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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Matthew 9



Other Authors
Verses 1-38

THE GERGESENE PEOPLE not desiring His presence, He again crossed the sea, and was at once met by further cases of human need. In Matthew 9:1-38 we are shown how He wrought deliverance for the man sick of the palsy, the diseased woman, the daughter of Jairus, the two blind men, and the dumb man possessed with a demon—again a five-fold exhibition of the power of the kingdom that had drawn near in His presence.

In the first of these cases the Lord plainly stated the connection that existed between the miracle He wrought for the body and the corresponding spiritual blessing; the one easily seen, the other unseen. In response to the faith of the men who brought the paralytic, the Lord went straight to the root of the mischief and pronounced forgiveness of sins. When this was challenged, He proved His power to forgive by His power to transform the man’s bodily condition. His critics could neither forgive the sins nor cure the palsy. He could do both. The crowd saw it and glorified God.

In verses Matthew 9:9-17 we get the incident concerning Matthew himself. The transaction recorded in verse Matthew 9:9 may almost be called a miracle by any who are aware of the binding power exerted on the human mind by money. Matthew was actually seated in his tax office, engaged in the congenial task of receiving the cash, when he heard two words from the lips of Jesus— “Follow Me.” The “ME” became so great in his eyes that the money was displaced, and its charm broken—a wonderful thing indeed! He arose and followed Jesus.

It was in his house that Jesus sat at meat with publicans and sinners and His disciples; so now he was disbursing money instead of receiving it. The other evangelists tell us this, though Matthew, with becoming modesty, does not mention it. The whole proceeding outraged the Pharisees, but this gave occasion for the concise statement as to His mission. The Pharisees had overlooked the word of the Lord through Hosea, that He preferred the exercise of mercy to the offering of ceremonial sacrifices—a word which many a modern Pharisee overlooks—and they were ignorant of His mission to the spiritually sick, in calling sinners to repentance. Had He come to call “the righteous,” the Pharisees no doubt would have come forward in crowds; only to be rejected to a man, since “the righteous” according to the Divine standard do not exist.

The question raised by John’s disciples led to a declaration which supplemented this. Having called sinners to repentance He attached them to Himself as “the children of the bridechamber,” and led them into a position of liberty, as contrasted with legal observances. In the coming days of His absence there would be another kind of fasting. But there could be no real mixture between that which He newly brought and the old law system. The new wine of the kingdom must be contained in new skins. If the attempt is made to restrain the expansive grace of the kingdom within legal forms, the result is disastrous. The grace is lost and the forms are ruined.

Even while He spake these things other incidents supervened, which in some measure serve as an illustration of His words. On His way to raise the daughter of Jairus, there intervened the aggressive faith of the diseased woman. She was one of the sick ones who needed the Physician. Her action of faith held up the programme, but what was that to the One who delights in mercy and not sacrifice? Her faith was acknowledged, and she was instantly whole. Then when the programme was resumed, and the house of Jairus reached, the prescribed, usual course of affairs was brushed aside by Jesus. The bottles of Jewish custom were quickly broken by the power of His grace. He said, “Give place,” and everything had indeed to give place to the power of life which He wielded: and the dead child was restored.

The cry of the two blind men (verse Matthew 9:27) had in it the accents of faith. They recognized Him as the promised Son of David. He recognized their faith, and challenged it. They responded and affirmed their belief in His power. Hence, in this case, He granted their prayer, according to their faith. He knew their faith was real; and we know it to have been so, for at once their eyes were opened. Let us each ask ourselves, if my requests are to be answered according to my faith; what shall I get?

Sin has reduced man to helplessness; it has rendered him spiritually diseased and dead and blind; but it has also rendered him dumb towards God. Bound by the devil, he cannot speak. When the man, in verse Matthew 9:32, was brought to Jesus the demonic power which lay at the root was dealt with. The cause being reached, the effect at once disappeared. The man spoke, and the crowd marvelled. They had never before seen or heard of such deliverances as were wrought by the power of the kingdom in grace. Only the Pharisees were insensible to this; and not only insensible but wholly evil, for unable to deny the power, they wilfully evaded its force by attributing it to the devil himself.

The chapter closes with the wonderful fact that their wicked rejection of His grace did not shut up His bowels of compassion. He went on preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and showing its power in miracles of healing in all the cities and villages; and the sight of the needy multitudes only moved Him to deep compassion—the compassion of the heart of God. The crowd had no shepherd, and there was a great harvest yet to be reaped. He prepared to send forth labourers to the work.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Matthew 9:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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