Matthew 9:12

Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? The speakers were Pharisees; they were not guests, they were only watchers. Such feasts are very open and free, and persons are allowed to come in, and even to take part in the conversation, who do not share in the food. An Eastern traveller says, "In the room where we were received, besides the divan on which we sat, there were seats all round the walls. Many came in and took their place on those side-seats, uninvited and unchallenged. They spoke to those at table on business, or the news of the day, and our host spoke freely to them." These Pharisees were very particular about the company they kept, and especially about the persons with whom they ate. They represent the mischievous influence of class-feeling. They do more than that. They represent the loss of power which all men must suffer who make themselves, their feelings, their preferences, the first consideration.

I. OUR LORD DID SOT CHOOSE HIS ASSOCIATES BECAUSE HE LIKED THEM. That may be a proper ground on which to select our private friends. It is not proper for one who has the trust of power which he is to use. Whether he likes it or not, that man must find the sphere in which he can best use his powers. No man ever did really noble work in the world until he learned to put his likes on one side, and just do his duty. But such a man is almost sure to find that a new set of likes grows up round his duty. The refined person does not like rough and rude associations. And the folk that Christ companied with could not have been very pleasing to him. The elegancies and proprieties and gentlenesses of refined society would have suited him better; and we can quite imagine the circle he would have preferred.

II. OUR LORD CHOSE HIS ASSOCIATES IN ORDER TO DO THEM GOOD. He chose them as a teacher chooses his class, he seeks those who need his teaching. As a doctor chooses his patients, he seeks those who need healing. As a Saviour chooses his subjects, he seeks sinners, who need delivering from their sins. Mrs. Fry, for her own sake, would have sought and enjoyed cultivated society. Mrs. Fry, with a conscious power of ministry, sought out the miserable and degraded prisoners. According to our trust we must choose our associates. If we were here on earth only to enjoy, we might properly prefer luxurious Pharisees; but seeing we are here to stand with Christ, and serve, we had better, with him, find out the "publicans and sinners." - R.T.

They that be whole need not a physician.

1. Those who depend for salvation upon their own good lives.

2. Those who depend for salvation upon their religious duties.

3. Those who depend for salvation upon their correct notions.

II. THOSE WHO VALUE THE HEAVENLY PHYSICIAN — "They that are sick." A general invitation to this Physician. Reasons why some of you are still uncured. How will His medicine affect you? Think of His love.

(C. Clayton, M. A.)


1. Depraved mental appetite.

2. The faculty of moral vision is impaired.

3. Moral stupor and lethargic disposition of mind.

4. Feverish excitement of disposition.

5. Moral weakness and want of activity.


1. Universal in extent.

2. Disastrous in results.

3. Incurable by anything less than Divine energy.


1. Universally adapted.

2. Absolutely free.

3. Infallably efficacious.

(The Pulpit.)

I. WE ARE ALL SICK. Many are our ailments. Sin the great malady. We need a Physician. The world has no medicines.


1. He is appointed of God (Isaiah 61:1).

2. He is adapted for it. Understands all cases. Neglects none.

III. THE REMEDY. He makes use of many means of recovery.

1. Sometimes he makes use of the affections as a means of restoring health. How many have to trace that recovery to loss of a dear object!

2. Sometimes He makes use of a reproving conscience.

3. The main remedy is His own precious blood:

(1)it is no small mercy to feel our spiritual malady;

(2)the remedy must be received or our soul's sickness cannot be healed;

(3)beware of false, superficial healing;

(4)beware of losing the healing;

(5)take heed of expecting a more perfect cure than scripture warrants;

(6)admire the costliness of the remedy, its freeness, universality, and, above all, the Giver.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)


1. Sickness destroys our power of action.

2. It deprives a man of rest.

3. It frequently occasions delirium.

4. It deforms the body.

5. It is the forerunner of death.




(G. Burder.)

I. A DEFENCE, complete and unanswerable. Christ did not come despising the people, but as a Healer of the sick.

II. A DIRECTION to His followers.

1. Christianity is remedial.

2. Christianity is hopeful.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

A physician once told us that he kept himself in health by going to see patients. Whenever he discontinued this, and insisted on patients coming to him, or when he tried to go out of practice altogether, he fell into lethargy, and lost both physical and mental power; but so soon as he resumed active efforts to heal others, his own healthy returned. Let servants and handmaids of Christ take the hint. He who desires sound, strong, spiritual life and health in himself should go and try to heal others, showing patience, sympathy, and hopefulness. This is to walk as Christ walked.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

There are none of the sons of men who are really whole. The whole and sick in contrast are these:

1. He that is whole has never had a clear affecting sight and sense of sin; but he that is sick is fully convicted, and deeply sensible of it.

