Matthew Chapter 9
Matthew 9 is a chapter (among several in the gospels) containing several miracles of healing. It is essential to put Jesus’ ministry of healing in proper perspective.
a. The Messiah’s role as a healer in was clearly prophesied in passages like Isa_35:5-6 : Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a dear, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. Thus, Jesus’ miracles were a testimony not only to the fact that He was sent by God, but that He was the anticipated Messiah.
b. However, as noted earlier, Jesus’ miracles were not primarily calculated for crowd effect. Instead, they were primarily done to minister to the humble needs of humble people. For the most part, most Jewish people of that time would have preferred much more spectacular signs – like calling down fire from heaven on a Roman Legion.
c. We also note that the presence of so much sickness among Israel betrays their unfaithfulness to the covenant and their current low spiritual state. God gave them the opposite of what He promised under Exo_15:26 : If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you. (Guzik)
Mat 9:1 KJV And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
He came into his own city – Viz. Capernaum, where he seems to have had his common residence at the house of Peter. See Mat_4:13, and Mat_8:14. This verse properly belongs to the preceding chapter. (Clarke)
Mat 9:2 KJV 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.
They brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed: Other Gospels (in Mark 2 and Luke 5) explain how the man was brought to Jesus. Because of the crowds, his friends lowered him down to Jesus through the roof.
b. Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you: The faith of the paralyzed man’s friends did something – they brought this man to Jesus. But they only thought of bringing him to Jesus for the healing of his body. They certainly didn’t think that Jesus would forgive His sins.
i. But Jesus is getting at the man’s greater problem. As bad as it was to be paralyzed, it is infinitely worse to be bound and lost in your sin.
We need not infer that the man was paralyzed as the direct result of some sin that needed forgiving. This doesn’t seem to be Jesus’ point at all here. (Guzik)
Seeing their faith – The faith of the paralytic person, and the faith of those who brought him
Be of good cheer – Θαρσει τεκνον, Son, take courage! Probably he began to despond, and Christ spoke thus to support his faith.
Thy sins be forgiven thee – It may be necessary to be observed, that it was a maxim among the Jews that no diseased person could be healed till all his sins were blotted out. See Nedarim, fol. 41. Hence our Lord first forgives the sins, and then heals the body of the paralytic person. This appears to have been founded on Psa_103:3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases. Here pardon precedes health. See also Psa_41:3, Psa_41:4. It may be observed, also, that most people are more in earnest about their souls when in sickness than in health, and therefore are more earnest in prayer for salvation.(Clarke)
The Lord was teaching a lesson of the relationship between sin and sickness, and his power to deliver from both. The ransom-price for the sins of the whole world was already on the altar.
Similar declarations of forgiveness of sins may be made by members of the body of Christ to all who come unto God by Christ. (Russell)
Mat 9:3 KJV And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
This man blasphemeth – Βλασφημεω comes either from βλαπτειν την φημην, to hurt or blast the reputation or credit of another, or from βαλλειν ταις φημαις, to smite with reports. Whenever it is used in reference to God, it simply signifies, to speak impiously of his nature, or attributes, or works. Injurious speaking is its proper translation when referred to man.
The scribes were the literati of that time; and their learning, because not used in dependence on God, rendered them proud, envious, and obstinate. Unsanctified knowledge has still the same effect: that light serves only to blind and lead men out of the way which is not joined with uprightness of heart. The most sacred truths often become an occasion of delusion, where men are under the government of their evil passions. (Clarke)
Mat 9:4 KJV And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
Who can forgive sins but God alone? The scribes use the right kind of logic. They correctly believe that only God can forgive sins, and they are even correct for examining this new teacher. Their error is in refusing to see who Jesus is: The Son of God, who was given the authority to forgive sins by the Father Himself.
They did not consider that if he were the Messiah he would possess the authority.
God never gave power to bishops, priests or ministers of any denomination to forgive sins; nor did Jesus give authority to the apostles to forgive sins. They might preach forgiveness, but only in his name.
“The words suggest a gradual intensification of the fault-finding mood: first a general sense of surprise, then a feeling of impropriety, then a final advance to the thought: why, this is blasphemy!” (Bruce)
In a stunning moment, these scribes knew Jesus could read their evil hearts. This should have helped persuade them that Jesus really was the Messiah, having power to forgive sins.
Why reason ye these things in your hearts — or, as in Matthew, (Mat_9:4) “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?”
Note the snarl of the scribes.
‘Certain of the scribes,’ says Mark-not being much impressed by their dignity, which, as Luke (Luke 5:17) tells us, was considerable. He says that they were ‘Pharisees and doctors of the law . . . out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem itself, who had come on a formal errand of investigation. Their tempers would not be improved by the tearing up of the roof, nor sweetened by seeing the ‘popularity’ of this doubtful young Teacher, who showed that He had the secret, which they had not, of winning men’s hearts. Nobody came crowding to them, nor hung on their lips. Professional jealousy has often a great deal to do in helping zeal for truth to sniff out heresy.
The whispered cavillings are graphically represented. The scribes would not speak out, like men, and call on Jesus to defend His words. If they had been sure of their ground, they should have boldly charged Him with blasphemy; but perhaps they were half suspicious that He could show good cause for His speech. Perhaps they were afraid to oppose the tide of enthusiasm for Him. So they content themselves with comparing notes among themselves, and wait for Him to entangle Himself a little more in their nets. They affect to despise Him, ‘This man’ is spoken in contempt. If He were so poor a creature, why were they there, all the way from Jerusalem, some of them? They overdo their part. The short, snarling sentences of their muttered objections, as given in the Revised Version, may be taken as shared among three speakers, each bringing his quota of bitterness. One says, ‘Why doth He thus speak?’ Another curtly answers, ‘He blasphemeth’; while a third formally states the great truth on which they rest their indictment. Their principle is impregnable. Forgiveness is a divine prerogative, to be shared by none, to be grasped by none, without, in the act, diminishing God’s glory.
But whether He ‘blasphemeth’ or no depends on what the scribes do not stay to ask; namely, whether He has the right so to claim: and, if He has, it is they, not He, who are the blasphemers. We need not wonder that they recoiled from the right conclusion, which is-the Messiahship of Jesus. Their fault was not their jealousy for the divine honor, but their inattention to Christ’s evidence in support of His claims, which inattention had its roots in their moral condition, their self-sufficiency and absorption in trivialities of externalism.
When we reason within our hearts—are we more like the Pharisees or more like Jesus?
