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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Matthew 9

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 9-17

A Description of Discipleship ( Mark 2:13-17, Luke 5:27-32) - Matthew 9:9-17 is the second of three important narrative sections placed immediately after three witnesses of Jesus' healing ministry that reflects the theme of the upcoming discourse ( Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1), which is the divine call to discipleship and Christian service in the Kingdom of Heaven. This second section gives a description of true discipleship in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus calls Matthew , who forsakes all ( Matthew 9:9) and follows Him as they feast with sinners ( Matthew 9:10-13) and He ignores the traditional Jewish role of fasting ( Matthew 9:14-17). This story is placed within narrative material that places emphasis upon Jesus training His disciples ( Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) in order to send them out ( Matthew 10:1-42). In its immediate context, Jesus has just demonstrated His authority over nature, over the demonic realm, and over sin and sickness. He now calls His disciples to forsake the traditions of men in order to walk in the same divine authority of His name, no longer being bound by the fear of men through their traditions.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Calls Matthew — Matthew 9:9-13

2. Questions on Fasting — Matthew 9:14-17

Publicans- See also Luke 15:1-2 and Mark 2:15-17 for other passages that mention publicans.

Matthew 9:9-13 — Jesus Calls Matthew - In Matthew 9:9-13 Jesus calls Matthew to forsake all and follow Him.

Matthew 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a Prayer of Manasseh , named Matthew , sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:10 "as Jesus sat at meat in the house" - Comments- This meal took place in Levi's house:

Luke 5:29, "And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them."

Matthew 9:10"many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples" - Comments- The publicans were tax collectors, collectors of revenue and taxes in behalf of ancient Rome. The Roman Empire of this day taxed its provinces, of which Judea was one. Some Jews were hired by Rome to collect taxes. Because of the tax system, they had the opportunity to exact unfair taxes. Many corrupt publicans took advantage of this opportunity. So the Jews despised these Jewish publicans and considered them traitors and apostates to the nation of Israel.

Characteristics of publicans:

1. They were avoided: Matthew 18:17, "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

2. They were considered bad people: Luke 18:11, "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican."

3. They loved one another: Matthew 5:46, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?"

4. They salute one another: Matthew 5:47, "And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?"

5. Some obtained wealth: Luke 19:1-2, "And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich."

6. They seemed to be rejected and looked down upon by society, being associated with sinners: Mark 2:15, "And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him."

7. They were baptized at John the Baptist's baptism: Luke 3:12, "Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?"

8. They received Jesus: Matthew 21:32, "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."

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

Matthew 9:11Scripture Reference- Note:

Luke 7:29-30, "And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him."

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

Matthew 9:12Comments - Those who were whole were the strong and healthy.

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:13"for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" - Comments - This is the reason for Jesus coming to earth in the form of a servant. This is why He suffered and died on the Cross (see Luke 18:9-14). Paul's attitude towards himself was that he had been "a chief sinner," who needed the most mercy from God.

1 Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Matthew 18:11, "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Song of Solomon , that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Matthew 9:13Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - This passage is a quote from Hosea 6:6 :

Hosea 6:6, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

Comments- What God wanted was not sacrifices for the sake of performing a ritual. Instead, God wanted the people to offer these sacrifices as a way of expressing their love and devotion to Him. These offerings were opportunities to give God thanks and praise, and they were times to ask God forgiveness for their sins. It was a time that a person could give an offering in faith to God in order to receive greater blessings from Him, while providing the needs of the priests.

God desires mercy "more than" a particular sacrifice. God tells the children of Israel the same thing through Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 7:22-23, "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you."

Frances J. Roberts writes, "Marvel not that I have said that ye must be born anew. Of the flesh, nothing that is spiritual can ever be produced. Spiritual life shall bring forth that which is spiritual; and likewise, carnal flesh shall bring forth only more carnality. This is why I said I loathed your sacrifices. It was not that I despised the ordinance in itself, but that I perceived that it was a product of the flesh - an expression of self-righteousness and indifference to the claim of God upon thy heart. My ordinances are good and holy, but they are to be entered into with deep sincerity and with awareness of their true significance. To sacrifice in carelessness and ignorance is to damage thine own soul. Let thy spirit never become callous." 418]

418] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 15.

