Jesus' Authority on Earth to Forgive Sins
Comments for Study 14
Memory Verse: 6
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I. Jesus Heals the Sick (1-17)
>1. Where had Jesus just been? (8:34-9:1) What happened when he landed? Who were these men? (Mark 2:1-4) How did Jesus view what they did? What can we learn from them?
Matthew 9:1 " Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town."
* "Jesus stepped into a boat" -From this phrase it appears that after Jesus cast out the demons of the man in chapter 8, and after he send the man off, Jesus immediately left the region as the people of that village had asked.
* "crossed over" -They crossed over the Sea of Galilee.
* "and came to his own town" -The town here is most likely Capernaum. Mark 2:1-4 most likely is a record the same event. Those verses say, "A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof about Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on a mat."
>2. What did Jesus say to this paralysed man? (2b) Why do you think Jesus said this? In what respect is paralysis like sin sickness?
Matthew 9:2 "Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
* "Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat." -The passage does not say if the men where his friends or not. Nor does the passage say who instigated the trip. However, from the next verses it is clear that all involved had faith.
* "When Jesus saw their faith" -Jesus saw what they did as great faith. The word "their" shows that all who were involved had faith, both the men who brought the man to Jesus and the paralytic himself.
I can we learn from them, to believe in Jesus' power and authority, to have faith in Jesus to the end, to keep trying even when it doesn't look like it is possible, that something may be God's will but still may not be easy for us to do. This is God wants us to be trained to grow in faith.
* "he said to the paralytic" -Jesus did not speak to the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus. He spoke to the paralytic. Most likely this man had asked the men to bring him to Jesus.
* "Take heart" -Jesus gave words of encouragement
* "son" -Jesus called him son. Thus, he was a son of God. How was this so? Because when a person has faith in Jesus he or she is adapted by the Father and thus becomes a son of God.
* "Your sins are forgiven" - Jesus said this instead of "Get up and walk." At first this seems unusual. Why did he forgive the man's sins first? Most humans would think that his physical condition was the most important problem. But in Jesus' eyes this was more of a problem to the man than being paralyzed. Thus Jesus teaches me something; spiritual problems are more important that physical.
Paralysis is like sin sickness because sin can paralyze us in may ways. Like paralysis, we do not have the ability to overcome on our own sin nature. And when he have the paralysis of sin, we are a burden to others (Romans 8:5-8) For example David was paralyzed because of his sin with Bathsheba. Later he could not rebuke his son when he committed adultery with his sister.
* "forgiven" -Meaning pardoned, or forgotten (Jeremiah 31:34); No longer under God's punishment; to remove (Psalm 103:12).
>3. How did some of the teachers of the law respond? Why did they think this? How did Jesus rebuke them? How did he answer them? What did Jesus do?
Matthew 9: 3 "At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, 'This fellow is blaspheming!'"
* "some" -Not all of the teachers of the law were thinking this.
* "the teachers of the law" -These men were Bible scholars. They knew quit a lot by ordinary standards about the Bible. However, they really did not understand the main point of the Bible. They claimed to be inspired by God, but they were not, they just knew a lot. Knowing the Bible does not mean a person is inspired by God.
* "said to themselves" -They did not say it out loud because of what others would think. Most people liked and respected Jesus at this time because he healed so many people. Yet, out of pride and self assurance they said what they believed to be true to themselves.
A majority of the time people do not say what they really think when talking to other people. We humans hide our true thoughts because either we are afraid of what people will think about our thoughts, or because we know that they are bad thoughts. Often in our conversations and interaction with other human beings we wear masks. The solution is not only to drop the masks, but also to have the right thoughts. We need cleaned up.
