Wednesday, May 31st, 2023
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Gaebelein's Annotated Bible Gaebelein's Annotated
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Matthew 9". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ gab/ matthew-9.html. 1913-1922.
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Matthew 9". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/
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1. A Man Sick of the Palsy Healed. (Matthew 9:1-8 .) 2. The Call of Matthew (Matthew 9:9 .) 3. With the Publicans and the Sinners. (Matthew 9:10-13 .) 4. The Question of John's Disciples. (Matthew 9:14-17 .) 5. The Ruler's Request.(Matthew 9:18-19 .) 6. The Woman Healed of an Issue of Blood. (Matthew 9:20-22 .) 7. The Maid Raised from the Dead. (Matthew 9:23-26 .) 8. The Two Blind Men Healed. (Matthew 9:27-31 .) 9. The Dumb Man with a Demon Healed.(Matthew 9:32-33 .) 10. The Blaspheming Pharisees and the Compassionate Shepherd of Israel.(Matthew 9:34-38 .)
After our Lord was requested by the Gergesenes to go away out of their coasts, He passed over the lake and came to His own city, that is, Capernaum . Here the Lord did His greatest miracles, yet they rejected Him there, so that later He said: “And thou, Capernaum, who has been raised up to heaven, shall be brought down even to Hades. For if the works of power which have taken place in thee had taken place in Sodom, it had remained until this day. But I say to you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in judgment day than for thee” (Matthew 11:23-24 ).
One of the mighty miracles He did in Capernaum is related by the Holy Spirit in the beginning of the chapter which we have reached. He is manifested in this miracle like in the others, as Jehovah. A paralytic is brought to Him by loving hands, and when He saw their faith He said to the helpless one, “Be of good courage, child; thy sins are forgiven.” And now for the first time in the Gospel do we read that the scribes said, “This man blasphemes.” They did not speak it out, but He saw their thoughts, for He is the One of whom David says: “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandeth my thoughts from afar off” (Psalms 139:2 ).
He then asks them: “Which is easier: to say, Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of God has power on earth to forgive sins (then He says to the paralytic), Rise up, take thy bed and go to thy house. And he rose up and went to his house” (Matthew 9:2-8 ).
Divine power is here fully manifested. In Luke the Scribes and Pharisees say, “Who is able to forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:21 ). Indeed, if He who spoke the word of comfort and gave the paralytic the assurance of forgiveness is not Jehovah, anything less than He, the accusations of the scribes would have been well founded. He then shows that He has the power to forgive sins by healing the body of the paralytic, who rises up and carries away the bed upon which he was brought. The paralytic is a type of the sinner in his helpless condition. In the Old Testament we have a beautiful type of this in Mephibosheth, who was lame on both of his feet and who had to be brought to King David. So this one is brought. But why did they bring him? No question, healing of the body was all which they desired for their helpless friend and what he himself expected. But our Lord goes deeper to that which is the fountain of all disease and pain -- sin. He knew the guilt of sins resting upon the paralytic, and before he could rise and walk, before he could be delivered out of his helpless condition, the sins had first to be forgiven. The conscience, burdened more than the crippled, paralyzed body was by disease, had first to be relieved. The lessons here are clear. It foreshadows that which He, who gave Himself for us and who was raised on account of our justification, gives to every one who believes in Him. He has removed completely the guilt of sin and we have the assurance of the forgiveness of sins: the blessedness of the man “whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” is ours through and in Christ. He also has given us a new life. He has delivered us from the power of sin and spoken the word “Rise up and walk.” All this is so familiar that we will not enlarge upon it. We should not forget that the spiritual application of “Rise up” is not the first meaning. The paralytic received healing for his body and the miserable body was delivered from the paralysis which held it down. So the body of the believer has been redeemed and there will be a “rising up” from the grave and from the earth, changed in the twinkling of an eye.