Comments- Note Micah 6:6-8 :

Micah 6:6-8, "Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O Prayer of Manasseh , what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

God desires us to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly before God, rather than to make a bunch of sacrifices with a wicked heart. Note Isaiah 29:13. The people were drawing near God with their mouths, but their hearts were far from Him. This is what the Pharisees were doing.

Isaiah 29:13, "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:"

Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 9:13. He was showing to the publicans and sinners mercy and kindness. The Pharisees, who were concerned about the Law, were violating the Law. Jesus showed to the Pharisees their evil heart in this situation.

Hosea 6:6, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

Matthew 9:14-17 — Questions On Fasting ( Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39) - Matthew 9:14-17 gives us the story of John's disciples coming to Jesus and asking Him about fasting. This story is placed with narrative material the places emphasis upon Jesus training His disciples ( Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) in order to send them out ( Matthew 10:1-42).

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

Matthew 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.

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:16 — "No man putteth a piece of new cloth" - Comments- Some translations call this new cloth "a piece of unshrunk cloth." The Greek word "new" ( άγναφος) (G 46) is used two times in the New Testament ( Matthew 9:16, Mark 2:21) and is translated as "new" in the KJV. Strong translates it to mean, "unfulled, i.e. new." BDAG translates it to mean, "unbleached, unshrunken, unsized, or new." Strong says the word άγναφος comes from the negative particle α and γναφεύς (G 1102), meaning, "a clothe dresser,: or a fuller, and it is a variation of the word κναρτω, which means, "to tease cloth." Thus, a piece of new cloth was one in which it was not processed and thus not properly shrunken for use as a piece of garment.

Matthew 9:16"unto an old garment" - Comments- The old garment represents the old, unrenewed man.

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:17 — "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles" - Comments - These bottles were made from animal skins. As these skins aged, they were less pliable for expansion when gases formed from fermentation of the wine. The wine represents the Holy Spirit who will indwell the saints under the new covenant, and the old bottles represent the man under the old covenant of the Law.

Matthew 9:17"but they put new wine into new bottles" - Comments- New bottles were made of fresh animal skins; thus they were pliable and able to contain the gases that formed during the fermentation process. The new wine represents the Holy Spirit who will indwell the saints under the new covenant. These new winskins represent the man who has been born again.

Psalm 31:12, "I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel."

Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

1 Corinthians 6:19, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

It also illustrates the coming of the Holy Spirit into the new man. The wine is figurative of the Holy Spirit that is given to believers. See John 14:16-17.

Luke 11:13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

John 7:39, "(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

John 14:16-17, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Matthew 9:17Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse in Job 32:19, "Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles."


Verses 18-34

Three Miracles Requiring Faith in Jesus for Healing (Man's Heart: Faith in God's Word) - Matthew 9:18-34 gives us three stories of how Jesus responded to the people's faith in Him to heal them ( Matthew 9:22; Matthew 9:28-29). These three miracles testify of the important aspect of a person's need to put their faith in Jesus to heal them because it is a part of the atonement. 419] These stories testify to man's heart to believe His Word.

419] Grant Osborne acknowledges the dominate theme of faith from those who receive healing in Matthew 9:18-34. See Grant R. Osborne, Matthew , in Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Clinton E. Arnold (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 345.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Ruler's Daughter & Woman with Issue of Blood — Matthew 9:18-26

2. Two Blind Men — Matthew 9:27-31

3. A Dumb Man — Matthew 9:32-34

Matthew 9:18-26 — The Ruler's Daughter and the Woman with Issue of Blood ( Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40-56) - Matthew 9:18-26 tells us the stories of the woman with the issue of blood being healed by touching the helm of Jesus' garment while He was on His way to raise Jarius' daughter from the dead. This story is placed with narrative material that places emphasis upon Jesus training His disciples ( Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) in order to send them out ( Matthew 10:1-42). The story of the ruler's daughter and the woman with the issue of blood reveals the need for God's children to put their faith in Him to heal because it is a part of the atonement.

