Matthew 9

* Jesus returns to Capernaum, and heals a paralytic. (1-8)

Matthew called. (9) Matthew, or Levi's feast. (10-13) Objections

of John's disciples. (14-17) Christ raises the daughter of

Jairus, He heals the issue of blood. (18-26) He heals two blind

men. (27-31) Christ casts out a dumb spirit. (32-34) He sends

forth the apostles. (35-38)

1-8 The faith of the friends of the paralytic in bringing him

to Christ, was a strong faith; they firmly believed that Jesus

Christ both could and would heal him. A strong faith regards no

obstacles in pressing after Christ. It was a humble faith; they

brought him to attend on Christ. It was an active faith. Sin may

be pardoned, yet the sickness not be removed; the sickness may

be removed, yet the sin not pardoned: but if we have the comfort

of peace with God, with the comfort of recovery from sickness,

this makes the healing a mercy indeed. This is no encouragement

to sin. If thou bring thy sins to Jesus Christ, as thy malady

and misery to be cured of, and delivered from, it is well; but

to come with them, as thy darlings and delight, thinking still

to retain them and receive him, is a gross mistake, a miserable

delusion. The great intention of the blessed Jesus in the

redemption he wrought, is to separate our hearts from sin. Our

Lord Jesus has perfect knowledge of all that we say within

ourselves. There is a great deal of evil in sinful thoughts,

which is very offensive to the Lord Jesus. Christ designed to

show that his great errand to the world was, to save his people

from their sins. He turned from disputing with the scribes, and

spake healing to the sick man. Not only he had no more need to

be carried upon his bed, but he had strength to carry it. God

must be glorified in all the power that is given to do good.
9 Matthew was in his calling, as the rest of those whom Christ

called. As Satan comes with his temptations to the idle, so

Christ comes with his calls to those who are employed. We are

all naturally averse from thee, O God; do thou bid us to follow

thee; draw us by thy powerful word, and we shall run after thee.

Speak by the word of the Spirit to our hearts, the world cannot

hold us down, Satan cannot stop our way, we shall arise and

follow thee. A saving change is wrought in the soul, by Christ

as the author, and his word as the means. Neither Matthew's

place, nor his gains by it, could detain him, when Christ called

him. He left it, and though we find the disciples, who were

fishers, occasionally fishing again afterwards, we never more

find Matthew at his sinful gain.
10-13 Some time after his call, Matthew sought to bring his old

associates to hear Christ. He knew by experience what the grace

of Christ could do, and would not despair concerning them. Those

who are effectually brought to Christ, cannot but desire that

others also may be brought to him. Those who suppose their souls

to be without disease will not welcome the spiritual Physician.

This was the case with the Pharisees; they despised Christ,

because they thought themselves whole; but the poor publicans

and sinners felt that they wanted instruction and amendment. It

is easy, and too common, to put the worst constructions upon the

best words and actions. It may justly be suspected that those

have not the grace of God themselves, who are not pleased with

others' obtaining it. Christ's conversing with sinners is here

called mercy; for to promote the conversion of souls is the

greatest act of mercy. The gospel call is a call to repentance;

a call to us to change our minds, and to change our ways. If the

children of men had not been sinners, there had been no need for

Christ to come among them. Let us examine whether we have found

out our sickness, and have learned to follow the directions of

our great Physician.
14-17 John was at this time in prison; his circumstances, his

character, and the nature of the message he was sent to deliver,

led those who were peculiarly attached to him, to keep frequent

fasts. Christ referred them to John's testimony of him, #Joh

3:29|. Though there is no doubt that Jesus and his disciples

lived in a spare and frugal manner, it would be improper for his

disciples to fast while they had the comfort of his presence.