We have also to say that the teaching of remission of sins and what is connected with it is not to be taken from the ninth chapter in Matthew. To teach from this chapter the doctrine of forgiveness, as it has been done so much, would be an error. He shows His authority as Son of Man to forgive sins on earth, and because He has this power and proves it, He manifests Himself by it as God. He is now no longer Son of Man on earth, but He will come again as Son of Man, and then once more will show His authority to forgive sins on earth and speak the Word of Life to those who are helpless. To this the miracle refers us in type.
The paralytic is the type of Israel . We have a number of such types in the Word. In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John we read of an infirm man who was lying helpless in the five porches (typifying the law) and Jesus came and healed him, telling him, “rise, take up thy couch and walk.” He is the type of Israel . In the third chapter of Acts another helpless one, lame from his mother’s womb, was lying at the beautiful gate of the Temple . He is raised up and leaps and praises God. The name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene had raised him up. He also is a type of Israel . Aeneas in Acts 9:32-35 , who had been lying for eight years upon a couch, paralyzed, and to whom Peter said, “Jesus the Christ heals thee,” is not different in the typical application from the others.
It is Israel we have to see here represented in type. What He, the Son of Man, when He comes in glory, will do for His earthly people is seen in the healing of the paralytic. First, He will come and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. He will forgive their sins and remember them no more. And His people, the remnant of Israel, will break forth and sing, “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18 ). He will then say to His people, “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25 ).
After this He will heal them. His own, poor, blinded, paralyzed and miserable people Israel will be the first of the nations of the earth to receive complete healing for soul and body. They will leap and shout for joy like the lame man in the third chapter of Acts. Therefore it says in Malachi 4:1-6 , where it speaks of the Son of Righteousness with healing beneath His wings, “Ye shall go forth and leap for joy (correct translation) as calves of the stall.” “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” (Isaiah 33:24 ). The 103rd Psalm illustrates most beautifully Israel ‘s coming praise. It is not only “who forgiveth all thine iniquities,” but also “who healeth all thy diseases.” The diseases in this psalm are generally spiritualized, but that is incorrect. They are bodily diseases. The healing of the paralytic has been put by the Holy Spirit in a special place to be in harmony with the whole scope of the Gospel of Matthew. What the Son of Man did in humiliation to one paralytic, the Son of Man in exaltation, coming again, will do to the whole nation and others in the earth in that coming age of millennial glory.
The healed one went to his house. “But the crowds seeing it were in fear, and glorified God, who gave such power to men” (Matthew 9:8 ). This was all they saw and did. They did not acknowledge Him as Jehovah, but simply in their formal way glorified God, which was but the service of the lips.
Besides the record of the healing of the paralytic we have nine other events put together once more in a peculiar order, far from being chronological, but in fullest harmony with the scope of this first book. These are: The call of Matthew, Jesus entering the house and sitting down with the publicans and sinners, the question of John’s disciples, the ruler whose daughter had died and the Lord going to raise her up, the woman with an issue of blood who touches Him and is healed, the raising from the dead of the ruler’s daughter, the healing of the two blind men, the healing of the dumb man as well as others and the Lord’s compassion for the multitudes.
The call of Matthew, the same who was chosen by the Holy Spirit as the instrument for the writing of this Gospel, is related in a few words only: “And Jesus passing on thence saw a man sitting at the tax office called Matthew, and says to him, Follow Me. And he rose up and followed Him” (Matthew 9:9 ). Had Matthew written this book by himself and not by inspiration he would have followed the custom of other writers in making himself more prominent. He might have begun the book with an elaborate account of himself, his earthly circumstances and spoken, perhaps, at length of the scene which is but rapidly sketched in one verse. The Holy Spirit, however, guided his pen, and in the right place in the right words he records the story of his own call. The place given to it is significant. After the Lord had shown Himself in His power to be Jehovah He now manifests Himself in His grace to the lost and outcast sinner. What a scene it is which the one little verse puts before us! There he sits gathering in the tax, no thought of Him, no knowledge of Him. As a tax-gatherer he was, with his colleagues, despised by the leaders of the Jews, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Scribes, as well as by the mass of the people. Tax-gatherers (Publicans) were known as thieves, who enriched themselves by extortions. Another one said later, after the Lord had entered into his house: “If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I return him fourfold.” However, this was not the cause why the people hated him. They looked upon them as miserable hirelings of the Roman government, who had put themselves under the control of the Gentile rule and helped in the subduing of the land and the people, their own land and their own brethren. The tax gatherers were, therefore, considered apostates. And such a one is called not alone to follow Jesus, but called and chosen as an instrument to write the kingly Gospel. Marvelous Grace! “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16 ). This is perfectly illustrated in Matthew’s case as well as in everyone who is saved by Grace. Well may we adoringly cry out: “Oh, the Grace that sought me!” With no thought of Him or for Him, busied in earthly things for the meat that perisheth, Matthew was called to follow Him. Matthew follows. He leaves the table, there is no bargaining on his side, no request to think it over, no desire to go first to do something else, but the first thing done was obedience to the voice which had spoken. Yet there is no claim of merit from his side in doing this. May we who are His own ever be ready in obedience to His call.
