About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 9
verse 1 we see Jesus and the others step back into the boat and head
across the Sea of Galilee to His own town which was
verse 2 we note that certain men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus.
Matthew says that “when Jesus saw their faith…”.
We should note here that it wasn’t just the faith of the
paralyzed man, but the faith of those who brought the paralyzed man to
Jesus that caught Jesus’ attention.
faith means trust. These men
trusted Jesus’ ability to heal this paralytic. And so He did, but in so
doing He caused some problems for Himself.
Jesus could have easily said something like “be healed” to this
man. He could have said
nothing at all. But what He
did say is this, “take heart, son; your sins are forgiven”.
verse 3 the teachers of the Law got furious with Jesus because Jesus told
this man that his sins were forgiven.
These teachers rightfully believed that only God could forgive sin.
We need to understand what the word “forgive” means to properly
understand what is going on here. The
word “forgive’ means “to cancel”.
So Jesus was in fact saying to this man that his sins were
cancelled, just as if he had never sinned in the first place.
Only God can cancel sin, so in the eyes of the teachers of the Law,
how could this man Jesus claim to have the authority to cancel someone’s
sin. This was truly blasphemy
in their thinking.
4 begins with “knowing their thoughts”.
Jesus had the ability to “know what people were thinking”.
And what He saw the teachers of the Law thinking, He said was evil.
Why was Jesus being so strong here?
Maybe these teachers were simply perplexed at what Jesus was
saying. But Jesus saw the
intent of their hearts. Even
if they were perplexed, they still had evil intentions towards Jesus.
the fact that the teachers of the
Law called what Jesus was saying blasphemy was actually blasphemy itself.
By saying Jesus could not cancel sins, they were saying that He was
not who He really was, which was God in human flesh.
For this reason Jesus could cancel sin.
He’s actually given to Christians the authority to cancel sin on
verse 5 Jesus tells these teachers that it’s just as easy to say your
sins are forgiven as it is to say be healed.
Jesus has both the power to heal and the authority to cancel sin.
people suggest that Jesus is relating sickness with sin here and that all
sickness is a result of sin. All
sickness is a result of original sin, as in Adam’s sin, but all sickness
is not necessarily a result of our individual sin.
Jesus specifically said that the blind man in John 9 was not blind
because he sinned. And there
is no hint here that Jesus was relating sickness to sin.
He clearly says that saying “be healed”, or “be forgiven”
are both equally easy for Him to do.
6 clearly states the reason why Jesus said what He said, and He did say it
on purpose. He wanted everyone
there to know that He did not just have the power to heal sickness, but He
had the authority to cancel sin. This
is fundamental to Christian teaching.
saying all of this Jesus finally tells the man to get up and go home.
Verse 7 says that the man in fact did get up and go home. The man was
probably perplexed himself at Jesus’ words of forgiveness.
He might well have thought that he came to be healed, not forgiven.
But he went home knowing that Jesus could do both.
8 tells us that the crowd was filled with awe knowing that God had given
such authority to men. They were filled with awe because the man was
healed but also because the one who healed him claimed to have authority
to cancel sin, and if Jesus could heal such a sick man, then surely His
claim to be able to cancel sin was authentic.
8 states that the crowd was filled with awe because God had given
“men” such authority. This
isn’t quite right thinking on the part of the crowd.
God had only given one man this authority, and that was Jesus.
It wasn’t until later when Jesus passed on this authority to the
believers in Matt. 28 that other men received such authority to cancel
sin. The one thing we should
note about Jesus giving us the authority to cancel sin is that we do not
have the authority inherent within us to cancel sin as Jesus does.
Jesus has given us the authority to act in His place only.
It’s not that we have the ability to cancel sin as Jesus does.
verse 9 we see that Jesus meets up with a tax collector sitting in his
booth. This kind of tax
collecting was more of a toll tax, similar to toll roads in our times.
Business men would pay business taxes as they passed by the booth.
tax collector’s name was Matthew, and it is this Matthew who writes this
gospel. Jesus tells Matthew to
get up and follow Him and Matthew immediately left his place collecting
taxes to follow Jesus.
might ask, “how could Matthew just get up and leave his job”?