2. They that are whole are generally easy and serene, and unapprehensive of danger; but the sick soul is alarmed and anxious, and can't be easy till it perceives some appearances of recovery.

3. They that are whole are unwilling to apply to a physician, or to follow his prescriptions; but to the sick a physician is welcome, and they will submit to his directions, however self-denying.

(S. Davies, M. A.)

Properly we have amongst ourselves now special studies of special cases. One man undertakes the brain, another the heart, another the blood, it may be, another the bones and joints. This is right, amongst ourselves; for probably hardly any one man has the time, even if he had the capacity, to master with sufficient adequateness all the details and necessities of our wondrous bodily frame. But Jesus Christ said to the leper, "Be thou clean," to the man sick of the palsy, grievously tormented, "I will come and heal him." When he went into Peter's house and saw his wife's mother laid and sick of the fever, he touched her hand and the fever left her, he put out the fire with his touch. He is no specialist, he has not a necromancer's power over any one department of human life or human suffering. His healing was fundamental and all-inclusive. He made the well-head pure, and the flowing stream was as pure as the fountain whence it flowed. It is so in spiritual matters. There is not in the Church a doctor who cures lying, and another who makes a special study of drunkenness, and a third who is gifted with peculiar ability in dealing with persons of felonious disposition. There is one Mediator between God and man: he makes the heart right, and then all the accidental local diseases, with all their train of ever-varying symptoms, are cleansed and utterly expelled.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I once went with a friend who wanted to see a great physician. But there were ever so many other people waiting to see him, and they went in by turns one by one, and we had to wait a whole hour before our turn came. The physician could not attend to more than one person at a time. But if all you dear children were to pray to the Saviour this evening at the same moment, and tell Him all your wants, He could listen to you all at the same time, and help each of you according to your need.

(W. Harris.)

If your little sister was taken very ill and you were sent for the doctor, you would run with all your speed; yet when you came to his house he might be just gone out, and your sister might die before he came home. But this is never the case with Jesus. Whenever you call upon Him, you will find Him. He is always where people can find Him directly they want Him, and you know he can heal people without coming to them in His bodily presence.

(W. Harris.)

Sometimes people are in a very dangerous state, and yet they do not feel pain. In a sad railway accident which happened some time ago, a young lady was taken out of one of the carriages, and she said she was not hurt at all, she felt no pain. She stood up and tried to walk and then fell back dead. She had received a very serious injury, and yet she did not feel it at the moment. So it was with these Pharisees, they had a sin within their hearts which would ruin them if it was not taken away. That sin was pride. This sin is so dangerous, because it keeps people from feeling how sinful they are, and so keeps them from coming to Jesus Christ to be healed.

(W. Harris.)

I. SIN IS THE SICKNESS OF THE SOUL. It is the disease of the soul that makes the sinner a sick man.

1. Sickness brings pain and torment to the body, so does sin to the soul.

2. Sickness takes away the beauty of the body. Sin spoils the beauty of the soul.

3. Diseases are death's carols which are sent; before it to bind the prisoner. Sin tends to spiritual and eternal deeds, and will bring it on if it be not cured,


1. The guilt of it. the obligation to punishment.

2. The stain. It brings a blot with it, that defiles the soul.

3. The reigning power of it. Sin keeps its throne. It commands and receives obedience.

4. The indwelling power of it.


1. It is spiritual. They are the most dangerous disorders that affect the vital parts.

2. It is an universal sickness, spreading itself through the whole man. All the faculties of the soul are injured and disordered by it. It darkens the mind, wounds the conscience, pollutes the heart, disorders the affections, and weakens the memory for good.

3. It is an infectious sickness.

4. It is hereditary, natural to us. We are born with it.

5. It is a growing disease.

6. It is mortal disease.


1. GO quickly to the Physician for the cure of the disease of the soul which you labour under, Delay no longer.

2. Time is flying. No medicine will cure that wound, no argument will persuade it to return. Yesterday has taken its eternal farewell. The candle burnt to the snuff will not light again. Your only time is the present.