Mat 9:5 KJV For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Mat 9:6 KJV But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
But that ye may know, etc. – External miracles are the proofs of internal ones. Three miracles are wrought in this case. The miracles are these:
1st. The remission of the poor man’s sins.
2d. The discernment of the secret thoughts of the scribes.
3d. The restoring of the paralytic, in an instant, to perfect soundness.
Thus one miracle becomes the proof and establishment of another. … Here is an absolutely perfect miracle wrought; and here are absolute incontestable proofs that the miracle was wrought…
Arise, take up thy bed – Being enabled to obey this command was the public proof that the man was made whole. Such a circumstance should not pass without improvement. A man gives proof of his conversion from sin to God who imitates this paralytic person. He who does not rise and stand upright, but either continues grovelling on the earth, or falls back as soon as he is got up, is not yet cured of his spiritual palsy. When we see a penitent enabled to rejoice in hope of God’s glory, and to walk in the way of his commandments, he affords us all the proof which we can reasonably require, that his conversion is real: the proof sufficient to satisfy himself is the witness of the Holy Spirit in his own heart; but this is a matter of which those who are without cannot judge: they must form their opinion from his conduct, and judge of the tree by its fruits. (Clarke)
Mat 9:7 KJV And he arose, and departed to his house.
Mat 9:8 KJV But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
When the multitudes saw it, they marveled – Instead of εθαυμασαν, wondered, the Codex Vatic. and Cod. Bezae, with several other MSS. and versions, have εφοβηθησαν, feared. In the Gothic, and one copy of the Itala, both readings are conjoined, thus: And the multitudes seeing it, wondered and feared, and glorified God. Wondered at the miracle; feared to offend against such power and goodness; and glorified God for the works of mercy which he had wrought.
That which to the doctors of the law, the worldly-wise and prudent, is a matter of scandal, is to the humble an occasion of glorifying the Most High. Divine things make a deeper impression on the hearts of the simple multitude than on those of the doctors, who, puffed up with a sense of their own wisdom, refuse to receive the truth as it is in Jesus. The conversion of one rebellious soul is a greater miracle, and more to be admired than all that can be wrought on inanimate creatures. He who sees a sinner converted from the error of his way sees a miracle wrought by eternal power and goodness. May such miracles be multiplied! (Clarke)
But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins: Jesus answers His own question before the religious leaders. Since He can make good on His claim to heal the man, it gives credence to His claim to be able to forgive sins.
When the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God: At the man’s healing, the crowd properly gave God the glory for this miracle. Jesus obviously did not draw attention to Himself by the manner in which the healing was done. (Guzik)
Mat 9:9 KJV 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.
he saw a man, named Matthew — the writer of this precious Gospel, who here, with singular modesty and brevity, relates the story of his own calling. In Mark and Luke he is called Levi, which seems to have been his family name. In their lists of the twelve apostles, however, Mark and Luke give him the name of Matthew, which seems to have been the name by which he was known as a disciple. While he himself sinks his family name, he is careful not to sink his occupation, the obnoxious associations with which he would place over against the grace that called him from it, and made him an apostle. (See on Mat_10:3). Mark alone tells us (Mar_2:14) that he was “the son of Alphaeus” – the same, probably, with the father of James the Less. From this and other considerations it is pretty certain that he must at least have heard of our Lord before this meeting. Unnecessary doubts, even from an early period, have been raised about the identity of Levi and Matthew. No capable jury, with the evidence before them which we have in the Gospels, would hesitate in giving a unanimous verdict of identity. (JFB)
The receipt of custom – The custom-house, τελωνιον – the place where the taxes levied by the Romans of the Jews, were collected.
Follow me – That is, become my disciple.
And he arose, and followed him – How blessed it is to be obedient to the first call of Christ – how much happiness and glory are lost by delays, though conversion at last may have taken place! (Clarke)
Named Matthew — Elsewhere styled “Levi.” Meaning “the gift of God”; the name given to Levi by our Lord. He had undoubtedly been acquainted with the Lord and his work and the Lord acquainted with him prior to his call.
Receipt of custom — A collector of taxes for the Roman government. An occupation despised by the average Jew as being unpatriotic. Despised because it was considered disreputable to assist a foreign government and because many of the publicans took advantage of their position to make themselves wealthy through bribes and over-collections. (Russell)
“When a Jew entered the customs service he was regarded as an outcast from society: he was disqualified as a judge or a witness in a court session, was excommunicated from the synagogue, and in the eyes of the community his disgrace extended to his family.” (Lane, Commentary on Mark)
And He said to him, “Follow Me”: Understanding how almost everyone hated tax collectors, it is remarkable to see how Jesus loves, and calls, Matthew. And it was a well-placed love; Matthew responded to Jesus’ invitation by leaving his tax collecting business and following Jesus – and eventually writing this same gospel account.
i. In one way, this was more than a sacrifice than some of the other disciples made. Peter, James, and John could more easily go back to their fishing business, but it would be hard for Levi to go back to tax collecting.
There is archaeological evidence that fish taken from the Sea of Galilee were taxed. So Jesus took as His disciple the taxman that may have been taking money from Peter, James, and John and the other fishermen among the disciples. This might have made for some awkward introductions! (Guzik)
What lessons can we gain from this commentary?
Mat 9:10 KJV 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.
Sat at meat in the house – Viz. of Matthew, who it appears, from Luk_5:29, made a great feast on the occasion, thus testifying his gratitude for the honor done him; and that his friends and acquaintances might profit by the teaching of his new master, he invites them to the entertainment that was honored by the presence of Christ. His companions, it appears, were not of the most creditable kind. They were tax-gatherers (see Mat_5:46) and sinners, αμαρτωλοι, a word which I believe in general signifies heathens, throughout the Gospels, and in several other parts of the New Testament. (Clarke)
behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples; not of their own accord, but by the invitation of Matthew, and with the good will, and full consent of Christ, who was far from being displeased with their company and freedom; but gladly embraced every opportunity of doing good to the souls of the worst of men; for such as these he came to call and save. (Gill)
We conclude, therefore, that the feast was not made in the novelty of his discipleship, but after Matthew had had time to be somewhat established in the faith; when returning to Capernaum, his compassion for old friends, of his own calling and character, led him to gather them together that they might have an opportunity of hearing the gracious words which proceeded out of His Master’s mouth, if haply they might experience a like change.
