Matthew 9 (NRSV)
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town. 2And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Psalm 103:3 (NIV)
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
3Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
Two things to note here:
1) This is the first opposition to Jesus in this gospel. It will be a recurrent theme.
2) This charge is what the leaders will use to condemn Jesus before the Sanhedrin immediately before his crucifixion.
4But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic—’stand up, take your bed and go to your home.”
7And he stood up and went to his home. 8When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
Isaiah 35:5-6 (NLT)
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.
The Calling of Matthew
9As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth;
The Jewish people rightly thought of them traitors because they worked for the Roman government, and they had the force of Roman soldiers behind them to make people pay taxes. They were the most visible Jewish collaborators with Rome.
The Jewish people rightly considered them extortioners because they were allowed to keep whatever they over-collected. A tax collector bid among others for the tax-collecting contract. For example, many tax collectors might want to have the tax contract for a city like Capernaum. The Romans awarded the contract to the highest bidder. The man collected taxes, paid the Romans what he promised, and kept the remainder. Therefore, there was a lot of incentive for tax collectors to over-charge and cheat any way they could. It was pure profit for them.
and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
10And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
12But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
13Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
The Question about Fasting
14Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 17Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
Jesus’ reference to the wineskins was 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 – that would bring Jew and Gentile together into a completely new body (Ephesians 2:16).
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
18While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples.
20Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, 21for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.”
22Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
23When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion,
I have read that the tradition for mourners in ancient Jewish practice was ‘not less than two flutes and one wailing woman.’
24he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26And the report of this spread throughout that district.
Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
27As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Do you believe that I am able?”
For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
–2 Timothy 1:12 (New American Standard Bible)
They said to him, “Yes, Lord.”
29Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” 30And their eyes were opened.
Over and over again Matthew emphasizes that we must have faith in Jesus and that blessings come to us through that faith. Watch for this in the upcoming chapters!
Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” 31But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.
HERE is “He Touched Me,” performed by the Gaither Vocal Band.
Jesus Heals One Who Was Mute
32After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. 33And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.”
34But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”
The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:38 (King James Version)
“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
The key to the missionary problem is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer not work, that is, not work as the word is popularly understood today because that may mean the evasion of concentration on God. The key to the missionary problem is not the key of common sense, nor the medical key, nor the key of civilization or education or even evangelism. The key is prayer: “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest.”
—My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.