Matthew 9:3

After the series of miracles of healing recorded in the previous chapter, the evangelist passes to the more directly spiritual work of Christ, and the transition is marked by an incident which combines both kinds of ministry.

I. THE WORLD'S FIRST NEED IS THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. The sufferer was in a pitiably helpless condition - so helpless that he had to be carried to Christ. Yet the Saviour saw that his bodily weakness was of secondary importance compared to the spiritual paralysis of sin that benumbed his soul. His friends thought only of the physical trouble; but the keen eye of the Physician of souls penetrated through the superficial symptoms to the more terrible spiritual disease beneath. It would seem that the man himself felt this most acutely, and that Jesus, who could read hearts at a glance, perceived his deep yearning for forgiveness, and answered his unexpressed desire. It may be that his present condition was the result of some form of intemperance, was the natural punishment of his sins. But if this was not the case, there was, and there always is, a general connection between sin and suffering. However this may be, we all need to be delivered from our sins more than we need to be cured of any bodily infirmity. He alone who can save from sin is man's real Saviour.

II. CHRIST HAS DIVINE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SIN. He does not pray for the man's forgiveness. He grants the pardon himself. His action startled and alarmed the religious people in the assembly. Was not Jesus claiming a Divine prerogative? Now, one of their premises was perfectly sound. Only God has a right to forgive sin, and if a mere man claims to pronounce absolution in more than a general declaration of the gospel, i.e. as a direct act of forgiveness, he is guilty of blasphemy. We cannot both accept the gospel narrative and reject the Divinity of Christ without leaving the character of our Lord under suspicion of the gravest charges. There is no middle course here. A mild Unitarianism that believes in the Gospels and honours Jesus is most illogical. But knowing the character of Christ to be true and pure, must we not take his calm claim to forgive sins as an evidence of his Divinity?

III. CHRIST'S MISSION ON EARTH BRINGS THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. This is a new note in religion. Forgiveness was known in the Old Testament (e.g. Psalm 103:3). But Jesus brings it with a fresh graciousness, with a new fulness and directness.

1. By his incarnation. It was as the "Son of man" that Jesus opened up the wealth of Divine forgiveness to us. The people marvelled at the power that had been granted "unto men."

(1) In his human life Jesus shows us the sympathy of God.

(2) He also reveals true purity, and so strikes a deep note of penitence, and brings us into the spirit that is capable of receiving pardon.

2. Through his atonement. This was not seen at first. It was enough to perceive the great fact - that Jesus brought forgiveness. But at the end of his life our Lord showed that his power to do this was confirmed by his death; that his blood was "shed for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). Thus by the sacrifice of himself he reconciles us to God, and reconciliation is the very essence of forgiveness.

3. In his present power. He showed one phase of his power in healing the bodily disease of the sufferer. This was a sign of the healing power that cures spiritual evil. He is the present, living Saviour, who both heals and pardons by his word of grace. - W.F.A.

Then touched He their eyes.
The power, glory, rewards of faith form the theme of this chapter.

I. The faith described in the text was THE FIRST OUTGROWTH AND EXPRESSION OF A DEEP AND LIVELY SENSE OF WRETCHEDNESS AND DARKNESS. Faith often springs out of such convictions; it Also amounts to a conviction that light is possible.

II. The faith in this instance was INTELLIGENT. They had settled it in their minds that Jesus was the Son of David, that He had come to open the eyes of the blind. Their faith conceived the grandeur of His mission. Faith is not merely an emotion; it is a conviction of the understanding.

III. This faith of the blind men was EAGER AND IMPORTUNATE. They followed Jesus. It was not crushed by having to wait for mercy.

IV. The faith of these individuals was A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

V. The faith here referred to APPRECIATED CHRIST'S POWER TO SAVE.

VI. The faith here mentioned APPROPRIATES and applies the Divine Power to its own case.

(H. R. Reynolds, B. A.)

Expository Outlines.
1. A SIMPLE PRAYER. Their prayer was

(1)united. Union is strength.



II. AN IMPORTANT INQUIRY. "Believe, ye," etc.

1. What it involves. The dignity of Christ.

2. On account of the principle it sets forth. He required no personal worthiness in those He cured; faith only.

3. Because of its spiritual application. Faith stands in same relation to healing of the soul.


1. When He did so — as soon as they professed faith.

2. The words with which the act was accompanied.

3. The result that ensued.

IV. AN EXPRESS INJUNCTION. "See that no man know it." The reasons: —

1. The malice of His enemies.

2. The misguided zeal of the multitude.

3. The manner in which it was regarded.

(Expository Outlines.)