behold, many publicans and sinners — Luke says, “a great company” (Luk_5:29)
came and sat down with him and his disciples — In all such cases the word rendered “sat” is “reclined,” in allusion to the ancient mode of lying on couches at meals. (JFB)
Mat 9:11 KJV And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
When the Pharisees saw it – The self-righteous Pharisees considered it equal to legal defilement to sit in company with tax-gatherers and heathens. It is certain that those who fear God should not associate, through choice, with the workers of iniquity, and should only be found with them when transacting their secular business requires it, or when they have the prospect of doing good to their souls. (Clarke)
Publicans and sinners Often coupled together in common scorn and in contrast with the righteous (dikaioi in Mat_9:13). It was a strange medley at Levi’s feast (Jesus and the four fisher disciples, Nathanael and Philip; Matthew Levi and his former companions, publicans and sinners; Pharisees with their scribes or students as on-lookers; disciples of John the Baptist who were fasting at the very time that Jesus was feasting and with such a group). The Pharisees criticize sharply “your teacher” for such a social breach of “reclining” together with publicans at Levi’s feast. (Roberston)
Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? Because Jesus is the friend of sinners. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom_5:8). (Guzik)
The Master did not hold himself aloof from people, but was warm, glowing, sympathetic, helpful, intensive, whole-souled. He was fellowshipping with sinners that he might do them good. (Russell)
Mat 9:12 KJV But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
They that be whole need not a physician – A common proverb, which none could either misunderstand or misapply. Of it the reader may make the following use: –
1. Jesus Christ represents himself here as the sovereign Physician of souls.
2. That all stand in need of his healing power.
3. That men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and the need they have of his mercy, in order to be healed by him.
4. That it is the most inveterate and dangerous disease the soul can be afflicted with to imagine itself whole, when the sting of death, which is sin, has pierced it through in every part, infusing its poison every where. (Clarke)
They that be whole — He had come as a physician to the sin-sick, and they did not realize themselves as sin-sick, and hence had little interest in the physician. Our Lord’s words were uttered in sarcasm.
A physician — A physician has a right to mingle with those whom he seeks to relieve. (Russell)
Mat 9:13 KJV 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.
Go ye and learn – צא ולמד tse velimmed, a form of speech in frequent use among the rabbins, when they referred to any fact or example in the Sacred Writings. Nothing tends more to humble pretenders to devotion than to show them that they understand neither Scripture nor religion, when, relying on external performances, they neglect love to God and man, which is the very soul and substance of true religion. True holiness has ever consisted in faith working by love.
I will have mercy, and not sacrifice – Quoted from 1Sa_15:22. These are remarkable words. We may understand them as implying,
1st. That God prefers an act of mercy, shown to the necessitous, to any act of religious worship to which the person might be called at that time. Both are good; but the former is the greater good, and should be done in preference to the other.
2dly. That the whole sacrificial system was intended only to point out the infinite mercy of God to fallen man, in his redemption by the blood of the new covenant. And
3dly. That we should not rest in the sacrifices, but look for the mercy and salvation prefigured by them. This saying was nervously translated by our ancestors, I will mild-heartedness, and not sacrifice. (Clarke)
I will have mercy — They should have had the yearning compassion which would have delighted to have lifted them out of sin and brought them nearer to the Lord and to righteous influences.
Quoted from Hos_6:6.
And not sacrifice — God’s work in Christ was not to sacrifice the world, but to save it.
The righteous — Those who think of themselves as righteous.
The sinners — Those who realized themselves to be imperfect.
To repentance — He was not descending to sin in any form but seeking to lift up sinners. (Russell)
Mat 9:14 KJV Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
(Clarke)–Thy disciples fast not? – Probably meaning that they did not fast so frequently as the others did, or for the same purposes, which is very likely, for the Pharisees had many superstitious fasts. They fasted in order to have lucky dreams, to obtain the interpretation of a dream, or to avert the evil import of a dream. They also fasted often, in order to obtain the things they wished for. The tract, Taanith is full of these fasts, and of the wonders performed thus by the Jewish doctors.
(Russell)–Why do we — Fasts were intended for one of two purposes: a manifestation of repentance, or with a view to bringing the heart into closer communion with the Lord. From earliest times fasting has been recognized as a valuable adjunct to piety.
Fast oft — Fasting, like baptism, may be either a mere form, injurious rather than beneficial, or it may be observed with spiritual profit.
But thy disciples — Expressing surprise that fasting was not enjoined by our Master’s teachings as a law.
Fast not — Showing that our Lord did not impose literal fasting upon his disciples.
Why do we and the Pharisees fast often: John, in his ministry, displayed an austerity and humble repentance (Mat_3:1-4) which John’s disciples imitated, showing their own proper humility in light of their own sin and the sin of their people.
(Guzik)–The Pharisees also fasted (often twice a week, according to Luk_18:12), but not out of humble repentance. They often fasted from a desire to impress themselves and others with their spirituality (Mat_6:16-18).
Apparently, Jesus’ disciples did not fast as either of these two groups did. Why not?
Mat 9:15 KJV 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.
(Guzik)—Can the children of the bride-chamber – bridegroom, as the Cod. Bezae and several versions have it. These persons were the companions of the bridegroom, who accompanied him to the house of his father-in-law when he went to bring the bride to his own home. The marriage-feast among the Jews lasted seven days; but the new married woman was considered to be a bride for thirty days. Marriage feasts were times of extraordinary festivity, and even of riot, among several people of the east. (Clarke)
Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? It wasn’t appropriate for Jesus’ disciples to imitate the Pharisees in their hypocritical shows, nor is it appropriate for them to imitate John’s disciples in their ministry of humble preparation, because the disciples experienced what was being prepared for.
But the days will come: There will come a day when fasting is appropriate for Jesus’ followers. But now, when Jesus is among them, is not that day.
(Russell)–Can the children — Why should they fast? Their sins had been forgiven, they had been accepted of the Lord and taught to call the Almighty “our Father in heaven.”
Bridegroom — Jesus is pictured as a Bridegroom, and his followers as a bride company.
And then — When the Bridegroom would be away, there would be abundance of perplexity and sorrow, and then fasting would be in order, throughout the Gospel age. Shall they fast — Waiting for his return. All through the Gospel age it has been appropriate that the Lord’s followers fast with the true fasting of self-denial, hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
We may safely conclude that all “abstaining from fleshly lusts” or desires is real fasting, the kind most approved in the Lord’s sight. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself [fast in the true sense].” (Mat_16:24)
Fasting is proper when done from a right motive, but worse than useless when done as a formality, to be seen of men, that they might think us holy.
