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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Matthew 9

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-13

Matthew 9:1-2. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith —

The faith of the bearers, and the faith of the palsied man himself, —

Matthew 9:2. Said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

It was remarked, by a mediaeval writer, that we do not find Christ calling any of the apostles, not even the very chief of them, by the name that he gave to this palsied man, “Son.” This is the title that he gives to a sin-sick sinner, lying on a bed before him, waiting to be healed. Oh, the tenderness of Christ to sin and misery! He puts a kind of sonship upon this man which he had not possessed before.

Matthew 9:3. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

“He arrogates to himself the prerogative of God. Who can forgive sins but God only?”

Matthew 9:4-8. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 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. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

They rightly saw in this miracle, wrought by Christ, power given to man for, as you observe, Christ said, “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins;” and these people magnified God that one Man should have such power granted to him. There is an elevation to the whole of manhood in the alliance of Christ with it; through him the Lord hath given great power unto men.

Matthew 9:9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence,

The King is now going to show his power over the human will.

Matthew 9:9. 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.

Everything bows before him. Is he not King of kings, and Lord of lords? Have we ever comprehended the true measure of his divine and human nature? Even when he was on earth, and known as the Son of man, what gleams of his divine glory shone forth in these truly royal acts of his! Yet bow condescending was our King! Where is his court? Who are his attendants? Listen, —

Matthew 9:10. 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.

Lord of the sea, Conqueror of demons, Healer of the sick, Forgiver of sin, and now he has for his company publicans and sinners! When the Pharisees saw it, they did not see condescension in it, but they saw wickedness in it.

Matthew 9:11. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

Ah! why, indeed? You and I know; that is a secret that has made us love him better than almost anything beside.

Matthew 9:12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

He has come here on purpose that he might heal our sicknesses. Oh, you who feel tonight sick with sin, and sick of sin, come and sit down with him! He add, “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” and be will not cast you out, notwithstanding your sinnership, if you come unto him by faith.

Matthew 9:13. 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.

Let us never forget that Jesus is the sinner’s Saviour. He does not come to save saints; he comes to save sinners, and the saints who are saved are kept from becoming sinners by his almighty love.

May God bless this reading of the Scriptures to us! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 8:23-34; Matthew 9:1-13.


Verses 1-17

Matthew 9:1-2. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 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.

Our Lord dealt first with the greater evil, for sin is worse than even such a dreadful disease as the palsy. Forgiveness of sin is an even greater mercy than the healing of sickness.

Matthew 9:3-7. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 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. And he arose, and departed to his house.

Jesus first proved his divinity by reading the secret thoughts of the caviling scribes, and then gave a further evidence of it by working this very notable miracle.

Matthew 9:8-9. But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. 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.

This was another notable miracle, and equally set forth the power of divine grace.

Matthew 9:10-11. 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 disciple. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

He was more at home with publicans and sinners than with scribes and Pharisees, and they were more likely to welcome him as their Lord and Saviour.

Matthew 9:12-13. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 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.

If he had come to call the righteous, where would he have found them? His call was not likely to be heeded by the self-righteous, but sinners heard it with joy, and so were made righteous by him.

Matthew 9:14. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

We must not suppose that, because a thing is proper for ourselves, it must therefore be binding upon everybody else. It might be fit and right that the disciples of John should fast often, their circumstances might require it; but it might be quite wrong for the disciples of Christ to fast, as they might be in very different circumstances.

Matthew 9:15. And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?

Could Christ’s disciples fast while Christ fed them with heavenly foods? While his presence was to them like heaven begun below, it would have been inconsistent for them to be mourning and fasting.

Matthew 9:15. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

And nobody would say that they were turncoats if, when their circumstances had so greatly altered, they acted in harmony with their changed circumstances. The disciples could not mourn while Christ was with them; can you, believer, fast while Christ is with you? It cannot be; but when he has gone from you, then you will sorrow fast enough. So we must neither judge others by ourselves, nor judge ourselves at one time by what we were at some other time.

Matthew 9:16. 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, —

When it shrinks, —

Matthew 9:16. And the rent is made worse.

