Matthew, Chapter 9
Matt. 9:1 "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into
his own city. 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. 3 And,
behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man
blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye
evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be
forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 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.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitude saw
it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto
"Palsy" is a word that literally means paralytic. The man who was healed
was paralytic. He was paralyzed and there was no medicine or operation
that could heal him. His friends brought the paralyzed man to Jesus.
They, no doubt, believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that he had
power to heal the paralyzed man. Jesus saw their faith. They had
demonstrated their faith in that they brought him to Jesus believing him
to be the Son of God and that he had power over all disease.
Jesus said unto the palsied, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be
forgiven thee." This raises an interesting question: "Which is more
important: having your sins forgiven or having natural strength to
walk?" Whether we realize it or not, having ones sins forgiven is more
important than having natural strength to walk in this life. If our sins
have been forgiven us, then in the resurrection our natural bodies will
be completely whole also. We should be more "cheered" that our sins have
been forgiven us than that our bodies are whole.
"And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man
blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye
evil in your hearts?" The scribes did not believe that Jesus was the Son
of God or that he had the authority to forgive sins. Jesus read their
hearts and knew that they were thinking these evil thoughts in their
There are two Greek words that are translated "power" in the New
Testament. One is "exousia" and means authority. The other is "dunamis"
and means strength. Authority ultimately derives from strength. He who
has the most strength has the most authority. God created the universe
by his strength. Subsequently, he has the authority to order it and
control it as he pleases.
In our subject passage of scripture, Jesus showed his authority to
forgive sins by manifesting his strength over the disease. Therefore,
Jesus said, "For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee;
or to say, Arise, and walk?" Words are easily spoken or disputed. The
proof is in the doing. If Jesus could manifest that he could just simply
tell a palsied man to "Arise and walk" then he definitely had authority
to forgive his sins. So Jesus said unto the scribes and to the palsied
man, " 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." Jesus put his own assertion to the
test. If the palsied man arose and took up his bed, then Jesus had
authority to forgive sins and no man could rationally deny it. In
response to the effectual words of Jesus the palsied man "arose, and
departed to his house."
We do not see the scribes' response to the above. I suspect that they
still did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. No amount of
miracles set before the eyes of the unregenerate (not born again) are
going to make them believe in God. To the multitude that had been born
of the Spirit the response was "they marvelled, and glorified God, which
had given such power unto men." The word, "power," here is "exousia"
meaning authority. Therefore, they believed that he had the authority to
Matt. 9:9 "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."
Matthew is one of the original twelve apostles. His name was also called
Levi: Lk. 5:27 "And after these things he went forth, and saw a
publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto
him, Follow me. 28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29 And
Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great
company of publicans and of others that sat down with them."
Matthew is also the author of the book of Matthew. He was a publican,
i.e., a tax collector. Publicans were not generally well liked. They
collected money from people who owed taxes. Jesus did not go to the
popular to call his disciples or apostles.
Jesus goes to the men who are to be his ministers or preachers. They did
not come to him. Jesus called Matthew saying, "Follow me." Thus, before
Matthew became an apostle he was a follower. This is true of all the
gospel ministers. They must first be followers before they can be gospel
ministers. They must be followers of Jesus and not just followers of
When Jesus called Matthew, he immediately arose and followed Jesus. This
should be our response when Jesus calls us to be ministers. Sometimes,
men resist that calling, but they will suffer chastisement when they do.
Matthew's response to Jesus' call was a complete response. He left all
and followed Jesus. If we are to be the disciples of Jesus then we must
be prepared to make Jesus the priority of our lives.
Matt. 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. 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 a
physician, but they that are sick. 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."
In the scriptures, when you ate with someone you were considered to have
fellowship with them. This was one reason that the Jews would not eat
with the Gentiles. When Jesus sat down and ate with the publicans and
sinners, he was having fellowship with the publicans and sinners.
The Pharisees were righteous in their own eyes. They felt themselves to
be above publicans and sinners. They believed they should have
fellowship only with others that they believed to be righteous. They
believed it to be below their worthiness to eat or have fellowship with
publicans and sinners. When they asked the disciples of Jesus why Jesus
ate with publicans and sinners, they were questioning the wisdom of
Jesus for eating with someone they felt to be unclean and unrighteous.
Jesus said unto the Pharisees, "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." According to Rom. 3:10, "As it is written,
There is none righteous, no, not one." We are all sinners in the sight
of a just and holy God. This was not how the Pharisees viewed
themselves. They believed themselves to be righteous through their own
When Jesus said that he was not come to call the righteous to
repentance, he was talking about the Pharisees who believed they were
righteous through their works. Jesus did not come to call those who are
righteous in their own eyes to repentance. It would not do any good to
call them to repentance. They do not believe they have a need for
repentance. They also are as those that are whole and need not a
physician. If a person believes himself to be perfectly healthy, he will
not go to a physician to be healed. The Pharisees did not believe that
they needed a spiritual physician, because they did not believe
themselves to be spiritually sick.
The publicans and sinners had an entirely different view of themselves.
They knew they were sinners and they were sick of sin. Only those who
have been born of the Spirit have the ability to feel their own
sinfulness and to loathe their own sinfulness. It is to those who feel
their own sinfulness and loathe their own sinfulness that Jesus has
called to repentance. Jesus is the sinners' friend. He eats with
publicans and sinners. He has fellowship with publicans and sinners. He
is the Great Physician of publicans and sinners. Publicans and sinners
are the only ones that can repent.
Jesus said, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice." Jesus did not come to
destroy heart-felt sinners, but he came to show forth his mercy to those
who feel their own sinfulness. They are his people, which he chose
before the foundation of the world. They are the same people that he
quickened into spiritual life when they were dead in trespasses and sin.
Because of this quickening, they now feel themselves to be sinner. It is
to these that Jesus has mercy.