Mat 9:16 KJV 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.
(Clarke)–No man putteth a piece of new cloth – No man putteth a patch of unscoured cloth upon an old garment. This is the most literal translation I can give of this verse, to convey its meaning to those who cannot consult the original. Ρακος αγναφον is that cloth which has not been scoured, or which has not passed under the hand of the fuller, who is called γναφευς in Greek: and επιβλημα signifies a piece put on, or what we commonly term a patch.
It – taketh from the garment – Instead of closing up the rent, it makes a larger, by tearing away with it the whole breadth of the cloth over which it was laid; it taketh its fullness or whole breadth from the garment; this I am persuaded is the meaning of the original, well expressed by the Latin, or Itala of the C. Bezae, Tollit enim plenitudo ejus de vestimento. “It takes away its fullness from the garment.”
(Russell)–Piece of new cloth — The fuller light of truth due at the first and second advents of our Lord; the Gospel message.
Unto an old garment — Old sects and organizations. It is of no use to patch the sects with the doctrines of the new dispensation. The Gospel teaching is not a patch upon the Jewish law, but a new proposition.
(Gill)–unto an old garment, refers not only to the fastings of the Pharisees, but to their other traditions of the elders, which they held; as such that respected their eating, drinking, and conversing with other persons mentioned in the context, and which observances they joined with their moral performances; on account of which, they looked upon themselves as very righteous persons, and all others as sinners: and to expose their folly, Christ delivers this parable. Wherefore, by “the old garment”, I apprehend, is meant their moral and legal righteousness, or their obedience to the moral and ceremonial laws, which was very imperfect, as well as impure, and might be rightly called “filthy rags”; or be compared to an old worn out garment, filthy and loathsome, torn, and full of holes, which cannot keep a person warm, nor screen him from the weather, and so old that it cannot be mended. And by the “piece of new cloth”, or “garment”, put unto it, or sewed upon it, are intended the traditions of the elders, these men were so fond of, concerning eating, and drinking, and fasting, and hundreds of other things, very idle and trifling, and which were new and upstart notions. Now, by putting, or sewing the new cloth to their old garment, is designed, their joining their observance of these traditions to their other duties of religion, to make up a justifying righteousness before God; but in vain, and to no purpose. Their old garment of their own works, in obedience to the laws of God, moral and ceremonial, was full bad enough of itself; but became abundantly worse, by joining this new piece of men’s own devising to it;
for that which is put in to fill it up, taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse: their new obedience to the traditions of men, making void the law of God, instead of mending, marred their righteousness, and left them in a worse condition than it found them: and besides, as it is in Luke, “the piece that was taken out of the new, agreeth not with the old”; there being no more likeness between the observance of the commandments of men, and obedience to the laws of God, than there is between a piece of new undressed cloth, that has never been washed and worn, and an old worn out garment. Much such a foolish part do those men under the Gospel dispensation act, who join the righteousness of Christ, or a part of it, with their own, in order to make up a justifying righteousness before God; for Christ’s righteousness is the only justifying righteousness; it is whole and perfect, and needs nothing to be added to it, nor can it be parted, any more than his seamless coat was; nor a piece taken out of it: nor is there any justification by works, either in whole or in part; the old garment of man’s righteousness must be thrown away, in point of justification; it cannot be mended in such a manner; and if any attempts are made in this way, the rent becomes worse: such persons, instead of being justified, are in a worse condition; for they not only set up, and exalt their own righteousness, which is criminal, but disparage the righteousness of Christ as imperfect, by joining it to their’s; and whilst they fancy themselves in a good state, are in a most miserable one; harlots and publicans being nearer the kingdom of heaven than these, and enter into it before them; self-righteous persons are more hardly, and with greater difficulty convinced, than such sinners. Moreover, nothing is more disagreeable than such a patch work; Christ’s righteousness and a man’s own bear no likeness to one another; and such a patched garment must ill become the character and dignity of a saint, a child of God, an heir of heaven.
Mat 9:17 KJV Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: 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.
(Guzik)– With the parable of wineskins, Jesus explains that He has come not to “patch up” the old institutions of Judaism, but to institute a new covenant altogether. The new covenant doesn’t just patch up the old; it supersedes it.
But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved: Jesus’ reference to the wineskins is His announcement that the present institutions of Judaism could not, and would not, contain His new wine. He would form a new institution, the church, which would bring Jew and Gentile together into a completely new body (Eph_2:16).
Jesus reminds us that what is old and stagnant often cannot be renewed. God will often look for new vessels to contain His new work, until those vessels make themselves unusable.
Adam Clarke—New wine into old bottles – It is still the custom, in the eastern countries, to make their bottles of goat skins: if these happened to be old, and new wine were put into them, the violence of the fermentation must necessarily burst them; and therefore newly made bottles were employed for the purpose of putting that wine in which had not yet gone through its state of fermentation. The institutes of Christ, and those of the Pharisees, could never be brought to accord: an attempt to combine the two systems would be as absurd as it would be destructive. The old covenant made way for the new, which was its completion and its end; but with that old covenant the new cannot be incorporated.
Gill:—Neither do men put new wine into old bottles,…. As in the former parable, our Lord exposes the folly of the Scribes and Pharisees, in their zealous attachment to the traditions of the elders; so in this, he gives a reason why he did not call these persons by his Gospel, who were settled upon the old principle of self-righteousness, but sinners, whom he renews by his Spirit and grace: for by “old bottles” are meant, the Scribes and Pharisees. The allusion is to bottles, made of the skins of beasts, which in time decayed, waxed old, and became unfit for use.
(Russell)–Neither do — These two parables were given to emphasize that before the blessing could come to natural Israel, Spiritual Israel must be selected.
Men put new wine — New doctrines, truths; the Gospel message.
Into old bottles — Literally, old wineskins, out of which all the elasticity has gone; symbolically, old systems.
The bottles break — Rent asunder by the new truths which are out of harmony with the sectarian pride, errors, superstitions and traditions of these systems.
And the wine — The new doctrines.
Into new bottles — New wineskins, “new creatures in Christ,” who will be able to stand the stress of the fermentation of trials, disciplines and testings.
Mat 9:18 KJV 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.