There must be a fitness about things; do not impose fasting upon a joyful heart, or the singing of joyful hymns upon a sad spirit.

Matthew 9:17. 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.

Do not expect from a young beginner that which would be unsuitable to him, even though it should be most comely and seemly in an aged Christian; and do not expect to see in an aged Christian all the vigor and alertness of spirit that you look for in ardent souls in all the fervor of their first love to Christ. Let us mind the relations of things.


Verses 1-38

Matthew 9:1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

Our Lord had given these Gergesenes an opportunity of becoming his disciples, the kingdom of God had come very near to them, but as they accounted themselves unworthy of it, and besought him to depart out of their coasts, he did not force himself upon them. Take heed, dear friends, if you do but hear the gospel once, that you do not reject it, for you may never have the opportunity of hearing it again.

Matthew 9:2. 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.

He saw the faith of the one man who was brought to him, and also the faith of the four bearers who had let him down through the roof.

Matthew 9:3-4. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

His knowledge of the thoughts of their hearts ought to have convinced them that he was divine, and that therefore he had the right to forgive sins. They were not, however, in a condition to learn anything, for they thought that they already knew everything.

Matthew 9:5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

Each of these actions needed divine power; but divinity being present, there was no difference as to the manifestation of this power between the forgiveness of sins and the healing of sickness.

Matthew 9:6-7. 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. And he arose, and departed to his house.

Carrying the mattress whereon he had lain. Would he keep that bed stored, think you, for a memorial? Or if he used it in future to sleep upon would he not by night upon his bed wake up, and praise the Lord for what he had done for him? I think that we should treasure up in our memory the deeds of Christ on our behalf, if indeed we know his great salvation. I should not wonder if there is a mattress that you have somewhere at home, a bed, or a book, or something with which there is connected the remembrance of some deed of infinite love and almighty grace.

Matthew 9:8. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

They did not think deeply enough, and go really to the bottom of the matter, but they concluded that it was a wonderful thing that any man — that any men, as they put it, — should have such power given unto them.

Matthew 9:9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom:

Notice how Matthew describes himself: “As Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom.”

Matthew 9:9. And he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

See how everything is obedient to Christ. Paralysis leaves the palsied man, and hardness of heart departs from the tax-gatherer.

Matthew 9:10. 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.

Note the modesty of these early recorders; Matthew does not say that it was his own house where this gathering took place, nor that he was the giver of the feast. Mark and Luke supply this information.

Matthew 9:11-13. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:

God prefers the doing of good to all outward ritual and ordinances, even the best of them: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:”

Matthew 9:13-22. For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 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 shalt be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 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. 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. 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. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 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.

See how he scatters mercy all around. He is charged to the full with the divine electricity of health, and whoever comes in his way gets a blessing. Oh, for the presence of that full and overflowing Christ in the midst of every worshipping assembly, for there are still many sick folk who need a Saviour as much as these people did in the days of Jesus!

Matthew 9:23. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

They were gathered together for the funeral of this young girl.

Matthew 9:24. He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

They did not understand his expression; yet, apparently, sleep only differs from death in this respect, that the sleeper wakes again, and returns to consciousness. The Lord Jesus Christ did not mean that the maiden was not dead; but he meant that, as she was soon coming to life again, it was, as it were, only like the image of death. To her, death was not a cul-de-sac, a dark cave without an opening at the further end; it was rather a tunnel through which she was passing back again into life.

Matthew 9:25-26. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

And well it might; this was the marvel of marvels that he should even raise the dead.

Matthew 9:27. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

See, my brethren, how miracle follows upon miracle, how the way of Christ is, as it were, paved with mercy upon mercy.

Matthew 9:28. 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?

It is a great thing to have faith about the particular point that most concerns us: “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” Some can believe everything except the one thing for which faith is most needed,

Matthew 9:28. They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

Can you, dear friend, say, “Yes, Lord,” about yourself?