Parallel Accounts- It is interesting to note that Matthew's Gospel does not mention the fact that Jesus took Peter, James , and John with Him into the room. We know that Matthew's Gospel gives the briefest account in the Synoptics. Perhaps the reason is the Matthew is simply emphasizing Jesus' healing ministry in general, while Mark , the longest of these parallel passages, emphasizes the miracles themselves as a testimony of Jesus as the Son of God. Luke's Gospel places emphasis upon the training of the Twelve.

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:18"but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live" - Comments- The man"s confession of faith in this verse is for Jesus to lay hands upon his daughter. In verse 25, Jesus took her by the hand as a response to this confession from the father.

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

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

Matthew 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:

Matthew 9:20 "and touched the hem of his garment" - Comments- Why did she want to touch the fringe of the garment? Numbers 15:37-41 tells us that this fringe of Jesus' garment represented a remembrance of all the commandments of the Mosaic Law. Within these commandments was the promise of divine health for those who obeyed the Law.

Numbers 15:39, "And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:"

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

Matthew 9:21Comments- Her confession of faith was to touch His garment. In verse 20, she touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed. In verse 22, Jesus said that her faith was what made her whole.

Note the confession of Thomas in John 20:25. This also was a confession of faith that God honored. Jesus responded to this confession of faith in John 20:27 by granting the request of Thomas.

John 20:25, "The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."

John 20:27, "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:20-22Comments- The Woman with Issue of Blood- The woman with the issue of blood was subject to the Levitical Laws as taught in Leviticus 15:19-33.

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

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

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

Matthew 9:25Comments- It is interesting to note the fact that Jesus put the scorners out of the room before raising Jairus' daughter from the dead. This is because He had to drive out the atmosphere of doubt and unbelief. Anyone who has every ministered the Gospel knows the witness in his/her spirit of a receptive heart or a stubborn, closed heart of the hearer. When someone is hungry to hear the Gospel, the anointing of words seems to flow out of the mouth of someone preaching the Gospel. But to the scorners, the minister feels as if he has to push each word out with force, because it does not flow out easily, and there is little or no inspiration of words. Jesus knew that if He were to be in the presence of doubt and unbelief, it would hinder the flow of the anointing.

One of the most dramatic examples of this in my ministry took place in 2006. I had the privilege of preaching a number of times in a particular church to a large congregation of over five thousand people. For certain reasons, there were not friendly relationships between the pastor and his wife and me. As I had been invited to preach occasionally in this pulpit over the years, his wife had always hosted me. On one particular Sunday morning in early 2006, I was preaching the three services. Neither the pastor, nor his wife, nor any other skeptical members of the staff were in attendance. As I stepped up to the pulpit and laid down my Bible and notes, the choir was finishing its worship song. I then lifted my hands to heaven, and it felt like I touched electricity. For the next forth-five minutes we stood in the presence of God. I believe one major factor that led to this open door from Heaven was the fact that there were no skeptics sitting close to the front, and the people's hearts were receptive to my ministry. In contrast, a few months later the pastor and his wife were seated in the front row when I had been invited to preach. It was difficult for me to speak, because I did not feel an unction. It was not that I had not prepared myself, but I believe that a hearer's heart can determine whether the anointing flows from the minister or not.

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

Matthew 9:27-31 — Jesus Heals Two Blind Men - Matthew 9:27-31 records the story of Jesus restoring sight to two blind men. This story is placed with narrative material the places emphasis upon Jesus training His disciples ( Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) in order to send them out ( Matthew 10:1-42). The story of Jesus healing two blind men reveals the need for God's children to put their faith in Him to heal because it is a part of the atonement.

