Matthew Chapter 9 Miracles: Paralytic; Publican; Dead Daughter; Disease; Demons

  1. Matthew 8 and 9 present miracles of Jesus. This chapter is a continuation of chapter 8. Each miracle gives visible proof that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. We can find several reasons that Jesus performed miracles, besides the obvious desire to express his love and remove suffering.
    • To authenticate himself, his plan, and his authority (John 2.11; John 6:14; 11:47). Jesus performed miracles to authenticate his own person, ministry, and authority (John 2:11; 6:14; Acts 2:22).
    • Miracles then can demonstrate God and his character. This strengthens our faith in Him (Exodus 4:1-5; Luke 4:25-28, 32-36; John 2:11; John 20:31; Hebrews 2:2-4).
    • Jesus performed miracles to accomplish what the Old Testament prophets said of him (Matthew 8:16-17 with Isaiah 53:4).
    • Miracles forced unbelief to show itself. The miracles frustrated the Pharisees because they could not explain them away, yet they did not want to recognize Jesus was Messiah (John 11:47-48; Acts 4:16).
    • Miracles also demonstrate God and his ability so that an unbeliever firm in unbelief will harden his heart against God (Exodus 7:8-13). Jesus’ miracles did the same for those firm in their unbelief (Matthew 11:20-21; John 12:37).
  2. The first miracle that Chapter 9 records for us (Matthew 9:1-8) is of Jesus healing a paralyzed man, but in doing so he first said, “your sins are forgiven.” The hardest thing was to forgive sins. Compared to that healing sickness was easy.
    • His own city refers in context to Capernaum, a city on the west side of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:5). This apparently was Jesus home base for now (Mark 2:1).
    • The man cannot walk (Matthew 9:2). The word is paralutikon (paralutikon) or paralyzed.
    • Why were people bringing the paralytic to Jesus? The only answer could be that they knew of his miracles and believed that he could heal the man. They are putting their faith into their life. We might be able to call it faith working, which is what James 2 teaches. Now, are the people (plural) the only ones believing that Jesus could heal? Jesus responds to them (plural) because they bring the man. But, apparently the paralyzed man also believes Jesus and his friends are helping him. John 5:7 tells of a lame man who had no one to bring him to a place of healing.
      • They are friends of his. Friends helping a friend. Here friends are helping a helpless man meet Jesus and gain healing. This is an example for us about Christian service. This is helping the helpless, which is showing mercy. This is not tax supported medical care for everyone.
    • Note that Jesus responds to faith. We saw this in Chapter 8. God likes to honor faith. Faith by mankind pleases him.
    • In verse 2, Jesus really makes the religious people mad. He could have simply said, “I heal you.” Instead he said “your sins are forgiven.” Why? Because only God can forgive sins. That is the hardest thing to do. The religious people know that only God can forgive sins. Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21 give us this information.
    • The religious reaction is in verse 3, with Jesus’ reply in 4-6. Note that Jesus clearly makes his point in verse 6. He demonstrates that he, the Son of Man, has the authority to forgive sins, and to do it while on earth. Wow! That is authority. What else do they need to in order to realize that Jesus is the Messiah? Nothing.
    • After he forgave the man’s sins in response to his faith, Jesus then healed him (6).
    • What about the title “Son of Man?” This phrase is used generally and also with a specific meaning.
      • It can refer to people as in Numbers 23:19 and Jeremiah 51:43.
      • It also is used to refer to a specific spokesman for God. Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 2:1 and many times, and Daniel in Daniel in 8:17.
      • This also is a messianic title in Daniel 7:13, Matthew 8:20, and others. The New Testament use seems to build off of all three uses, but emphasizes the meaning from the Daniel passage that refers to the coming messianic king.
      • Jesus is humanity, God’s spokesman, and the messianic king.
    • Jesus left them (7) and the crowds “were filled with awe, and glorified God.” They knew that God gave Jesus the authority. In other words, Jesus was God’s man.
    • This incident teaches lesson for those people at that time and for us in our time.
      • Jesus is God, and as God he has God’s authority and ability.
      • Jesus and God the Father respond to faith.
      • The religious people (scribes) knew exactly what Jesus was saying to them, but they refused to accept him. They were without excuse.
      • The right response to God working is reverential awe and glory to God.
      • Christian service means that believers do something for others so they might meet Jesus Christ.
  3. Matthew 9:9-13 records the historical incident when Jesus met Matthew, the tax man. Tax men were not of favored people class. They collected taxes for the government and at the same time charged some extra for themselves.
    • Capernaum was on the caravan route connecting Egypt and the East. Matthew had a very profitable location. He collected taxes for the Romans and also for himself.
    • Matthew worked for the hated Roman overlords. He also took money from Jewish people.
    • Jesus told Matthew to follow him. Matthew did. We learn that Jesus does not discriminate against people because of their job or their reputation or their sins. He wants all to have forgiveness.
      • And not only just forgiveness. He called Matthew to be a disciple and an apostle and a recorder of Scripture.
      • Jesus takes all people who believe him.