* "This fellow is blaspheming" -The teachers of the law knew that only God can forgive sins and they did not believe nor know that Jesus is in fact the Son of God. (Mark 2:7) However, they knew that the Messiah would bring forgiveness of sins, and himself would forgive sins, thus being God. But these teachers of the law did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Eventually they would put Jesus to death because they thought he was blaspheming. (Matt. 26:63-65)
* "blasphemy" -Speaking against God, undermining his authority, or going against God's teachings. Holman's Bible Dictionary says, "BLASPHEMY is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning literally “to speak harm.” In the biblical context, blasphemy is an attitude of disrespect that finds expression in an act directed against the character of God...Leviticus 24:14-16 guides the Hebrew definition of blasphemy. The offense is designated as a capital crime, and the offender is to be stoned by the community. Blasphemy involves the actual pronunciation of the name of God along with an attitude of disrespect. Under the influence of this interpretation, (in the Old Testament Times) the personal name of God (Yahweh) was withdrawn from ordinary speech and the title of Adonai (Lord) was used in its place."
Matthew 9:4 "Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, 'Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?'"
* "Knowing their thoughts" -Jesus knew their thoughts because he is God. God knows all of our thoughts all of the time. He is actively involved in our lives all the time.
* "Jesus said' -This was a harsh rebuke. He gave such a harsh one because their view of him was all wrong. Their personal view points, which was wrong assessments, were offering with this healing work of God and truth of Jesus. In spite of this harsh rebuke they would remain closed minded about Jesus. Old wineskin, as Jesus would call them, often need harsh rebukes.
* "Why do you" -God often asks questions so that we humans may examine ourselves. Knowing our thought he examines them seeing if they are evil or good. Often he may ask us questions so that we examine ourselves. Sometimes it is our conscience that asks us if our thoughts are wrong or right. Our conscience is a God given mental and spiritual bank of right and wrong. This is what is made in the image of God. However, continual ignoring of our God given conscience will lead to dulling its effectiveness. This is called hardening of the heart. This is what happened to many of the religious leaders of Jesus' day.
Sometimes God the Holy Spirit asks us. Other times God uses angels or men and women of God. In this case God himself in the form of the Son of God asked them directly, "Why do you..."
* "entertain evil thoughts in your hearts" -Anyone can entertain evil thoughts in their hearts. Matthew 15:19 says, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." Entertaining evil thoughts lead to sin in action and deed. This is why we are to curve our thoughts. I am to not entertain evil thoughts. The evil thought itself is a sin, but when this grows to an action the evil bears fruit of great misery and trouble. Not only that, but before one is in the body of Christ, such thoughts lead to death. Romans 7:5 says, "For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death."
* "which is easier" -Both are difficult depending on ones view point. One is easier for man; The other is easier for God. Jesus was talking from God's point of view.
Matthew 9:5-6 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...'" Then he said to the paralytic, 'Get up, take your mat and go home.'"
* "But so that you may know" -The Old Testament prophets foretold what the Messiah would do. Included in the list was healing those who could not walk. Thus Jesus would prove that he was the Messiah, "the Son of Man," and thus had the authority to forgive sins by healing this man.
* "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -Jesus now and then has authority to forgive sins. "The Son of Man" was even before Jesus used it a title meaning the Messiah. Jesus, the Messiah, forgives sins.
>4. How did the paralytic and the crowd respond? What does this event teach us about Jesus? What does this mean for all people? For you?
Matthew 9:7-8 "And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised god, who had given such authority to men."
* From this event I can learn several things about Jesus. First, he has power to heal. Second, he has power and authority to forgive sins. Next, Jesus wants to reveal to us who he is. Fourth, he wants us to have faith in him as the Messiah, the Son of Man. That is why he reveals himself to us. In fact Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit was sent, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)
I can also learn that Jesus blesses "overcoming" faith in more ways than we can imagine. Sixth, I can learn that Jesus has a shepherd heart for all people even those like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Lastly, I learn that Jesus will forgive our sins if we have faith in him..
>5. Who did Jesus see next? Who was this man? Where was he? What kind of people were tax collectors in those times? (11) What kind of sinners were they?