Matthew 9:29-31. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

This was very wrong of them, for they ought to have obeyed Christ’s orders. They were doing much mischief, although, no doubt, they thought they were doing good. The Saviour, first of all, was modest, and did not wish his cures reported. In the next place, he wanted to have an opportunity of doing more good, and the reporting of this cure brought him immense crowds who encumbered him, and also excited the animosity of the Pharisees, who would the more persecute him. Moreover, our Lord did not wish the Pharisees to think that he cured people that they might simply advertise him. I do think that we often err in imagining that making known every little thing that happens, and even every great thing, is the best course to pursue. There is a way of walking in wisdom toward them that are without, and Christ knew that way; and these blind men whose eyes he had opened should not have disobeyed him.

Matthew 9:32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

“As they went out.” Do notice what a succession of mercies Christ dispersed; it was a sort of tempest of blessing, peal upon peal, following almost without intermission.

Matthew 9:33-34. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

How does Christ answer this wicked taunt?

Matthew 9:35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

That is the best answer to give to cavillers, do more good than ever. There is no stopping the barking of dogs; so go you on your way, as the moon shines, let the hounds bay as they may. Oh, the glory of the Master! Like a cloud that dispenses showers of blessing wherever it moves, so did he continue to do his life-work.

Matthew 9:36-38. 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. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Or, “that he will thrust forth labourers into his harvest.” He who does the most is always the one who wants to see more done. This blessed Christ, with his hands so full of holy work, is the one who bows his knee, and cries to the great Lord of the harvest to thrust forth labourers into his harvest. Let us imitate him both in the working and in the praying.


Verses 18-38

Matthew 9:18. 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.

This was grand faith on the ruler’s part, believing that the touch of Christ’s hand would raise his dead daughter to life; we do not wonder that the Saviour honoured such faith as that at once.

Matthew 9:19-20. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

This was while he was on the way to the ruler’s house. Jesus Christ can work many miracles while he is on the way to work other miracles.

Matthew 9:21. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

This also is wonderful faith again; in this chapter we get among the great believers. The man believes that the touch of Jesus can raise the dead the woman believes that the touch of his garment will make her whole

Matthew 9:22. 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.

Christ never comes short of our faith, but he often goes beyond it.

Matthew 9:23. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

These were hired men and women who were brought in to act as mourners

Matthew 9:24-25. He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, —

There is a good deal that has to be “put forth” before the Lord Jesus Christ will fully reveal his power to bless. He would have you put forth your doubts, your fears, your wandering thoughts, your self-trust, in fact, everything that is contrary to his righteous rule. “When the people were put forth, he went in,” —

Matthew 9:25-27. And took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

See how busy our Lord was, and how ready for every application that was made to him, and note how he adapted his power to every case that came before him. First he heals an issue of blood, then he raises the dead, and now he is ready to open blind eyes. I wish the Lord might have such blessed business among us here, and he may have, for, if thou wilt cry to him for thy child, dead in trespasses and sins, he will make her to live; if thou wilt bring thy blind eyes to him, he will open them; and if thou wilt come to him with a disease that is sapping thy very life, he will heal thee.

Give the Lord plenty of this holy work to do. Drawn wells, they say, are sweetest; and a Saviour who is constantly used is most enjoyed.

Matthew 9:28. 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?

That is the question the Lord puts to any who are in soul trouble. “’Believe ye that I am able to do this?’ — to forgive your sins once for all, — to give you a new nature at this very moment, — to make you, a sinner, into a saint, — to save you, not merely for the next few weeks, but to save you eternally so that you shall see my face in glory with exceeding joy; — ‘Believe ye that I am able to do this?’”

Matthew 9:28-29. They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, according to your faith be it unto you.

That is what Jesus says to every person here, “According to your faith be it unto you. “If you believe Christ a little, he will bless you a little, but if you believe him up to the hilt, he will bless you to the full. Your faith shall never outrun the manifestations of divine love. Believest thou this? Then thou shalt see it. “According to your faith be it unto you.”

Matthew 9:30-32. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

These miracles were wrought so rapidly, and they concerned such different cases that, as we read of them, we rejoice to see how Christ Was ready for anything, and ready for everything. It did not matter what case was brought to him, he was never taken aback. Here he is just as fully prepared to heal the dumb as just now he was to cure the blind.

