Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 9:13-38

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The righteous – Matthew 9:13

Not to call the righteous. This does not mean that some people are naturally good and therefore don't need to repent (Matt. 4:17), but the point is that people, especially the godly, should not be surprised or opposed to God welcoming and forgiving sinful people. The gospel is for sinful people whom Jesus will forgive and transform. This is why Jesus came, to rescue his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21; 26:28).

John's disciples - Matthew 9:14

Disciples of Johnfast. It was a common practice in Jesus' day for disciples to fast, or abstain from food, to dedicate themselves to God and their studies, which Jesus himself did at the beginning of his ministry (Matt. 4:2). Jesus agreed with the value of fasting (Matt. 6:16-18), but at this time in his ministry there was an urgent work of proclamation and healing that took priority. Jesus described himself as the Bridegroom (John 3:29; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7, 21:2) who is still with them, an image that looks forward to the Messianic banquet when God restores the kingdom on earth (Isa. 25:6-8; Matt. 8:11; 22:1-14; 25:1-3; Rev. 19:6-10).

Old and New – Matthew 9:16-17

Jesus used two images to teach the same principle — a patch of new material on an old cloth and new wine in old wineskins. Both of these images are saying that there is something radically new happening through Jesus and this will require more than just a patch on the old system. This new thing is a new covenant with God only through Jesus, available to all people (Matt. 26:28; 28:18-20).

Two Stories of Jesus' Amazing Authority - Matthew 9:18-26

The two stories of the raising of a dead child and the healing of a chronically sick woman are wrapped together into one story. In both cases the healing was miraculous. The key is faith, which is defined as believing and trusting in Jesus as the authoritative Son of God on the earth.

The Healing of Two Blind Men - Matthew 9:27-31

Following the miraculous raising of a dead girl and healing of the hemorrhaging woman (Matt. 9:18-26), Jesus performed the miracle of healing two blind men. Once again, their faith in Jesus' authority was key (Matt. 9:28-29). Again, the result of this healing was that Jesus' fame becomes well-known through the region (Matt. 9:26, 30-31).

The demon had been driven out – Matthew 9:33

When the demon had been driven out. Jesus' authority is the constant theme throughout the stories of chapters 8–9 and here Jesus is shown to have authority even over supernatural powers, once again resulting in the amazement of the crowds who recognized something new was happening (Matt. 9:33).

Ruler of the demons – Matthew 9:34

By the ruler of the demons. Opposition to Jesus was starting to increase. The Pharisees have already accused Jesus of blasphemy (Matt. 9:3). They could not deny his amazing power over sickness and supernatural beings so they tried to explain his authority as being demonic instead of from God. They will say this again in chapter 12 and Jesus will show that their logic is flawed — Satan would not destroy his own demonic work (12:24-29). Therefore, Jesus' work was happening through the power of the Spirit and is evidence that the kingdom of God has come (Matt. 12:28). They were the ones who were actually blaspheming (Matt. 12:31-32).

The Gospel of the Kingdom - Matthew 9:35-38

These verses are parallel to Matt. 4:23-25 and sum up Jesus' ministry as the "gospel of the kingdom" which includes preaching and teaching (chapters 5–7) and healing and disciple-making based on Jesus' authority (chapters 8–9). There is an added element too — Jesus' compassion for people (Matt. 9:36) and the need for disciples to join with Jesus in the labor of his ministry.

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