3. Death is approaching. If death take us away raider the power of that sickness, there is no cure for it hereafter, if.

4. Make frequent application to Christ. Such people as can take little food at once, had need to take it frequently, Alas! the few addresses which we make to the throne of grace, look like as we thought ourselves whole, little needing the Physician.

(Thomas Boston.)

Three things concur to the care of the soul.




1. "He sent His word and healed them."

2. The waters of the sanctuary are healing waters.

(Thomas Boston.)

Why does He undertake and perform the cure of souls?


II. BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE AND PITY TO MEN. Love provided the remedy and applies it also.



1. The glory of the Mediator is highly exalted by His curing sick souls.

2. The glory of God is displayed in the cure.

3. Had the sick been left to be swallowed up by death, justice would have been exalted, but now justice, mercy, grace, and truth, are all glorified in their salvation through Christ.

(Thomas Boston.)

Come to Him for the cure of your spiritual diseases.

I. You HAVE NEED OF HIM. Let necessity drive you to Him. The less you see your need, the more need you have of Him. Some diseases are very common among us.

1. Blindness of the eyes of the mind.

2. Spiritual dumbness.

3. Hardness of heart.

4. Falling evil of backsliding.

5. Pride and self-conceit.

6. Decay of grace.


1. He knows what will suit your disease.

2. He is successful. Seine diseases are the reproach of medicine; none can baffle Him.


1. Other physicians are enriched by their patients, but He enricheth His making them heirs of glory.

2. He is the only physician.

3. Either you must die or come to film.

(Thomas Boston.)

David, Jesus, John, Matthew
Doctor, Health, Healthy, Hearing, Ill, Medical, Physician, Question, Replied, Require, Sick, Strong
1. Jesus heals a paralytic
9. calls Matthew from the receipt of custom;
10. eats with tax collectors and sinners;
14. defends his disciples for not fasting;
20. cures the sick woman;
23. raises Jairus' daughter from death;
27. gives sight to two blind men;
32. heals a mute man possessed of a demon;
36. and has compassion on the multitude.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 9:12

     5298   doctors
     5333   healing
     5433   occupations
     6028   sin, deliverance from

Matthew 9:9-13

     4438   eating
     6040   sinners

Matthew 9:9-14

     5576   tax collectors

Matthew 9:10-12

     2042   Christ, justice of
     5882   impartiality

Matthew 9:10-13

     2027   Christ, grace and mercy
     4476   meals
     5888   inferiority
     6668   grace, and Christ
     7552   Pharisees, attitudes to Christ

Matthew 9:12-13

     2377   kingdom of God, entry into
     5037   mind, of Christ
     5285   cures
     5297   disease
     5334   health

June 26. "When He Saw the Multitudes He was Moved" (Matt. Ix. 36).
"When He saw the multitudes He was moved" (Matt. ix. 36). He is able to be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." The word "touched" expresses a great deal. It means that our troubles are His troubles, and that in all our afflictions He is afflicted. It is not a sympathy of sentiment, but a sympathy of suffering. There is much help in this for the tired heart. It is the foundation of His Priesthood, and God meant that it should be to us a source of unceasing consolation. Let us realize, more
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Christ's Encouragements
'Son, be of good cheer.'--MATT. ix. 2. This word of encouragement, which exhorts to both cheerfulness and courage, is often upon Christ's lips. It is only once employed in the Gospels by any other than He. If we throw together the various instances in which He thus speaks, we may get a somewhat striking view of the hindrances to such a temper of bold, buoyant cheerfulness which the world presents, and of the means for securing it which Christ provides. But before I consider these individually, let
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Christlike Judgment of Men
'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.' --MATT. ix. 36. In the course of our Lord's wandering life of teaching and healing, there had naturally gathered around Him a large number of persons who followed Him from place to place, and we have here cast into a symbol the impression produced upon Him by their outward condition. That is to say, He sees them lying there weary, and footsore, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Soul-Healing First: Body-Healing Second
'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.'--MATT. ix. 6. The great example of our Lord's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is followed, in this and the preceding chapter, by a similar collection of His works of healing. These are divided into three groups, each consisting of three members. This miracle is the last of the second triad, of which the other two members are the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Touch of Faith and the Touch of Christ
'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,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Call of Matthew
'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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Compassion of Jesus
THIS is said of Christ Jesus several times in the New Testament. The original word is a very remarkable one. It is not found in classic Greek. It is not found in the Septuagint. The fact is, it was a word coined by the evangelists themselves. They did not find one in the whole Greek language that suited their purpose, and therefore they had to make one. It is expressive of the deepest emotion; a striving of the bowels--a yearning of the innermost nature with pity. As the dictionaries tell us-- Ex
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 60: 1914

