MATTHEW 9

Survey of the chapter
Matthew continues to show us the ability of the King to bring in His kingdom, and to deal with all that opposes it. In this chapter he shows us the new things that will mark the kingdom when it is set up. After all, the Lord called His kingdom “the regeneration”, Matthew 19:28, so it will be characterised by completely new conditions, fit for those who have eternal life through the new birth. We may see in the various personalities brought before us in this chapter the condition of the nation of Israel in particular, and the things that will have to happen if they are to be fit subjects in Messiah’s kingdom. The persons blessed by Christ are representative of the nation of Israel in the future.

Structure of the chapter

(a) Verses 1-8 Healing of palsied man New power
(b) Verse 9 Call of Matthew New purpose
(c) Verses 10-17 In Matthew’s house New principle
(d) Verses 18-26 Jairus’s daughter New participation
Woman with issue New privilege
(e) Verses 27-31 Two blind men New perception
(f) Verses 32-34 Dumb man with devil New praise
(g) Verses 35-38 Sheep without shepherd New protector

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 9, VERSES 1 TO 17:

9:1 And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city.

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 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 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.

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?

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.

9:14 Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?

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: 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.

(a) Verses 1-8 Healing of palsied man   New power

Currently, the nation of Israel is paralysed as far as serving God is concerned. This is because they do not know the forgiveness of sins.

9:1 And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city.

And He entered into a ship- in 8:18 He had given commandment to depart unto the other side, and despite the storm that arose, they reached the further shore. There they were met by the demoniacs, and the Lord cast out the spirits that possessed them. The people, however, did not welcome Him, but “besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts”, 8:34. He would not force His presence on the people, but He did leave behind Him those who could testify to His power, for He had told the demoniac who desired to follow Him to go back to the city and tell what had happened to him, and this he did. The people were not left without a testimony therefore.
And passed over, and came into His own city- there was no storm this time, for the forces of evil had been defeated, not only in terms of the stilling of the storm, but also in the sending forth of the evil spirits. He comes into His own city, which has been Capernaum since Nazareth rejected Him. Soon He will have to upraid even Capernaum for unbelief. This is what marked the nation then, and marks it still.

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.

And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed- Matthew does not tell us about the great efforts made by this man’s friends to bring him to Jesus, as recorded by Mark and Luke. He is highlighting the work of Christ in power, so omits the work the friends do. We would expect Mark the gospel of activity and Luke the gospel of sympathy to give us the details, but Matthew is the gospel of authority. The man is powerless, the scribes are powerless too, but “the Son of Man hath power on earth”, verse 6, and afterwards the multitudes “glorified God, which had given such power unto men”, verse 8. Instead of emphasising the efforts of the four friends, Matthew underscores the fact that the man is so weak that several men, (“they”, without saying how many). are needed to help him.
Bearing in mind that Matthew is telling us about the new things that will pertain in Messiah’s kingdom, we may see in this man a figure of the nation of Israel, zealous for the law, indeed, but not realising that the law is “weak through the flesh”, Romans 8:3. A palsied man was enfeebled because his faculties were relaxed, and unable to co-ordinate to enable things to be done. Such is the nation of Israel at the present time, powerless to please God, and finding no strength in law-keeping because they are men in the flesh.
And Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy- the men who carried the man are in the background in Matthew’s account, but their faith, and the faith of the palsied man, is taken account of. The Lord sees their faith, for it has demonstrated its presence by the good work they had done. Once the nation of Israel realises their weak state, and believes in their Messiah, God will begin to work upon them.
Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee- to only two people did the Lord say this, this man and the woman which was a sinner, Luke 7:48. Both showed their faith by their actions, and so the Lord was able to forgive their sins as a result. God has promised to forgive the sins of the nation of Israel under the terms of the New Covenant. We read, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”, Jeremiah 31:34. And the apostle Paul, when dealing with the future of the nation, quotes the words as “For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins”, Romans 11:27.
When Solomon dedicated the temple to God, five times over he prayed that if the nation was in difficulties, that God would hear from heaven when they prayed to Him, and “forgive the sin of Thy people Israel”, 2 Chronicles 6:21,25,27,30,39. In response to his prayer, God promised Solomon that He would indeed forgive His people, 7:4. So in a day to come, when great tribulation overwhelms the nation, many of them will seek the Lord, and they will find forgiveness of their sins through the sacrifice of their Messiah at Calvary.

9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves- we know from Mark 2:2 that there were many in the house where Christ was, so much so that could not all get in, and were crowded around the door. This was why the four friends had to lower the palsied man through the roof. Amongst the crowd there were scribes, no doubt waiting for an opportunity to criticise. In his account of this incident Luke tells us “as He was teaching…there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was present to heal them”, Luke 5:17. So this is an ideal opportunity to show that Christ has the power to forgive sins, for the whole nation will know. They had only got to the stage of thinking within themselves. No doubt they would soon have been vocal in their condemnation, but the Lord intervened.
This man blasphemeth- they knew that only God could forgive sins, for as Luke records, they said “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:21. To claim to forgive sins, therefore, was to claim to be God, or else a rival to Him. Both positions would have been blasphemy against the name of God on the part of anyone else.

9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? John assures us that Christ “needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man”, John 2:25. It was a testimony to His Deity that He knew the hearts of these men, for God said through Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”, Jeremiah 17:9,10. So He not only knew what they were thinking in their hearts, but also knew those thoughts were evil, for they were denying His Deity.

9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? It is impossible for an unbeliever, (a scribe for instance), to say either of these things. For a believer who was able to work miracles to say, “Arise and walk” is easier, as is shown by Peter when he healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, Acts 3:6. It was easy for him because he did it in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, and not in his own name. It was not his own power or holiness that had enabled him to heal, verse 12. But to the Son of God, each of these things is as easy as the other.

