Thursday, April 3, 2014

Matthew 9

1So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
·         Now Jesus returns to Capernaum, which is called, His city, likely because that’s where He lived. (Matt 4:13).
·         This is how the opening of Mark goes, Jesus first miracle

2Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
·         Likely a splinted mattress, not what we think of as a full bed. This might as be as minimal as a blanket.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
·         He sees the faith of the friends, and accounts it as salvation for the man.
·         Matthew once again skips ahead to the end, omitting the details that they let him down through the roof because there was no room to get in from the crowd. Luke tells us they pulled apart the tiles to do so.
·         It’s likely that Jesus speaks to the mans inner thoughts here, with the man considering himself too far gone to save, and undeserving of healing. It’s probably that this was the case, the man brought the affliction upon himself for his sinfulness, as Jesus speaks to that very thing.

3And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”
·         I suspect I would find myself among these men when faced with this statement from Jesus if I wasn’t too stunned by what He said to be completely inert. He is here claiming the right to be God and forgive sins against God.
·         This was said by only some of the scribes, and they said it in their heart, or in their innermost being, they did not say it aloud. Jesus was omniscient and saw all, even their thoughts.
·         This means that Jesus is God proved again, because only God can see the inner thoughts of men 1 Chron 28:9, Rom 8:27, John 2:24

4But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?
·         The healing miracles validated His supernatural authority.
·         Obviously both are impossible for us as humans to make good on, but the pronouncing of forgiveness of sins can pass unnoticed and unnoticeable, while the healing is immediately evident. In demonstrating the healing Jesus proved His power over the forgiving as well.

6But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
Jesus frequently commands the impossible. He said the same to Lazarus and He spoke similarly into the void of creation.

7And he arose and departed to his house. 8Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.
·         The crowd sees that God has granted forgiveness to man, and such power to a man is astonishing. They were even happier by the fact that the man He gave power to is generous and willing to forgive.

9As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
·         Jesus now passes out by the sea to teach and the multitudes came to Him, and walking by He sees Matthew. That means his booth was right by the water. Which means that he was probably the one who took the fishermen’s earnings. Bet Peter, James, and John would not have liked to see him join their company.
·         Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27-28 have him as Levi. Just like how Simon went to Peter. But here Matthew has his new name, which indicates his humility. Luke also points out that he left it all behind, but here Matthew is merely explaining why the next part happens.

10Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
·         Matthew went out and told all of his tax collector colleagues about Jesus, and invited Him to a feast. Luke tells us Matthew is responsible (5:29)
·         Jesus reclined there, not merely sat with sinners. The word means the lowest and most worthless portion of their society.

 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
·         They saw Jesus as approving of their behavior, because eating and drinking denotes intimacy and acceptance.  They must therefore have thought that Jesus was Himself a sinner.
·         The phrase is ‘scribes of the Pharisees’ saw it, which is helpfully translated out here, but also indicates that there were scribes who were not Pharisees.

12When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
·         The Pharisees in thinking they were fine did not realize their plight. Meanwhile the sinners and tax collectors did, and asked Jesus to save them.
·         Jesus answer is as straightforward and agrees with their assessment of the men nearby: you should expect to find someone working as a doctors among sick people. 

13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
·         This comes from Hosea 6:6, Jesus censures them for not knowing this. Their business was with the outwardly, His was with the inwardly.
·         Mercy and benevolence are more pleasing to God than outward acts of religion.

14Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
·         This is the disciples of John the Baptist ask it here, but Luke indicates the Pharisees asked. Likely the two groups both asked, both wanting to know, and the Pharisees were present when Johns disciples arrived.
·         John was in prison at this time.

15And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
·         Jesus is now going to give three analogies to why He does not behave like other men.
·         The answer is that they should fast because John is in jail, but the disciples of Jesus are still with Him, so they should not fast, because there is no occasion for sorrow.
·         Here Jesus predicts the future trouble of the disciples, but for now, there is no place for remembrance of sin since the ministry of forgiveness has come.

16No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.
·         When the garment washes it contracts. Mixing old and new garments would ruin both. Just so, Jesus will not have His disciples fast because He is the King of joy and joy has come.
·         If Jesus were to fast and be sorrowful and not take up the ministry of forgiveness we would be worse off than before, as there would be no hope.

17Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
·         Wineskins made from animals was the order of the day, and the wine expands as it ferments. If you have a wineskin stretched out as much as it will go and you fill it, it will burst.
·         If Jesus were to fast it would ruin His ministry, which was to bring forgiveness of sin. Jesus cannot be both about asking for forgiveness of sin and giving forgiveness of sin, one has to go.
·         Mark adds that Jesus rebukes the Pharsiees with the ‘old is better’ comment, meaning that they had rejected forgiveness and opted for pride.
·         At this point the Pharisees really decide to hate Him.