You might also ask, “why did Jesus expect him to just get up and
leave on the spot”? The
answer may not be certain, but it is quite possible that Jesus had seen
Matthew before and talked to Him on many occasions, and by the time Jesus
asked him to follow Him, it was a natural thing to do.
the natural though is the spiritual. When
Jesus speaks the Holy Spirit speaks as well.
The Spirit surely spoke to the heart of Matthew, and through the
power of the Spirit Matthew left his post to follow Jesus.
verse 10 we see Jesus eating at Matthew’s house.
Jesus told Matthew to follow Him but it appears at some point Jesus
actually followed Matthew to his place for a large meal with many other
invited guests. Some of the
other guest were fellow tax collectors.
We need to understand that Jews hated these tax collectors because
they were Jews working for the Roman government and so they were seen as
traitors. They also extorted
the rest of the Jewish population. The
Romans told these tax collectors how much to collect from the Jews, but
the Romans also allowed them to collect more than they needed in order to
pocket the rest for themselves.
with tax collectors then would be a very bad sin in
the eyes of the Jewish leadership.
But there were more than just tax collectors at this party.
There were sinners. The
word “sinners” here and elsewhere refers to the morally bad.
This would includes prostitutes and sexually immoral people.
So eating with tax collectors is bad enough, but Jesus was eating
with prostitutes and adulterers.
in verse 10 we note that Jesus’ disciples were with Jesus eating with
these unsavory people. They
surely understood the implications and might well have wondered what they
were doing eating with these people.
verse 11 we note that the Pharisees, the more strict group within the
Jewish leadership saw what was happening.
By now they were following Jesus, trying to trap Him in a sin.
So they asked Jesus’ disciples why they and Jesus were eating
with tax collectors and sinners. I
doubt if the disciples could answer this question properly.
They didn’t have to anyway because Jesus overheard the question
and responded Himself. He most
likely knew the disciples at this point weren’t capable of answering
such a question.
simply responds in verse 12 by saying that “it is not the healthy that
need a doctor but the sick”. Jesus
is in fact agreeing with the Pharisees that these people He was eating
with were needy, were sick, were sinners.
But His answer shows that you cannot help these sinners by staying
away from them as the Pharisees did.
13 is important. Jesus tells
the teachers of the Law to “go and learn what this means”.
It is clear that what Jesus is about to say these learned men
haven’t considered and wouldn’t understand.
Jesus was about to quote an Old Testament prophet, and in the
connection with Him eating with sinners, He wanted these men to figure out
the meaning of the quote.
quotes from Hosea 6:6 where the prophet speaks on behalf of God by saying,
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice”.
This would be very hard for the Jewish leadership to hear.
All through the Old Testament God demanded sacrifices in accordance
with the Law of Moses. But the
prophet, and Jesus too, states the real heart of God that is behind the
Law. Jesus says that God
really desires mercy and not all the sacrifices made by
was living in Old Testament times, yet in one sense of the word these
years of Jesus’ ministry were transitional times.
Jesus often hinted at the days when the Law of Moses would be
replaced with trust in Him. This
was one of those times. Sacrifices were to be a temporary thing, something
that was symbolic of the future reality of the sacrifice Jesus made on the
cross. But God’s mercy is
not temporary. It is eternal.
It’s always been in the heart of God to show mercy and it’s
always been in His heart for us to show mercy.
Jesus was showing mercy by eating with these undesirables.
Jesus was showing mercy by extending health to a sick group of
this is what I believe Jesus wanted these teachers of the Law to learn
from what they’ve just seen and heard from Jesus.
The tax collectors and sinners were bad people.
The Jewish leaders were supposed to be good people who obey the Law
with their sacrifices. But
what’s really in God’s heart was fro these Jewish leaders to extend
mercy to these sinners. God
would prefer that over the animal sacrifices they offer Him.
when God says that He desires mercy from us and not sacrifices, He’s
telling us what is important. We
can sacrifice all we want, but if we don’t extend mercy, the sacrifice
is meaningless in the eyes of God.
Jesus says that “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”.
