Mat_9:1-2. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Our Lord dealt first with the greater evil, for sin is worse than even such a dreadful disease as the palsy. Forgiveness of sin is an even greater mercy than the healing of sickness.
Mat_9:3-7. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.
Jesus first proved his divinity by reading the secret thoughts of the caviling scribes, and then gave a further evidence of it by working this very notable miracle.
Mat_9:8-9. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
This was another notable miracle, and equally set forth the power of divine grace.
Mat_9:10-11. 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 disciple. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
He was more at home with publicans and sinners than with scribes and Pharisees, and they were more likely to welcome him as their Lord and Saviour.
Mat_9:12-13. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 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.
If he had come to call the righteous, where would he have found them? His call was not likely to be heeded by the self-righteous, but sinners heard it with joy, and so were made righteous by him.
Mat_9:14. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
We must not suppose that, because a thing is proper for ourselves, it must therefore be binding upon everybody else. It might be fit and right that the disciples of John should fast often, their circumstances might require it; but it might be quite wrong for the disciples of Christ to fast, as they might be in very different circumstances.
Mat_9:15. And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?
Could Christ’s disciples fast while Christ fed them with heavenly foods? While his presence was to them like heaven begun below, it would have been inconsistent for them to be mourning and fasting.
Mat_9:15. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
And nobody would say that they were turncoats if, when their circumstances had so greatly altered, they acted in harmony with their changed circumstances. The disciples could not mourn while Christ was with them; can you, believer, fast while Christ is with you? It cannot be; but when he has gone from you, then you will sorrow fast enough. So we must neither judge others by ourselves, nor judge ourselves at one time by what we were at some other time.
Mat_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, —
When it shrinks, —
Mat_9:16. And the rent is made worse.
There must be a fitness about things; do not impose fasting upon a joyful heart, or the singing of joyful hymns upon a sad spirit.
Mat_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.
Do not expect from a young beginner that which would be unsuitable to him, even though it should be most comely and seemly in an aged Christian; and do not expect to see in an aged Christian all the vigor and alertness of spirit that you look for in ardent souls in all the fervor of their first love to Christ. Let us mind the relations of things.