Matthew 9:33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: —

There is nothing like going at once to the root of the matter. Christ did not heal the dumb man, and leave the devil in him, but he first cast the devil out, and then “ the dumb spake. “And this is his way of saving men. He renews them by his Spirit, he casts the devil out, and then their despair goes, their prayerlessness disappears, their love of vice is killed. All evil is expelled when once the root of the evil is pulled up. “When the devil was cast out, the dumb spake:” —

Matthew 9:33. And the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never before seen in lsrael.

Christ had wrought such miracles as the multitudes had never before seen, and they might well marvel.

Matthew 9:34-35. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, —

What the Pharisees said was of such very small consequence that, for the time being, Christ vouchsafed them no answer but this, “Jesus went about all the cities and villages.” In like manner, it will be your best plan not to reply to slander. There are some lies that smell so strongly of the pit from which they came that everybody will recognize their origin, and therefore you need not take the trouble to point out that they are falsehoods. And the best reply to all scandal and slander is to go on with your work just as if you had never heard it. The Pharisees said that Christ cast out devils through the prince of the devils, and the very next sentence is, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages,” —

Matthew 9:35-36. Teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, —

Yet Christ, while upon the earth in the flesh, never saw such multitudes as are gathered in London today, he never saw such multitudes as make up this nation; there never passed before the eyes of the Redeemer such multitudes as are crowded together in China and India today. No; the population of the world has wondrously increased since those days, so what must be the compassion of his heart when he sees the multitudes that are living in the world today! “When he saw the multitudes he was moved” — in the original, this is a very striking word; it signifies that he trembled with emotion, his inmost powers were moved, his heart was stirred “with compassion on them,” —

Matthew 9:36-37. Because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Not the preachers, but the labourers are few; not the talkers, but the labourers, — the patient, plodding, resolute, disinterested, industrious toilers who really go in for winning souls for Christ, — the men and women who do real work for God, and do not play at Christian service as some do, making it a kind of amusement to go and do some little good now and then it is these labourers who are few. You know the difference between a dock labourer, or a farm labourer, and the gentleman who takes a tool in his hand just for a pastime now and then.

Matthew 9:38. Pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

It is earnest workers that we are to pray God to thrust forth into his harvest, for still the harvest is plenteous, and the labourers are few.


Verses 27-35

Matthew 9:27. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.

No sooner does Jesus move than fresh candidates for his bounty appear: the blind seek sight from him. Two sightless men had become companions in affliction, they may have been father and son. They were in downright earnest, for they “followed him, crying, and saying, Have mercy on us.” Persevering, vehement, yet intelligent was their appeal. They were of one mind in reference to Jesus, and therefore they went one way, and used one prayer, to one and the same person. Our Lord is here called by his royal name: “Thou Son of David.” Even the blind could see that he was a king’s son. As Son of David, he is entreated to show mercy, and act according to his royal nature. It is mercy which gives us our faculties, and mercy alone can restore them. This prayer suits us when we perceive our own darkness of mind. When we cannot see our way into truth, let us appeal to the Lord for gracious instruction, ever remembering that we have no claim except that which originates in his mercy.

Matthew 9:28. 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.

They were most eager for the boon. They gave him no leisure: they pressed into the house where he had sought privacy and rest: they came to him, even to Jesus himself. The Lord would have them express their faith, and so he makes inquiry of them as to what they believe about himself. Jesus makes no inquiry about their eyes, but only about their faith this is ever the vital point. They could not see, but they could believe, and they did so.

They had a specific faith as to the matter about which they prayed; for our Lord put it plainly, “Believe ye that I am able to do THIS? “They had also a clear view of the character of him to whom they applied; for they had already styled him “Son of David,” and now they called him “Lord.”

Matthew 9:29. Then touched he their eyes, saying, according to your faith be it unto you.

Again he arouses their faith; and this time he throws the whole responsibility upon their confidence in him. “According to your faith be it unto you.” He touched them with his hand; but they must also touch him with their faith. The word of power in the last sentence is one upon which he acts so continually, that we may call it, as to many blessings, a rule of the kingdom. We have the measuring of our own mercies; our faith obtains less or more according to its own capacity to receive. Had these men been mere pretenders to faith they would have remained blind. If we will not in very truth trust our Lord, we shall die in our sins.