18While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.”
·         His worship consisted of acknowledging Jesus’ power and authority.
·         He (Jarius) was a ruler of the synagogue, which would be roughly equivalent to our idea of an elder. This is the same synagogue that had invited Jesus to preach, and had seen Him cast out a demon. (Luke 4:33)
·         He knows that if Jesus will touch his daughter, she will be restored to health, even though she’s on the verge of death.
·         Matthew once again jumps ahead and gives only the important summary, that the girl was dead when Jesus healed her. In the other accounts he has to be persuaded by Jesus to believe in this too.

19So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.
·         This is a necessary detail to understand how the next bit fits into the story

20And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”
·         Having bled for all these years she was desperate, which drives her to Christ. Just like Jesus said on the sermon on the mount that the poor are blessed.
·         Mark 5:26 tells us that she was now destitute from her condition.
·         Her goal was likely to touch the garment thrown over the shoulder. Although there was no such promise of healing, she believed He was so pure and great that His very clothes would heal her.

22But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
·         Matthew is content to point out that it’s her faith in Jesus that has healed her.
·         In Marks account she confessed reluctantly, afraid that her touching Him would offend Him, but this is His response to illness and disease: comfort and encouragement.
·         Daughter fits perfectly with the writer of the Hebrews pointing out “here I am with the children You gave Me.”

23When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.”
·         Peter, James, and John witnessed this, see Mark 5:37-40
·         By sleeping He meant to point out to them that her soul still existed. Only her body had quit life, but that only for a short time. Christians are said to be sleeping (1 Thess 4:13-15), in particular see Stephen (acts 7:60), or Lazarus (John 11:11) as good examples.
And they ridiculed Him.
·         They knew what they saw, they knew she was dead, and they assumed that since He wasn’t here, having just arrived, He didn’t know the news.
·         It wasn’t nice however, they laughed at Him rudely, to His face.

25But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.
·         Once again Matthew omits the details because he’s only concerned with showing the power and effects of Jesus. It turns out He brought a few witnesses into the room to validate the miracle.
·         They were forcefully expelled since they did not believe in Jesus’ power to heal.
·         He called her a ‘little lamb’ and told her to arise. It’s stunning tenderness from God

26And the report of this went out into all that land.
·         Mark records that Jesus told them to keep this quiet. That He told the crowd she was sleeping helps to re-enforce this. It was likely to keep the family private, His ministry as a preacher rather than a miracle worker, and to keep His enemies in the dark.
·         Matthew simply reports what happened: the tale went out to all the land

27When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
·         This is an appeal to the messianic nature of Jesus’ power. They are confessing that He is the fulfillment of Scripture, and the rightful King.

28And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
·         Now Jesus will demonstrate His authority over blindness

29Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”
·         Faith is the vessel which the power of God is moved to us. It is the open hand. Because they had asked God and really believed He could do it, He did it for them.

30And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country.
·         Once again they hampered His ministry. This is another time we see men disobeying God.
·         He knew they would disobey and yet even still He healed them.

32As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed.
·         Now Jesus will demonstrate His authority over muteness.
·         These healings are only accounted by Matthew, Luke and Mark have the Sabbath healings coming next, which strengthens the notion that Matthew has handpicked events and compiled them to convey the message that Jesus is Lord and wants Faith.

33And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” 34But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”
·         Jealousy in the heart of the Pharisee demanded that they condemn Jesus.
·         Foolish men built their houses on the sand speaks to this, that they would reject Jesus, when they could no longer deny Him.

35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
·         Jesus went around healing the sick, teaching in the synagogues, and preaching the good news. Matthew is content to point out that for some time now Jesus is going to do this very thing.
·         Mark has the account of Jesus being rejected at Nazareth, for example, but it’s enough for Matthew to say that’s what Jesus did for awhile.

36But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
·         The people were badly off, and lost. God Himself, being more compassionate than we know, looks down with love and desires to give them rest.
·         The people were weary from carrying the burden the Pharisees put on them, the tradition and extra rules. This is why Jesus calls to those who are weary and heavy laden, that He may give them rest. Blessed are these people, for they will be comforted by God.

37Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
·         This is like the promise of the shepherds in Ezekiel 34:8-10. The Pharisees will be taken away and the Apostles will be given.
·         Believers are to pray this still, there are many people lost in the world and too few genuine Christians to stand up and work

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