Matthew arranged stories of common themes together. And here I am thinking I am so smart for seeing the connection amongst them. This chapter is full of miracles. The testimonies these folks walked away with…
- Paralytic man healed – This story is better told in Mark 2, in my opinion. A paralyzed man is brought to Jesus by his friends. Jesus acknowledges their faith and forgives the man’s sins and heals him.
Would your friends do that for you? Now seems like an obvious time to evaluate relationships, it being a new year and all. Here’s the thing, even if your friends don’t have the faith to go to Jesus themselves, but they know you would. Does that make sense? I am thinking of a specific friend who would take me to Jesus because they know how I feel about Jesus. Friends that love Jesus are important, but so are friends who respect your beliefs and your faith. And what a testimony! Imagine the effect that had on the friends. What a beautiful picture. Talk about the importance of community.
The Scribes are keeping a close watch on Jesus. They are seeing all the things he is doing. Even when they don’t speak their thoughts out loud, Jesus knows what is in their hearts.
- Matthew becomes a disciple. This is noteworthy because he was a tax collector. He was not popular among his fellow Jews. Tax Collectors were Jews that worked for the Roman government. They collected taxes, obviously, but they also added a little to the number for themselves. They got rich off their neighbors. It’s understandable that they weren’t well liked. Yet Jesus singles Matthew out and invites himself to dinner. Matthew had a willingness to host and to invite his other tax collector friends. Again, what a moment for these men. Shunned by their own but hangs out with Jesus.
- A ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, asks for Jesus’s help. This took a lot. We already know how these synagogue folks were feeling about Jesus. They were not fans. Jairus throws caution to the wind and comes to Jesus worshipping him and pleads for him to come to his house because his daughter had died and he believes that if Jesus would just lay his hand on her, she would live again. And she does. (Mark 5)
- On the way to Jairus’s house a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years reaches out her hand to just touch the hem of his garment. She is healed immediately. And she knows it. Jesus knows it. (Mark 5)
The desperation of this woman. She had to be physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and spiritually frustrated. Blood was unclean you see. (This idea of clean and unclean comes from the fact that God is holy and we are not. Leviticus 15:25-33 sheds more light on this and the process of becoming clean. This is also an interesting article on the idea of clean and unclean from Bible Study Tools.)
The idea of being at your wits end and thinking if I could just touch the hem of his garment. Crawling through the crowds, literally on your hands and knees. And the horror of him knowing it was you and singling you out. Waiting to be called out. And then the opposite happens. How comforting! That woman’s life was changed in more ways than one.
- Mute man speaks. The man was mute because of a demon and Jesus cast it out. People said they had never seen this in Israel. Awesome miracle to be sure, but the interesting fact here is the Pharisees’ response. They say, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” They couldn’t deny what Jesus had done. They couldn’t deny his power. All they could do was discredit the source. We will see another scenario like this in Matthew 12 where Jesus responds to the Pharisees.
The last few verses of chapter 9 show Jesus in such a precious way. “But when he saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” I imagine the holy conversation in heaven concerning Jesus coming to earth was much the same.
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