Matthew 9:30. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

They both saw the double miracle was wrought at the same moment. Comrades in the dark, they are now companions in the light. Singular that for two souls there should thus be one destiny! It was a singular double fact, and deserved to be made widely known; but our Lord had wise reasons for requiring silence He “straitly charged them.” He left them no option: he demanded complete silence. He that opened their eyes closed their mouths. Jesus did not desire fame, he wanted less crowding; he wished to avoid excitement; and therefore he was express and peremptory in his order: “See that no man know it.”

Matthew 9:31. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame on all that country.

They most industriously published what they were bidden to conceal till “all that country” rang with the news. In this they erred greatly, and probably caused the Saviour so much inconvenience by the pressure of the crowd, that he had to remove from the town. We may not hope that we are doing right if we disobey our Lord. However natural disobedience may appear to be, it is disobedience, and must not be excused. Even it the results turned out to be advantageous, it would not make it right to break the command of our Lord. Silence is more than golden when our King commands it. He doth not seek applause, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets that he may be known to be doing a great work. His followers do well to copy his example. We do not wonder that our Lord’s name became famous when there were such persons to advertise it. How earnestly and eloquently would the two formerly blind men tell the story of how he opened their eyes! We are not forbidden, but exhorted to make known the wonders of his grace. Let us not fail in this natural, this necessary, this useful duty. More and more let us “spread abroad his fame.”

Matthew 9:32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

As a pair of patients leave the surgery, another poor creature comes in. Note the “behold.” The case is striking. He comes not freely, or of his own accord: “they brought” him: thus should we bring men to Jesus. He does not cry for help, for he is “a dumb man.” Let us open our mouths for the dumb. He is not himself, but he is “possessed with a devil.” Poor creature! Will anything be done for him?

Matthew 9:33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

Our Lord does not deal with the symptoms, but with the source of the disorder, even with the evil spirit. “The devil was cast out”; and it is mentioned as if that were a matter of course when Jesus came on the scene. The devil had silenced the man, and so, when the evil one was gone, “the dumb spake.” How we should like to know what he said! Whatever he said it matters not; the wonder was that he could say anything. The people confessed that this was a wonder quite unprecedented; and in this they only said the truth: “It was never so seen in Israel.” Jesus is great at surprises: he has novelties of gracious power. The people were quick to express their admiration yet we see very little trace of their believing in our Lord’s mission. It is a small thing to marvel, but a great thing to believe. O Lord, give the people around us to see such revivals and conversions, as they have never known before!

Matthew 9:34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

Of course, they had some bitter sentence ready. Nothing was too bad for them to say of Jesus. They were hard pressed when they took to this statement which our Lord in another place so easily answered. They hinted that such power over demons must have come to him through an unholy compact with “the prince of the devils.” Surely this was going very near to the unpardonable sin.

Matthew 9:35. 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.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 9:27-35; and Matthew 20:29-34.


Verses 27-38

Matthew 9:27-28. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, thou son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house,

I suppose the house at Capernaum, where he was wont to stay.

Matthew 9:28. The blind men came to him;

Forced their way in. They must be attended to. Hunger breaks through stone walls, they say, and an earnest heart will follow after what it seeks.

Matthew 9:28-29. And Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it unto you.

That is, “If you do not believe, you shall not see, but if there be faith in you, behold you shall have sight.”

Matthew 9:30-32. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

Here we have had the dead, those that were bleeding to death, the blind, and the dumb, and the possessed of a devil.

Matthew 9:33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, it was never so seen in Israel.

No; but Jesus does wonders. Something off the common, and altogether out of the ordinary way, his work of grace must be.

Matthew 9:34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

There is always somebody or other who has got an ugly word to put in. It matters not how much God may bless the gospel, there is no stopping the sneers and objections; but the mercy is that it does not matter much. Our Lord was not hurt, and the work went on, notwithstanding all the cavilling of the Pharisees.

Matthew 9:35. 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.

