.
    • The effect of her condition was, in a word, "exhaustion."
      • All human hope of a cure had been exhausted.
      • "All her living" had been exhausted in the search for a cure.
        Her life and all that she had earned in her lifetime, had been spent on doctors. Yet, her condition only grew worse. Mark 5:26; Luk 8:43
      • Her body was increasingly exhausted, from anemia, as her life blood drained away at an ever worsening rate.
        She must have struggled as she worked her way, through the crowd, to reach Jesus. But she pressed on, by faith. "If I may but {lit., if only I may} touch..."
      • Her social life was long gone. Her condition made her 'unclean' (see Lev 15:19-33).
        She was cut-off from her husband, and from worship in the congregation. Anyone who touched her would be unclean. Yet, she was too weary to worry about such things. In the press of the crowd, she would be hidden. Who would know?
  2. the ruler's one and only daughter was twelve years old (Luk 8:42; Mark 5:42).
    • Born at the time when the woman's sorrows began,
      this girl's life had brought joy to her family, until her sudden illness and, now, her death.
    • Here, two paths filled with the sorrows of death, converged at Jesus.
      • In the one case, twelve years of grief, relentless and wearing.
        In the other, twelve years of joy cut short by a sudden and tearing grief.
      • The woman came to Jesus, broken and unclean.
        The religious leader, once proud to stand aloof from such troubled people (v.11), came broken and desperate.
        They met, uneasily, before the One who was, for each of them, their only hope.
      • Jesus dealt with them, individually, with tender care, without respect of persons.
        Imagine the ruler's anxious impatience, as Jesus took time, time that his daughter did not have, to search the heart of an 'untouchable' woman.
thy faith...-
  1. To the woman, Jesus said: 'Thy faith hath made thee whole {GK=sozo, hath saved thee}.'
    (In Mark 5:34, two phrases are translated 'made thee whole.' The first, as here.
    The second, 'be whole {GK=hugies, sound} of thy plague {lit., scourging}.')
    • He did not mean that the power to heal was in her faith,
      but rather, that her faith had been placed in the One who has 'virtue' {GK=dunamis, power} to heal. Luk 8:45,46
    • Jesus insisted that she rehearse the facts of her healing.
      She 'told him all the truth,' confessing both her unclean condition, and the means by which she had been made whole. The source of her healing was clearly identified. His power had been effective within her, because she had put her faith in Him. cp. Mark 5:28-34
    • This Physician is trustworthy (v.12), though all other physicians have already failed.
  2. To Jairus (the ruler of the synagogue) Jesus said: 'Only believe.'
    Faith trusts the Lord Jesus, when...
    • hope is almost gone.-
      Jairus had not approached Jesus until his daughter was 'at the point of death' (Mark 5:22,23). Perhaps he had delayed turning to Jesus, hoping that she would improve. When her condition turned desperate, he was willing to take a great risk. cp. Joh 9:22
    • hope is entirely lost.- cp. Mark 5:35,36
    • the believer's only hope (the trusted One) is mocked by all.- v.24; Mark 5:38-40
the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.- ie., Her death was comparable to sleep,
because it would be temporary, since Jesus was about to 'awake' her. cp. Joh 11:11-14
     Matthew reports only that Jesus 'took her by the hand.' But from the other accounts, we learn that the girl arose at Jesus' command (Mark 5:41 and Luk 8:54). In every recorded instance, the dead were raised at His spoken word (cp. Luk 7:14,15; Joh 11:43,44).
     The dead respond to the voice of the Son of God. Joh 5:25-29
Note the response of the (formerly dead) girl's parents (Mark 5:42).
[cp. Mat 8:27 - What manner of man is this, whose word calms the threat of death, and defeats the throes of death itself? 1Cor 15:55-57]
9:27 And when Jesus departed thence,
two blind men followed him, crying, and saying,
[Thou] Son of David, have mercy on us.
9:28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him:
and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this?
They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
9:30 And their eyes were opened;
and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it].
9:31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
thou Son of David...- They addressed Him as the Messiah, the one destined to be King of Israel.
cp. Mat 1:20,21; Luk 1:32,33
their eyes were opened.- Jesus, as the Light of the world, is Lord over darkness.
cp. Joh 9:5-7; Psa 146:8; Isa 35:5
The blind recognized Him, while the religious leaders refused to see... though His actions were foretold in Scripture.
see that no man know it.- He did not need further advertisement as a physician.
His primary purpose was not the healing of the physically diseased, but the deliverance of the spiritual captives. cp. Isa 42:7
"These two blind men called Jesus 'Lord,' but they did not obey Him. It seems that they could not contain themselves, and told others about the miracle Jesus had performed in their lives." [McGee]
9:32 As they went out, behold,
they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil
9:33 And when the devil
{demon} was cast out, the dumb spake: {cp. Isa 35:6; Ex 4:11}
and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
9:34 But the Pharisees said,
He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
{cp. Mat 12:23-28}
9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages,
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom,
and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
the gospel of the kingdom - proclaims the good news that the kingdom of Messiah is near.
Jesus was offering Himself to Israel as their King.
The miraculous healings were credentials by which Israel should have identified the King.
Today, such credentials do not accompany the gospel of Grace, and are in fact suspect, because the end of the age will be characterized by deceptive 'signs and lying wonders.' cp. Mat 7:22,23; 1Joh 4:1; Mat 24:24; 2The 2:8,9
9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them,
because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples,
The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few;
9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
The Lord, the King, is a compassionate Shepherd at heart.
cp. Moses' concern for the people, when he could no longer lead them (Num 27:15-17).
cp. the concern, of the LORD God of Israel, for His people. Jer 50:6
(cf. the neglect of God's people under false shepherds. Jer 23:1-6; Eze 34:2-6)
In Jesus, God became a man, Emmanuel, to seek and to save that which was lost. Eze 34:11-f; Luk 19:10
Then said He to His disciples...
In answer to their prayer, the Lord sends out His disciples as laborers, in ch. 10. (cp. Mat 28:19,20; Eph 4:11,12)

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