Matthew, Chapter 9
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.
Matt. 9:14 "Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we
and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 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
shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 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, and the rent is made worse. 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."
Fasting was an Old Testament practice. It was a sign of mourning. People
fasted as a sign of mourning over their offenses or over adverse
conditions. Sometimes rulers, priests, and leaders called upon the
people to observe a fast. It was a sign that they were mourning over
their sins or conditions with hopes that God would deliver them.
Fasting had become a ceremonial tradition among many of the people. The
disciples of John and the Pharisees often fasted. John's disciples came
to Jesus and asked him why his disciples did not fast. Since it was
John's disciples that were asking the question, we can assume that they
sincerely wanted to know and were not being critical of Jesus. Jesus did
not rebuke them for the question, but gave them the answer.
First, he said, "Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as
the bridegroom is with them?" The children of the bridechamber were the
disciples of Jesus and Jesus was the bridegroom. The children of the
bridechamber were busy about preparing and serving the Lord. They did
not have time, so long as the bridegroom was with them, to fast. Jesus
was with them, therefore, there was no reason to mourn and thus no
reason to fast.
Second, the time would come when the bridegroom would be taken from them
and then they would mourn and fast. Jesus, as the bridegroom, was taken
from the disciples, children of the bridechamber, during his death,
burial, and resurrection. They mourned and fasted because they thought
that they had lost the bridegroom. Once they knew of his resurrection,
they again had no need to fast. The bridegroom had arisen and cleansed
the bride and the marriage was complete.
Third, Jesus changed the order of worship and service. The Old Testament
service was like the old garment and the old wine. It served its useful
purpose until the time of the resurrection of Jesus. With Jesus'
resurrection, the law was fulfilled to a jot and a tittle. Jesus put it
away and established a new covenant of worship. The new cloth and the
new wine, and the new bottles are typical of the New Testament service.
We now worship based on the finished work of Jesus. We worship in the
church that Jesus established. We also worship and serve the Lord today
and rejoice under the sound of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot
take parts of the Old Testament worship and service and bring it over
into the New Testament worship and service. That would be like putting
new wine in an old bottle and like putting a new cloth in an old
garment. This teaches us that the Old Testament service and all of its
ceremonies has been done away with. We now worship and serve the Lord
based on the ordinances and practices that the Lord has given to the New
Testament church. Fasting was an Old Testament practice.
Matt. 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. 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, 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. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw
the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give
place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to
scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her
by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into
all that land."
In the above passage, two healings took place. The woman with the issue
of blood was healed and the young maiden that was dead was raised to
life. We also have two paramount issues. We have the concerns and
problems of this life. In addition, we have the concerns of death.
We will begin with the woman who was diseased with an issue of blood for
twelve years. We are given further information about this woman in Mk.
5:25 "And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26
And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that
she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." This woman
had gone to the physicians and had spent all that she had on the
physicians. They had not helped her, but rather she grew worse. She had
a blood disease and none of the physicians could help her. Sin is also a
blood disease, and every born-again child of God who feels the
conviction of sin in his heart is like that woman. We see sin getting
worse in our lives and we see the horrible consequences of those sins.
Often God's people go to the religious physicians to help them with
their sins problem. None of the remedies that the physicians try or
recommend helps us, but we only see sin getting worse in our lives. The
service of physicians is expensive. It cost us a lot. This is also true
of the religious physicians. They lay out a great works program for us
to follow. Consequently, we see ourselves growing worse under those
works programs as we see ourselves failing to live up to the high
standards of the law.
The woman saw no remedy to her disease until she saw Jesus. Jesus is the
great Physician. His remedies are not like the physicians remedies.
Jesus remedies are based on power and authority. He has the power to
cure all diseases. He has the authority over all unclean spirits. The
woman had a long running blood disease. At the sight of Jesus she saw
the cure for her disease. We have a long running blood disease of sin.
Jesus is the cure for the disease of sin.
The woman said, "If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." She
touched the hem of his garment and was made perfectly whole. In this
statement, the woman confessed her belief that Jesus was her High
Priest, who had the authority and power to cleanse her.
In the Old Testament, the hem of the robe of the High Priest is
described as follows: Ex. 28:33 "And beneath upon the hem of it thou
shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round
about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 34 A
golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the
hem of the robe round about." In the scriptures, gold is associated with
kings and kingdoms. The golden bell is another way of describing the
bell of a king. Pomegranates are an extremely fruitful fruit. On the hem
of the High Priest, the golden bell and pomegranate alternated. Thus,
when the king's bell sounded there immediately followed fruit.
Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchisidec. He is an
eternal high priest. The sound of Jesus' voice immediately yields fruit.
Jesus spoke and the world was created. Jesus speaks and the dead in sins
are born of the Spirit. Jesus speaks and the diseased are healed. Jesus
speaks and the dead are raised to life. There is great power in the
voice of Jesus.
Likewise, when we have felt the conviction of sin in our lives, and we
see Jesus, and by faith we come in contact with the hem of his garment,
we see ourselves healed of our sins.
Jesus turned to the woman and said, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy
faith hath made thee whole." As long as the woman was dependant and
trusting in the works and remedies of the physicians she was nothing
bettered, but rather grew worse. When she trusted in Jesus, she saw her
issue of blood stopped. Likewise, when we are dependant and trusting in
the works and remedies of the religious physicians we are nothing
bettered, but rather grow worse. When we trust in the finished work of
Jesus we see our sin issue healed.
Now we turn our attention to the dead maiden. Please notice that often
we see sick people brought to Jesus for healing, or coming to Jesus for
healing. We never see the dead brought to Jesus. Jesus always went to
the dead. The twelve-year-old maiden was no exception. Obviously, the
maiden could not travel to Jesus or do anything to get to Jesus. She was
The father of the damsel requested the Lord to come and raise her to
life. Yet it was the Lord's sovereign choice whether to do it or not.
When it comes to giving life, the Lord is sovereign. He acts independent
of all others. The Lord chose to come and raise the damsel to life.
Likewise, he raises those he chose in covenant before the foundation of
the world into spiritual life, and then in the resurrection he raises
their dead bodies to life.
We are given further information in Mark 5:35 "While he yet spake, there
came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy
daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon
as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the
synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to
follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And
he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the
tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come
in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is
not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he
had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel,
and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi;
which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And
straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of
twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And
he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that
something should be given her to eat."
Often our view of death and God's view of death are quite different. Men
often see death as the end of all life and the final cessation of all
things. To man's view the young damsel was dead. She had ceased
breathing and bodily functions had stopped. They were weeping and
mourning over her, as they believed her living had ceased. Jesus told
them that she was not dead, but sleepeth. Bodily death is just a sleep
to God. Bodily death of his children is just an interlude to further
life. The scriptures tell us that we sleep in Jesus: 1 Thes. 4:14 "For
if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which
sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
The people were so sure that the damsel was dead and that life was
ceased that when Jesus said, "she is not dead, but sleepeth" they
laughed him to scorn.
Jesus spoke to the maiden and she arose. Once again, the great power of
God's voice was manifest. He speaks and it is done. Life was not over
for the maiden when she died. She arose again after her sleep to live
once again. Similarly, one day each of us will die, but Jesus shall come
again and wake us from our sleep. He showed us that he has the ability
to do so. Jesus is the answer to our concerns about death.