Adam Clarke A certain ruler – There were two officers in the synagogue, chazan ha-ceneseth, the bishop or overseer of the congregation; and rosh ha-ceneseth, the head or ruler of the congregation. The chazan takes the book of the Law, and gives it to the rosh, or ruler; and he appoints who shall read the different sections, etc. Jairus, who is the person intended here, was, in this latter sense, the ruler or governor of one of the synagogues, probably at Capernaum. See Mar_5:22; Luk_8:41.
My daughter is even now dead – Or, my daughter was just now dying; or, is by this time dead: i.e. as Mr. Wakefield properly observes, She was so ill when I left home that she must be dead by this time. This turn of the expression reconciles the account given here with that in Mark and Luke. Michaelis conjectures that, in the Hebrew original, the words must have stood thus, may signify either, She is dead, or She is dying.
Russell–While he spake — While Jesus was at the house of Matthew, probably at the conclusion of the banquet, Jairus arrived.
A certain ruler — Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum, our Lord’s home city. He knew Jesus well. He sometimes called upon him to read the Sabbath lesson (Luk_4:16). Once he entreated the Lord on behalf of the centurion’s servant (Luk_7:4).
The four miracles of verses 18 to 34 illustrate faith from four different standpoints: (1) the faith of Jairus on behalf of his daughter; (2) the faith of the woman on her own account; (3) the faith of the two blind men encouraging each other; and (4) the faith of the friends of the deaf and dumb man possessed with a demon.
Worshipped him — Manifested his faith by his conduct, expressing his homage, obedience and faith.
My daughter — His only daughter, twelve years old.
Is even now dead — Was at the point of death when I left home, and is no doubt dead by now.
Guzik–My daughter has just died, but come any lay Your hand on her and she will live: This ruler is to be commended for coming to Jesus, but his faith pales in comparison to the centurion of Matthew 8. The ruler thinks it is essential that Jesus personally touch the little girl, while the centurion understood Jesus had the authority to heal with a word from a great distance.
Mat 9:19 KJV And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
Mat 9:20 KJV And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
Barnes:And, behold, a woman … – This disease was by the Jews reckoned unclean Lev_15:25, and the woman was therefore unwilling to make personal application to Jesus, or even to touch his person. The disease was regarded as incurable. She had expended all her property, and grew worse, Mar_5:26.
Touched the hem of his garment – This garment was probably the square garment which was thrown over the shoulders. See notes at Mat_5:40. This was surrounded by a border or “fringe;” and this “fringe,” or the loose threads hanging down, is what is meant by the “hem.” The Jews were commanded to wear this, in order to distinguish them from other nations. See Num_15:38-39; Deu_22:12.
Mark says that “the woman, fearing and trembling,” came and told him all the truth. Perhaps she feared that, from the impure nature of her disease, he would be offended that she touched him.
Guzik–Because this woman’s condition was embarrassing, and because she was ceremonially unclean and would be condemned for touching Jesus or even being in a pressing crowd, she wanted to do this secretly. She would not openly ask Jesus to be healed, but she thought “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
Barnes–Came in the press behind – In the crowd that pressed upon him. This was done to avoid being noticed. It was an act of faith. She was full of confidence that Jesus was able to heal, but she trembled on account of her conscious unworthiness, thus illustrating the humility and confidence of a sinner coming to God for pardon and life.
Pulpit–The evangelists describe her as a certain woman who was worn by suffering, haggard from poverty (Mar_5:26), and ceremonially unclean, so as to be excluded from the consolations of public worship. She stole into the crowd, and by her touch of faith won the blessing she sought,
Mat 9:21 KJV For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
Lange–The deathbed of a child often the birthplace of faith. The Lord leaves the house of feasting to go to the house of mourning.—The healing of the woman suggests: All believers do not show their faith in the same way (comp. the paralytic); retiring faith to be encouraged and brought to public confession; the timid, shrinking ones may be very near Christ; the many diseased women, whose sufferings must be kept concealed, have special need of Christ; faith is only a hand to lay hold of Christ, if it but touch the border of his garment He will strengthen it—The delay on the way to the rulers house, to try and to strengthen his faith.—The ruler of the synagogue witnesses the cure of one ruled out of the synagogue.—Twelve years of sickness overcome, twelve years of health restored.
Mat 9:22 KJV 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.
Daughter, be of good comfort – Θαρσει θυγατερ, Take courage, daughter. See on Mat_9:2 (note). The reason of this kind speech was – Jesus, finding that virtue had proceeded from him; made inquiry who had touched him. The woman, finding that she could not be hid, came fearing and trembling, (Mar_5:33), and confessed the truth: to dispel these fears and to comfort her mind, Jesus said, Daughter, take courage.
Thy faith hath made thee whole – Η πιστις σου σεσωκε σε, This thy faith hath saved thee: i.e. thy faith in my power has interested that power in thy behalf, so that thou art saved from thy disorder, and from all its consequences. See on Luk_8:46 (note).
Guzik–And He looked around to see her who had done this thing: This was before she revealed herself. Jesus knew all along exactly touched Him and received the healing. He asked, “Who touched My clothes?” for the benefit of the woman, not because He didn’t know who the person was.
The disciples were amazed that Jesus could ask this question. Given the situation, “ But the disciples didn’t understand the difference between casual contact with Jesus, and reaching out to touch Him in faith.
We can imagine someone who because of the press of the crowd bumped up against Jesus. When the woman’s miracle was revealed, they might say, “I bumped into Jesus, I touched Him – yet I was not healed.” But there is a huge difference between bumping into Jesus here and there and reaching out to touch Him in faith. You can come to church week after week and “bump into” Jesus. That isn’t the same as reaching out to touch Him in faith. (Guzik)
Guzik--Jesus called her out so that she would know why she was healed. When Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” it showed the woman that it really wasn’t touching the clothing of Jesus that healed her. Instead, it was her faith in Jesus and what He could do for her. Jesus called her out because He didn’t want her to think that she stole a blessing, that she could never look Jesus in the eye again. She didn’t steal anything, she received it by faith and Jesus wanted her to know that.
Jesus did it so Jarius could see this woman’s faith and be encouraged regarding his daughter. Jesus “called her out” to encourage someone else in faith.
Jesus did it because He wanted to bless her in a special way. He called her “Daughter.” Jesus never called any other person by this name. Jesus wanted her to come forth and hear this special name of tenderness. When Jesus calls us forward, it is because He has something special to give us.