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

Matthew 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.

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

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

Matthew 9:30Comments- In one country where he was rejected ( Luke 8:39), Jesus tells the healed man to tell the Gadarenes what God has done. However, in a place where people received Him, He told them to be silent about what God had done ( Matthew 8:4; Matthew 9:30, Mark 5:43, Luke 5:14; Luke 8:56). Why did He do this? Perhaps because Jesus knew that He could not return to the country of the Gadarenes and there would be no one else to preach the Gospel to them. However, in the regions where multitudes came out to hear Jesus, He needed the liberty to move about and to teach to smaller crowds in order to better communicate the Good News. Therefore, with His fame now being spread abroad in this region ( Matthew 9:26), it became important for this testimony of the blind men to remain quiet so that the crowds would not make Jesus' public ministry too difficult.

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

Matthew 9:32-34 — Jesus Heals a Dumb Prayer of Manasseh - Matthew 9:32-34 records the story of Jesus healing a dumb man. This story is placed with narrative material the places emphasis upon Jesus training His disciples ( Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) in order to send them out ( Matthew 10:1-42). The story of Jesus healing the dumb man reveals the response of the multitudes to Jesus' public ministry and the impending persecution coming from the Jewish leaders.

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

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

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

Matthew 9:34Comments - Matthew 9:34 contains the first comments in Matthew's Gospel of the impending persecution that Jesus will face from the Jewish leaders. This comments is strategically placed by the author because the theme of Matthew 9:32-34 is to reveal both the positive and negative response that Jesus and His disciples will received during their public ministry.

Matthew 9:33-34Comments - Matthew 9:33 b-34is the key verse to the previous three miracles recorded in Matthew 9:18-34, revealing the common theme that they all share, which is the demonstration of the growing magnitude of His ministry and fame, coupled with the response of the people: the multitudes were amazed, and the religious leaders were angry, which is the theme of these three miracles. We find similar concluding statements offering passage themes in Matthew 8:17, which reveals God's will to heal His people, and in Matthew 9:8, which reveals the authority of the name of Jesus. Each of these three triplicates of miracles were used to train the Twelve to be sent out, having first seen Jesus demonstrate (1) God's will to heal everyone, (2) the authority in the name of Jesus, and (3) the response of the multitudes and adversity from religious leaders.


Verses 35-38

The Prayer to Send Forth Disciples into the Harvest Fields - Matthew 9:35-38 is the third of three important narrative sections placed immediately after three witnesses of Jesus' healing ministry that reflects the theme of the upcoming discourse ( Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1), which is the divine call to discipleship and Christian service in the Kingdom of Heaven. This third section tells the story of how Jesus healed the multitudes; then He called His disciples to pray for the Lord to send them into the harvest field of souls. This story is placed within narrative material that places emphasis upon Jesus training His disciples ( Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) in order to send them out to do the work of the ministry ( Matthew 10:1-42).

The Sitz im Leben of the Second Discourse - Both Matthew 4:23-25; Matthew 9:35-38 share the common element of being transitional passages between narrative and discourse. In additional, they share an almost identical verse ( Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35) that gives the circumstances (Sitz im Leben) surrounding the upcoming discourse. Some scholars place Matthew 9:35-38 within the second discourse material because it seems to offer the circumstances (Sitz im Leben) in which Jesus delivered this message to the Twelve. 420] Other scholars assign this passage to the narrative material while acknowledging its transitional nature. For example, David Turner keeps it within the narrative material because it fits neatly within a three-fold structure that alternates between miracles and discourse. 421]

420] Robert E. Morosco, "Redaction Criticism and the Evangelical: Matthew 10 a Test Case," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 224 (December 1979): 323-331.

421] David L. Turner, Matthew , in Baker Evangelical Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Robert Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein (Ada, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 262-263.

