THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 9

1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

When Jesus left the country of the Gadarenes (chapter 8), He crossed the sea again, and came to His own home in Capernaum. Matthew's account of this story is paralleled in Mark 2:1-12, and in Luke 5:17-26.

The men brought the paralytic in faith. The paralytic, faced with the holiness and righteousness of Jesus, probably felt guilt due to his sin. Knowing that, Jesus made a statement to deal with the worst first: "thy sins be forgiven thee."

Now some of the Biblical scholars (scribes) took issue with Jesus' statement. They obviously did not believe that He was God incarnate. And their murmuring was indicative of them thinking He was only a man. A man has no authority to forgive sins of another against God. We can forgive sins against us personally, but we aren't given authority to forgive even that same sin against God.

Now, we must realize that it also takes authority from God to heal a person. I have a friend, Dr. Bill Ferguson, who is a surgeon. Before he operates, he always prays with his patients. And I'm always impressed about one particular part of his prayer. He says something to this effect every time, "God, please take my hands and use them according to your will, for I can do NOTHING aside from You." We can have a gift, a talent, and even acquire a skill for healing; but NO ACTUAL HEALING comes without the AUTHORITY of God!

The "scribes" took issue with what Jesus SAID, "thy sins be forgiven thee." Jesus countered that to say "Arise, and walk" would imply the same AUTHORITY! Again, let me point out: NO ACTUAL HEALING can take place without the authority of God!

Jesus HAS the authority of God! He can heal and He can forgive. This is what Jesus was telling them when He stated in verse 6, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

The "multitudes" realized the importance of the statement. When the paralytic arose, took his bed and headed for home, they KNEW that Jesus had the AUTHORITY of God! And they KNEW that this authority was given for the benefit of mankind! "But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

Keep in mind the purpose and theme for Matthew's account of the gospel of Jesus. The emphasis is placed upon Jesus being the Messiah Who fulfilled all Old Testament prophecy. Thus the theme is to provide an account which communicates documentary evidence that faith in Jesus Christ is the manner of eternal salvation to which God has been working His eternal plan from before the ages.

Jesus still heals and forgives today!

9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

This incident is recorded here in Matthew, and also in Mark 2 and Luke 5. In each recording, the call of Matthew immediately follows the healing of the paralytic.

Jesus was walking along the public highway, and Matthew had a desk set up there to receive taxes. Nobody liked the tax collectors! But Jesus called to Matthew, and Matthew left what he was, and who he was to follow Jesus!

I believe this call of Matthew shows total commitment. You see, his position of tax collector, once left, could never be regained. And no one wanted to hire an ex-tax collector. From this point on, Matthew had only ONE choice - JESUS! And Matthew himself explains that without total surrender there is no salvation, Matthew 16:24

After surrender to Jesus, Matthew gave a feast in Jesus' honor to which he invited "publicans and sinners." Obviously, Matthew's desire was to see these people receive salvation also.

Then, some of the "Pharisees" saw the publicans and sinners at the feast. And they asked the disciples of Jesus why He would degrade Himself so much as to eat with them? But Jesus overheard their question and taught a short but very effective lesson from it.

The Pharisees were very rigid in their religiosity. They had so many laws, rules and regulations that the major part of God's Word was meaningless. They forgot MERCY!

Later, Matthew records the chiding of Jesus against the Pharisees for this: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matt 23:15)

When they would gain a proselyte (one who surrenders to a religion), they would "bind" that person with laws, rules and regulations. They never explained the MERCY of God to forgive and heal!

Jesus' statements in verses 12 and 13 indicate that HE is the GREAT PHYSICIAN sent to forgive and heal, and that to explain MERCY is better than all the rules and regulations.

Religiosity without love and mercy is indicative of man's fakery! People will care how much you know only if you show how much you care!

14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

John's disciples had a legitimate question. The "rule of the day" was to fast often. Fasting is observed when one is in mourning. We should fast too; in mourning for our sins. We should also fast in mourning for the price Jesus had to pay for our salvation.

But why was Jesus not instructing His disciples to fast according to the ritualistic "rule of the day?" Because they had no mourning at the present time. They had JOY! The "Bridegroom" was WITH them! John the Baptist had alluded to this "joy" in being the "friend" of the Bridegroom (see John 3:29).

When Jesus would be crucified, resurrected, and ascended, THEN they would need to fast. They would fast for failing Him. They would fast for missing Him. They would fast yearning for His return.