“It seemed cruel, but it was really kind. It sent her home with loftier thoughts of Him. She would never talk of the wonder of the tassel; she would always talk of the wonder of the Lord. Permitted to walk away without confession, she would have said exultantly, ‘I’ve found a cure.’ Now the woman cried, ‘I’ve found a friend.’“ (Morrisson)
Jesus may ask us to do things that seem embarrassing today. He doesn’t ask us to do them just because He wants to embarrass us. There is also a higher purpose even if we can’t see it. But if avoiding embarrassment is the most important thing in our life, then pride is our god. We are more in love with ourselves and with our self-image than we are in love with Jesus.
Poor Jarius! During all this, his daughter sits ill at home, her life slipping away. It must have tortured him to see Jesus take time out to minister to this woman while his daughter suffered. God is never slow, but He often seems slow to the sufferer. (Guzik)\
Mat 9:23 KJV And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
Saw the minstrels and the people making a noise – Αυλητας, pipers; Anglo-Saxon the whistlers; Gothic, haurngans haurngandans, the horn-blowers blowing with their horns. Nearly the same as the pipublasara, pipe-blowers of the Islandic: for among all those nations funeral lamentations accompanied with such rude instruments, were made at the death of relatives. That pipes were in use among the Jews, in times of calamity or death, is evident from Jer_48:36. And among the Greeks, and Romans, as well as among the Jews, persons were hired on purpose to follow the funeral processions with lamentations. See Jer_9:17-21; Amo_5:16. Even the poorest among the Jews were required to have two pipers, and one mourning woman. At these funeral solemnities it was usual with them to drink considerably; even ten cups of wine each, where it could be got.
That drinking, in what is called the wake, or watching with the body of the deceased, is practised, and often carried to a shameful excess, needs little proof. This kind of intemperance proceeded to such great lengths among the Jews that the Sanhedrin were obliged to make a decree, to restrain the drinking to ten cups each. I mention these things more particularly, because I have often observed that the customs of the aboriginal Irish bear, a very striking resemblance to those of the ancient Jews, and other Asiatic nations. The application of these observations I leave to others.
Mat 9:24 KJV He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Adam Clarke They laughed him to scorn – Κατεγελων αυτον, they ridiculed him; from κατα, intensive, and γελαω, I laugh: – they grinned a ghastly smile, expressive of the contempt they felt for his person and knowledge. People of the world generally ridicule those truths which they neither comprehend nor love, and deride those who publish them; but a faithful minister of God, (copying the example of Christ), keeps on his way, and does the work of his Lord and Master.
Guzik–Jesus wasn’t out of touch with reality when He said this. He wasn’t playing “make-believe.” He said this because He knew a higher reality, a spiritual reality that was more certain and powerful than death itself.
In that day it was customary to hire professional mourners to add to the atmosphere of grief and pain at a death. But the professional mourners could only grieve superficially. Notice how quickly they turn from weeping to ridicule (they ridiculed Him). (Guzik)
Russell–Since there is to be an awakening of the dead, Jesus spoke of death as sleep, a period of rest, of quiet, of unconsciousness. He spoke in the same manner of the death of Lazarus. He did not say she was in heaven or in purgatory or in hell. Heaven is not a sleeping place, but a place of joyful activity and life. Neither could we imagine mankind sleeping in a Catholic purgatory, nor in a Protestant hell of eternal torture. Our word cemetery means “sleeping place.” (Russell)
Dr. Trench: “Thereby the reality of death is not denied, but only the fact implicitly assumed that death will be followed by a resurrection, as sleep is followed by an awakening.”
Mat 9:25 KJV But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
Mark 5:41 MKJV And He took the child’s hand and said to her, Talitha koumi; (which interpreted is, Little girl, I say to you, Arise!)
Guzik–Little girl, I say to you, arise: What good is it to talk to a dead person? Jesus can speak to the girl as if she were alive. Rom_4:17 says that God gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Jesus spoke to this girl with the power of God, and she was raised from the dead.
Alford —In the ordinary Aramaic dialect (This is the language which our Saviour commonly spoke. –Barnes) of the people, a term of endearment to a young maiden. The words are equivalent to, “Rise, my child.”–
Russell–Nowhere is this designated a resurrection. She did not come back from heaven or from hell; was not resurrected, but merely awakened out of the sleep of death.
Mat 9:26 KJV And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
Adam Clarke And the fame hereof went abroad – The preacher of the Gospel to conceal himself as much as possible, that God alone may have the glory of his own grace. This is a proper miracle, and a full exemplification of the unlimited power of Christ.
Guzik–They were overcome with great amazement: Jesus didn’t fail Jarius, and He didn’t fail the woman who needed healing. But in ministering to both, He needed to stretch the faith of Jarius extra far.
In all this we see how the work of Jesus is different, yet the same among each individual. If Jesus can touch each need this personally, He can touch our needs the same way.
- Jarius had twelve years of sunshine that were about to be extinguished. The woman had twelve years of agony that seemed hopeless to heal.
- Jarius was an important man, the ruler of the synagogue. The woman was a nobody. We don’t even know her name.
- Jarius was probably wealthy, because he was an important man. The woman was poor because she spent all her money on doctors.
- Jarius came publicly. The woman came secretly.
- Jarius thought Jesus had to do a lot to heal his daughter. The woman thought all she needed was to touch Jesus’ garment.
- Jesus responded to the woman immediately. Jesus responded to Jarius after a delay.
- Jarius’ daughter was healed secretly. The woman was healed publicly. (Guzik)
Mat 9:27 KJV And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
Adam Clarke Son of David – This was the same as if they had called him Messiah. Two things here are worthy of remark:
1st. That it was a generally received opinion at this time in Judea, that the Messiah should be son of David. (Joh_7:42).
2dly. That Jesus Christ was generally and incontestably acknowledged as coming from this stock. Mat_12:23.
Have mercy on us – That man has already a measure of heavenly light who knows that he has no merit; that his cry should be a cry for mercy; that he must be fervent, and that in praying he must follow Jesus Christ as the true Messiah, the son of David, expected from heaven.
Hawker: Concerning this miracle, I beg the Reader particularly to observe, that the cry of those men was evidently the cry of faith: for the name by which they distinguished Christ, Thou SON of David! was the known character in which the Jews were taught to expect Christ. And the opening of the blind eyes was to be a token of his mission. Isa_35:5; Isa_42:7; Isa_61:1.
Mat 9:28 KJV 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.
Mat 9:28 TPT And they followed him right into the house where Jesus was staying. So Jesus asked them, “Do you believe that I have the power to restore sight to your eyes?” They replied, “Yes Lord, we believe!”
Adam Clarke When he was come unto the house – That is, the house of Peter at Capernaum, where he ordinarily lodged.