    • Matthew said yes and they had a dinner party in Levi’s house (9:9-10; Luke 5:27-32). The Pharisees got mad. Are you surprised? You should not be. They reject grace. Religious people tend to reject grace. By religious people, I mean those who think they have a special place before God because of duties, ritual, office, or their own righteousness. They are, of course, wrong on all counts.
      • Many tax-gatherers and sinners came. We know who tax gatherers are. Who are the sinners? Sinners hamartolos (hamartolos) are those known to sin. They are the ones in society with the bad reputation.
    • In verse 12 Jesus heard the complaint and answered right to the point. He came to help those who need help. The implication is also that they know they need help. He uses the doctor patient illustration to make his point. Sick people go to the doctor for a reason. They know they need help and are most often ready to accept help. The tax-gatherers and sinners knew they needed help and they were interested in help, while the Pharisees did not think they needed anything. They were self-righteous.
    • Jesus told them to go and study and learn what the Scripture really says (13).
      • He refers to Hosea 6:6 where God responds to Hosea’s plea to return to the Lord for national healing. The Lord answers that he wants the nation’s loyalty and knowledge of him more than ritual service. They must return to God’s ways stated in the Scripture. The people to whom Hosea ministered did not want to do that. They had no loyalty to God and majored on meaningless ritual.
      • In the same way Jesus wants people—Pharisees are the ones he is pointing to—to be compassionate and loyal people, not people of ritual like they are. This is a direct statement against the Pharisees’ position.
      • Therefore, the ones Jesus came to help—forgive and make part of his kingdom—are those who genuinely follow him.
  4. In Matthew 9:14-17, John’s disciples asked an honest question. They wondered why Jesus’ disciples did not fast. They and the Pharisees did. John’s disciples had not moved beyond the initial message from John which was repent, which meant to change your view and application of the Old Testament if you want the blessings of the Old Testament. They did not understand the new covenant way of life that he brought. Furthermore, they were unclear on the kind of kingdom he was bringing. John was a reformer and preparer of the way for Jesus. Jesus brought in a whole new way of life. He, the King, was now present. The old covenant was about to be put away for good. The new covenant was about to be inaugurated.
    • Jesus’ answer was a practical one. As John the Baptist noted in John 3:29, Jesus was like bridegroom and he was like the friend of the bridegroom. While together, the friend rejoices. Matthew 22:2 and 25:1 uses the same illustration of a wedding and the Messiah is the bridegroom.
    • There was no need to fast when the Messiah was there with them in person. Fasting is a form of worship or concentration on the Lord. The Lord is with them, so there is no need to fast at that time. In Acts 13:13 and 14:23, we see his followers fasting, but after he has ascended to heaven.
    • The point about the wineskins further emphasizes the differences between the Pharisee’s religious system and his own kingdom. He brings added revelation from the Father about God’s plan for Israel. The Messiah has come. Now the Jewish nation should begin anew—new wine into fresh wineskins means that the viewpoint of mixing the Messiah’s teaching with the Pharisee’s teaching will not work. Judaism as represented by the Jewish leadership cannot be patched. The teachings of Jesus cannot be poured into it. It is new and fresh. It is Old Testament teaching come of age and totally different from that currently held by the religious leaders.
      • New (neos neos, new in time) wine into new (kainos kainos, new in kind) wineskins.
      • The new covenant will soon replace the old covenant and this new way of life will replace, not patch the old.
    • The church age is not a patchwork of old and new. It is new based upon the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the New Covenant, and our spiritual blessings. We ought to remember that the Christian Way of Life is new in time (church age) and new in kind (spiritual blessings, not a remake of the Mosaic Law). Paul teaches this in 2 Corinthians 3-4.
  5. Jesus again responds to faith in Matthew 9:18-25. We have a repetition of this theme, so it was be important.
    • The official was Jairus, a synagogue official. His daughter had died (18, 23-24). Mark 5:23 and Luke 8:42 are parallel passages. Matthew went straight to the fact that she had died. In Mark and Luke she is dying. Apparently while talking with Jesus, she had died, and the news had reached him. The official believed that Jesus had the ability to raise her. In verse 24, Jesus said that she was only sleeping. From his point of view this was true. She was physically dead. In verse 25, Matthew recorded that Jesus simply took her had and she arose. This was resuscitation. Jesus responded to faith.
    • Along the way to the official’s house, a woman came to him (20-22). She had been sick for 12 years. What it was, we do not know. Possible a chronic disease of her female organs due to a tumor, polyp, or chronic infection. Possibly something like a hemorrhagic colitis. Maybe chronic skin ulcerations. We do not know. What we do know is that she was confident that Jesus could heal her. Jesus healed her immediately. He responded to her faith.
  6. Matthew 9:27-31 contains the record of another healing. Two blind men came to Jesus. They called him Son of David. Their use of that title implies that they also recognized that the Messiah would come from David’s line and Jesus may be he. Certainly the news of what he did and said gave evidence that he was indeed the promised Messiah.
    • Mercy is God’s grace in action. When one shows mercy, he does for someone in great need that which he is unable to do for himself.
    • The theme is again faith in response to Jesus credentials. Verse 28 has the question by Jesus and their answer.
      • Do you believe?