That was the answer to the Pharisees. Christian activity, fervent devotion to the cause of God, is the best answer that can be given to cavillers of any sort or every sort. In your work hold on, my brother, and those who cavil at thee now may come to honour thee one of these days.

Matthew 9:36-37. 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. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.

We are all loiterers, but where are the labourers? Where are they with the sharp sickle that can cut down the wheat, and, with a ready hand, can bind it, and, with a strong shoulder, carry it? Alas! in this great city, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few!

Matthew 9:38. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will sent forth labourers into his harvest.


Verse 35

9:35. 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.

This was his answer to the blasphemous slanders of the Pharisees. A glorious reply it was. Let us answer calumny by greater zeal in doing good. Small places were not despised by our Lord: he went about the villages as well as the cities. Village piety is of the utmost importance, and has a close relation to city life. Jesus turned old institutions to good account: the “synagogues” became his seminaries. Three-fold was his ministry: expounding the old, proclaiming the new, healing the diseased. Observe the repetition of the word “every” as showing the breadth of his healing power. All this stood in relation to his royalty; for it was “the gospel of the kingdom” which he proclaimed. Our Lord was “ the Great Itinerant”: Jesus went about preaching, and healing. His was on a Medical Mission as well as an evangelistic tour. Happy people who have Jesus among them! Oh, that we might now see more of his working among our own people!

Matthew 9:36. 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.

A great crowd is a demand upon compassion, for it suggests so much sin and need. In this case, the great want was instruction: “they fainted” for want of comfort; they “were scattered abroad” for lack of guidance. They were eager to learn, but they had no fit teachers. “Sheep having no shepherd” are in an ill plight. Unfed, unfolded, unguarded, what will become of them? Our Lord was stirred with a feeling which agitated his inmost soul. “He was moved with compassion.” What he saw affected not his eye only, but his heart. He was overcome by sympathy. His whole frame was stirred with an emotion which put every faculty into forceful movement. He is even now affected towards our people in the same manner. He is moved with compassion if we are not.

Matthew 9:37-38. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

His heavy heart sought solace among “his disciples”, and he spake to them. He mourned the scantiness of workers. Pretenders were many, but real “labourers” in the harvest were few. The sheaves were spoiling. The crowds were ready to be taught, even as ripe wheat is ready for the sickle; but there were few to instruct them, and where could more teaching men be found? God only can thrust out, or “send forth labourers.” Man-made ministers are useless. Still are the fields encumbered with gentlemen who cannot use the sickle. Still the real ingatherers are few and far between. Where are the instructive, soul-winning ministries? Where are those who travail in birth for their hearers’ salvation? Let us plead with the Lord of the harvest to care for his own harvest, and send out his own men. May many a true heart be moved by the question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” to answer, “Here am I! Send me.”

10:1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

See the way of making apostles. They were first disciples, and afterwards teachers of others: they were specially his, and then they were given to be a blessing to men. They were “called unto him”; and thus their higher call came to them. In the presence of their Lord they received their equipment:

“He gave them power.” Is that so with us in our own special office? Let us come to him, that we may be clothed with his authority and girded with his strength. Their power was miraculous; but it was an imitation of their Lord’s, and the words applied to it are very much the same as we have seen in use about his miracles of healing. The twelve were made to represent their Lord. We, too, may be enabled to do what Jesus did among men. Oh, for such an endowment!

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 13:3-8; Matthew , 18-23.


Verses 36-38

Matthew 9:36. 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.

The sight that Christ saw with his eye, deeply affected his heart: “He was moved with compassion on them.” The expression is a very strong one indicating that his whole being was stirred with an emotion which put every faculty into forceful movement.

Matthew 9:37-38. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he well send forth labourers into his harvest.

Pretenders were many, but real “labourers” were few. God only can thrust out or “send forth labourers.” Man-made ministers are useless, yet they abound all around us; but where are the instructive soul-winning ministries? Let us plead with the Lord of the harvest to care for his own harvest, and to thrust out his own harvestmen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 80; and Matthew 9:36-38; Matthew , 10.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 9:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-9.html. 2011.

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