9:6 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 that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins- that God in heaven had the power to forgive sins they did not doubt, but now they are to learn that His Son become man has brought that Divine power with Him to earth. He did not lose it when He became incarnate.
(then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house- in His upper room ministry the Lord made it clear that His works, (John’s word for miracles), were clear proof of His Deity. He said to Philip, “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake”, John 14:11. They could either believe His words, or believe His words because of the works. And again, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father”, John 15:24. So here the Divine power to forgive sins is coupled with the Divine power to heal the palsied man.

9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

And he arose, and departed to his house- there are five houses mentioned in this chapter. The house where the Lord was teaching, not mentioned by Matthew but referred to in Mark 2:1. Now the house of the palsied man. In verse 10, the house of Matthew. In verse 23 the house of Jairus, and in verse 28 the house into which the blind men followed Him.
By doing the three things that are commanded, the man shows that his whole body is completely healed. And the complete healing is matched by the complete forgiveness of sins. He is now fit, physically and spiritually, to act as head of his house again.

9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled- Luke adds that they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today”, Luke 5:26. Mark says “they were amazed, and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw it on this fashion'”, Mark 2:12. Sadly we are not told that they believed, only that they marvelled. This would be one of the “mighty works” that Christ did in Capernaum, so that they were “exalted unto heaven”, but remained in unbelief, Matthew 11:21, 22. Sodom would have repented of its sin if they had seen the same works; sad commentary on the hardness of heart in Israel. As Isaiah said, quoted by the apostle Paul in connection with the unbelief of Israel, “Except the Lord of Hosts had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha”, Romans 9:29.
And glorified God, which had given such power unto men- it was good that they glorified God for what had happened, but sad that they did not recognise the one who had made it happen to be the Son of God, but just a man amongst men. They did not see His ability to forgive sins as a testimony to His Deity, just that He had been gifted to do it. This is all the more sad because the scribes recognised that it was only God who could forgive sins, Mark 2:7.

(b) Verse 9 Call of Matthew     New purpose

If the nation of Israel is to be in the kingdom, it needs to hear the call of Christ, and have a new purpose in their hearts. There will also be the need opf evangelists, who will preach the gospel of the kingdom to them.

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.

And as Jesus passed forth from thence- the palsied man was healed in Capernaum, Mark 2:1, which was by the sea side, and this was where the Lord was teaching at this point, having left the house to which the man sick of the palsy was brought.
He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom- the “Way of the Sea” ran through Nazareth and Capernaum, and went on to Damascus and Babylon. Matthew notices this when he tells us the Lord removed from Nazareth to go to live in Capernaum, 4:13-16. The people who lived beside that highway were in fear of the invader, and they lived in the shadow of death. But when Christ came that way, light sprang up and dispelled the darkness and fear.
Matthew himself tells us that he is named Matthew, whereas Mark and Luke tells us he was otherwise known as Levi the son of Alphaeus. When Matthew gives us the list of the apostles, he calls himself “Matthew the publican”, even though he was no longer a publican. He never forgot the grace that rescued him from his former life.
It was Matthew’s work to collect the custom that the Romans levied on goods that passed along the road. Because they collected money from Jews and passed it on to the occupying Romans, the tax-gatherers were hated. He will now begin to know the hatred of men because he is a follower of Christ. To be hated of men because he was a tax-gatherer had its compensation in financial terms in the present. To endure the hatred of men for the sake of Christ was to have an eternal reward.
We know this is not the first time that Matthew has met the Lord, for he later was chosen of the Lord to be an apostle, and one of the qualifications for that office was, as Peter put it, that he must have “companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John”, Acts 1:21,22. So Matthew, like Peter, Andrew, James and John, was probably a disciple of John the Baptist, and then transferred his allegiance to the Lord Jesus, as they did, John 1:36-42. Here he is being called to follow in a more formal way, and after a while he will be chosen as an apostle, and later still, as one of the approved gospel writers.
The Emperor had come along the highway to conquer the people, but Christ came that same way and captivated Matthew’s heart. He had come, not as a tyrant, but as a Bridegroom, verse 15. The Emperor had brought gloom and despondency on the people, but Matthew made a great feast when Christ called him, such was his joy. The Emperor consolidated an earthly empire, but Christ came to prepare the people for the Kingdom of heaven.
Matthew was well-fitted for his task of writing one of the gospels. His emphasis is on Christ as King, and so Matthew transferred from writing for the Roman Emperor to writing for, and about, the King of Kings. He is used to ensuring that his columns tally, so that at the end of the day what he has taken in tolls is accounted for. As he wrote his gospel, Matthew ensures we know that the New Testament agrees with the Old Testament, which is why he quotes so often from it in his gospel.
And He saith unto him, Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him- Luke tells us that before Matthew rose up to follow, he “left all”. Does this mean that he was careful to leave his employment with everything accounted for in an honest way? He did not recklessly abandon his work at that very instant, for that would reflect badly on Christ, and encourage the idea that He was working against the Romans. So Matthew had a new purpose in life, in the service of the King of kings Himself.
David had a person known as a recorder, or remembrancer, in his court, 2 Samuel 8:16, a man charged with recording matters that were worthy of remembrance. Matthew now becomes one of Christ’s remembrancers, for the Holy Spirit would, as the Lord said, “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”, John 14:26. We, in our turn, may remember also, as we read the inspired gospel records. They are not dependant on the memory of the gospel writers, (only two out of the four were present with Christ anyway), but on the work of the Holy Spirit.

(c) Verses 10-17 In Matthew’s house New Principle

If Israel is to be in harmony with God’s will, they must recognise that pleasing God does not consist of law-keeping.

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.