      • Yes, Lord. They called him Lord. In context, this indicates more than yes sir. They believed he was God.
      • Jesus answer was simple, “according to your faith.” This was a test of faith. They passed.
      • For us, it again shows the importance of faith in our relationship with God.
    • He told them not to spread the news, but how could they keep quiet? Jesus’ reason was that he did not want to be forced to prominence as a political leader.
  7. Matthew 9:32-34 recorded another incident of demon possession and the effects on the one possessed. This demon had blocked the man’s ability to speak. Jesus healed him.
    • The Pharisees objected, and their objection clearly demonstrated their rejection of Jesus, the Messiah.
    • They claimed that he worked his miracles by Satan, not by God. Mark 3:22-30 and Luke 11:14-26 also contain a similar incident.
    • By saying that Jesus performed miracles in the power of Satan instead of by God, specifically the Holy Spirit, they are rejecting the ministry of the Holy Spirit and cannot while in this condition, gain eternal life. The Holy Spirit is the convincer of who Jesus is.
  8. The conclusion to this chapter and this section of Matthew is verses 9:35-38. Jesus traveled the country teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the promised kingdom, and healing people. Furthermore, Matthew says almost the exact same thing in Matthew 9:35 as in Matthew 4:23 except that in Matthew 4 he emphasizes the disciples need for instruction for their ministry to Israel, while in Matthew 9 his emphasizes is on the Israeli people and service to them. All of his words and works would convince those willing to believe in the Messiah. Those unwilling hardened themselves.
    • First, note that Jesus traveled all over the country. He went to cities and to villages. He went where Jewish people lived. He did not wait for the word to get out the people come to him. He wisely chose where to go, but did not limit himself to a certain class of people or to wealthy, middle class, or poor.
    • Second, Jesus taught in their synagogues. This was a place where Jews gathered to hear God’s word. Jesus took advantage of that forum.
    • Third, Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom. The question that we need to ask is what is the gospel of the kingdom? This is the messianic kingdom that he was offering to the Jewish nation (Matthew 10:7). It is at hand. That means that it about to come into fulfillment if the right conditions are met.
    • Fourth, note that Jesus did not limit himself to healing certain diseases. He took them all on and successfully healed each one brought to him.
    • Fifth, Jesus had compassion on the people (splangchnizomai, the inner organs=bowels which were the seat of emotions in the words of the time). Jesus pictures the people as lost sheep with no shepherd to protect, feed, and guide them. The religious leaders of Israel have failed in there task of spiritual leadership. Note Ezekiel 34:1-6 with 34:23-24; Numbers 27:17, Isaiah 53:6, Matthew 10:6, and 15:24.
    • Jesus’ last words of this message are directed to his disciples. He uses an agricultural illustration.
      • Harvest is plentiful. There are many people to reach. In fact, there are not enough workers to do the job. Verse 36 indicates that people without spiritual leadership have problems with life—distressed and downcast. They tend to be more responsive to God’s word. Do I have compassion on these people? Jesus did. Do I give them what they need? Jesus did.
      • Pray that God will send more believers out into the ministry and help with the harvest. We can pray for more biblical Christian workers.
  9. So whats of Matthew 9.
    • Showing mercy to the helpless often uncovers a genuine willingness to consider God’s word (positive volition). Helping and showing mercy is often a way of lessening suffering and gaining a hearing for the gospel. Christian service means that believers do something for others so they might meet Jesus Christ.
    • Jesus forgives sins. He is God. Sin and sickness are related since the fall. Our message is that Jesus, the savior, forgives sins for those who trust him.
    • Jesus, our savior and head of the church, is true humanity, God’s spokesman, and king of creation. How do we treat him? Hebrews 4:15-16 applies his humanness for our benefit.
    • When we see God do something in our lives, what is our reaction? We can ignore it, take it for granted, disbelieve it, or say wow, awesome, and glorify him.
    • How do I treat social sinners? Am I willing to show mercy, and tell them about forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ? Remember Matthew, the tax man.
    • Am I trying to live a patchwork life—a mixture of law and grace, faith and works, flesh and Holy Spirit? It will not work. Jesus message was not a mixture of the Pharisees’ doctrine and biblical truth.
    • How is my faith? Or, where is my faith? Do I have any? Will I trust God to answer prayer? Will I trust him to do his best?
    • Am I like those who shut off the Holy Spirit? If I quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) I am dangerously close to those who said Jesus worked in the power of Satan instead of the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • Am I willing to go and do as God directs me? Jesus did not restrict himself unless he knew the people were unwilling to hear his message.
  10. A short plan for me from Matthew 9.
    • Genuinely glory or honor God the Father and Jesus the Son when I experience his forgiveness and his answer of my prayer.
    • Follow Jesus Christ day to day by thinking biblically and taking him into account in all of my life.
    • I cannot mix the new church age doctrine with legalistic taboos, ritual, self righteousness, or placing myself under the Mosaic law. All is new.
    • I need to pray with faith. God wants to honor my faith.
    • I ought to have compassion on those without Jesus Christ. I can express this by praying for others, praying for more biblically based Christian workers, and by doing my part.