Matthew 9:9 "As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him."
* "As Jesus went on from there" -Most likely this was the same day.
* "he saw a man" -Jesus saw Matthew before Matthew saw Jesus. Jesus then sought out Matthew. Why Matthew; Why not someone else? Why does he seek out those who are elect? Because it is God's will and design. God's election is a common theme throughout the Bible. Israel is God's elect in the Old Testament. In the New Testament God's elect is Christ's Church. 1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Mark 13:20 also speaks of God's elect. In chapters 20 and 22 of Matthew, Jesus' parables has the theme of God's elect and illustrate the sovereignty of God in salvation. And finally in John 15:16 Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-- that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
* "named Matthew" -The author of this Gospel.
* "sitting in a tax collector's booth" -Thus Matthew was a tax collector for the occupying force of Rome. A tax collector held and office created by the Romans to help collect taxes in the provinces. "In New Testament times people bid for the job of chief tax collector and then exacted the tax plus a profit from the citizens. Most of the offices were filled by Romans, although some natives got the bids. Publicans were held in the lowest esteem because of their excessive profits, being placed in the same category as harlots." (from Holman's Bible Dictionary).
>6. What did Jesus command him to do? What did this mean to him? To us? What did he do? How did he express his joy and thanksgiving? (10)
* "Follow me" -This simple sentence has more implication than physically following him. In Jesus' day when a person followed a prophet and/or teacher, it meant that he followed his mannerisms, practices, words, thoughts, ideas, and philosophies.
Jesus was commanding him to leave his job. Leaving ones job is leaving ones security, money, leave his family and friends. But it also meant that he was to become a new person. He would become like Jesus.
* "follow me" -To Peter and James, Jesus said this and added a promise to it. He did not do so to Matthew, he only commanded Matthew. Perhaps this is because a command was all Matthew needed because Matthew was so tired of his old lifestyle.
* "Matthew got up and followed him" -Matthew left quickly. Why? One could give reasons based on his or her education, but one thing is clear God had placed a great desire in Matthew's heart.
Matthew 9:10 "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples."
* "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house" -Jesus ate at the homes of his disciples. Matthew was a new disciple, one who had a shady background, one who was considered an evil man by the religious and social leaders. Yet Jesus went to their homes.
The passage does not say how long after Jesus called of Matthew by his tax collectors booth did this event took place. However, it must have been the same day, or at least the same week because Matthew left his tax collectors booth, and therefore left his job to travel with Jesus. Thus, Matthew would have slowly lost contact with his old tax collector friends making this dinner less likely.
* "many tax collectors" -There is an old saying, "Birds of a feather flock together." Matthew had friends who were like him. The fact that Matthew had many friends perhaps indicates that Matthew was a popular and influential tax collector. Perhaps even a chief tax collector. However, no Bible verse says that Matthew was a chief tax collector.
* "sinners" -"Sinners" were labelled so by the religious leaders. They were people who often did not follow the rules and regulations that the Pharisees had set up. Being a "sinner" did not necessarily mean that the person did not follow the commandments in the Bible. One could be labelled a sinner by keeping the Bible's law but not follow the religious people's rules. Thus one could be labeled a "sinner" because they broke man's laws, not necessarily God's laws.
To be labeled a "sinner" meant that one was a common sinner, one who was known so by the public. To the religious leaders if one kept the commandments in the Bible and the Talmud one did not sin. Jesus, however pointed out that the same religious leaders often did not follow the spirit of the law; they only followed the letter of the law. Thus the religious leaders were sinners too. 1 John 1:8 says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
To the religious people of the day tax collectors were common sinners. This was because they usually were society drop outs whose friends turned out to be people labeled as sinners. It wasn't so much that they sinned; its just that their friends were known sinners. Therefore they were labelled as "one of them."
Often tax collectors got their jobs because they sold their heritage and friends to make money and have materials. Thus the average Jew no longer associated with tax collectors. They were branded as "sinners". Thus tax collectors often had sinner friends like prostitutes.