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house- Matthew modestly does not tell us that the house in question is his own, nor does he say that he has arranged a great feast. We might think from Matthew’s account that it was an ordinary meal. Luke however tells us that he made a feast for the Lord Himself, no doubt in gratitude for the honour of following Him. Matthew has surrendered his house to the furtherance of the Lord’s work, as all believers should. So when we read that he left all, it did not include abandoning his home, for it could be used for the Lord’s service, as Peter’s was. What he left was the service of the Romans, after putting his affairs in order. It would be unlikely that the Roman Emperor would come and sit in Matthew’s house, for it would not be grand enough for him, but the King of kings is happy to be there.
Behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples- no doubt some of these publicans were known to Matthew. Whether he invited them or they came because they wanted to be with Christ we are not told. It was the custom in Israel that anyone was free to enter another’s house without invitation. There would be seats around the outside of the room for this purpose. It says much for the attractiveness of Christ that the publicans and sinners do not seem to be content with the outside place, but “they came and sat down with Him and His disciples”. There is a strange mixture here, of hated tax-gatherers and despised sinners. Such is the power of the gospel that many of these people will be in the kingdom, as they pressed in to it.

9:11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

And when the Pharisees saw it- the Pharisees were especially concerned about separation, but the Lord exposed their hypocrisy, for they were not separate from the evil in their own hearts.
They said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? This is not a genuine search for truth, as if they wondered if their own policy of separation was misguided. It was the preparation for criticism, but they are forestalled by the Lord.

9:12 But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them- the Lord intervenes, perhaps to prevent the disciples giving a wrong answer, especially if they were overawed by the apparent learning and experience of the Pharisees.
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick- the Pharisees would no doubt class themselves as “they that be whole”, and not needing any adjustment as to their spiritual health. They would have been quick to label publicans and sinners as sick. But what if some of those publicans and sinners were believers, and are no longer sick? And what if the Pharisees were the sick ones? The Lord does not specify who is in each category, but leaves it to them to decide. And even if they decide the publicans are sick, then the reason He eats with them is so as to heal their souls as the Great Physician. What would men think of a doctor who refused to visit those who were ill?

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.

But go ye and learn what that meaneth- it is almost as if He takes control of the feast, and dismisses those who have come to spoil it. They need to go away and reflect on themselves and their condition.
I will have mercy, and not sacrifice- the words of God through the prophet Hosea were, “But I desired mercy, and not sacrifice”, Hosea 6:6. The Lord gives insight to Hosea that it was possible to be very careful about religious observance, such as bringing sacrifices, while all the time forgetting the attitude of heart that should be behind the sacrifice. It is not that sacrifices were unimportant, but that God preferred sacrifice with mercy to sacrifice without mercy. And by their criticism of the situation in Matthew’s house, the Pharisees showed they had no desire to show mercy to publicans and sinners, preferring to carry on with religious observance only. The Lord was of a different spirit, however. In fact, the greatest display of mercy would be when He “gave Himself an offering and a sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savour”, Ephesians 5:2.

9:14 Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?

Then came to Him the disciples of John- having instructed the Pharisees to “go and learn”, disciples of John now take their place. They still adhered to him, and had not transferred their allegiance to Christ.
Saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not? If the Pharisees questioned who should be the guests at the feast, these question whether there should be a feast at all. The fact that they link themselves with the Pharisees in this matter showed they were of a legal turn of mind, believing that outward observance was everything. Had not John come to bring the people to repentance, and was not fasting a sign of repentance? And did not Jesus preach repentance, (indeed, He had just said that He came to call sinners to repentance), so why did He not preach fasting as well? The fact that Christ was happy to be at a feast in His honour, did not mean that He did not fast in private at times.

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.

And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? Far from being a miserable time, Matthew’s feast had been turned into a wedding feast, for the Bridegroom was with them. Would it be suitable to be sad when He was there in their midst? The feast was a foretaste of kingdom joy, and He was at the centre of it and the cause of it. To not share in that joy was to not know that there was a great change brought about by His coming. These disciples of John were clinging to the old, and had not welcomed the new.
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast- unhappily the nation at large would not appreciate the Bridegroom’s presence, and He would be taken from them. God would withdraw His Son from the scene until they were ready to receive Him and appreciate Him. Great sorrow would come on the nation, and then they would fast, but not because of Him, but because of their trials. We learn from Zechariah 8:19 that Israel was fond of holding fasts to commemorate certain sad events in their history. They will do so again.

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.

No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment- the Lord continues the figure of the wedding feast, and envisages that a man is invited to be a guest at a wedding, but he has no new garment to wear. He realises, however, that to try to patch up his old garment with a piece of new cloth will be a disaster. It is not just that the garment is old, but that it has a rent. Something must be done if the man is to be suitable for the wedding.
For that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse- to put a piece of new cloth where the rent is will mean that the new piece will pull on the rent, and make it worse. The believer is said to have put off the old man, and put on the new man, Ephesians 4:22,24, where the verb “put off” has to do with taking off a garment. The old garment is likeness to Adam in character, whereas the new garment is likeness to Christ in character. The law was given to men in the flesh, and only resulted in the works of the flesh being done. The gospel brings men to likeness to Christ, but to try to “patch up” the old man is a disaster, for the two garments are incompatible.

9:17 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.

