Mat_9:1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
Our Lord had given these Gergesenes an opportunity of becoming his disciples, the kingdom of God had come very near to them, but as they accounted themselves unworthy of it, and besought him to depart out of their coasts, he did not force himself upon them. Take heed, dear friends, if you do but hear the gospel once, that you do not reject it, for you may never have the opportunity of hearing it again.
Mat_9:2. 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.
He saw the faith of the one man who was brought to him, and also the faith of the four bearers who had let him down through the roof.
Mat_9:3-4. 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?
His knowledge of the thoughts of their hearts ought to have convinced them that he was divine, and that therefore he had the right to forgive sins. They were not, however, in a condition to learn anything, for they thought that they already knew everything.
Mat_9:5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Each of these actions needed divine power; but divinity being present, there was no difference as to the manifestation of this power between the forgiveness of sins and the healing of sickness.
Mat_9:6-7. 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.
Carrying the mattress whereon he had lain. Would he keep that bed stored, think you, for a memorial? Or if he used it in future to sleep upon would he not by night upon his bed wake up, and praise the Lord for what he had done for him? I think that we should treasure up in our memory the deeds of Christ on our behalf, if indeed we know his great salvation. I should not wonder if there is a mattress that you have somewhere at home, a bed, or a book, or something with which there is connected the remembrance of some deed of infinite love and almighty grace.
Mat_9:8. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
They did not think deeply enough, and go really to the bottom of the matter, but they concluded that it was a wonderful thing that any man — that any men, as they put it, — should have such power given unto them.
Mat_9:9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom:
Notice how Matthew describes himself: “As Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom.”
Mat_9:9. And he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
See how everything is obedient to Christ. Paralysis leaves the palsied man, and hardness of heart departs from the tax-gatherer.
Mat_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.
Note the modesty of these early recorders; Matthew does not say that it was his own house where this gathering took place, nor that he was the giver of the feast. Mark and Luke supply this information.
Mat_9:11-13. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 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:
God prefers the doing of good to all outward ritual and ordinances, even the best of them: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:”
Mat_9:13-22. For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 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 shalt be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 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. 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. 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. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 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.
See how he scatters mercy all around. He is charged to the full with the divine electricity of health, and whoever comes in his way gets a blessing. Oh, for the presence of that full and overflowing Christ in the midst of every worshipping assembly, for there are still many sick folk who need a Saviour as much as these people did in the days of Jesus!
Mat_9:23. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
They were gathered together for the funeral of this young girl.
Mat_9:24. He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
They did not understand his expression; yet, apparently, sleep only differs from death in this respect, that the sleeper wakes again, and returns to consciousness. The Lord Jesus Christ did not mean that the maiden was not dead; but he meant that, as she was soon coming to life again, it was, as it were, only like the image of death. To her, death was not a cul-de-sac, a dark cave without an opening at the further end; it was rather a tunnel through which she was passing back again into life.
Mat_9:25-26. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
And well it might; this was the marvel of marvels that he should even raise the dead.
Mat_9:27. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
See, my brethren, how miracle follows upon miracle, how the way of Christ is, as it were, paved with mercy upon mercy.
Mat_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?
It is a great thing to have faith about the particular point that most concerns us: “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” Some can believe everything except the one thing for which faith is most needed,
Mat_9:28. They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
Can you, dear friend, say, “Yes, Lord,” about yourself?
Mat_9:29-31. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
This was very wrong of them, for they ought to have obeyed Christ’s orders. They were doing much mischief, although, no doubt, they thought they were doing good. The Saviour, first of all, was modest, and did not wish his cures reported. In the next place, he wanted to have an opportunity of doing more good, and the reporting of this cure brought him immense crowds who encumbered him, and also excited the animosity of the Pharisees, who would the more persecute him. Moreover, our Lord did not wish the Pharisees to think that he cured people that they might simply advertise him. I do think that we often err in imagining that making known every little thing that happens, and even every great thing, is the best course to pursue. There is a way of walking in wisdom toward them that are without, and Christ knew that way; and these blind men whose eyes he had opened should not have disobeyed him.
Mat_9:32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
“As they went out.” Do notice what a succession of mercies Christ dispersed; it was a sort of tempest of blessing, peal upon peal, following almost without intermission.
Mat_9:33-34. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
How does Christ answer this wicked taunt?
Mat_9:35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
That is the best answer to give to cavillers, do more good than ever. There is no stopping the barking of dogs; so go you on your way, as the moon shines, let the hounds bay as they may. Oh, the glory of the Master! Like a cloud that dispenses showers of blessing wherever it moves, so did he continue to do his life-work.
Mat_9:36-38. 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. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Or, “that he will thrust forth labourers into his harvest.” He who does the most is always the one who wants to see more done. This blessed Christ, with his hands so full of holy work, is the one who bows his knee, and cries to the great Lord of the harvest to thrust forth labourers into his harvest. Let us imitate him both in the working and in the praying.