And Matthew invites Him to his house and makes Him a feast. It does not say in this Gospel that it was Matthew’s house; in another Gospel the Holy Spirit has made a record of it (Mark 2:14-17 ). Here a company of tax-gatherers and sinners are come together, and He, the Holy One, the One who had come to seek and to save that which is lost, reclines with them at table and eats with them. Again we say, what a scene of grace! He who created the heavens and the earth in the creature’s place in living touch with those who rebelled against Him! And there they stand, the poor, miserable, self-righteous Pharisees. They would in their religiousness, with their broad phylacteries, keeping the outside clean, not even touch a tax-gatherer, much less speak to him. To sit down and eat with them would have been in their eyes an almost unpardonable crime. And here they find Him whose words of divine authority they had heard, whose deeds of omnipotent power they had seen, who had manifested Himself as Jehovah, and He eats with tax-gatherers and sinners. Not the poor, wicked, self-confessed thieves, the tax-gatherers and harlots appear in this scene and throughout the Gospel as Satan’s masterpiece, but the proud, religious, self-righteous Pharisee. John the Baptist with his divine message came, and the Pharisees were rightly called by him the generation of vipers, but never the tax-gatherers and the harlots, who gladly came and confessed their sins and owned their lost condition. “John came to you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the tax-gatherers and harlots believed him; but ye, when ye saw it, repented not yourselves afterwards to believe him” (Matthew 21:32 ). So here we see them, without any faith in Jesus and no knowledge of the God of mercy, wrapped up in the filthy rags, their own righteousness. What else then could they do but speak against the Lord’s gracious way? “Why eateth your Master with tax-gatherers and sinners?” And the self-righteous Pharisees of ritualistic Christendom are not different from these, their forefathers, the Pharisees. No heart for Christ, no understanding of grace and no knowledge of God. In the answer our Lord gives He shows that what He does is in fullest harmony with His having come down into the earth. God would have mercy and He had come to show it. “They that are strong have not need of a physician, but those that are ill. But go and learn what that is -- I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I have not come to call righteous men, but sinners.”
Then the disciples of John came to Him with a question. “Why do we and the Pharisees often fast, but Thy disciples fast not?” John’s disciples were having a difficulty. Their master had made much of fasting and had enjoined it upon themselves, but the disciples of Jesus were not fasting. Were they not with Him in the tax-gatherer’s house, eating and drinking? It is a straightforward question they bring. They come not as faultfinders or murmurers, like the Pharisees, but as intelligent inquirers, who were seeking light. So the Lord meets them and solves their difficulty by a gracious answer. He is still the same, ever ready to teach and instruct the saint who sits at His feet. The only difficulty is we are often so unlike these disciples of John, though our knowledge and our position is higher than theirs. Instead of taking the straight course in coming to Him first of all, we seek first the solution of our difficulties somewhere else. Perhaps the disciples of John who came here are the same who came and told Jesus, after they buried the headless body of their master.