Look at those two statements in verses 16 & 17. New, unshrunk cloth sewed into old cloth will cause tearing when washed. New wine in old bottles (wineskins) causes the old bottles to burst. What is Jesus saying here?

Jesus is beginning a "new" work with these disciples. They must FIRST learn that their primary duty is to have a personal relationship with Him. Through this relationship they will turn the world "upside down" (See Acts 17:6).

But before they learn the ritualistic and formal portions of this NEW work, they must focus upon the PRIMARY purpose: to have and maintain a personal relationship with Christ.

New Christians need to learn how to have a personal relationship with Christ before they learn ritualistic and formal patterns. They need to learn how to study, pray and be "in tune" with the Lord.

18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

In Mark 5:22-23, we find that this "ruler" was named Jairus, and he was a "ruler of the synagogue." Jairus was a Jew, and he expressed unfailing faith in Jesus! The account in Mark, chapter 5, tells us that when Jairus approached Jesus, his daughter was dying. But as they journeyed toward his home, a messenger came telling him that his daughter was already dead. Even though his daughter was dead, he believed Jesus could raise her to life!

As they were heading toward the home of Jairus, another remarkable expression of faith took place. A woman, who had who had been "diseased with an issue of blood twelve years" touched Jesus' garment. She believed that just touching Him would heal her!

The disease she suffered caused serious implications according to the Mosaic law (See Leviticus 15:19-30). She was UNCLEAN for 12 years! Mark 5:26 tells us she had spent everything she had trying to be healed of this disease.

She had tried to come quietly and be unnoticed. But Jesus confronted her and drew a public profession of her faith. Then she was HEALED! Jesus can make "the vilest sinner clean!"

Jesus continued to Jairus' home. There, the people were already mourning the death of Jairus' daughter.

Jesus said the maid was "sleeping." He also referred to Lazarus as sleeping (see John 11:11). But then, in the next sentence, Jesus said Lazarus was DEAD! (See John 11:14).

Jesus was not mistaken concerning the girl's state of being. He knew that the child, according to mankind, was DEAD. But death to man is only sleep to God. He can raise us out of death! He can raise us from the deadness of sin into life with God. He can also raise us from physical death to eternal life!

27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

When Jesus left Jairus' home, He went to another house (verse 28). Two blind men had been following Him, crying out for mercy. He did not acknowledge them until they were in the house. And then, Jesus called on them to publicly confess their faith in Him (verse 28). There's a lesson here. Acknowledging who Jesus is from afar is not necessarily a commitment to a personal relationship with Him. Later, Jesus would say, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."(Matthew 10:32-33)

After their public profession of faith in Him, Jesus healed them both. Why did Jesus tell them not to spread the news? Certainly, Jesus' fame was already spreading. Privately, Jesus was already declaring His Lordship over sinsickness, disease and even death. And this brought multitudes to see Him everywhere He went. But Jesus was not yet ready to declare His true identity politically. Later, He would publicly claim the title of LORD. And when He did, those who did not believe Him would crucify Him. But right now, Jesus was training disciples to begin the work of the church. And He wanted anonymity which would allow Him to complete that work.

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

As Jesus left the house, people brought a man who could not speak. The Scripture says he was "possessed with a devil." Usually that meant some violent behavior. And probably the demon possession was the reason for the man being "dumb" or unable to speak.

Jesus cast out the demon, then the man could speak. The multitude of people around Jesus began to talk. They had never seen such a thing happen before. As they began to talk, some Pharisees disagreed. They said that Jesus had the power of the devil in Him! This accusation must have been made indirectly to those who were publicising the event. Because, later, when that same accusation was made directly to Jesus, He dealt with it (See Matthew 12:24-29).

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

This is a transitional paragraph. It is a conclusive statement which takes the reader from the healing actions of Jesus to the instructions of the disciples in the next chapter.

One might say Jesus went "on tour." He traveled around to different cities and villages. While in each one, He would visit the synagogue and teach. He was also preaching salvation by repentance, and healing people as He went.

Matthew notes that Jesus' compassion led Him to say that MORE LABOURERS were needed in the work of gathering the "harvest" of lost people into the Kingdom of God. Therefore, His FIRST instruction to His disciples was to PRAY - pray for MORE LABOURERS!

We STILL NEED to pray for MORE LABOURERS today!

Then, the next chapter deals with specific instructions and powers given to those disciples who had committed to Him.

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.