Once again we see that Jesus was agreeing with the Pharisees by calling
these people sinners. Jesus was speaking of the people He was eating with.
At this point He made no comment on the Pharisees,
although we know that Jesus viewed them as the biggest sinners of
all, but they were deemed as righteous by the Jews.
Jesus was speaking in the terms in which these Jewish Pharisees
understood. Tax collectors and
sinners weren’t righteous. Pharisees
were viewed as righteous, even though they weren’t.
other thing to note is that Jesus had little time for the Pharisees,
except for those few Pharisees that had a genuine interest in Him, like
Nicodemus. Jesus would rather spend time with the out and out sinner than
with the religious elite. The
sinner was more likely to hear what Jesus had to say.
verse 14 we see that Matthew mentions John’s disciples, meaning John the
Baptist. John was in prison at this point.
These disciples ask Jesus why His disciples don’t fast and they
do. But you will notice
that they associate themselves with the Pharisees, for it’s not only
John’s disciples that fast but the Pharisees as well.
might ask why John’s disciples would associate themselves with the
Pharisees. Well, one reason is
simple. They both fast.
Yet beyond the obvious, there might well be some tension and
skepticism on the part of John’s disciples.
John was in prison. Jesus
doesn’t appear to help him get out, and the same message that John
preached Jesus is preaching, and that’s probably not helping John’s
cause. On the other hand, the
question might well have been asked from a very pure motive. Maybe they
just wanted to know the honest answer to an honest question.
verse 15 Jesus responds with a question of His own.
“How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with
them”. First of all
notice the word mourn. Fasting
in Old Testament times was seen as an act of mourning, weeping in
sackcloth’s and ashes for the sin of those fasting.
Fasting was normally a call to repent, and that is why Jesus
associates the word fasting with mourning.
notice the word “bridegroom”. That
speaks of Jesus. We are the
bride and He is the groom. Jesus
simply asks why would the people invited to a wedding mourn.
It’s normally a joyous occasion.
continues by saying that there will come a time when the bridegroom will
be taken away, and at the time the guests will fast.
The words “taken away” are important because that’s what
happened to Jesus. He didn’t
just leave. His Father took
Him away into the clouds. In
one sense of the word sadness would come on the followers of Jesus as He
disappeared into the clouds. And at that time they did spend much time in
prayer and probably fasting as well as seen in Acts 1. This might well be
a specific prophecy that came true in Acts 1 although most people think of
this in general terms that Christians will fast from time to time.
verse 16 Jesus says that no one sews an unshrunk patch, that’s a new
patch, on old clothing. The
old clothes have already shrunk and when the clothes are washed and the
new patch shrinks, it will pull away from the garment.
You might wonder why Jesus is saying this.
It might appear that He’s completely changing the subject and
this has no relevance to what He just said.
But that’s not necessarily true.
has just referred to Himself as the bridegroom and that He would not
always be around. I’m sure those listening didn’t quite understand
what He meant, but we do. Jesus
left this earth because His work on earth was complete and the Holy Spirit
would come and join Himself to the believers and together would represent
Jesus on earth as the “Body of Christ”.
The “Body of Christ” was brand new. Never was there such a
thing in time past. God had
His people in Old Testament times, but in New Testament times He has a new
people, and the new people is the Body of Christ, the church.
believers in New Testament times is represented by the new patch, while
the old garment is the Jewish system of the Old Testament.
What Jesus is saying is that it is impossible for you to sew the
new patch to the old garment. This
means it is impossible, it’s not God’s will, to join the New Covenant
with the Old Covenant. They
are two separate identities and should remain separate.
Like oil and water, the two don’t mix and we shouldn’t try to
mix them, but we do all the time.
verse 17 Jesus gives another example of what He is saying.
He says that no one pours new wine into old wine skins because if
they do, the old wineskins will eventually burst and the wine will spill.
Rather, people pour new wine into new wineskins.
old wineskins is the Jewish system. The
new wineskin is the Christian community.
The words “new wine” are often related to the Holy Spirit in
the Bible. Once again Jesus is
saying that what’s gong to take place after He leaves is something
altogether new and different and it should not be associated or connected
to the past. Yet we mix Judaism with Christianity all the time.
