A Study Of Matthew's Gospel Chapter 9
Matthew Chapter 9- Introduction
Jesus doesn't stay where he's not welcome
In the previous chapter we read that the people, having lost their herd of pigs to demons that had been cast out of the man, asked Jesus to leave. So he travels by ship to his own city.
In chapter 9 we read of four charges that are made against him:
- Slackness in piety
- Being in league with the devil
Is Jesus Welcome?
Jesus didn't tickle their ears with what they wanted to hear, but explained the true cost of being his disciple. Is he still welcome in our lives and homes?
Jesus Accused of Blasphemy
Verse 1-8- Who Can Forgive Sins?
The man who was so sick that his friends had to carry him to Jesus, must have been determined to get there, for Luke's gospel recounts the friends letting the man down through the roof of the house!
Jesus Used Discernment:
- To determine that this man and his friends had faith and were therefore ready to encounter the power of God. Their faith was like the power switch! The man was healed!
- To see the sick man's repentant heart. He therefore forgave him first, for his spiritual health was more important than the physical.
- To know what the scribes were thinking. They recognised that God alone could forgive sins and therefore accused Jesus of blasphemy when he told the sick man that his sins were forgiven. Yet Jesus was able to forgive sins because he was the Son of Man who had come to die for the sins of this world.
This healing was a visible demonstration of Jesus' power over sin and sickness.
Jesus Accused of Immorality
Verse 9-13- Follow Me
Jesus finds Matthew working as a tax collector. It is interesting to note that, like his fellow disciples, Matthew was an employed worker who displayed faithfulness. Although Matthew went on to minister greatly in the kingdom of God, he first needed to follow Jesus. So he instantly obeyed Jesus' call and followed him.
How sad when ministers of the church are not (truly) following Jesus.
So Matthew arranged a feast (as Luke also recounts in his gospel) and Jesus sits and eats with Matthew and his friends- publicans and sinners. Again, Jesus knew what the Pharisees were really saying when they asked why he ate with such sinners. Certainly he was able to positively influence them, rather than being led astray.
What Sort of People Did Jesus Call?
Verse 12 & 13
Jesus explains that you only need a physician if you are sick.
The problem has always been that self-righteous people don't realise how sick they are. It's easier to see it in others than yourself. Jesus wants the right heart attitude, rather than sacrifice and quotes Hosea:.
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.— Hosea 6v6
Jesus Accused of Slackness in Piety
Verse 14-17- Jesus came with life, not rituals
The disciples of John the Baptist wanted to know why they and the Pharisees fasted, yet Jesus' disciples did not.
By bringing in the New Covenant, Jesus was showing his disciples how fasting was not compulsory, but to come from their devotion to him. Once he had returned to his father in Heaven, they would fast from their longing and devotion to him (the bridegroom), not because they had to.
They wouldn't be able to mix their old rituals with the new way of living in the Spirit. The old ways (wineskins) would not be able to contain the new and powerful life in the Spirit. This was why Jesus often seemed to break the commands. No longer should we obey because of fear, but love.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.— John 14v15
Jesus Always Honours Faith
Verse 18,19- Jesus accepts worship
Despite what Jesus had previously said about the self-righteousness of the religious rulers, he showed no partiality. So when this ruler came and asked Jesus to heal his daughter, he did not hesitate, for he saw his faith.
Although Jesus' fame went far and wide, he did all he could to keep his work quiet and humble, to ensure that God received the glory. And so he sent away the crowds as he took her hand and healed her. Being healed instantly, she arose.
Meanwhile a lady who had been ill for many years, yet in faith touched Jesus and was instantly healed.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.— Hebrews 11v6
Jesus Accused Of Being In League With The Devil
Verse 27-34- The Important Question
When two blind men came to Jesus to be healed, he asked if they believed that he was able to do it and then declared that it would happen according to their faith. Again he reiterated how this demonstration of God's power was dependant upon our faith in him.
Once he had healed them he told them to keep it to themselves. He did not want physical healings to detract from his main message of salvation (spiritual).
He then healed a dumb man by casting out a demon. Jesus discerned that this needed to be done in this case, which wasn't always the way, but he chose to be led by the Spirit rather than rules. This was when the Pharisees in their jealousy, accused him of being in league with the devil. In their criticism they remained in darkness.
Better To Light A Candle Than Curse The Darkness
What Was Jesus' Ministry Like?
Verse 35-38- The perfect ministry
Jesus had the perfect ministry, because his walk with God was perfect.
His ministry consisted of:
- Preaching the gospel of the Kingdom (of God)
- Healing every sickness and disease
Although he cared deeply for the physical needs of the people, what moved him the most was their great need for a shepherd. Not just paid hirelings, but true shepherds who knew and cared for them and were concerned for their spiritual well-being. For such people there is a great need, even today. Jesus was stirred by their spiritual need, knowing that their physical relief was only temporal.
He tells us to pray, not for volunteers to go out and evanglise, but for those whom God would call and send out. Those whom he knows have the right heart attitude to do his work and desire to give him alone the glory and worship, rather than receive wordly acclaim.
Questions & Answers
© 2020 Christine Hulme