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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 9

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-8

31. Jesus heals a paralyzed man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26)

This story shows the first signs of organized Jewish opposition to Jesus. A group of religious leaders from Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee came, with evil motives, to find out for themselves what Jesus was doing and saying (Luke 5:17).

Some friends of a paralyzed man were so sure Jesus could heal him that they allowed no obstacle to stop them from bringing the man to him. In his response Jesus did more than heal the man. He went to the root of all suffering in a fallen world, sin, and on the basis of the faith that had been displayed, he announced forgiveness of the man’s sins. The Jewish leaders saw that Jesus was claiming to be God, for only God can forgive sins. Either Jesus was God or he was a blasphemer (Luke 5:18-21).

Jesus left his critics in no doubt of the meaning of his words and actions. A person can just as easily say ‘You are forgiven’ as say ‘You are healed’, but whereas the first statement cannot be proved by external evidence, the second statement can. If, therefore, Jesus’ claim to heal the man’s disease could be proved true, his claim to forgive the man’s sins must also be accepted as true. When the man, in response to Jesus’ words, stood up and walked, the onlookers had clear proof that Jesus was all that he claimed to be (Luke 5:22-26).

Verses 9-13

32. Call of Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32)

The next person to join Jesus’ group of chosen disciples was the tax collector Matthew, also known as Levi (Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:13-14). Matthew took Jesus home for a meal and invited his fellow tax collectors and other friends to come and meet his new master. Jews despised tax collectors as being unpatriotic, dishonest and irreligious. The Pharisees despised Jesus when they saw him eating with them (Matthew 9:10-11; Luke 5:27-30).

Jesus replied that if tax collectors were as bad as the Pharisees claimed, then tax collectors were just the sort of people who needed his help. God was pleased with Jesus’ action in showing mercy to outcasts. He was not pleased with the sacrifices of those who thought they were superior to others (Matthew 9:12-13; Luke 5:31-32).

Verses 14-17

33. Why Jesus’ disciples did not fast (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39)

Both John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees were slow to realize that Jesus’ coming had brought in a new era. Their traditional ceremonies and fastings were now of no use. The coming of Jesus may be compared to the coming of a bridegroom to his wedding feast. In a time of such joy no one thinks of fasting, and therefore Jesus’ disciples did not fast while he was with them. But Jesus would be taken away from them and killed, and then they would fast because of their great sorrow. Their sorrow, however, would be turned into joy, because Jesus would rise from death victoriously (Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:33-35).

Jesus reminded his hearers that, now that he had come, they should not expect to continue the old traditions of the Jewish religion. He had not come to repair, improve or update Judaism. Judaism was useless, worn out, finished. Jesus brought something that was entirely new. Judaism was like an old worn out coat that could not be mended; it was like a brittle old wineskin that could not stand the pressure of new wine (Mark 2:21-22; Luke 5:36-38). Yet the Pharisees preferred their old worn out religion (Luke 5:39).

Verses 18-26

59. Jairus’ daughter and a woman healed (Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56)

Back in the Jewish regions, a synagogue elder named Jairus asked Jesus to come and heal his seriously ill daughter. Seeing that the man had faith, Jesus set off for his house (Mark 5:21-24). On the way they were interrupted by a sick woman who believed that if she could only touch Jesus’ clothing she would be healed (Mark 5:25-29). Jesus knew that someone was seeking his help in this way, and did not want the person to be left with any superstitious ideas. He therefore searched for the woman so that she might show her faith openly and be healed completely (Mark 5:30-34).

Jairus’ faith was tested when he heard that while Jesus was healing the woman, his daughter had died. Jesus responded by working a greater miracle than Jairus expected, for he brought the girl back to life. He allowed only five people to see the miracle, and he told them not to tell others what they had seen. He did not want people flocking to him for the wrong reasons (Mark 5:35-43).

Verses 27-34

60. Jesus heals the blind and the dumb (Matthew 9:27-34; Mark 8:22-26)

Two blind men, in begging Jesus to heal them, used his messianic title Son of David, but Jesus did not heal them till he was certain that they had genuine faith. No doubt there were many in Israel who had no feeling of spiritual need but who were willing to call Jesus by messianic titles simply for the purpose of receiving benefits from him. Again, to avoid attracting the wrong sort of following, Jesus warned the men not to tell anyone what had happened (Matthew 9:27-31). Although some people misinterpreted Jesus’ miracles because they were impressed with his power, others misinterpreted them because they hated him (Matthew 9:32-34).

Another blind man who came to Jesus for healing apparently had some lack in his faith. Jesus saw this, and so after an initial act of healing asked the man whether he could see properly. Lack of complete faith had hindered the healing. Nevertheless, Jesus did not leave the man with his sight only partly restored. He completed the healing, thereby giving the man normal eyesight and at the same time strengthening his faith (Mark 8:22-26).

Verses 35-38

36. Jesus chooses the twelve apostles (Matthew 9:35-4; Mark 3:7-19; Luke 6:12-19)

The more Jesus’ work grew, the more people came seeking him; and the more deeply saddened he became as he saw the confused and helpless spiritual condition of the Jewish people. There were plenty of opportunities for worthwhile work but there were few workers, and Jesus asked his followers to pray that God would supply the right workers to meet the need (Matthew 9:35-38; Mark 3:7-12).

So urgent was the need that Jesus decided to appoint twelve helpers immediately. He therefore spent the night in prayer and in the morning announced his choice. The twelve were to be known as apostles (from the Greek word apostello, meaning ‘to send’), as Jesus was to send them out in the service of the kingdom. To begin with he would keep them with him for their spiritual training, then he would send them out equipped with his messianic authority to heal those afflicted by Satan and urge people to enter the kingdom of God. The era of the Messiah had arrived. As twelve tribes had formed the basis of the old people of God, so twelve apostles would be the basis of the new (Matthew 10:1; Mark 3:13-15; Luke 6:12-13). The following list includes alternative names by which some of the apostles were known.

Simon Peter, or Cephas

Matthew 10:2;

John 1:42

Andrew, brother of Peter

Matthew 10:2;

John 1:40

James, son of Zebedee

Mark 3:17;

Luke 8:51

John, brother of James

Mark 3:17;

John 21:20


Matthew 10:3;

John 6:5

Bartholemew, or Nathanael

Matthew 10:3;

John 21:2

Thomas, the Twin (Didymus)

Matthew 10:3;

John 21:2

Matthew, or Levi

Matthew 10:3;

Luke 5:27

James, son of Alphaeus

Matthew 10:3;

Acts 1:13

Thaddaeus, or Lebbaeus, or

Judas the son of James

Matthew 10:3;

Luke 6:16

Simon the Zealot, the Patriot,

or the Cananaean

Matthew 10:4;

Luke 6:15

Judas Iscariot

Matthew 10:4;

Luke 22:48

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Matthew 9". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/matthew-9.html. 2005.
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