We want to tithe. We
want to keep the Sabbath, and we want to do many things found in the Law
of Moses. Jesus is saying that
we should not mix the two.
18 begins with “while He was saying this.
This is in reference to his short discourse on fasting.
So while Jesus was talking about fasting he was interrupted by a
ruler who had a daughter that had just died. The Greek text is somewhat
obscure on the verb tense here. This
girl was either almost dead or had just died, one or the other.
text does not say whether the ruler was a gentile or a Jew. He could well
have been a ruler in the Sanhedrin because of the use of the word ruler.
in verse 18 we see what this ruler requested of Jesus.
He told Jesus that if He’d come and lay His hand on his daughter
that she’d live. He didn’t
say, come to life, or live again, as if she’d already died.
Whatever the case, this ruler believed that Jesus could heal his
19 simply said that Jesus got up and went to see the rulers daughter and
some of His disciples followed Him. It
doesn’t appear that Jesus hesitated.
then” as Matthew puts it in verse 20, a woman who had a bleeding problem
for 12 years came up and touched Jesus.
There were many desperate people who were following Jesus wanting
to be healed. This blood
problem would have made this woman unclean as stated in the Law of Moses.
For this reason she should not have touched Jesus, and she should
not have been in this crowd with the possibility of having someone touch
her. But she was desperate.
She wanted to be healed, and at that point obeying the Law didn’t
matter to her.
21 shows us the thinking of this woman.
She trusted Jesus sufficiently that she didn’t think she’d have
to ask Him to heal her. All
she had to do in her thinking was to touch a piece of His clothes and
she’d be all better. Once again, we see the faith and the trust people
had in Jesus to heal them back then, and why not.
They seen others healed before their very eyes.
verse 22 we see Jesus turning around and telling the lady “to take
heart”, meaning “cheer up”.
He then says “your faith has healed you”.
What does this mean? Many
people who today believe that all of us should be healed of all our
illnesses by Jesus point to these words and other words like them.
They say, “it’s our faith that will heal us and if we aren’t
healed, we don’t have enough faith.
Well, faith is not something that you can get more of, except in
some occasions when faith is a gift of the Spirit as seen in 1 Cor. 12.
Faith is trust. When
Jesus said, “your faith has healed you”, what He was saying is “your
trust you have in me has made it possible for you to be
or what really did the healing here? Did
her faith really heal her. Not really.
Jesus healed her because of her faith or trust.
But in actuality Jesus healed some people that had no faith.
Other’s had faith for the sick person.
like this. You’ve often
heard people say, “prayer changes things’, and in one sense of the
word they’re right in saying this. But
to be more accurate it’s not the prayer that really changes things.
It’s Jesus who changes things as a result of us praying.
It’s my opinion that we should give credit where credit is due.
Jesus heals, not our faith. Jesus
changes things, not our prayers. The
emphasis is on Jesus, not on us.
version of this healing of this woman is much shorter than the other
gospel writers. This event
took longer than Matthew tells us. Remember
that Jesus was on his way to the rulers house to see his daughter.
If she hadn’t died prior to this, she might well have died during
verse 25 Jesus comes to the rulers home and sees a noisy crowd and flute
players. The noisy crowd would
have been mourners. Some
mourners in those days were actually paid professional mourners.
We don’t know if this is the case here.
The flute players might well have been professional flute players
who provided music when one dies.
asked these people to leave because He told them that the girl wasn’t
dead but only asleep. Just why
Jesus said it that way we don’t know for sure.
This girl might well have been asleep, but my guess is that she
really was dead, but being dead or asleep to Jesus means nothing.
Death is not final with God as it is with us.
Death is only the passing from one form of life to another.
verses 25 and 26 we see that Jesus just took the girl by the hand and she
got up and the news spread throughout the land.
We have no statement here that Jesus said anything, and once again,
He doesn’t have to say a word to make someone better.
verse 27 we see Jesus leaving the ruler’s house.
As was now the case, crowds always followed Jesus wherever He went.
In this case two blind men were calling out to Jesus.
They called, “have mercy on us, Son of David”.
words “Son of David” is a direct reference to Jesus’ Messiahship.