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles- not only does there need to be a new wedding garment, as befits the occasion, there needs to be new wine, to rejoice the heart of the wedding guests. The Lord Jesus said in the upper room regarding the wine of the new covenant, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom”, Matthew 26:29. The new wine of the new covenant cannot be contained by vessels used only to the old covenant wine. So it is that the Lord shall drink the wine new, for He will not carry over the old covenant into His kingdom. John’s disciples, and all who cling to the law, are old bottles, and can only hold old wine.
Else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish- just as the old wedding garment cannot stand having a new piece of cloth fastened to it, so the old wine-skins cannot hold the new wine successfully, so the skins split, the wine runs out, and the bottles are no longer any use. Law and grace are completely incompatible.
But they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved- the new wine is preserved because it does not spill, and the vessels are preserved because they are able to contain new wine without rending. The apostle Paul came across some of John’s disciples at Ephesus. Luke records it like this, “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve”, Acts 19:1-7.
These disciples of John were old vessels, and were wearing old garments. By baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus they were associated with Him in His burial and resurrection, and brought into the new things of Christianity. From that time on they would have the joy of the kingdom in their hearts, would “put on Christ”, and begin to display His character, and would be new vessels, able to contain the truths relative to the kingdom. They made a clean break with the past, and, being now indwelt by the Holy Spirit, were able to live a new sort of life.
Luke in his account of the Lord’s words about garments adds two things. First, that the piece of cloth the man was trying to put into an old garment was itself a piece of a new garment, Luke 5:36. Sadly, there are those who seem to be wearing the new garment of Christianity, as opposed to the old garment of Judaism, but wish to patch up the old garment instead of discarding it. There were those, for instance, who tried to make believers carry out the requirements of the law of Moses, Acts 15:5. This is a disastrous idea, but in various ways Christians currently do this, and do not live in the good of God’s grace. The epistle to the Galatians should convince us that this is not God’s way.
Luke also adds the words of Christ, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith ‘The old is better'”, verse 39. So in Acts 15:1 there were those who rejected altogether the idea of leaving the law, suggesting that a person could not be saved unless he also kept the law.
This teaching made a marked impression of Matthew, and the new doctrines he learnt were the Lord’s way of repaying him for inviting Him to his feast. Matthew has learnt that there is a great change happening, and that John the Baptist represents the end of the age of the old covenant, (for “the law and the prophets were until John”), and Christ the beginning of another, the age of the new covenant. And not only does this have relevance for today, when even Gentiles make receive the blessings of the New Covenant, but also for the future, when the nation of Israel will come into the good of it also, as foretold by Jeremiah. Matthew’s gospel has application to both now and the future. This is why we have headed the section as “New Principle”, for grace has replaced law as God’s mode of acting.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 9, VERSES 18 TO 38:

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:

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.

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.

9:32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

9:33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: 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.

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.

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.

(d) Verses 18-26
Jairus’s daughter  New Participation
Woman with issue New Privilege

The nation of Israel will need to be raised from its spiritual death, and also brought back from banishment into fellowship with God again.

Comments on the three gospel accounts:
1. Matthew connects these two incidents with what the Lord had been saying before. Mark links it with the Lord teaching by the seaside. Luke puts it directly after the return from healing the demoniacs.

2. We now have two incidents interwoven with one another. Both have to do with females, and both have the idea of twelve years connected with them. All three writers tell us the woman had an issue for twelve years, but only Mark tells us that girl was twelve years old, and then only at the end to explain why she was able to walk.

3. The girl began to live at the same time as the woman became ill.

4. Only Luke tells us the name of the girl’s father, and that he was a ruler of the synagogue. Matthew simply says he was a ruler. So the girl began to be associated with the synagogue twelve years before, but the woman was expelled from society and the synagogue because of her condition. Those with an issue of blood were banished outside the camp of Israel, Numbers 5:1-4.

5. Luke tells us that as Jairus came, the girl lay dying. Matthew tells us the man told the Lord she was “even now dead”. Such was her condition, he was sure she was dead by the time he reached the Saviour.

6. Luke tells us the people thronged him as he came with his request, so he had been held up by the crowds. To add to his grief, the Lord stays to heal the woman with an issue on His way to his house.

6:18 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.

While He spake these things unto them- Luke links the miracles with the return from the other side of the sea. Mark emphasises that it was nigh unto the sea and there were many people with Him. Matthew, however, links the miracles with the teaching about the change in God’s dealings with Israel, symbolised by new wine and new garments.
Behold, there came a certain ruler- Mark and Luke are more specific, and tell us he was one of the rulers of the synagogue, and that his name was Jairus. Matthew’s gospel is the gospel of authority, and here the one with authority in the synagogue is owning the superior authority of Christ, even though He had no official office in the religious life of Israel. The nation of Israel will do this in the future, for they will say, like Thomas, “My Lord and My God”, John 20:28. They will recognise that His Lordship derives from His Godhood. The reason why the nation is currently cast off is because they rejected the testimony His miracles gave to His Deity.
And worshipped Him, saying- this is a remarkable thing for a ruler of the synagogue to do, (Mark and Luke tell us he fell at His feet), for it might be understood as attributing Godhood to the carpenter from Nazareth. Whether he meant it in this way, or simply intended to give Him great respect, we are not told. What we do know is that the secret of future blessing for the nation of Israel is the recognition of who He is. Isaiah tells us “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”, Isaiah 25:9.
My daughter is even now dead- in Mark he said his daughter was at the point of death, (no doubt meaning that was her condition when he left her), and in Luke he said she lay a dying, (her condition was so advanced that there was no hope). Matthew tells us that the man believed that as he was speaking, she was dead.
But come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live- with this man there is a “but”, an alternative possibility. He firmly believes that the touch of Christ’s hand, the hand of authority, will bring her back. In Mark the ruler says “hands”, for Mark’s gospel of activity will emphasise His whole-hearted involvement in the recovery. In Luke, the ruler does not suggest what He should do, for he leaves it entirely to Christ.
His confidence in the Lord’s ability to even raise the dead, (for he said “she shall live”), explains why he had not remained at his daughter’s bedside as she lay dying. He looked beyond her death to what he believed the Lord could do. As far as the record goes, the Lord has not yet raised the dead in His ministry, but Jairus does not need to have seen it happen before; he trusts the Christ of God. In this he is like Abraham, who believed God would raise his son from the dead, even though it had not been done before. (Although Abraham had seen God at work in producing a son for him out of his dead body and Sarah’s, see Romans 4:17-22).
It is noticeable that in the three instances that are recorded of the Lord raising the dead, He did so with total control. When the woman of Shunem went to fetch Elisha so he could raise her dead son, she said to the young man driving her ass, “Slack not thy driving for me”, 2 Kings 4:24. There was an urgency about the request because she thought something needed to be done quickly. But with the Lord it is different. He stops to heal the woman with an issue. He stops to speak with the widow of Nain, Luke 7:13. He tarried two days where He was before going to raise Lazarus, John 11:6. He is in total command of the situation, and does not need to hurry.

