Matthew 9* Jesus returns to Capernaum, and heals a paralytic. (1-8)Matthew called. (9) Matthew, or Levi's feast. (10-13) Objectionsof John's disciples. (14-17) Christ raises the daughter ofJairus, He heals the issue of blood. (18-26) He heals two blindmen. (27-31) Christ casts out a dumb spirit. (32-34) He sendsforth the apostles. (35-38)1-8 The faith of the friends of the paralytic in bringing himto Christ, was a strong faith; they firmly believed that JesusChrist both could and would heal him. A strong faith regards noobstacles in pressing after Christ. It was a humble faith; theybrought him to attend on Christ. It was an active faith. Sin maybe pardoned, yet the sickness not be removed; the sickness maybe removed, yet the sin not pardoned: but if we have the comfortof peace with God, with the comfort of recovery from sickness,this makes the healing a mercy indeed. This is no encouragementto sin. If thou bring thy sins to Jesus Christ, as thy maladyand misery to be cured of, and delivered from, it is well; butto come with them, as thy darlings and delight, thinking stillto retain them and receive him, is a gross mistake, a miserabledelusion. The great intention of the blessed Jesus in theredemption he wrought, is to separate our hearts from sin. OurLord Jesus has perfect knowledge of all that we say withinourselves. There is a great deal of evil in sinful thoughts,which is very offensive to the Lord Jesus. Christ designed toshow that his great errand to the world was, to save his peoplefrom their sins. He turned from disputing with the scribes, andspake healing to the sick man. Not only he had no more need tobe carried upon his bed, but he had strength to carry it. Godmust be glorified in all the power that is given to do good. 9 Matthew was in his calling, as the rest of those whom Christcalled. As Satan comes with his temptations to the idle, soChrist comes with his calls to those who are employed. We areall naturally averse from thee, O God; do thou bid us to followthee; draw us by thy powerful word, and we shall run after thee.Speak by the word of the Spirit to our hearts, the world cannothold us down, Satan cannot stop our way, we shall arise andfollow thee. A saving change is wrought in the soul, by Christas the author, and his word as the means. Neither Matthew'splace, nor his gains by it, could detain him, when Christ calledhim. He left it, and though we find the disciples, who werefishers, occasionally fishing again afterwards, we never morefind Matthew at his sinful gain. 10-13 Some time after his call, Matthew sought to bring his oldassociates to hear Christ. He knew by experience what the graceof Christ could do, and would not despair concerning them. Thosewho are effectually brought to Christ, cannot but desire thatothers also may be brought to him. Those who suppose their soulsto 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 publicansand sinners felt that they wanted instruction and amendment. Itis easy, and too common, to put the worst constructions upon thebest words and actions. It may justly be suspected that thosehave not the grace of God themselves, who are not pleased withothers' obtaining it. Christ's conversing with sinners is herecalled mercy; for to promote the conversion of souls is thegreatest 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 thechildren of men had not been sinners, there had been no need forChrist to come among them. Let us examine whether we have foundout our sickness, and have learned to follow the directions ofour great Physician. 14-17 John was at this time in prison; his circumstances, hischaracter, and the nature of the message he was sent to deliver,led those who were peculiarly attached to him, to keep frequentfasts. Christ referred them to John's testimony of him, #Joh3:29|. Though there is no doubt that Jesus and his discipleslived in a spare and frugal manner, it would be improper for hisdisciples to fast while they had the comfort of his presence.When he is with them, all is well. The presence of the sun makesday, and its absence produces night. Our Lord further remindedthem of common rules of prudence. It was not usual to take apiece of rough woolen cloth, which had never been prepared, tojoin to an old garment, for it would not join well with thesoft, old garment, but would tear it further, and the rent wouldbe made worse. Nor would men put new wine into old leathernbottles, which were going to decay, and would be liable to burstfrom the fermenting of the wine; but putting the new wine intostrong, new, skin bottles, both would be preserved. Greatcaution and prudence are necessary, that young converts may notreceive 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, whois our life. And it is high honour to the greatest rulers toattend on the Lord Jesus; and those who would receive mercy fromChrist, must honour him. The variety of methods Christ took inworking his miracles, perhaps was because of the differentframes and tempers of mind, which those were in who came to him,and which He who searches the heart perfectly knew. A poor womanapplied herself to Christ, and received mercy from him by theway. If we do but touch, as it were, the hem of Christ's garmentby living faith, our worst evils will be healed; there is noother real cure, nor need we fear his knowing things which are agrief and burden to us, but which we would not tell to anyearthly friend. When Christ entered the ruler's house, he said,Give place. Sometimes, when the sorrow of the world prevails, itis difficult for Christ and his comforts to enter. The ruler'sdaughter was really dead, but not so to Christ. The death of therighteous is in a special manner to be looked on as only asleep. The words and works of Christ may not at first beunderstood, yet they are not therefore to be despised. Thepeople were put forth. Scorners who laugh at what they do notunderstand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works ofChrist. Dead souls are not raised to spiritual life, unlessChrist take them by the hand: it is done in the day of hispower. If this single instance of Christ's raising one newlydead so increased his fame, what will be his glory when all thatare in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; thosethat have done good to the resurrection of life, and those thathave 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 Capernaumthat he was come, and that Jesus was he. Those who, by theprovidence of God, have lost their bodily sight, may, by thegrace of God, have the eyes of their understanding fullyenlightened. And whatever our wants and burdens are, we need nomore for supply and support, than to share in the mercy of ourLord Jesus. In Christ is enough for all. They followed himcrying aloud. He would try their faith, and would teach usalways to pray, and not to faint, though the answer does notcome at once. They followed Christ, and followed him crying; butthe great question is, Do ye believe? Nature may make usearnest, but it is only grace that can work faith. Christtouched their eyes. He gives sight to blind souls by the powerof his grace going with his word, and he puts the cure upontheir faith. Those who apply to Jesus Christ, shall be dealtwith, not according to their fancies, nor according to theirprofession, but according to their faith. Christ sometimesconcealed his miracles, because he would not indulge the conceitwhich prevailed among the Jews, that their Messiah should be atemporal prince, and so give occasion to the people to attempttumults 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 bytaking away the cause; they open the lips, by breaking Satan'spower in the soul. Nothing can convince those who are under thepower of pride. They will believe anything, however false orabsurd, rather than the Holy Scriptures; thus they show theenmity of their hearts against a holy God. 35-38 Jesus visited not only the great and wealthy cities, butthe poor, obscure villages; and there he preached, there hehealed. The souls of the meanest in the world are as precious toChrist, and should be so to us, as the souls of those who makethe 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 sheepscattered, as men perishing for lack of knowledge. To this dayvast multitudes are as sheep not having a shepherd, and weshould have compassion and do all we can to help them. Themultitudes desirous of spiritual instruction formed a plenteousharvest, needing many active labourers; but few deserved thatcharacter. Christ is the Lord of the harvest. Let us pray thatmany may be raised up and sent forth, who will labour inbringing souls to Christ. It is a sign that God is about tobestow some special mercy upon a people, when he stirs them upto pray for it. And commissions given to labourers in answer toprayer, are most likely to be successful.
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