Eleventh Day for More Labourers
WHAT TO PRAY.--For more Labourers "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He send forth labourers into His harvest."--MATT. ix. 38. What a remarkable call of the Lord Jesus for help from His disciples in getting the need supplied. What an honour put upon prayer. What a proof that God wants prayer and will hear it. Pray for labourers, for all students in theological seminaries, training homes, Bible institutes, that they may not go, unless He fits them and sends them forth; that our churches may
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Dread of Ridicule.
24th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. ix. 24. "And they laughed Him to scorn." INTRODUCTION.--"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. iii. 12.) This is what S. Paul says. This is what everyone of you must make up your mind to, if you intend to live godly lives, and, moreover, to live in Christ. Do you know what that meant to the early Christians? It meant that if they were going to be firm in their faith, live up to their profession, and eschew evil, they should
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

Evil Thoughts.
19th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. ix. 4. "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" INTRODUCTION.--Thoughts are only thoughts! who is to beheld accountable for them? They are clouds blown about by fancy, taking various shapes. God is not so hard as to judge us for our thoughts; He will try us by what we have done, not by what we have dreamed. No garden is without weeds; there are tares in every cornfield. Who speak thus? Is it those who are conscientious and scrupulous to drive away evil thoughts?
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

Civilized Barbarism (Preached for the Bishop of London's Fund, at St. John's Church, Notting Hill, June 1866. )
ST. MATTHEW ix. 12. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I have been honoured by an invitation to preach on behalf of the Bishop of London's Fund for providing for the spiritual wants of this metropolis. By the bishop, and a large number of landowners, employers of labour, and others who were aware of the increasing heathendom of the richest and happiest city of the world, it was agreed that, if possible, a million sterling should be raised during the next ten years,
Charles Kingsley—The Water of Life and Other Sermons

The Physician's Calling (Preached at Whitehall for St. George's Hospital. )
ST. MATTHEW ix. 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. The Gospels speak of disease and death in a very simple and human tone. They regard them in theory, as all are forced to regard them in fact, as sore and sad evils. The Gospels never speak of disease or death as necessities; never as the will of God. It is Satan, not God, who binds the woman with
Charles Kingsley—The Water of Life and Other Sermons

Of the Words Themselves in General.
We come now to the words themselves, wherein Christ asserts that he is, 1, "the way;" 2, "the truth;" 3, "the life;" and, 4, "that no man cometh to the Father but by him." In them we learn these two things in general. First, The misery of wretched man by nature. This cannot be in a few words expressed. These words will point out those particulars thereof, which we will but mention. 1. That he is born an enemy to, and living at a distance from God, by virtue of the curse of the broken covenant of
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

IF NOT GOD--NOT GOOD BY I. M. HALDEMAN, D.D. "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God" (Matthew 9:17). THE world has accepted Jesus Christ as a good man. The evidences of his goodness are manifold. He was full of compassion. He never looked upon the people as a crowd. He never thought of them as a mass. He saw them always as individuals. His heart went out to them. All his impulses were to pity them, sympathize with, and help them. He went among them. He entered into
I. M. Haldeman—Christ, Christianity and the Bible

Concerted Prayer
"A tourist, in climbing an Alpine summit, finds himself tied by a strong rope to his trusty guide, and to three of his fellow-tourists. As they skirt a perilous precipice he cannot pray, Lord, hold up my goings in a safe path, that my footsteps slip not, but as to my guide and companions, they must look out for themselves.' The only proper prayer in such a case is, Lord, hold up our goings in a safe path; for if one slips all of us may perish.'"--H. Clay Trumbull The pious Quesnel says that "God
Edward M. Bounds—The Essentials of Prayer