The Compassion of Jesus- In Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus is moved with compassion for the multitudes. Jesus is moved with compassion on many other occasions and responds by healing the sick ( Matthew 14:14), teaching the people ( Mark 6:34), raising the dead ( Luke 7:13), feeding the multitudes ( Matthew 15:32), healing two blind men ( Matthew 20:34), and healing the leper ( Mark 1:41).

Matthew 14:14, "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."

Mark 6:34, "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things."

Luke 7:13, "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not."

Matthew 15:32, "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."

Matthew 20:34, "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."

Mark 1:41, "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."

This compassion of Jesus was at the heart of three parables; The Good Samaritan ( Luke 10:33), The Prodigal Son ( Luke 15:20), and the Unmerciful Servant ( Matthew 18:27).

Luke 10:33, "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,"

Luke 15:20, "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."

Matthew 18:27, "Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt."

In this passage, compassion moved Jesus to pray to God for laborers to be sent into this great harvest. Here for the first time, we find the Lord equipping others to do the work of the ministry. Up until now, Jesus had carried the burden alone, and He had done the work by Himself.

One morning I woke up with a heaviness on my heart for a lost and dying world. I wept as this burden rested upon me. It was not my natural feelings, but something from the Spirit of God. I was allowed to actually feel the heart of God as He sees this world lost in sin. Shortly afterwards, the Lord gave me a song. The song goes:

First Stanza:

"There are souls to be gathered in the fields of life,

Can"t you see, lift your eyes, my friend?

They are white unto harvest, these fields of men,

Won"t you gather these souls bound in sin?

Chorus:

"Won"t you come with me harvesting men?

Can"t you see how they"re crying within?

There are souls who are dying in sin.

Please come, bring the Gospel to win.

Second Stanza:

"Shod your feet and be ready, spread this message of light,

Of how Jesus has suffered for men.

How He died on the cross, left His glory above,

Now is risen and conquered sin.

Third Stanza:

"Come with tears of weeping for these souls to have life,

Bearing seed, so precious, my friend.

You will come back singing, bringing sheaves so ripe,

Oh, the joy, such joy, within.

Jesus prayed for and taught us to pray for God to send forth laborers into this great harvest. The word "send forth" in the Greek has a literal meaning of "driving out," expelling or throwing out. Figuratively, it means, "to send out, send away, release, or lead out." This same word is used in the Greek in Mark 1:12.

Mark 1:12, "And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness."

After Jesus" water baptism, the Spirit of God literally drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. Evidently, when we are ready to go into the ministry, it is a difficult thing to understand in the natural, and it takes a strong inner drive by the Holy Spirit to push us over into that area of our lives, much like a bird pushing her young ones out of the nest for the first time.

In his book A Daily Guide to Miracles Oral Roberts says, "So in 1947 God thrust me into a healing ministry that spread all over the world." 422] I sense in that statement that Roberts had the same struggle that everyone has when they take that great step of faith into the ministry.

422] Oral Roberts, A Daily Guide to Miracles and Successful Living Through SEED-FAITH (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Pinoak Publications, c 1975, 1976), 262.

Kenneth Hagin tells of his near death experience as he struggled against his inner man to launch out into the field ministry in 1950, and to leave the pastorate. 423] I believe that this strong Greek word for sending forth is used because of the struggle that takes place in all of us as God launches us forth into new areas of ministry.

423] Kenneth Hagin, The Spirit Upon and the Spirit Within (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 2003, 2006), 105-9.

Jesus equipped the disciples and the early church for the work of the ministry in two ways. He equipped them by first giving them power, or authority, over the devil by giving them his Name. The disciples said that the devils were subject to them through his name Luke 10:17.

Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."

In Matthew 10:1 Jesus teaches his disciples how to do the work of the ministry and gives them the authority to use His name.

Matthew 10:1, "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."

The second way that Jesus equipped the church for the work of the ministry was to empower it with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We see this Acts 1:8.

Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

In Acts 2, the promise was fulfilled as the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those in the upper room in order to empower them with the anointing and gifts of the Spirit.