9:19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did His disciples.

And Jesus arose, and followed him- Luke tells us that Jairus asked Him to come to his house. He does not rise quite so high as the centurion of chapter 8, who believed the Lord could heal from a distance, and in any case did not feel himself worthy that He should come under his roof. He was commended for faith greater than any in Israel had shown.
And so did His disciples- Jairus had already been hampered by the crowds as he tried to get to Christ, and now again their progress is slow because of the crowds.

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:

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years- Jairus must have been further frustrated by another delay. The words of Habukkuk are relevant, for he wrote, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry”, Habakkuk 2:3. And the writer to the Hebrews repeated the truth when he wrote, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye hae done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while,The nation of Israel will need to learn patience, and wait God’s time. The book of the Revelation calls it “the patience and the faith of the saints”, 13:10, and “the patience of the saints”, 14:12. The vision that Habakkuk saw will change into the sight of Christ appearing to their deliverance.
The double mention of twelve years links these two miracles together, and indicates that two things will run side by side in the future, until the nation of Israel knows the blessing of the New Covenant. This woman has for twelve years been banished from the society of Israel, and also from its religious life. The girl, however, through her father, had been in the good of the synagogue system, but had now lost it, for she had died. Twelve is the number of governmental discipline, and the nation of Israel has been under discipline from God for her rejection of His Son. The only way of relief is for them to receive Him.
Mark tells us that this woman had “suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse”. Luke the physician adds that she “had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any”. So the human physicians had caused her more suffering, had not made her at all better, that rather she grew worse, and she was now penniless, having spent all that she had. Luke tells us that she could not be healed either. She is beyond human help. Jeremiah was deeply affected by the condition of the people of his day, and he exclaimed, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah 8:22. The people saw in Him a man like Jeremiah, for like that prophet, He had deep sympathy and sorrow, Matthew 16:14. But whereas that prophet lamented that there was no cure and no physician for the “daughter” of his people, there is One who will call the woman with an issue “daughter”, and heal her.
Came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment- Jairus fell before Him, but this woman knows that she has been banished, and in deep humility takes the insignificant place, knowing she has no claim. She is like the woman who was a sinner, who “stood at His feet behind Him weeping”, Luke 7:38. Like leprosy, the law said only, “But if she be cleansed of her issue”, Leviticus 15:28. It was solely a work of God to remedy the situation, and this the woman recognises.
She knows she has a defiling complaint, as emphasised in Leviticus 15, so does not expect Him to touch her. But she does venture to touch, not His person, but His garment. Significantly, she touched the hem of His garment. Now Israelites were instructed to have a ribband of blue at the fringe of the border of their robe, Numbers 15:37-41. This was so that “ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them”, verse 39. In the case of the Lord it had a different meaning. For He came from heaven, and His ribband told this out to as many as realised who He really was. To touch His hem is to touch heaven.

9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.

For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole- she realises in her heart that this is all she has to do. She does not apply to Him as she had to the doctors, for the hem of their garments would not avail. She does not come with money, but ventures to gain a blessing from a mere touch. She does not speak, nor does she expect Him to even notice her. She has seen in Him one who can deal with matters completely.

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.

But Jesus turned Him about, and when He saw her- she has come up behind Him so as not to be noticed, but now what she tried to avoid has happened. The Lord will not allow a situation to arise where all and sundry simply touch His garment, or perhaps touch Him. He was ever circumspect in this matter. The only woman who touched Him during His public ministry did so with the hair of her head, which has no nerve endings and therefore cannot feel.
He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole- He does not cause her embarrassment by asking what she wanted Him to do, as with the leper and the blind man. This was perhaps why she had been so shy. There is no former sin raised here as with others. It is simply faith laying hold of the power and grace of the Man with the blue ribband, the Son of God from heaven. Jeremiah said of Jerusalem, representative of the nation, (who he called “the daughter of Zion”), “she hath no comforter. O Lord, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself”, Lamentations 1:9. In a day to come, in their extremity, they shall turn to the Lord and find He is a very present help in trouble. In that day the words of Isaiah will come to their mind, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins”, Isaiah 40:1,2.
And the woman was made whole from that hour- so what the physicians had not been able to do for twelve years, despite the money paid to them, the Saviour is able to do in an instant, for her blood had staunched the moment she touched Him, Luke tells us. It was not that she was healed of her immediate complaint temporarily. She was healed from that hour into the future, never to have the experience again.

9:23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house- Matthew resumes the account of the journey to Jairus’ house that has been interrupted by the incident with the woman. He does not tell us of the friends of Jairus who came to tell him his daughter has died. They clearly did not believe anything could be done in that case. Matthew pointedly omits the evidence of their unbelief. The Lord also expelled the weepers and wailers that it was customary to hire for such occasions. All false feelings must be excluded from the situation. Concern must be shown for the mother and the father in their hour of grief, so the Lord does not suffer the people to enter the house. He chooses who will be there, namely, the father and mother, and Peter, James and John, Luke 8:51. So there are six living persons, and one who is dead. In Luke we read that before the wailers had been removed, the Lord said, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise”. Every element of unbelief must be removed from the house so that the Lord may work unhindered. We read that in one place “He could do there no mighty work, save that He laid hands on a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief”, Mark 6:5,6. So it was not that His power failed on that occasion, for He did heal a few.
And saw the minstrels and the people making a noise- not only must unbelief be removed, but false emotion also. The artificial weeping must be excluded. In a day to come the nation of Israel shall weep and mourn with genuine sorrow for what they did to their Messiah when He came to them. John foresaw this when he wrote, “Behold He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen”, Revelation 1:7. The Lord said through Zechariah, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart”, Zechariah 12:10-14.