Barnes: The blind men came to him – That is, they followed him into the house. They showed a determination to persevere until they obtained what they asked.
Believe ye that I am able to do this? – To work such a miracle. Though they had followed him and cried after him, yet he required of them an open profession of their faith in regard to his power.
They said unto him, Yea, Lord – We have no doubt of this. We came with that assurance: we have followed thee with that belief. It was on this simple profession of their faith that the miracle was performed, as it is on the simple profession of our faith that our souls will be saved.
Gill: And when he was come into the house,…. In which he dwelt, whilst at Capernaum: for he took no notice of them by the way; but though they followed him close, and cried vehemently, he did not stop to speak to them, or give them a cure: according to their request, but went on his way; which he did, partly to avoid the populace, and that he might not be seen by men, in what he did, and partly to try their faith, and the constancy of it.
and Jesus saith unto them, believe ye that I am able to do this? That is, to have mercy on them, as they requested, by curing them of their blindness; which, though not expressed, is implied, and is the thing designed: this question is put, not as being ignorant of, or as doubting their faith in him, which they had expressed, in calling him the son of David; and had shown the firmness and constancy of it, by following him, though he took no notice of them; but partly, for the further trial of their faith, and to bring them to a more open profession of it, as to this particular, his power to cure them of their blindness; and partly, for the sake of those, that were in the house:
they said unto him, yea, Lord. They firmly believed he had power to do it, they had not the least doubt and hesitation in their minds about it; for though their bodily eyes were at present dark, the eyes of their understandings were enlightened, to see and know Jesus to be the true Messiah, David’s Son, and Lord.
Do you have the faith to follow Jesus when you can’t see where you are going?
Do you cry out to him for help?
Mat 9:29 KJV Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Russell: God will reward us according to our faith, confidence, honesty and sincerity. Faith which has a true foundation is very precious in the Lord’s sight. Our faith must be corroborated by our works, but these cannot be perfect because of weakness. Only our faith and intention can be perfect now, and according to these the Lord deals with us.
MacLaren: There is something very beautiful and pathetic in the simple brevity of the unhesitating answer, ‘Yea, Lord.’ Sincerity needs few words. Faith can put an infinite deal of meaning into a monosyllable. Their eagerness to reach the goal made their answer brief. But it was enough. Again the hand which had clasped the maiden’s palm is put out and laid gently on the useless eyes, and the great word spoken, ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’ Their blindness made the touch peculiarly fitting in their case, as bringing evidence of sense to those who could not see the gracious pity of His looks. The word spoken was, like that to the centurion, a declaration of the power of faith, which determines the measure, and often the manner, of His gifts to us.
JFB: Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you — not, Receive a cure proportioned to your faith, but, Receive this cure as granted to your faith. Thus would they carry about with them, in their restored vision, a gracious seal of the faith which drew it from their compassionate Lord.
Popular NT: According to your faith, etc. Faith is the hand which takes what God offers, the spiritual organ of appropriation, the conducting link between emptiness and God’s fullness.
We need to take inventory of our faith.
There are 7 things to be added to our faith according to Peter—faith is just the beginning. Jesus meets us at faith—but it is our responsibility to add the fruits Peter describes:
I want to read it from the Passion Translation
2Pe 1:5-7 TPT So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness(or strength of character in righteousness), and to goodness add understanding, 6 and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, 7 and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love.
Mat 9:30 KJV And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
Adam Clarke Straitly charged them – He charged them severely, from ενεβριμησατο, from εν, and βριμαομαι, to roar or storm with anger; he charged them, on pain of his displeasure, not to make it as yet public.
Gill: and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, see that no man know it. This was a very strict charge, and according to the signification of the word here used, it was given with great austerity of countenance, and severity of expression, in a very rough and threatening manner; which Christ might be the rather induced to, because he had given such like orders already, and they had not been observed: the reasons for concealing the miracle are not very obvious; it seems likely, that with the same view he took no notice of these blind men in the street, but went into an house, and cured them; which seems to be, to shun all appearance of vain glory, or seeking popular applause, that he gave these orders; or it may be, he did not choose to be made more known by this miracle, or at this time, or by these men; he might foresee that it would be attended with ill consequences; either the more to irritate the resentments of some persons against him; or to put others on doing things which were disagreeable to him; as setting him up for a temporal prince among them, being David’s son.
Try to imagine how this scene looked. Jesus was serious
Mat 9:31 KJV But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
Adam Clarke But they – spread abroad his fame – They should have held their peace; for to obey is better than sacrifice, 1Sa_15:22; but man must always be wiser than God, however, it may be profitable to remark,
1st. That honor pursues those who fly from it.
2dly. He who is thoroughly sensible of God’s mercy cannot long contain his acknowledgments.
3dly. That God in general requires that what a man has received, for his own salvation, shall become subservient to that of others – Let your light so shine, etc.
God chooses to help man by man, that all may be firmly knit together in brotherly love.
Guzik: . See that no one knows it: Despite Jesus’ warning, they couldn’t resist telling others. Though we do not admire their well-intentioned disobedience, we admire their excitement over the work of God. May the work of God be so amazing in our lives that we feel compelled to tell others!
Meyer: It may be with a trembling faith that we answer, Yea, Lord. But how blessed is the soul that dares to say Yea to the Master’s challenge. Understand that there is no limit to what He will do for you, if only you will trust Him. The measure of His giving is according to the measure of your faith, and the measure of your faith will be according to the measure of your abandonment to Him. Spread abroad His fame. Pharisees hate Him, but demons flee.
Mat 9:32 KJV As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
Barnes: And as they went out, behold, they brought unto him – That is, the friends of the dumb man brought him. This seems to have occurred as soon as the blind men which had been healed left him. Possibly it was from what they had observed of his power in healing them.
A dumb man possessed with a devil – That is, the effect of the “possession,” in his case, was to deprive him of speech. Those “possessed with devils” were affected in different ways (see the notes at Mat_4:24), and there is no improbability in supposing that if other forms of disease occurred under demoniacal possessions, this form might occur also.
Adam Clarke A dumb man possessed with a devil – Some demons rendered the persons they possessed paralytic, some blind, others dumb, etc. It was the interest of Satan to hide his influences under the appearance of natural disorders. A man who does not acknowledge his sin to God, who prays not for salvation, who returns no praises for the mercies he is continually receiving, may well be said to be possessed with a dumb demon.