The Relationship between Prayer and the Harvest of Souls - In Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus gives us insight into the direct relationship between prayer and the harvest of souls. Todd Bentley speaks regarding this two-fold relationship in the context of the great harvest that will precede the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"While traveling to an evening crusade I was caught up in an interactive vision. I saw the great harvest field already white. The angels were working in this field. Then Jesus came to me. I knew in my spirit He was the Lord of the Harvest, but He came to me dressed as the Good Shepherd ( John 10) and holding a staff. I wondered why the Lord of Psalm 23was the Lord of the Harvest. Then I understood - this is not just about winning souls, but also about discipling these same souls. Jesus doesn't want to just be savior, but He also wants to be the great overseer of their souls and He wants to lead them into the depth of Psalm 23. He desires to restore their souls and to lead them beside the still waters. Immediately, these Scriptures came to my mind: Psalm 24:1, Revelation 11:15, Isaiah 40:15, Psalm 2:8.

"This was a faith level where whole cities and nations can be saved in a day. The Lord said to me, ‘Todd, enter into My harvest power! It's the Harvest of Amos 9:13, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt."'

"There is coming an acceleration of the laws of sowing and reaping. The seed will be planted and as soon as the seed is sown, it will be reaped. There will be harvest until the days of sowing and sowing until the days of harvest - a holy overlapping of continual sowing and reaping. When this acceleration happens, men and women will cry out, ‘What must I do to be saved?'

"As I continued to walk in the harvest I noticed a tent in the field and asked, ‘Lord, what is that tent doing in the harvest and why does it look so old and ragged? It's not as glorious and golden as these fields.' The Lord responded, ‘Todd, this is the tabernacle of David and it looks that way because, for many, prayer is so inviting. It is a matter of perspective and priority. To many, prayer is tedious work, but to others it is the glory. Most importantly, the tabernacle releases the Amos 9:13 harvest.'

"In the book of Acts , Paul, Barnabas, Peter and their ministry teams are seeing tremendous harvest in cities. Churches are being planted and the Holy Ghost is falling on the Gentile believers as well as the Jews. In Acts 15 they meet for the Jerusalem council and give reports of the harvest and discuss whether Gentile believers need to be circumcised. In the midst of this James quotes Amos 9:11-12, ‘In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.'

I said, ‘God there it is again - the great harvest and the house of David.' Night and day prayer, 24hours a day, seven days a week is already taking place in the Church. These houses of prayer are essential to the releasing of an end-time signs and wonders movement, healing revival and the geographic healing centers." 424]

424] Todd Bentley, Journey Into the Miraculous (Victoria, BC, Canada: Hemlock Printers, Ltd, 2003), 327-9.

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:35Comments- Matthew 9:35 is clearly a repeat of Matthew 4:23. Both passages in which these verses are found ( Matthew 4:23-25, Matthew 9:35-38) share the common element of being transitional passages between narrative and discourse. Jesus used this pattern of ministering in Galilee because of the receptivity of the people. As He taught, faith rose in the hearts of the people to receive a miracle of healing and deliverance. In contrast, Jesus faced more objections and persecutions during His Judean ministry. As a result, He operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as a demonstration of His divinity because the multitudes were not as receptive.

Matthew 4:23, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."

Matthew 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.

Matthew 9:36Comments- When Jesus saw people (you must be among them to really see them), He was moved with compassion. It is by being among people and seeing their struggles that we are moved with this same compassion. Jesus saw people as being fainted and scattered. God wants us to see world as Jesus saw it. Therefore, in verses 37-38, Jesus sees the harvest and the need to recruit workers. Then, in chapter 10, we see the answers to their own prayers of sending laborers into harvest.

Jesus was working as hard as possible to teach and minister to all of these people. We do not hear from His lips a confession of frustration and of complaining about tiredness and over work. His was a confession of genuine love and compassion for people.

Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Matthew 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 9:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/matthew-9.html. 2013.

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Sunday, January 26th, 2020
the Third Sunday after Epiphany
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