* "and his disciples" -Jesus' disciples were with him.
>7. What did the Pharisees say? Why? How did Jesus respond to them? (12-13) Why did Jesus come? What does this mean? What does Hosea 6:6 teach?
Matthew 9:11 "When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?'"
* "When the Pharisees saw this" -How did they see this? Perhaps they walked by Matthew's house when he was having the party.
Or perhaps they were able to see this was because the Pharisees frequently followed Jesus to see what he was up to. They often investigated what Jesus was doing so they could catch him in some sin and thus condemn him and his ministry.
* "they asked his disciples" -They did not ask Jesus directly.
* "Why does your teacher eat with..." -The Pharisees believed that being with sinners would "contaminate" them. Of course bad company corrupts good characters but one should not completely isolate oneself from non-believers.
Matthew 9:12-13 "On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor , but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'"
* "On hearing this" -Jesus was watching out for those who followed him. The question put forth by the Pharisees was meant to drive the disciples away from Jesus.
* "It is not the....but sinners." -Jesus came to bring and to call sinners to God. This means self righteous people can not humble themselves to accept God righteousness. They have closed their minds. Whereas sinners know that they are wrong but don't have the strength or faith to come to God. So Jesus comes to them.
* "doctor" -A good doctor does not worry about getting sick. He may take precautions, but he does not stop from doing his task and job. To heal the sick is his mission, even at self sacrifice.
* "But go and learn what this means" -Jesus encouraged Bible study. However, in this statement Jesus pointed out that the religious leaders did not correctly learn the Bible. They picked and chose what verses they wanted to learn. More so than that they did not learn the whole spirit of the law.
* "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" -This quote is from Hosea 6:6 which says, "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings."
>8. Read verses 14-16. How do these verses emphasize the joy of new life in Jesus? (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Matthew 9:14-17 "Then John's disciples came and asked him, 'How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?' Jesus answered, 'How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. No one sews a patch of new cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskin. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskin will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskin, and both are preserved.'"
* These verses exemplifies the joy of the new life in Christ, the kingdom of God. The new life is like a wedding feast. Jesus talked of this new life and the major changes needed in the new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
* Matthew is the only gospel writer who recorded this event. Most likely because Matthew focused his gospel on the Kingdom of God.
II. Jesus Heals People Who Are Incurable (18-34)
>9. What was amazing about the ruler's faith? (18)
Matthew 9:18-19 "While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples."
* Matthew is not the only one who records Jesus raising the ruler's daughter from the dead and Jesus healing a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years. Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 8:40-56 do too.
* "While he was saying this" -This event and Jesus talking to John's disciples are linked directly in time. Matthew 9:14-17 is different than John sending his disciples to Jesus as recorded in Matthew 11 (and Luke 7). John's arrest and later beheading is recorded in Matthew 14. Matthew 16 (also Mark 8 and Luke 9) records a conversation that took place referring to John's death.
* "a ruler came" -Matthew does not say much about who this ruler is. However, both Mark and Luke refer to him as a synagogue ruler. Therefore, one can deduce that this man was a Jew who was a high standing man in the Jewish society, after all the word "ruler" implies this. However, this man was most likely not a teacher. In today's church government terms he would be more like a deacon.
Since by this time the Jewish religious leaders had considered Jesus an "evil" man, anyone who would associate with Jesus would be considered non-spiritual and weak and therefore, one who had been mislead. This ruler could have lost everything by acknowledging Jesus, still this ruler came to Jesus.
* "knelt down before him" -A sign of submission and respect. He knelt before Jesus which a ruler is not likely to do since they lead people. Even more this man was a Jewish ruler.
* "My daughter has just died" -Matthew says that the father claimed that his daughter was dead before Jesus meet the woman who had suffered from the bleeding. Mark and Luke only say that the father said she was dying. Mark and Luke say that she died, but that the father (and the rest of them) learned this after the woman was healed of her bleeding.