9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn.

He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth- there are those who think this means that the girl was only in a coma, and the Lord roused her from it. But this cannot be the case, for Luke tells us that when the Lord took her by the hand, “her spirit came again”. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that at death “then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it”, Ecclesiastes 12:7. And James confirms this, for he wrote, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also”, James 2:26.
Just as a person lays down and sleeps after a day’s activity, so that person’s body lays down in the sleep of death. But by the same token, just as a person rises up the next day, so man shall rise in the resurrection day, whether it be to life or damnation. The Bible does not teach soul sleep, for the believer is in conscious enjoyment of the presence of God, and the unbeliever is in conscious experience of the pains of hell.
And they laughed Him to scorn- sadly, there are still those who laugh and scorn the idea of resurrection. Such persons would do well to face up to the teaching of Scripture on the subject. A reading of 1 Corinthians 15 with unbiased mind would be a good place to start.

9:25 But when the people were put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

But when the people were put forth- the Lord was deeply affected by the unbelief of men, as we see when He went back to Nazareth the second time. Mark tells us that “He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands on a few sick folk, and healed them”, Mark 6:5. So the defect was not in Himself, for He did heal a few. The fault lay with the people. In a future day, the spirit of unbelief will need to leave the nation if they are to come into the good of His salvation.
He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose- simply by the exercise of His Divine power, the Lord brings back the spirit of this child again. It had been in the care of His Father, who had released it as the Father and the Son work in harmony, as ever. He had said, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will”, John 5:21. Of course prophets in the Old Testament and apostles in the New Testament raised the dead, but they did so only because it was the will of God to use them in this work. Here the Lord Jesus claims to quicken “whom He will”. It is His decision and action, but in harmony with the Father, of course. The word quicken has altered in meaning; it means to make alive. Raising the dead has to do with the body as it is caused to stand up again, whereas making alive has more to do with the return of the spirit into the body.
Jairus asked Him to lay His hand on her, (Matthew), or to lay his hands on her, (Mark), whereas Luke tells us that in the event He took her by the hand and lifted her up. Matthew emphasizes the single hand of the King, with authority, whereas Mark stresses the work that was being done. In Luke, however, the sympathetic feelings of Christ come out, for as the child is quickened in life again, she does not do so with a man leaning over her, but rather one helping her to adjust to normal life again.
Luke tells us that “she arose straightway”, Luke 8:55. She resumes her former life again immediately, not needing a period of recovery. So it is that the Lord demonstrates that He is the Son of God, for we are told that He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”, Romans 1:4. This is not resurrection from among the dead, but the resurrection of dead persons, Himself included. See for instance, John 11:4. Every time a dead person was raised by Christ, when He Himself was raised, and when the dead are raised at the resurrection, there is a powerful testimony to His Deity. See John 5:17-31.
But there is also testimony to His Kingship-authority, for when He sets up His kingdom, He will destroy one by one the enemies that oppose Him, until everything is under His feet. At that point there will be one remaining enemy, “for the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”, 1 Corinthians 15:26. So the raising of the daughter of Jairus is the sign that His kingdom will eradicate all its enemies.
Not only is there a testimony here to the Deity of Christ and also His supreme kingship, there is a metaphor for what will be true of the nation of Israel in a day to come. The apostle Paul asks the question about Israel as a nation, “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”, Romans 11:15. When the nation is reinstated to its rightful place, when they recognize their Messiah, it will be as dramatic as a person rising from the dead.

9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land- it is interesting that Matthew should speak of “that land”, for Isaiah had spoken of Immanuel’s land, Isaiah 8:8,and there is a foretaste here of a time when His rights will be acknowledged, and the land will be His. He had come to His own things, including His own land, but His own people had received Him not, but in the future they will reverse their decision.

(e) Verses 27-31 Two blind men New Perception

The nation will need to have its blindness regarding Christ removed, so that they see clearly who He really is.

9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him- again Matthew is interested in showing us that there was adequate testimony to the works of the King. Two or three witnesses were needed to establish the truth of a matter, and when they have their sight restored, they will be living testimony to the power of the King. Isaiah had prophesied that when Messiah comes to save Israel, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing”, Isaiah 35:5,6. So when He did these things during His ministry, the King was demonstrating what the writer to the Hebrews called “the powers of the world to come”, Hebrews 6:5.
Crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us- it is not just a question of power; there is sympathy too, for they, like several of the blind men in the gospels, call Him Son of David. Only the woman from Tyre and Sidon called Him this in connection with a miracle, Matthew 12:21,22. Now we read about the taking of the stronghold of Zion by David, as follows: “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house”, 2 Samuel 5:6-8.
It seems that the Jebusites had assembled blind and lame persons in the stronghold, thinking that David would not be so heartless as to attack such defenceless persons. They were wrong, however, for far from being merciful to them, David deliberately offered a chief position in his army to the one who not only killed the Jebusites, but the blind and the lame also. But this was not all, for such was the hatred of David for the blind and the lame, that he banned them from the temple as well, so his hatred was ongoing. (In marked contrast, the blind and the lame were unafraid to come into the temple and be healed by the Lord there, Matthew 21:14). No doubt his hatred was because they were not able to fight, and he was a man of war and held them in contempt.
So it is that David had a reputation for hating the blind and the lame, but what of the Son of David? He was the opposite, and these blind men sensed it. It is noteworthy that when Ezra wrote the books of Chronicles, he did so to encourage the remnant who had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. As they pondered the reasons why they had been taken into captivity, they must have realised that part of the problem was the failure of the kings of Judah, and they may have wondered whether things would be any different in the future. So it is that as Ezra writes the history of the kings of Judah, he omits those features that made them unlike the Messiah-King they were longing for. And one of the things he omits is reference to David hating the blind, even though he records the taking of Zion, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9. So to hate the blind was to not be like the Ideal King, so Ezra omits the reference. Were these blind men intelligent enough to reason this out from the books of Chronicles?

