Matthew 9:5

Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? Thought-reading may be made a plaything, and it may be developed into a science. It is a commonplace faculty which every one possesses, in greater or less degree, and which every one more or less efficiently cultivates by the practice and experience of life. The mother reads the thought of her child; the wife the thought of her husband; and the friend often guesses, as we say, the thought of his friend. This ordinary power our Lord possessed, and the faces and movements of his disciples must often have suggested to him what was in their minds. This, however, may not be felt to explain all the instances that are recorded, and we may well assume that our Lord had a Divine power of thought-reading, and it included not only the thought, but also the tone and character and quality of the thought. Here our Lord reproves the spirit of the thought rather than the thought; the suspicious temper, which prefers to light upon an evil explanation rather than a good one, and assumes that every one must mean to do the bad thing. The apostle makes a special point of "charity" that it "thinketh no evil." And the sin is so common that a familiar proverb has been fashioned to warn us against it, "Honi sol qui real y pense" - "Evil be to him who evil thinks." The loving, trustful temper will ensure kindly thoughts, and the suggestion of good motives wherever possible.

I. THINKING EVIL AS AS ACT. It is an act that Jesus here reproves. These scribes heard words which were strange to them, and found a claim made which they could not understand. What, then, should they have done? Plainly they should have taken the matter into quiet consideration; gathered up what might help to explain it, and formed a careful and wise judgment. What did they do? Thought too quickly; let bias and prejudice guide thought; encouraged the evil suggestion that came; allowed themselves to feel pleasure in the assumption of bad motives. When a judgment has to be made of persons or of motives, it should never be made hurriedly; because at first we seldom can get into consideration the entire circle of grounds on which a judgment should be based. It is the easiest thing to "think evil;" it may be the right thing to "think good." If these scribes had thought more, they might have thought good.

II. THINKING EVIL AS A HABIT. This it readily grows to become. This involves distortion of the mental faculties. The soul sees through coloured glasses, and never sees the truth. Suspicion becomes a mood of mind; and with those who have fixed this habit, no man's character is safe. - R.T.

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest.
1. How closely connected the spiritual commission of the apostles was with deep sympathy for the physical wants of humanity.

2. That it is the Lord of the harvest who has power to send forth labourers into His harvest. We rely too much on our own agencies.

3. The strong expression of constraint which the Lord here uses — "that He may cast out." It has been so with the more eminent saints at all times.

(S. Leathes, D. D.)

I. THE FIELD is the world.

1. It is precious, in the very fact that it is a harvest-field. Men are the fruit for the sake of which the world was made.

2. It is plenteous.




3. It is ripe.

4. It is perishing.


1. All who try to win souls are in His eye as reapers gathering the wheat into the garner. Labourers are not a high class of functionaries, and need not expect to get all their own will as to the times and places of their toils.

2. In the judgment of our Lord labourers are few. His heart is so enlarged toward a lost world that He will complain, Few are coming. Few, in proportion to the world's need — a contrast to the multitude pressing to the natural harvest.

3. When additional labourers enter the field, they are sent into it by the Lord of the harvest. They are grasped by the Providential hand of God.

4. The Lord of the harvest presses labourers into the field in answer to the prayers of His people.

(W. Arnot.)

The pressure has slackened of late; but a few years ago you might have seen, any day about the beginning of autumn, dense crowds of Irish labourers clustering like bees about the wharves of Liverpool and Glasgow. On one occasion the master of a Londonderry steamer, on arriving at Glasgow, was prosecuted for admitting a much greater number of passengers than his ship was legally entitled to carry. His defence was that the men rushed on board in spite of his efforts to prevent them, and took forcible possession of the deck. Such were the numbers that poured into the Scottish harvest-fields at that time, and such the eagerness of each man to get a share of the work and the reward.

(W. Arnot.)

Exercise is provided for the spiritual life. None shall be able to say that the field was too distant, and that lie consequently had not an opportunity of rendering service as a reaper. A man cannot sit at meals in his own family, walk along the streets, or pursue his daily toil on the farm or in the workshop, without passing along this laden harvest-field. Everywhere precious fruit, ready to perish, offers itself to the reaper's hand.

(W. Arnot.)


1. Christ was the great Teacher — "Teaching in their synagogues," etc.

2. Christ was the great Physician — "and healing every sickness."

II. CHRIST DISPLAYED THE TENDEREST SYMPATHY WHILE EVANGELIZING THE WORLD. The spirit in which Christ did His work, almost as important as the work itself.

1. Christ was deeply affected by the spiritual depression of the people — "they fainted."

2. Christ was deeply affected at the spiritual destitution of the people — "were scattered abroad."


1. Christ indicated the right spirit for the work — "Pray ye."

2. Christ indicated the right men for the work — "Labourers in His harvest," etc.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

I. OUR LORD STATES THE CASE. The people who gathered round Him He likened to harvest-fields: wherein lay the similarity?

1. The thought of multitude rises naturally from the sight of a harvest-field. You cannot count the ears of corn, neither will you be able to count the sons of men.

2. The second idea was that of value. He did not speak of blades of grass, but ears of corn. The souls of men precious in the sight of God.

3. The idea of danger. Fear lest it should perish.

4. Accessible. Multitudes are near at hand.

5. Immediate need.

II. THE SERVICE NEEDED. Labourers are wanted. We must not despise instrumentalities. God could do without them, but does not.

1. They must be labourers. Idler no use.

2. They must go down into flee wheat.

3. He cuts right through. Delicate words useless. The preacher must not file off the edge of his scythe for fear it should hurt somebody.

4. He binds it together.


1. Pray ye.

2. Pray ye therefore.

3. Pray to the Lord.

IV. THE LORD JESUS HEARD THEIR PRAYERS. "And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, he gave them power," etc.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

David, Jesus, John, Matthew
Arise, Easier, Forgiven, Forgiveness, Pardoned, Rise, Simpler, Sins, Walk, Whether
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 9:5

     5738   sons

Matthew 9:1-8

     2012   Christ, authority
     6654   forgiveness, Christ's ministry

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 9:4-8

     5030   knowledge, of Christ

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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