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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 9

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Jesus got into the boat. He returns across the lake to Capernaum, where he made his home.

Verse 2


Some people brought him a paralyzed man. This man was eager to be healed, and had his friends bring him to Jesus. Jesus saw how much faith. Mark’s account says that they made a hole in the roof and let the man down (because of the crowd) (Mark 2:1-12). Your sins are forgiven. Note Jesus says “are forgiven.” Jesus had this authority over sin.

Verse 3


Then some teachers of the Law. They scented heresy, and had come from Jerusalem to check into this “Prophet of Galilee” (Luke 5:17). The “Teachers of the Law” were the theologians, the official interpreters of Scripture, and also the judges, legislators and politicians—therefore the “opinion-makers” of Israel. This man is talking against God. Because Christ forgave sins, which only God could do. If Jesus were only a human, they would have been right in this. But Jesus was the Eternal Logos (See 1 Timothy 3:16), This was the beginning of the opposition which would end in the Cross. On this charge of “talking against God,” the Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court) would condemn Jesus to death (Matthew 26:65).

Verse 4


Jesus knew. He knew their thinking, and the fact that they were wrong about him.

Verses 5-6


Is it easier to say. There was no way they could test his claim to forgive sins, even though this was the more difficult thing to do. But the order to “Get up and walk” would be immediately visible. He states that if he can order the man to walk, he can also forgive his sins. I will prove to you. By doing the thing that can be tested. Son of Man. See note on Matthew 8:20; also Daniel 7:13. Has authority on earth. Matthew 28:18. God the Father had given him this authority, and sent him to do just this (John 3:16-17). We can “excuse” sin, but God can forgive it—which means pronouncing the sinner “not guilty.” So, to prove his claim, he tells the man to “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”

Verse 7


The man got up and went home. This is a parable of sin and salvation. The paralyzed man can symbolize the sinner, unable to help himself (John 6:44-45; John 15:5); he showed his faith by coming to Jesus (Psalms 25:15; Psalms 86:2; Psalms 86:7 : James 2:22); and God’s grace is shown in the ability to obey the command, received in the very attempt to comply with it (1 Peter 1:22; Philippians 4:13).

Verse 8


When the people saw it. “And his title will be: Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6).

Verse 9


He saw a tax collector. Matthew introduces himself. He is also called Levi (Luke 5:27). It was his duty to collect taxes for the Occupation Government of the Romans. Tax collectors were hated, because they represented a foreign power, and also because they were often unfair, and dishonest. However, a few were honest (Luke 19:8). Matthew got up and followed him. Peter, Andrew, James and John were also called from their business. Matthew was probably a disciple of John, as they were, and was also a disciple of Christ as well. This is a formal call to be an apostle.

Verse 10


While Jesus was having dinner at his house. Matthew prepared a big feast and invited many people to be at it (Luke 5:29). Tax collectors and outcasts. Tax collectors are mentioned in the previous verse. The outcasts were those who had been expelled from the synagogue. The strict Jew would not eat with such as these. An outcast was termed a “sinner.”

Verse 11


Some Pharisees saw this. It is not implied that the Pharisees were invited to the feast, but they were always looking for heresy. Why does your teacher? Tax collectors and outcasts were considered “heathen” by the strict Jew (compare Acts 11:3; Galatians 2:12).

Verse 12


Jesus heard them and answered. What he says, means: “If these people are as sinful as you say, then they are in great need of a Savior.” (The strict Jews though of themselves as being perfect, and despised everyone else (Luke 18:19).

Verse 13


Go and find out. Hosea 6:6. They needed to learn what this meant. God is more pleased by kindness and helpfulness, than he is by ceremonial acts. Christ came to be the world’s Savior!

Verse 14


Why is it? Some of the disciples of John the Baptist really sided in with the Pharisees, and would not follow Christ. The Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12), and these did so too. They believed there was religious merit to be gained by this, and they could not understand why the followers of Jesus did not fast also.

Verse 15


Jesus answered. Fasting is a sign of sorrow. Jesus answers that this is not a time for sorrow now, because the bridegroom is there with them. But the time will come. He speaks of the crushing sorrow they will feel when he is crucified and buried. Real fasting takes place only when there is a need for it (see Acts 13:2; Acts 14:23; 2 Corinthians 6:5; 2 Corinthians 11:27).