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.

And when He was come into the house- this is the fifth house in the chapter, and would emphasise that through the ministry of Christ illustrated in this passage, the nation of Israel will come home to their proper place before God.
The blind men came to Him- He has deliberately tested their faith by not responding to them until they had followed Him into the house. He does not want publicity amongst the nation, lest there be a popular uprising to make Him king.
And Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto Him, Yea, Lord- in the case of the leper, he expressed his faith by asserting that the Lord was able to make him clean, 8:2. The man sick of the palsy, and his four friends, showed their faith by their determination, and the Lord saw their faith, 9:2. The woman with the issue expressed her faith by touching Him. There is a difference here, however, for they are asked if they believe, even though they seem to do so because they have persisted in following Him, even into the house.
The scripture tells us that “blindness in part is happened to Israel”, Romans 11:25. It is not partial blindness for all of them, but blindness to that part of the nation which rejects their Messiah. God had warned this would happen when He instructed Isaiah to “Go, and tell this people, ‘Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not’. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed”, Isaiah 6:9,10. So they would hear things, but not understand, and see things, but not perceive. This happened when Christ came, for His ministry consisted of teaching, (what they could hear), and and miracle-working, (what they could see). Sadly they chose to close their ears to the truth He taught, and close their eyes to works He did, refusing to see the significance of them. As a result, God condemned those who refused to see to be blind. And those who refused to hear to be deaf. This happened at first when the Lord began to speak in parables. His disciples asked Him why, and He replied, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand”, Luke 8:10. This is a partial fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy. The fulfilment of it came when the nation finally rejected their Messiah by crucifying Him. John writes, “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him. That the saying of Esaias might be fulfilled, which he spake, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, ‘He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them'”, John 12:37-40.
Because they refused to hear the report Christ brought, and closed their eyes to the revelation of the arm of the Lord as it was manifest in His miracle-working, God has judicially blinded the nation. The apostle Paul gave the Jews who came to him in Rome a final warning about this, as he quoted extensively from Isaiah chapter six in Acts 28:25-29. We read, “the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves”, verse 29.
As a result of this judicial blindness, opportunity is given to the Gentiles to hear the gospel and believe. When the full total of those who will do that has been reached, then God will resume His dealings with Israel, for “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”, Romans 11:25. Just as it was because of national unbelief they were blinded, so it will be national belief that will open their eyes to the truth their Messiah taught them long before. We see now why there is the enquiry about whether they believed, for unbelief blinds, but faith opens the eyes. They do not have to see to believe. Rather, like the psalmist, they could say, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”, Psalm 27:13.

9:29 Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

Then touched He their eyes- He is glad to associate closely with their faith, and touches the part that their faith believed could be remedied. Our eyes are very sensitive, and the body has mechanisms in place to instinctively protect our eyes from harm, but the touch of the Creator represents no danger to their eyes. Again there is the contrast with the harsh and cruel attitude of David to the blind.
Saying, According to your faith be it unto you- again their faith is emphasised, for they are said to be healed according to their faith, and not according to His power to heal.

9:30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

And their eyes were opened- thus the Messiahship of Christ is demonstrated once again, for He had been anointed to recover sight to the blind, Luke 4:18. As the prophet had said, “then shall the eyes of the blind be opened”, Isaiah 35:5. He could open the eyes of the individual, but also will one day open the eyes of the nation.
And Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it- since the opening of eyes was a special mark of the Messiah, it would arouse strong feelings and fervour among the multitudes, especially as the blind men had addressed Him as Son of David, with all its connections with national honour. This might result in a popular uprising, hence the command to not tell. Presumably this is in a relative sense, since the fact they could now see was not something they could hide. They were not to use their sight as a tool for widespread evangelism.

9:31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country.

But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country- we can understand their enthusiasm, but it was “zeal of God”, but it was not “according to knowledge”, Romans 10:2. Such zeal was displayed by Israel all the while they went about to establish their own righteousness because they rejected the gospel. It is not appropriate for those whose eyes of the understanding have been enlightened, Ephesians 1:18.

(f) Verses 32-34 Dumb man with devil New Praise

The nation of Israel will need to be delivered from the influence of the Evil One, and enabled to praise God as they ought. Sadly, not all the nation will be delivered, and these are represented in this incident by the Pharisees as they blasphemed Christ.