At first this appears to be a discrepancy. However, upon close examination one sees that Matthew's account of this event is only a short version of the event. Matthew is seven verses, Mark is twenty-two verses, and Luke is sixteen verses. Therefore, everything in Matthew's account is condensed.
Also, being that it took time for the father go get to Jesus' location and it took time for the men to follow him with the report of the death, the daughter had to have been dead by the time the father reached Jesus.
Dying can take time. I stood by the bed as my mother slowly died from cancer. Her breathing slowed and got weaker and weaker till I couldn't hear it nor see her body move. She let out what I though was her last breath and those with me left the room as a nurse came in. I stayed and suddenly she took a single breath. I asked the nurse, "She's still alive?" "No," she replied, "This was only a sudden compulsion. It will happen a few more times. But she is dead."
* "and she will live" -He believed Jesus could raise the dead.
* "Jesus got up and went with him" -Jesus was in the typical position, seated when he taught John's disciples.
* See art to the right by Luther, Martin, 1483-1546. The woman with the issue of blood is healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment as he walks to the house of Jairus. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>What happened on the way to his house? What do we learn from the women?
Matthew 9:20-21 "Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.'"
* "Just then" -The woman coming up to Jesus as he traveled to the rulers house did indeed happen at the same time. Matthew and Luke also say this.
* "a woman who had been subject to bleeding" -The bleeding spoken of here is a kind that only woman can have. Her sickness was beyond the normal bleeding that a woman has during her time. Her sickness caused her to be physically weak and emotionally drained.
Not only was this bleeding a physical hindrance and agony, but it also made her ceremonially unclean shutting her out form the courts of the Lord's house. (Lev. 15:25-27.) Yet it did not cut her off from approaching Christ in faith.
This sickness would have made her a social outcast. So she had to do this in secret.
* Jewish books like the Talmud prescribed strange cures for this problem.
* "twelve years" -The age of the girl. (Luke 8:41-42)
Anyone who has had a sickness for twelve years can identify with the effects of such a problem on ones mental well being. Being a Jew (I only assume this), one of the children of God, at times she must have thought that somehow God cursed her.
* "came up behind him" -Her approach to Jesus shows her psychological state.
* "and touched the edge of his cloak" -Showing her strong belief in Jesus and desire to be healed by him. The Greek word for edge here and in Luke 8:44 is "kraspedon" meaning tassel. The fringes of Jesus' garment (tzitzit in Hebrew) is the tassels that the Lord commanded the Israelites to have at the corners of piece of a rectangle clothe that they would rap around their necks (Numbers 15:37-41). Malachi 4:2 prophesied that the Messiah would have healing in his tassels. Sun of Righteousness in Malachi refers to the Messiah and his wings are the tassels. She touched Jesus' tassels by faith is this verse and him being the Messiah. After this other people began reaching out to touch his tassels (Mark 5:56).
* "If only I touch his cloak, I will be healed" -One can learn from the women to have "just touching" faith, faith in God's gift, and to come to Jesus with a clear objective and request.
* "will be" -She had no doubt because she knew that he was the promised Messiah.
Matthew 9:22 "Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment."
* "Jesus turned and saw her" -Jesus confronted her as a loving shepherd would a sheep, or as a father would his loving daughter.
* "Take heart" -Jesus healed her broken heart, not only her bleeding.
* "daughter" -Jesus established her as a child of God.
* "your faith has healed you" -Jesus often said this. What does it mean?
Faith is something that all humans possess. We have faith in many things, not all bad. For example I have faith that my children loves me. I have faith that my car has an engine in it that will start. I have faith that Ohio is not an earthquake prone zone, therefore I did not look for a home that was earthquake proof. Faith is something all humans have in our hearts, just as we can love, hate, desire, will, and hope.
