Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 9:3-17

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>

For any cause – Matthew 9:3

For any cause. There was debate among different Jewish groups in Jesus' day about what constituted sufficient grounds for a divorce. The Hillel group tended to be very open and allowed a man to divorce his wife for nearly any reason. The Shammai group was narrower in its interpretation and Jesus' own view was closer to theirs.

The Son's authority - Matthew 9:6

The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. The Son of Man was Jesus' self-designation. Here Jesus claimed for himself an action that only God can do in his own authority. Jesus is acting as the high priest of God, but even more, he is claiming to have this authority in himself (Matt. 7:26; 12:8; 17:5; 28:18).

Matthew - Matthew 9:9

A man named Matthew. Jesus called people to become his disciples regardless of their backgrounds. A Jewish tax-collector in Jesus' day was a person despised by other Jews because they were employed by the Roman government and contributed to the oppression of their own people. Matthew responded in faith to Jesus' call and became a disciple and the author of this Gospel.

He sat down to eat – Matthew 9:10

Jesus sat down to eat in the house. Sharing a meal in someone's house was a sign of fellowship and acceptance of that person. For Jesus to eat with tax collectors and other sinful people was shocking and caused the pious Pharisees to be angry and to object (Matt. 9:11).

Mercy, not sacrifice – Matthew 9:13

"I desire mercy and not sacrifice." This is one of two times that Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6 when in conflict with his enemies, the Pharisees (Matt. 12:7). This verse is part of the message of the OT prophets that God does not care about strict obedience to the external Law if his people do not love and show compassion toward one another. This message is central to Jesus' own teachings. The necessity of forgiving each other and showing compassion toward others is the main ethical teaching in Matthew (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:15-35; 23:23).

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).

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>