Combination Illustrated.
To illustrate our method of combination, let us take Section 36, which is a fitting together of the following passages, namely: 9 And as Jesus passed by from thence, he saw a man, called Matthew, sitting at the place of toll: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.--Matt. ix. 9. 13 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the place of toll,
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Call of Matthew.
(at or Near Capernaum.) ^A Matt. IX. 9; ^B Mark II. 13, 14; ^C Luke V. 27, 28. ^c 27 And after these thingsa [after the healing of the paralytic] he went forth, ^a again by the seaside [i. e., he left Capernaum, and sought the shore of the sea, which formed a convenient auditorium for him, and which was hence a favorite scene for his teaching]; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he ^a Jesus passed by from thence, he saw ^c and beheld ^a a man, ^c a publican, named
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Matthew's Feast. Discourse on Fasting.
(Capernaum.) ^A Matt. IX. 10-17; ^B Mark II. 15-22; ^C Luke V. 29-39. ^c 29 And Levi [another name for the apostle Matthew] made him a great feast in his house: ^b 15 And it came to pass, that he was sitting { ^a as he sat} at meat in the { ^b his} ^a house, ^c and there was a great multitude of publicans [Matthew had invited his old friends] and of others ^b and ^a behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. ^b for there were many, ^c that were sitting at meat
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jairus' Daughter and the Invalid Woman.
(Capernaum, Same Day as Last.) ^A Matt. IX. 18-26; ^B Mark V. 22-43; ^C Luke VIII. 41-56. ^c 41 And ^a 18 While he spake these things unto them [while he talked about fasting at Matthew's table], behold, there came, { ^b cometh} ^c a man named Jairus, { ^b Jairus by name;} ^c and he was a ruler { ^b one of the rulers} of the synagogue [He was one of the board of elders which governed the synagogue at Capernaum. These elders were not necessarily old men--Matt. xix. 16-22; Luke xviii. 18-23], and seeing
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Heals a Paralytic at Capernaum.
^A Matt. IX. 2-8; ^B Mark II. 1-12; ^C Luke V. 17-26. ^c 17 And it came to pass on one of those days, ^b when he entered again into Capernaum after some days, ^c that he was teaching; ^b it was noised that he was in the house. [Luke uses the general expression "those days," referring to the early portion of our Lord's ministry in Galilee. Mark says, "some days," which implies the lapse of a considerable interval. The healing of the leper created such excitement that for some time, several weeks,
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Lix. Healing Blind Men and a Dumb Demoniac.
(Probably Capernaum.) ^A Matt. IX. 27-34. ^a 27 And as Jesus passed by from thence [If construed strictly, this phrase means, as he departed from Jairus' house. But the phrase is indefinite], two blind men followed him, crying out, and saying, Have mercy on us, thou son of David. [This, among the Jews, was a common and thoroughly recognized name for the expected Messiah.] 28 And when he was come into the house [possibly Peter's. But the place is not important. The house is mentioned to show that
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Third Circuit of Galilee. The Twelve Instructed and Sent Forth.
^A Matt. IX. 35-38; X. 1, 5-42; XI. 1; ^B Mark VI. 6-13; ^C Luke IX. 1-6. ^b 6 And he ^a Jesus ^b went about ^a all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner sickness and all manner of sickness. [In the first circuit of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples (see [3]Section XXXIII.); in the second the twelve were with him as apostles; in the third they, too, are sent forth as evangelists to supplement
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Return to Capernaum - Concerning the Forgiveness of Sins - the Healing of the Paralysed
It is a remarkable instance of the reserve of the Gospel-narratives, that of the second journey of Jesus in Galilee no other special event is recorded than the healing of the leper. And it seems also to indicate, that this one miracle had been so selected for a special purpose. But if, as we have suggested, after the Unknown Feast,' the activity of Jesus assumed a new and what, for want of a better name, may be called an anti-Judaic character, we can perceive the reason of it. The healing of leprosy
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Healing of the Woman - Christ's Personal Appearance - the Raising of Jairus' Daughter
THERE seems remarkable correspondence between the two miracles which Jesus had wrought on leaving Capernaum and those which He did on His return. In one sense they are complementary to each other. The stilling of the storm and the healing of the demonised were manifestations of the absolute power inherent in Christ; the recovery of the woman and the raising of Jairus' daughter, evidence of the absolute efficacy of faith. The unlikeliness of dominion over the storm, and of command over a legion of
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

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