No matter if people deny it, in their hearts they have a "knowledge" of God. Yet most do not want to accept this truth, so they suppress it and/or rationalize it with what they want to believe about God.
All humans have faith in something regarding origins and destinations; that is, why we are here and where we are going. But only true Christians have accepted the truthful answer to these questions. Christians believe that the answer to these questions rest in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is a gift of God.
* "was healed from that moment" -The woman's healing did not take weeks, days, hours or even minutes. The woman was healed instantly.
>What did Jesus do upon arriving? What does this teach about faith? About Jesus?
Matthew 9:23 "When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd,"
* "When Jesus entered the ruler's house" -The story returns to the dead ruler's daughter. During the time the ruler waited for Jesus as he talked to the hemorrhaging woman, the ruler could have been at first impatient. But upon Jesus healing the woman, the ruler must have grown in faith in Jesus' healing power
* "the flute players and the noisy crowd" -A Jewish funeral often consisted of various things that made the environment rather depressing and hopeless. The fact that there was a noisy crowd showed this ruler's standing in the society. Later, they would be witness to the miracle of Jesus. Not that they saw the girl actually rise from the dead. But they would see her dead, and then alive.
Matthew 9:24 "When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, 'Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.' But they laughed at him."
* "Go away" -Jesus never liked it when people were made so hopeless by death.
* "The girl is not dead but asleep" -Jesus often referred to physical death as sleep.
* "But they laughed at him" -They did not believe in Jesus as the ruler had. Thus the ruler was "going out on a limb" by putting his faith in Jesus.
Matthew 9:25 "After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up."
* "After the crowd had been put outside" -Jesus did not want unbelievers present when he performed the miracle. When one has faith, then he is given the chance to see the miracles of God. Only by God's grace is there an exception to this rule.
* "he went in and took the girl by the hand" -Jesus did nothing unusual to heal this girl.
* "and she got up" -As in the bleeding woman's case, this girl was risked from the dead right away. Jesus have power over life and death. He rewards faith. Jesus thus teaches that he rewards faith and true faith is often patient enough to wait for God to work. True faith does not give up.
Matthew 9:26 "News of this spread through all that region."
* Jesus soon became a popular figure.
>10. How did the blind men show their faith? What did Jesus do for them? How did Jesus further amaze the crowds? What do we learn here?
Matthew 9:27-28 "As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied."
* "As Jesus went on from there" -From Matthew's account it appears that the approach of these blind men was close in time from the raising of the ruler's daughter from the dead.
* "two blind men followed him" -Jesus popularity due to his miraculous signs produced a following of people who wanted to be healed.
* "calling out, 'Have mercy on us..." -This was a common phrase back then as it is today
* "Son of David" -This is a term only used to refer to the Messiah. It was based on the fact that the prophecy that the Lord gave to David regarding his son could only be fulfilled by the Messiah. By using this title the blind men were calling Jesus the Messiah. Yet Jesus did not stop to acknowledge their cry for help.
* "When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him" -The blind men showed faith by not giving up. They asking Jesus even when it didn't appear that he would grant their request.
* "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" -Jesus asked them to give a public confession of faith. A public confession of faith is requested by God of people who call on Jesus. Yet he waited until he had gone indoors. In this house was mostly Christians. Therefore public confessions is best done in the company of other Christians.
* "Yes, Lord" -The blind men believed Jesus could do it and said it publicly.
Matthew 9:29-31 "Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this." But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region."
* "Then he touched their eyes" -Jesus again healed without doing anything special. He did not use any medicine, ointments, or healing creams.
* "According to your faith" -Jesus regarded their following him, not giving up, and their confession as signs of their faith. Jesus (as seen in all the events in chapter 9) responded to the faith of the people in him. Jesus blessed their faith more than they expected he would.
Faith has practical and potential action or actions that follow it.
In each of the events of miracles in chapter 9 faith was personal. Each had his or her own reason for coming to Jesus; each has his or her own act of faith in Jesus upon reaching him.