9:32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil- no doubt the dumbness of this man has been brought about by the demon possession, for as soon as the devil was cast out he could speak. It is the purpose of Satan to prevent men from praising God, and speaking of Him to others. Before his fall it seems he had led the praise of heaven, for we read “the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created”, Ezekiel 28:13. Since his rebellion, however, he has sought to attract to himself the worship that is due to God. We see this even in the temptation of the Lord Jesus, for he offered Him the glory of the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worship. Of course the Lord Jesus, zealous for His Father’s honour, refused to give him this worship, using the words of scripture, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve”, Matthew 4:10.
In the future, however, the antichrist will readily do what Christ refused to do, and we read, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all”, Daniel 11:37. We might think from this that he will attract worship to himself, and in one sense he will do so, for all shall be forced to worship the beast and his image, Revelation 13:8. But just as the worship that is directed to idols really goes to the devil that lurks behind the idol, so the worship that is directed to the beast will really honour Satan who has given him his position of world-wide dominance. We read in Revelation 13:4 that “They worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast”. So it is that Daniel goes on to say, “But in his estate shall he honour the god of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strongholds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory”, Daniel 11:39.
Such will be the situation after Christ has taken His church to be with Himself in heaven. The nation of Israel will find themselves dominated by the Devil’s man. They refused the one who came in His Father’s name, and will accept the one who will come in his own name, even the antichrist, John 5:43. He will confirm a covenant with them to allow them to carry on their worship for a time, but then will break that agreement and set himself up as the object of worship, Daniel 9:27. So it will come to pass that the nation of Israel, who should be ruled by God’s man, shall be ruled by Satan’s man.
Later on the Lord will again be accused by the Pharisees of casting out spirits by Satan’s power. He will respond with the warning to them, as rulers of the nation, that “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation”,12:43-45. So the nation of Israel is destined to be in a critical condition, and will be dominated by the powers of evil.

9:33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake- there is no detail given by Matthew as to what was said or done, simply the result, for the man is now able to praise God as he ought. Only Matthew records this incident so we cannot consult the other gospels for details. Clearly, Matthew’s main purpose is to show that Isaiah’s word is partially being fulfilled, for “the tongue of the dumb shall sing” in a future kingdom-day, whereas this dumb man simply spake. The time will come when the hallelujah psalms will be sung, and the whole earth shall praise the Lord. See Psalms 146-150.
And the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel- so the man spake to prove he was released from the power of the enemy, the multitudes marvelled as they saw the power that had been manifest in the midst of Israel. For God is going to do a new thing, and rescue His people of Israel finally from their mortal enemy the Devil.

9:34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils- sadly there is a “but”, for the praise is not total. The Pharisees had something to say also, for they were unmoved by the display of power. Instead of recognising that God was working in their midst, they attributed what the Lord had done to the power of the enemy. They would do this later on, in Matthew 12:24, as we have noted.

(g) Verses 35-38 Sheep without shepherd New Protector

The nation will need to be delivered from hirelings like the Pharisees, and led into blessing by the Good Shepherd Himself.

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.

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages- the King is not aloof and distant, hiding Himself away in a palace, but mingles with His potential subjects. He is not interested in drawing a crowd, for He goes to the villages as well as the cities. He desires the blessing of all.
Teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom- he was not a rabble-rouser, starting a political revolution, but taught and preached in the orthodox places, where there were those who professed to love God and seek His truth. The apostles did this too, preaching in situations where the word of God could be made known in a dignified and calm environment.
Note that He taught first, setting out the principles of His kingdom, no doubt showing how it differed from the kingdoms of men. Having done this, He preached the gospel of the kingdom, announcing the opportunity for men to enter the kingdom by the new birth. He did not preach, and then teach, for men were to enter the kingdom as those who had been informed of its nature and its demands. We make a mistake if we preach without teaching. The exhortation to believe must be on the basis of truth taught. This the apostles did also, for we read they “ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ”, Acts 5:42.
And healing every sickness and every disease among the people- not only was there no limit to His interest, for He went to every city and village, but there was no limit to His power, for He healed every sickness and every disease. And thus the words of Isaiah are partially fulfilled, as Matthew has already noticed, “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”, Isaiah 53:4, or as Matthew renders it, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses”, 8:17. Matthew summarises the miracles, but Isaiah shows how that the Man of Sorrows associated Himself with the sorrows of the people, and felt for them. So it was that the two major parts of Christ’s earthly ministry were carried on, His words that none other had said, and His works that none other had done, John 15:22-24.

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.

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- this is a figure of speech that is used in the Old Testament. The prophet Micaiah brought a message of judgement to Ahab, king of Israel in the words, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd”, 1 Kings 22:17. The king recognised that this was a judgement against himself, and soon he was killed in battle, and his subjects left without a king.
God’s ideal ruler is a shepherd-king, and this the Lord Jesus shall show Himself to be in a day to come. Soon after He was born, when Herod asked his wise men where the Messiah was to be born, they quoted from Micah 5:2, and said, “Thou Bethlehem…out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule My people Israel”, Matthew 2:6. The word governor means one who leads, guides, and goes before, exactly the things the Good Shepherd said He would do in relation to His sheep, John 10:3,4. And in confirmation of that, the word rule means to “shepherd, guide, govern”.
T
he people were fainting figuratively, because their so-called shepherds were starving them of nourishing food. They were scattered, because there was no-one with moral authority to lead them, or indeed have the interest to do so.

9:37 Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Then saith He unto His disciples- He will not always be present with them, for the rulers would reject Him, and He knew a long period would elapse before His reign would begin on earth. He speaks to His disciples, for it would be these who He would leave behind to take up the work.
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few- He alone can be the King who gathers His scattered people, so there is a change of metaphor, from shepherd to reaper. His people must be content to be ordinary labourers. Whilst the authorities in Israel largely opposed Him, we read that “the common people heard Him gladly”. They recognised in Him the one who could feed their souls. As the men of Samaria crowded out of the city to come to hear Him, He said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”, John 4:35.

9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest- David was the shepherd-king, but his great grandfather was Boaz, the lord of the harvest. He was in control of the reaping as well as the winnowing. It is interesting to notice that the first person mentioned in the Book of Ruth is Elimelech, whose name means “God is King”, so even though the judges ruled, and there was no king in Israel, yet the concept was preserved that God is King. Sadly, Elimelech did not live up to his name. The last person mentioned in the book is David, God’s eventual choice of king. And this came about because Boaz, the lord of the harvest, brought in redemption.

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