1. The broad law of the gospel is that God gives all He gives to faith.

2. That the measure of faith is the measure of His gift.

3. The chief ways to multiply faith are

(1)to live much on the promise;

(2)to love and cherish in the heart the inward voices of the Holy Spirit;

(3)to act out whatever grace God has already given.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Most of the poor make their wants known to the public by begging. Paralytics are laid down at the doors of the rich, or of the church or mosque, with the idea that men are most inclined to be charitable when they come from the house of feasting or of prayer. The blind lift up their voices as they grope their way from door to door along the streets.

(Van Lennep.)

I. THE SEEKERS. — the two blind men.

1. They were in downright earnest.

2. They were thoroughly persevering.

3. They had a definite object in their prayers.

4. They honoured Christ in their prayers.

5. They confessed their unworthiness.


1. It concerned their faith.

2. It concerned their faith in Jesus — "Believe ye that I am able to do this?"

3. Believe ye that I am able to do this? Some think their hearts too hard.



1. It was distinct.

2. It .was immediate.


(C. H. Spurgeon)

"Why is faith so essential" It is because of its receptive power. A purse will not make a man rich, and yet without some place for his money how could a man acquire wealth. Faith of itself could not contribute a penny to salvation, but it is the purse which hold: a precious Christ within itself, yea, it holds all the treasures of Divine love. If a man is thirsty a rope and a bucket are not in themselves of much use to him, but yet, sirs, if there is a well near at hand the very thing that is wanted is a bucket and a rope, by means of which the water can be lifted. Faith is the bucket by means of which a man may draw water out of the wells of salvation, and drink to his heart's content. You may sometimes have stopped a moment at a street fountain, and have desired to drink, but you found you could not, for the drinking-cup was gone. The water flowed, but you could not get at it. It was tantalizing to be at the fountain-head and yet to be thirsty still for want of a little cup. Now faith is that little cup, which we hold up to the flowing stream of Christ's grace: we fill it, and then we drink and are refreshed. Hence the importance of faith. It would have seemed to our forefathers an idle thing to lay down a cable under the sea from England to America. and it would be idle now if it were not that science has taught us how to speak by lightning: yet the cable itself is now of the utmost importance, for the best inventions of telegraphy would be of no use for purposes of transatlantic communication if there were not the connecting wire between the two continents, Faith is just that; it is the connecting link between our souls and God, and the living message flashes along it to our souls. Faith is sometimes weak and comparable only to a very slender thread; but it is a very precious thing for all that, for it is the beginning of great things. Years ago they were wanting to throw a suspension bridge across a mighty chasm, through which flowed, far down, a navigable river, From crag to crag it was proposed to hang an iron bridge aloft in the air, but how was it to be commenced? They shot an arrow from one side to the other, and it carried across the gulf a tiny thread. That invisible thread was enough to begin with. The connection was established; by-and-by the thread drew a piece of twine, the twine carried after it a small rope, the rope soon carried a cable across, and all in good time came the iron chains and all else that was needed for the permanent way. Now, faith is often ver)" weak, but even in that ease it is still of the utmost value, for it forms a communication between the soul and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In our own streets we meet here and there with a blind beggar, gut they swarm in Eastern cities. Ophthalmia is the scourge of Egypt and Syria, and Volney declares that in Cairo, out of a hundred persons whom he met, twenty were quite blind, ten wanted one eye, and twenty others were more or less afflicted in that organ. At the present day every one is struck with the immense number of the blind in Oriental lands, and things were probably worse in our Saviour's time.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

David, Jesus, John, Matthew
Behold, Blasphemes, Blasphemeth, Blaspheming, Evil, Fellow, Impious, Language, Law, Respect, Scribes, Speak, Themselves, Within
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 9:3

     2545   Christ, opposition to
     5265   complaints
     5800   blasphemy
     5822   criticism, against believers
     6163   faults

Matthew 9:1-8

     2012   Christ, authority
     6654   forgiveness, Christ's ministry

Matthew 9:2-4

     2045   Christ, knowledge of

Matthew 9:2-6

     2018   Christ, divinity

Matthew 9:2-7

     6040   sinners
     7552   Pharisees, attitudes to Christ

Matthew 9:2-8

     5162   lameness
     5285   cures
     7464   teachers of the law

Matthew 9:3-4

     8281   insight
     8319   perception, spiritual

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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