“Can the sons of the bride chamber mourn so long as the bridegroom is with them? But days will come when the bridegroom will have been taken away from them, and then they will fast.” He Himself is the bridegroom and He had come and while He was with them, mourning could have no place; His rejection was to come and then they would fast. But our Lord not merely answers the question and shows Himself greater than John, who was but the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29 ), while Jesus is the bridegroom. He adds something which is of great importance. He speaks of a complete change of the order of things. “But no one puts a patch of new cloth on an old garment, or its filling up takes from the garment and a worse rent takes place. Nor do men put new wine into old skins, otherwise the skins burst and the wine is poured out, and the skins will be destroyed; but they put new wine into new skins and both are preserved together.” The old garment is Judaism with its legal righteousness. It is no good and had proven itself as such. No value in it at all, only to be cast aside, utterly put aside. A new garment, a better righteousness was about to be given. He whose name is “Jehovah our righteousness” had come and a change of dispensations was to take place. And now as it has come the old is gone, it is no longer in existence. Yet that which the Lord here but faintly indicates, the impossibility of patching up that which is hopeless and worthless, has been done in Christendom, nay, is the almost universal state of Christendom. It is mixing law and grace together. The rent has become worse. A Judaistic Christianity which, with a profession of Grace and the Gospel, attempts to keep the law and fosters legal righteousness, is a greater abomination in the eyes of God, than professing Israel in the past, worshipping idols.
The new wine is the Gospel of Grace. The old skins [ Bottles in the Authorized Version. Skins were used and are being used in the Orient for the preservation of wine. Hence skins is the correct translation. ] are the law, the Levitical institutions and all connected with it, New wine belongs into new skins. If the new wine is put into old skins, the skins will burst and then there is no wine left and the skins are also made useless. The two belong no longer together. So Gospel and Judaism, Law and Grace do not belong together. The Gospel of Grace enclosed in ceremonial Judaism will result in the loss of the new wine, and ceremonial Judaism, the old skins, will be gone as well. And such is ritualistic Christendom; it is neither Christian nor Jewish. It has not Judaism and has lost the new wine. “They say, they are Jews and are not” (Revelation 3:9 ). If men hold only the form of godliness and deny the power thereof, it will always mean outward religiousness, legality, self-righteousness and turning away from Grace and the Lord Himself.
The ruler whose daughter had died appears next on the scene. He is unlike the Centurion in the eighth chapter who had the greater faith and wanted the Lord to speak but a word. The ruler of the Jews wants the Lord to come in person to his house and touch the one, without life. His personal presence is demanded to raise the daughter from death to life. That we have here once more dispensational truths before us is seen at the first glance. Israel is often spoken of in the Old Testament Scriptures as a daughter, the daughter of Zion . In the short book of Lamentations alone we find the word, daughter, as meaning Israel, eighteen times. The daughter who has died is then likewise a type of the people. To bring life to Israel can be only through the presence of Him, who is the life. When He came the first time, they would not come to Him that they might have life. But He is coming again to raise up His people, to touch the daughter of Zion .
And while our Lord goes forward to fulfill the request of the ruler, another incident comes in by the way. An unclean woman touches Him and is healed. “And behold a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years came behind and touched the hem of His garment; for she said within herself, if I should only touch His garment I shall be healed. But Jesus, turning and seeing her, said, ‘Be of good courage, daughter, thy faith hath healed thee.’ And the woman was healed from that hour” (Matthew 9:20-23 ). She represents the Gentiles and the grace which comes to them by faith, while the resurrection of Israel is still unaccomplished, but drawing’ nigh. Faith touches Him now and receives of Him salvation with its precious assistance. But the touching of Him is parenthetical, just as the present age with salvation come to the Gentiles is a parenthesis. Jesus comes to the house of the ruler. It has the meaning of relationship. So will He come to raise up the daughter of Israel . “And when Jesus was come to the house of the ruler, and saw the flute players and the crowd making a tumult, He said, Withdraw, for the damsel is not dead, but sleeps. And they derided Him. But when the crowd had been put out, He went in and took her hand; and the damsel rose up. And the fame of it went out into all that land.” May not the crowd of unbelievers and mockers represent nominal Christendom? Surely the same is in Christendom which we see here. The Lord has declared in His Word, eternally settled in the heavens, His loving purposes concerning Israel . It can well be said of His earthly people, as He said of the ruler’s daughter, “The damsel is not dead, but sleeps.” The Scriptures are full of promises to Israel and the day of their resurrection and restoration, yet Christendom treats all this with unbelief and ridicule. There is no understanding of God’s purposes, the plan of the ages, and hence no heart and no love for the people, who are still beloved for the Father’s sake and whose are the promises. Our Lord said to that crowd, “Withdraw,” and they were put out of the scene, when He came and touched the damsel to raise her up. And may we not see in this also the end of the motley throng in Christendom, which will be put off the scene when He comes to do the miracle of His mercy and His power on Israel?