These two men believed that Jesus was the Messiah, sent from God to
the Jews. They probably
thought, as most people who did believe in Jesus being the Messiah, that
Jesus would come and rescue the Jews from the Romans.
see in verse 28 that Jesus didn’t heal these two men right away.
He asked them if they believed that He could heal them.
Jesus would know these men’s hearts.
He didn’t have to ask them for His benefit.
He probably asked them for their benefit.
They were the ones who were to confess that they trust Jesus and
that they knew He could heal them. We don’t know the heart of Jesus and
His thoughts concerning every person that came to Him for healing, and why
He approached one person one way and another person another way.
It’s possible that these two men had slight doubts and just
needed some re-affirming by their confession.
They would have heard about the miracles Jesus did, but they would
not have actually seen them so they might well have had some doubt.
men simply responded by saying, “yes Lord”, or “yes master”.
By using the word “Lord” they recognize that Jesus was someone
beyond the normal and that they highly respected Him.
verse 29 Jesus say, “according to your faith will it be done to you”.
As in the last healing Jesus speaks of the person’s faith as being
important in the healing process. But
once again, that presupposes that Jesus wanted to heal the person in the
first place, and while Jesus was on earth it appears that He wanted to
heal everyone that came to Him in faith.
the idea here is this. A blind
person comes to Jesus believing He can make him see and Jesus heals him.
The person’s faith did not heal him.
Jesus healed him since the person trusted Him.
verse 30 Jesus tells these two men that they should tell no one about
this, but in verse 31 they go about telling everyone anyway.
I’m not certain at this time why Jesus told these two men to keep
this quiet. We’ve seen Him
say such things before as in the man healed of leprosy, but we know in
that case the reason was that Jesus wanted the leper to go directly to the
priest to be ceremonially cleaned. Jesus
doesn’t mention anything like that here.
verse 32 and 33 Jesus is approached by a demon possessed man. The demon
caused that man to not be able to speak.
He was mute. Demons can cause different problems with different
people depending on what kind of demons they are.
Jesus cast the demon out of the man and the crowd was amazed.
reason why the crowd was amazed beyond the miracle itself is that the
Jewish leadership tried to drive demons out as well with no success, but
Jesus had succeeded, something the Jewish leadership wasn’t all that
happy about. Jesus was showing
them up. He could do what they
in verse 34 we see the Pharisees response to Jesus casting out demons.
They say that Jesus is in fact casting out demons by the power and
authority of the devil. Matthew
does not comment on Jesus’ response to the Pharisees as the other gospel
verse 35 Matthew tells us that Jesus went through all the towns and
villages preaching the gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and
sickness. There is estimated
to be 214 towns and villages in
verse 36 Matthew tells us that when Jesus saw the crowds “He had
compassion on them”. The
Greek word for our English word “compassion” here is the word for
“intestines”, that’s why the KJV uses the terms “bowls of
compassion” sometimes. The
same word is used when Judas hung himself and his intestines exploded out
all over the place.
love Jesus had for the crowds was not from His head, but from the depth of
His bowls or intestines. This may not sound very nice to the western ear
but this is what the culture of the day thought.
As our bowls release the waste in uncontrollable fashion, so the
love of Jesus was released in an uncontrollable fashion. That is to say,
the love of God just gushed out of Jesus beyond measure.
36 tells us why Jesus had such love for the crowds and it was because they
“were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. If you
picture sheep without a shepherd they are harassed by wolves. The wolves
are the satanic powers. Their
shepherds were to be the Jewish leadership but they had forsaken the
sheep, the people of God by following their own ambition.
verse 37 and 38 Jesus tells His followers that the harvest is plentiful
but the harvesters are few and that they needed to pray to God to send
people into the harvest. We
often see the harvest as people, and so they are.
But if you study the word harvest in the Bible as it relates to God
and spiritual things you will notice the word “harvest” is always in
reference to the end of this age where Jesus separates that sheep and the
goats. The goats, or the
unbelievers are harvested along with the believers. The believers go to be
with the Lord while the unbelievers go to the
Jesus is saying here is that we should pray to God that He send people to
rescue them from the