When he is with them, all is well. The presence of the sun makes

day, and its absence produces night. Our Lord further reminded

them of common rules of prudence. It was not usual to take a

piece of rough woolen cloth, which had never been prepared, to

join to an old garment, for it would not join well with the

soft, old garment, but would tear it further, and the rent would

be made worse. Nor would men put new wine into old leathern

bottles, which were going to decay, and would be liable to burst

from the fermenting of the wine; but putting the new wine into

strong, new, skin bottles, both would be preserved. Great

caution and prudence are necessary, that young converts may not

receive gloomy and forbidding ideas of the service of our Lord;

but duties are to be urged as they are able to bear them.
18-26 The death of our relations should drive us to Christ, who

is our life. And it is high honour to the greatest rulers to

attend on the Lord Jesus; and those who would receive mercy from

Christ, must honour him. The variety of methods Christ took in

working his miracles, perhaps was because of the different

frames and tempers of mind, which those were in who came to him,

and which He who searches the heart perfectly knew. A poor woman

applied herself to Christ, and received mercy from him by the

way. If we do but touch, as it were, the hem of Christ's garment

by living faith, our worst evils will be healed; there is no

other real cure, nor need we fear his knowing things which are a

grief and burden to us, but which we would not tell to any

earthly friend. When Christ entered the ruler's house, he said,

Give place. Sometimes, when the sorrow of the world prevails, it

is difficult for Christ and his comforts to enter. The ruler's

daughter was really dead, but not so to Christ. The death of the

righteous is in a special manner to be looked on as only a

sleep. The words and works of Christ may not at first be

understood, yet they are not therefore to be despised. The

people were put forth. Scorners who laugh at what they do not

understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of

Christ. Dead souls are not raised to spiritual life, unless

Christ take them by the hand: it is done in the day of his

power. If this single instance of Christ's raising one newly

dead so increased his fame, what will be his glory when all that

are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; those

that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that

have done evil to the resurrection of damnation!
27-31 At this time the Jews expected Messiah would appear;

these blind men knew and proclaimed in the streets of Capernaum

that he was come, and that Jesus was he. Those who, by the

providence of God, have lost their bodily sight, may, by the

grace of God, have the eyes of their understanding fully

enlightened. And whatever our wants and burdens are, we need no

more for supply and support, than to share in the mercy of our

Lord Jesus. In Christ is enough for all. They followed him

crying aloud. He would try their faith, and would teach us

always to pray, and not to faint, though the answer does not

come at once. They followed Christ, and followed him crying; but

the great question is, Do ye believe? Nature may make us

earnest, but it is only grace that can work faith. Christ

touched their eyes. He gives sight to blind souls by the power

of his grace going with his word, and he puts the cure upon

their faith. Those who apply to Jesus Christ, shall be dealt

with, not according to their fancies, nor according to their

profession, but according to their faith. Christ sometimes

concealed his miracles, because he would not indulge the conceit

which prevailed among the Jews, that their Messiah should be a

temporal prince, and so give occasion to the people to attempt

tumults and seditions.
32-34 Of the two, better a dumb devil than a blaspheming one.

Christ's cures strike at the root, and remove the effect by

taking away the cause; they open the lips, by breaking Satan's

power in the soul. Nothing can convince those who are under the

power of pride. They will believe anything, however false or

absurd, rather than the Holy Scriptures; thus they show the

enmity of their hearts against a holy God.
35-38 Jesus visited not only the great and wealthy cities, but

the poor, obscure villages; and there he preached, there he

healed. The souls of the meanest in the world are as precious to

Christ, and should be so to us, as the souls of those who make

the greatest figure. There were priests, Levites, and scribes,

all over the land; but they were idol shepherds, #Zec 11:17|;

therefore Christ had compassion on the people as sheep

scattered, as men perishing for lack of knowledge. To this day

vast multitudes are as sheep not having a shepherd, and we

should have compassion and do all we can to help them. The

multitudes desirous of spiritual instruction formed a plenteous

harvest, needing many active labourers; but few deserved that

character. Christ is the Lord of the harvest. Let us pray that

many may be raised up and sent forth, who will labour in

bringing souls to Christ. It is a sign that God is about to

bestow some special mercy upon a people, when he stirs them up

to pray for it. And commissions given to labourers in answer to

prayer, are most likely to be successful.
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