And when He does this to His people then surely the blind will see and the dumb speak.
In the healing of the two blind men, which comes immediately after the raising of the maid, we see again a dispensational foreshadowing of Israel ‘s present condition and future healing. It is true the miracle of the two blind men who cry to Him is often spiritualized, and we do not at all deny that he has an application in that direction. First of all, however, we must not overlook the original meaning it has in this Jewish Gospel, and as we do this we shall yet more and more grasp the divine scope of the Gospel of Matthew. “Two blind men followed Him crying and saying, Have mercy on us, Son of David.” The two blind men picture Israel ‘s condition as the leper did in the beginning of the eighth chapter. They were blind, when He came and dwelt among them. His own knew Him not and received Him not. But how much greater has their blindness become since they not only have cast Him out, but rejected the offer of His mercy after His resurrection and ascension? Now it is, Let their eyes be darkened. Blindness in part has happened to Israel . When the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, had come to Rome, and in his burning love for his brethren, his kinsmen, had sent for them and in disagreement they began to leave, he addressed to them the Word, so true throughout this age: “Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, Go to this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear and not understand, and seeing ye shall see and not perceive. For the heart of this people has become fat, and they hear heavily with their ears, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and I should heal them” (Acts 28:25-28 ). But this is not Israel ‘s final condition. Like these two blind men, so Israel will cry out of the deepest darkness, out of the terrible night of Jacob’s trouble, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” Son of David is His title as He stands in relation to His earthly people, and in this passage we have Him called by this name for the first time in the Gospel. The cry these two men utter is specifically Jewish, and surely no Gentile will cry to Him as Son of David. Later in the Gospel a Gentile woman cried after Him, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is miserably possessed by a demon. But He did not answer her a word” (Matthew 15:23 ). When she called again, she said, “Lord, help me,” and after she had taken her place with the dogs the Lord acknowledged her faith. And when thus Israel cries for mercy and waits for the coming of the Son of Man and the Son of David, He will arise and have mercy upon Zion and “in wrath He will remember mercy.” “He will return again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19 ).
He did not pass by the two blind men. “When He was come to the house (which always stands for relationship), the blind men came to Him, and Jesus says to them, Do ye believe that I am able to do this? They say to Him, Yea, Lord. Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it unto you. And their eyes were opened.” So He healed them by coming in touch with them not absent and unseen, but present and touching them. He is absent from the earth now unseen to the eyes of men, yet we believe in Him and through Him on God; we believe, too, that He is able, that all power is given to Him in heaven and on earth and it is also now “according to your faith.” But He who is absent will come back to earth again, back into definite relationship with His earthly people, and then and not before will Israel’s blindness be ended. And what these two healed men did, spreading His name abroad in all that land, believing and seeing Israel will do in that day.