Verse 16


No one patches up. Two illustrations follow, which show that Christianity was not intended to be “Judaism patched up.” New cloth. UNSHRUNK—it would shrink and tear a bigger hole in the old cloth.

Verse 17


Nor does anyone pour. Wine was kept in skin “bottles.” New wine would ferment and burst the old skins that had become rigid.

Verse 18


A Jewish official came to him. One of the synagogue elders, an official who convened the congregation, preserved order, and who invited the readers and speakers. Mark gives his name as Jairus. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all give this. From them we learn that this girl was twelve years old, that she was dying as he started to go to Jesus, and that she died while he was speaking.

Verse 19


So Jesus got up. Jesus is going to the house of Jairus to make the girl live again.

Verse 20


A certain woman. On the way, another miracle takes place. W. H. Thompson, MD., feels this account gives special comfort to those women who suffer similarly. This woman had spent all her money on many doctors, but none had been able to cure her. Touched the edge of his cloak. A cloak was a square or oblong piece of cloth, worn around the shoulders.

Verse 21


She said to herself. The Jews had a superstition about the edge of a cloak. Sharing this, the woman touched it in hope of receiving a cure for her disease.

Verse 22


Your faith has made you well. Christ’s power was the cause, but he recognizes her faith as an active faith, and so speaks these words.

Verse 23


So Jesus went into the official’s house. He healed the woman on the way here. It was the custom among the Jews to hire musicians and mourners to play sad music and scream and cry to show the sadness of the death.

Verse 24


She is only sleeping. Jesus does not deny the reality of death. He means to say that death will be followed by the raising from death, just as people wake up from sleep. They all started making fun of him. They knew the child was dead, and they did not understand what Jesus meant.

Verse 25


And she got up. Peter, James, John, and the parents were allowed to stay (Luke 8:51). He took her hand and said: “Get up, child!” (sea Mark 5:41). Immediately she got up—fully recovered.

Verse 26


The news. Mark’s account emphasized the amazement of the parents—which the three apostles probably shared,

Verse 27


Two blind men. Only Matthew gives this. Blindness is very common under the burning sun and blinding sands of the East. Blind beggars were very common, due to the lack of medical care. Have mercy on us. They called him “Son of David,” which implies they considered him the Messiah.

Verse 28


Do you believe that I can do this? They follow him into the house and come up to him. What Jesus asks them, requires a confession of their faith. They give it in their answer.

Verse 29


May if happen. Faith is the hand that reaches out to seize what God offers.

Verses 30-31


Don’t tell this to anyone. The fact that they could now see, would attract attention. But they do not obey Jesus’ order. Note three things about Jesus: (1) He is the Life. He wakes the dead, and He grants spiritual life. (2) He is Health. Disease, sorrows, and sins—which no man can heal—disappear at his touch. (3) He is the Light. He speaks, and blind eyes see. He speaks, and a new world opens to the spiritually blind.

Verses 32-33


A man who could not talk. Compare (Luke 11:14) Physical and spiritual illness combined. See note on Matthew 8:29. We never saw the like in Israel. No prophet had ever done such wonders as these!

Verse 34


But the Pharisees said. They were always looking for trouble. It is the chief of the demons. They meant: “It isn’t God working through him, he uses the power of the Devil.”

Verse 35


So Jesus went around. He took his ministry into new areas.

Verse 36


His heart was filled with pity for them. Our Lord felt very strongly the needs of every human being. Because they were worried and helpless. The Pharisees were supposed to be the “shepherds of Israel,” but they had no love. The people were left without guidance or help of any kind.

Verse 37


There is a large harvest. First the people were symbolically “wandering sheep without a shepherd.” Now he speaks of them as a “ripe harvest,” about to be lost unless someone gathers it into the storage barns.

Verse 38


Pray to the owner. The owner is Christ. To pray for “workers” is to make yourself a worker also. When we pray to the Lord for anything, we must be willing to do our part to make it come true.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 9". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/matthew-9.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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