* "It will be done to you" -The healing was not done by any power that they had in them. Rather, God did it to them. Faith is not an instrument that we can use to heal ourselves. Rather, faith is what God looks for in us before he heals us.
* "Jesus warned them sternly" -Along with the grace of healing, Jesus gave them a command. This was not light command. Rather, it was given sternly. Jesus did not link a punishment with the command. Yet all commands of God, if not kept brings punishment of some kind.
Why didn't Jesus want them to tell anyone? He did not want people to come to him for healing alone. He wanted them to come for forgives of sins too. Also, with people following him like these blind men were, there would be great distractions that would hinder Jesus teaching people so that they could have faith in him and thus not ask him for forgiveness of sins.
* "But they went out and spread the news about him" -This was a sin. Perhaps they did not intend to commit this sin at first. But they got so excited that they just forgot or belittled this command of Jesus. Often when God works on our behalf we get excited and forget to obey his words and then sin. We should not get over excited and carried away. We should not lose our head. We should not lost control wen God works. We should always be sure to obey.
III. Pray to Send Out Workers (35-38)
>11. What did Jesus do in verse 35? How did Jesus feel about the crowds? What did he see as their problem? What did he tell his disciples? What did he tell them to do?
Matthew 9:35 "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness."
* "through" -Jesus did not stay in them long. Only long enough to teach a little truth and perhaps heal a few people.
* "all to towns and villages" -This refers to all the towns and villages in Galilee and some of its surrounding area
* "teaching...preaching...healing" -These three sum up Jesus' ministry here on earth. We as Christians engage in at least one of these at one time in our earthly ministry as well.
* "in their synagogues" -Jesus taught in a common place of worship.
* "the good news of the kingdom" -Jesus did not preach about every topic there is to preach about. Jesus is the Creator. He could have preached about history. He could have preached about science. He could have preached about society. He could have talked about bad news. But he did none of these things. Instead he talked about the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus is the good news.
Matthew 9:36 "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
* "When he saw the crowds" -Jesus became a very popular person because of his teachings, his preaching and his healing.
* "he had compassion on them" -Strong says the Greek word for compassion here means, "to have the bowels yearn, i.e. (figurative) feel sympathy, to pity." Holman's says it means, "to feel passion with someone, to enter sympathetically into their sorrow and pain...Splagxnizomai (the Greek word) is related to the Greek noun for inward parts much as Hebrew rachemim. Here is located the center of personal feelings and emotions. Before Christ’s appearance the Greeks apparently did not use this word to speak of compassion and mercy, it being more closely related to courage. It is not clear when the shift in meaning to compassion occurred. Some of the apocryphal Jewish writings before Christ do use the term to mean mercy."
* "harassed and helpless" -Jesus saw that their problem was that they were harassed and helpless. They were as sheep without a shepherd.
* "like sheep without a shepherd" -This term is used a lot in the Bible probably because the Israelites, and thus the Jews, were from a sheep raising people. But also because it best describes people in the world. In John's gospel Jesus refers to himself as "the good shepherd." As Christ's followers we are to be shepherd to others. Each Christian can be a shepherd to someone.
Matthew 9: 37-38 "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (37,38)
* "to his disciples" -Jesus spoke these words only to his disciples. Therefore he intended them to be shepherds to the shepherdess.
* "The harvest is plentiful" -There were many who needed to be brought into the kingdom of God in Jesus' days. Today is not different. There still are a lot of people who need to be brought into the kingdom of God.
* "but the workers are few" -Jesus was telling them this because he wanted them to have compassion on these people as he had compassion on them. He wanted them to be workers in the field. All Christian need to be workers in the field. All workers need to learn from Jesus how he brought people into his field to be workers.
* "Ask the Lord of the harvester" -Jesus teach us Christians to pray as the first and most important part of raising up workers for Christ and the good of his Church.