Next comes a dumb man possessed by a demon, and the demon having been cast out, the dumb spake. This, too, refers to Israel still under the control of Satan’s power. Instead of praising their King, Israel was dumb and is dumb now; but the demon will be cast out, and then Israel will speak His praises and sing the new song unto the Lord. What a day it will be, when dumb Israel is at last the people “formed to show forth His praise!” “And the crowds were astonished, saying, It has never been seen thus in Israel .” And in that day when Israel is healed it will be said, “What God has wrought,” and all the nations will know that He is Jehovah. We learn therefore in the three miracles -- the raising of the maid from the dead, the opening of the eyes of the blind and the casting out of the demon from the dumb man -- the blessed story of Israel ‘s coming redemption. Israel raised from the dead will see and behold the King, the Son of David, and speak and praise His name. It is not less the way of divine grace with each sinner who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are dead in trespasses and sins. He said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that an hour is coming and now is (and the hour is not yet passed), when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that have heard shall live” (John 5:24 ), and those He raises from the dead to them He gives eternal life, which is He Himself, and gives them the light of life, His Spirit, to enlighten them and guide them. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak to His praise who loveth us and has redeemed us by His blood and delivered us from the power of darkness. Oh, how blessedly rich and full in His Word!
But now the dark side. While the crowds were astonished, the Pharisees said, He casts out the demons through the prince of demons. Here for the first time in the Gospel do we find the awful blasphemy of the religious leaders of the people. The power of Jehovah had been manifested before their very eyes. The leper had been cleansed and gone to the priest, who knew Jehovah’s power had done it; the tempest had been stilled, the demons cast out, the paralytic healed, the dead maid raised up, the blind saw and the dumb spake; but instead of bowing in the august presence of the King and acknowledging the power, which manifested itself in such a manner, as divine, they attributed it to Satan, the prince of demons. They accused the Lord from heaven of being the instrument of Satan! Awful blasphemy! It is here but the first muttering of the coming storm. The storm breaks fully in the twelfth chapter. There they stand in all their Satanic boldness and charge Him with casting out demons by Beelzebub. They committed there and then the sin against the Spirit. We must reserve the closer investigation of this matter till we read the chapter in which our Lord speaks of that sin. Here we notice especially that the rejection of our Lord began with the blind leaders of the people, the religious, self-righteous Pharisees. It is not different in Christendom with the falling away from the faith.
Our Lord continued in His ministry in Galilee . “And Jesus went round all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom and healing every disease and every bodily weakness” (Matthew 9:35 ). What an activity this must have been! He walked up and down through Galilee, and certainly not one of the numerous villages was forgotten by Him. Let us notice again that it is the Gospel of the kingdom He preached, therefore Kingdom signs were present. When He, the King, comes again, and the Kingdom of the heavens is established and the heavens rule, then disease and all that offends will be put away.
But what scenes met His eye as He passed thus ministering among the crowds of people? He beheld them as worn out, harassed and cast away as sheep not having a shepherd. His loving heart was moved with compassion for them. In this loving sympathy He reveals Himself as the Shepherd of Israel. Long before His Spirit in the prophets had spoken of the scene we behold here. “Son of Man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel ; prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do not feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? ... And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd; and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, where they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth and none did search and seek after them” (Ezekiel 34:1-31 ). In the same chapter we read what Jehovah the Shepherd of Israel says: “I will both search My sheep and find them out. ... I will seek out My sheep. ... I will bring them out from the people and gather them from the countries. ... I will feed them in a good pasture. ... I will feed My flock and I will cause them to lie down. ... I will seek that which was lost. ... I will make with them a covenant of peace,” ... etc. He came thus to His own as the Shepherd, but they did not want Him. As the good Shepherd He laid down His life for the sheep, becoming the great Shepherd in resurrection and the chief Shepherd in glory. But He is also the Shepherd of Israel, and thinks still of His earthly people and loves them. That thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel will yet be literally fulfilled through the returning Son of Man, and then His poor flock will know Him and sing in the earth what the believer’s heart sings now: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” “Then saith He to His disciples, The harvest is great and the workmen few; supplicate therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send forth workmen unto His harvest.” He Himself is the Lord of the harvest. He sends forth the workmen and He equips them for the service. But there is a great difference between the sending forth of the workmen to preach the gospel of the kingdom, and to heal the sick, and the gifts, the Lord in glory, as the Head of His body, has given to the church. The sending forth of the laborers into the harvest will be before us in the next chapter.