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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 9

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-13

25 Ever and anon, while revealing His own glory and exercising the faith of His followers, our

Lord presents a marvelous prophetic picture of the course of the kingdom proclamation. Here we have a preview, on a small scale and in physical symbols, of that terrible time of affliction, which will threaten to engulf His disciples at the end of the eon, just before His advent. The winds are the spiritual forces of wickedness, figured by the great dragon ( Rev_12:3 ), the sea stands for the nations of mankind, led by the wild beast ( Rev_13:1 ). Together they will wellnigh destroy all hopes of the kingdom. Then it is that Christ will come and rebuke the nations and the spirit powers and usher in the calm of the kingdom, where there will be no more war, the nations will be subdued and Satan will be bound. Till then there will be no possible guarantee of peace among the nations of the earth, notwithstanding every effort to stop war.

28-34 Compare Mar_5:1-20 ; Luk_8:26-39

28 Vaticanus reads this “Gadarenes”. Sinaiticus reads “Gazarenes”, but the editor (S2) changed this to “Gorgesenos”, as we have it. Gadara was a well-known city, but is so far from the shores of Galilee, that it was quite possible for the narrative to have been enacted there. The hogs would have had to run down a mountain, cross the Jermuk river, itself enough to drown them, up its banks, then several miles across a level plain into the water. At one place on the eastern shore of the lake, at a ruined town called Chersa by the Arabs, all the topography is in perfect keeping with the narrative. Behind the town tombs were cut in the rock. A steep mountain rises almost immediately out of the water, so that the hogs, rushing down, could not step on the narrow beach, but plunged headlong into the lake. It seems evident that this is the true locality and the name Gergesone seems most likely to have been the original off the traditional “Chersa”, as it is now known. Gadarene seems misleading, hence we do not use it.

31 As swine's flesh was unclean, the keeping of hogs was illegal, and no wrong was done to their owners by sending them to destruction in the waters of the lake.

1-8 Compare Mar_2:1-12 ; Luk_5:17-26 .

5 Paralysis and all other human ills are but an effect, of which sin is the cause. Not, indeed, the personal sins of the paralytic, but the sins of mankind in general, for all men are born with a heritage of sin and live in an atmosphere heavy with wrong-doing. But the great truth here taught is that the physical blessings of the coming kingdom have a secure basis in the pardon of sins. So, in this scene, which suggests the believing remnant of Israel who receive Him as their Messiah, the Lord seems to overlook the paralysis at first, and pardons his sins. The delay, and the unbelief of the scribes, suggest the apostasy of the nation and the consequence postponement of physical blessings till the kingdom comes and the authority of the Son of Mankind to pardon sins is in full exercise, followed by the health, strength, and vigor which will be the portion of mankind in the millennium. If human governments would get beyond the outbreaks and symptoms and deal with sin they would not need to be concerned with all its evil effects. They can never bring health and righteousness.

9-15 Compare Mar_2:13-20 ; Luk_5:27-35 .

9 It is a most striking exhibition of God's grace and wisdom, that such a man as Matthew should be chosen for an apostle, and_ furthermore should be empowered to write this account of Israel's King. This was contrary to all the dictates of human wisdom. Matthew was a “publican” or tribute collector, a class more hated, perhaps, than aliens, and more despised than sinners. The Roman government did not collect its tribute from the nations under its yoke directly, but farmed it out to subordinates. A district was sold for what it would bring, and the collector received his wages by assessing as much more as he could get. Hence they amassed wealth at the expense of their poor countrymen and for the benefit of a foreign government. Yet God chose such a traitor to his country to describe the glories of the King! His fitness was not by birth but of God.

11 See Mat_11:19 Luk_15:2 .

12 The strong need to be taught their weakness, and the just their sinfulness. Then, and not till then, are they in conscious need of a Saviour.

13 See Mat_12:7 ; Hos_6:6 ; Mic_6:6-8 ; 1Ti_1:15 .

Verses 14-38

14 It is a most difficult lesson for the saints to learn, that God's dealings with His creatures change, and that their conduct should change accordingly, John's disciples thought that the Lord's followers should do as they did. But the coming of Christ entirely changed the circumstances. He was the Bridegroom. They were the Bride. John had introduced them. How unbecoming it would be for them to fast! They should feast! And this they did. The Lord appeared at Cana, and at many another feast.

16-17 Compare Mar_2:21-22 ; Luk_5:36-39 .

16 John's ministry was the old cloak, the old wine skins. The Lord's ministry was the unshrunk cloth, the new wine skins. They cannot be associated without disaster. How much more true is this today! Since John's time and our Lord's teaching, transcendent truth has been revealed which He could not impart to them then. Our conduct should be conformed to this higher and later revelation. Yet most of the saints seem satisfied with doing as John's disciples, or as our Lord's. No wonder the cloth tears, and their covering is ragged. No wonder the wine bursts the skins, and their joy is spilled. Let us keep the new wine which we have received in the new containers God has provided. Let us live and act in accord with the highest revelation, given in Paul's epistles.

18-23 Compare Mar_5:22-43 ; Luk_8:41-56 .

20 See Num_15:37-41 .

20 How often is there a significant interruption in the performance of a miracle! The dead daughter, representing Israel as a nation, waits for His coming. So Ezekiel portrays Israel before His glorious appearing. They are dead. But on the way a woman secretly touches the tassel of His cloak. The tassel speaks of that which finishes the cloak and corresponds to His work on Golgotha, where He finished the robe of righteousness which clothed Him. Contact with that finished work saved many a sinner during the interval between His promise to come again and His advent. While the present interval of grace was a profound secret, and was not even intimated in this touching scene, yet we have here a definite hint of the direction in which God's grace would flow if hindered by the apostasy of Israel.

27 Blindness is to this day a very common affliction in eastern lands. The glare of the sun or lack of care in infancy costs many their sight. These men evidently had become blind physically, yet had spiritual sight sufficient to see their Saviour, Hence He casts the burden of belief on them. This is in marked contrast to the next case, for the deaf-mute was incapable of faith so long as he was obsessed by the demon.

32 One of the chief features of the coming kingdom will be the absence of Satan and other evil spirits. So every case of casting out demons is a demonstration of His power to take the throne. There could be no better proof that He was the Messiah than His power over the unseen domains of darkness. In the time of the end His great opponent will be the wild beast on the human side ( Rev_13:1 ). But it is the dragon that gives the beast his power and throne and authority ( Rev_13:2 ). Hence, not only is the wild beast arrested ( Rev_19:20 ), but the dragon is bound for the thousand years ( Rev_20:2 ).

34 On another occasion we are told that this chief of the demons is Beezeboul ( Mat_12:24 ). This is the blasphemy against the holy Spirit, which cannot be pardoned in this eon or that which is to come ( Mat_12:31 ). The reason for this is very easily seen. These signs were the powers of the coming eon, intended to convince the nation that Messiah was present, and induce them to believe on Him. Now, if the very signs which should have demonstrated His Messiahship are taken to indicate that He is in league with the powers of darkness, it is impossible that they should repent and believe. The unpardonable sin consists in ascribing to sinister spirits what is the work of God's holy Spirit. In this day there is the opposite danger of ascribing all supernatural manifestations to the holy Spirit. The spirits must be tested by the word of God. That their teaching and work is a very close imitation, so close as to deceive the great majority of the saints, is according to Paul's predictions concerning the end time. We know that, somewhere in Christendom today, the demons are deceiving the saints, and the fact that they do not know it does not alter it.

35 Compare Mar_6:6 ; Luk_8:1-3 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 9". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-9.html. 1968.
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