Guzik: A man, mute and demon-possessed: In the Jewish understanding of demon possession, this man could not be helped. This was because the rabbis thought that you could not cast out a demon until it told you its name, and a demon that made a man mute could never be made to tell you its name. But Jesus had no problem, the demon was cast out and the mute spoke.
We see a lot of instances where it is the friends of the afflicted one, who brought them to Christ. The ones who took the roof off the house and lowered down their friend—someone helped those two blind men follow Jesus. In the feeding of the multitudes, it says, they brought before him….
Do you share Jesus with your friends?
Mat 9:33 KJV And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
Adam Clarke And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake – The very miracle which was now wrought was to be the demonstrative proof of the Messiah’s being manifested in the flesh. See Isa_35:5, Isa_35:6.
It was never so seen in Israel – The greatest of the prophets has never been able to do such miracles as these. This was the remark of the people; and thus we find that the poor and the simple were more ready to acknowledge the hand of God than the rich and the learned. Many miracles had been wrought in the course of this one day, and this excited their surprise.
Passion Translation: Matthew 8 and 9 give us 10 miracles that Jesus performed as signs to prove that he is the Messiah. Five are found in each chapter. In chapter 8 we find the leper healed, the military captain’s son healed, Simon’s mother-in-law healed, the raging stormed stilled, the two demon-possessed men set free. In chapter 9 we find the paraplegic man healed, the woman with the constant bleeding healed, Jairus’ daughter raised from the death, and two blind men given sight. These signs demonstrated Jesus’ authority over sickness, storms, Satan, and death.
Mat 9:34 KJV But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
Adam Clarke He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils – This verse is wanting in both the Greek and Latin of the C. Bezae, in another copy of the Itala, and in Hilary and Juvencus. But see on Mat_12:24 (note).
It is a consummate piece of malice to attribute the works of God to the devil. Envy cannot suffer the approbation which is given to the excellencies of others. Those whose hearts are possessed by this vice speak the very language of the devil. Calumny (Slander) is but a little distance from envy. Though all persons may not have as much envy as the Pharisees, yet they should fear having some degree of it, as all have the principle from whence it proceeds, viz. sin.
Guzik:It was never seen like this in Israel! For this reason, this miracle was particularly amazing to the multitudes, and showed not only the complete authority of Jesus over the demonic realm, but also the weakness of the rabbis’ traditions.
c. But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” In attributing this work of Jesus to the power of Satan, we see in this gospel the beginning of Jesus being rejected by the Pharisees and other religious leaders.
Russell: To Jesus, a “contradiction of sinners against himself.” (Heb_12:3) An example of “when he was reviled, he reviled not again.” (1Pe_2:23)
What do you do when people say evil things about you?
Mat 9:35 KJV 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.
Adam Clarke Jesus went about all the cities and villages – Of Galilee. See on Mat_4:23, Mat_4:24 (note). A real minister of Jesus Christ, after his example, is neither detained in one place by a comfortable provision made by some, nor discouraged from pursuing his work by the calumny and persecution of others. It is proper to remark, that, wherever Christ comes, the proofs of his presence evidently appear: he works none but salutary and beneficial miracles, because his ministry is a ministry of salvation.
Mat 9:36 KJV 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.
Guzik: As Jesus encountered the depth of human need, He was moved with compassion for them. Jesus was not unfeeling or stoic in the face of people and their problems.
b. They were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd: Jesus gives us an apt description of man in his lost state – that we are like sheep having no shepherd, which means that we are in a lot of trouble until we come under the care of our Shepherd.
JFB: as sheep, having no shepherd — their pitiable condition as wearied under bodily fatigue, a vast disorganized mass, being but a faint picture of their wretchedness as the victims of pharisaic guidance; their souls uncared for, yet drawn after and hanging upon Him. This moved the Redeemer’s compassion.
MHCC: 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 (poorest) 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, Zec_11:17; therefore Christ had compassion on the people as sheep scattered, as men perishing for lack of knowledge.
Mat 9:37 KJV Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Adam ClarkeThe harvest – The souls who are ready to receive the truth are very numerous; but the laborers are few. There are multitudes of scribes, Pharisees, and priests, of reverend and right reverend men; but there are few that work. Jesus wishes for laborers, not gentlemen, who are either idle drones, or slaves to pleasure and sin, and nati consumere fruges. “Born to consume the produce of the soil.”
It was customary with the Jews to call their rabbins and students reapers; and their work of instruction, the harvest. So in Idra Rabba, s. 2. “The days are few; the creditor is urgent; the crier calls out incessantly; and the reapers are few.” And in Pirkey Aboth: “The day is short, the work great, the workmen idle, the reward abundant, and the master of the household is urgent.” In all worldly concerns, if there be the prospect of much gain, most men are willing enough to labor; but if it be to save their own souls, or the souls of others, what indolence, backwardness, and carelessness! While their adversary, the devil, is going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and a careless soul, and especially a careless minister is his especial prey.
The place of the harvest is the whole earth: it signifies little where a man works, provided it be by the appointment, in the Spirit, and with the blessing of God.
Gill: But the labourers are few: Gospel ministers; whose calling is a laborious one; whose business is to labour in the word and doctrine; to be constant in prayer; to give up themselves to meditation and reading; to study to show themselves workmen; to preach the word in season, and out of season; and diligently discharge the several duties of their office, to the glory of Christ, and the good of souls: but such painful and laborious ministers, who are willing to spend, and be spent for Christ…, have been but few in all ages; generally speaking, there are more loiterers than labourers.
Mat 9:38 KJV Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Adam Clarke That he will send forth laborers – A minister of Christ is represented as a day-laborer: he comes into the harvest, not to become lord of it, not to live on the labor of others, but to work, and to labor his day. Though the work may be very severe, yet, to use a familiar expression, there is good wages in the harvest-home; and the day, though hot, is but a short one.
How earnestly should the flock of Christ pray to the good Shepherd to send them pastors after his own heart, who will feed them with knowledge, and who shall be the means of spreading the knowledge of his truth and the savor of his grace over the face of the whole earth!
Wesley: The Lord of the harvest – Whose peculiar work and office it is, and who alone is able to do it: that he would thrust forth – for it is an employ not pleasing to flesh and blood; so full of reproach, labour, danger, temptation of every kind, that nature may well be averse to it. Those who never felt this, never yet knew what it is to be labourers in Christ’s harvest. He sends them forth, when he calls them by his Spirit, furnishes them with grace and gifts for the work, and makes a way for them to be employed therein.