Matthew ◦ Chapter 9
1 Jesus got into the boat and crossed back over the lake to Capernaum, where he lived.2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their trust, he said to the paralyzed man, "Son, cheer up! Your sin is forgiven."3 When some of the lawyers heard this, they began murmuring amongst themselves, "This guy is blaspheming!"4 But Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said: "Why do you allow such evil thoughts to overwhelm your hearts?5 What do you think is easier to do: forgive sin or heal paralysis?6 But I will make it simple for you to understand: My mission is to heal humanity from all the damage of sin–mental, physical, and spiritual. Just so there will be no doubt that I have authority to forgive sin " –turning to the paralyzed man, Jesus continued — "stand up, take your mat, and walk home."7 And the man stood up, picked up his mat, and walked home.8 The crowd was stunned with awe and they praised God for sending Jesus to do his healing work.9 Shortly thereafter, Jesus saw Matthew the tax collector sitting at his collection booth. Jesus looked directly at him and said, "Follow me." Matthew immediately left his booth and followed Jesus.10 Jesus then went to Matthew's house for dinner, and many tax collectors and those deemed "sinners" by the religious leaders ate with him and his disciples.11 When the Pharisees saw Jesus socializing with such people, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher socialize with tax collectors and sinners?"12 Jesus heard their question and answered: "Those who think they are healthy don't recognize their need for a doctor, but those who know they are sick do recognize their need.13 Rather than critiquing others, your time would be better spent exploring what the Scripture means when it says, 'I want mercy, not ritual sacrifice.' For I haven't come to call those who are right and healthy in heart and mind, but those who are sick and in need of restoration to God's original ideal."14 John's disciples came to Jesus and asked, "We and the Pharisees fast regularly; why is it that your disciples don't fast?"15 Jesus answered, "How can the friends of the bridegroom mourn at the wedding while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken from them; then they will grieve and fast.16 "No one uses cloth that has not been shrunk to patch an old garment, because the new cloth will tear away from the old material, making a bigger hole.17 And people don't put new wine in old wineskins, because the skin will burst and the wine will be lost. As new wine is poured into new wineskins — preserving both — so too new truth must be poured into renewed hearts."18 As Jesus was speaking, a Jewish leader, ignoring everything around him, walked right up to Jesus, knelt before him, and said, "My daughter has just died, but I know that if you touch her she will live. Please, won't you come and raise her from the dead?"19 Jesus stood up and went with him, and his disciples followed.20 But the crowd was large, and as they moved through it, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years reached out and gently touched his robe.21 She thought to herself, "If only I can touch his robe, I will be healed."22 But Jesus knew her plight, and turning to her, said, "Be happy! You trusted me, so now you are well." And the woman was healed at that very moment.23 When Jesus entered the Jewish leader's house, he saw the mourners wailing, playing flutes, and making noise.24 He said: "Please leave. The girl is not dead but asleep." The crowd laughed at him, for they knew she was dead.25 But after the crowd had been escorted out, he went to the girl, took her hand, and she got up.26 News about this spread through the entire region.27 When Jesus left the leader's house, two blind men followed him, shouting out: "Jesus, Son of David, please have mercy on us and heal us!"28 After he went indoors, the blind men came to Jesus, and he asked them, "Do you believe I am able to heal you?" "Yes, Lord," they replied.29 Jesus reached out, touched their eyes, and said, "It will be done because you have trusted me,"30 and their sight was instantly restored. In order to avoid prejudice of the religious leaders, Jesus warned the two men not to tell anyone,31 but they were so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that they couldn't keep quiet and spread the news about Jesus, and what he had done, throughout the entire region.32 When the men healed from blindness were leaving, another man, who was afflicted by the work of devils and couldn't speak, was brought to Jesus.33 And when Jesus overruled the work of the devils and healed the mute man, the man spoke. The crowd was stunned with awe and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in all Israel."34 But the Pharisees, more concerned with their own selfish ambitions than with the healing of people, sought to cast doubt on Jesus and said, "It is by the prince of devils that he overrules the work of devils."35 Jesus visited all the towns and villages in the region. He taught in their synagogues and preached the good news of his kingdom of love and of the Remedy he brought, demonstrating his mission by healing every disease and sickness.36 When he looked into the crowds, his heart ached with compassion because they were hurting, suffering, and helpless to heal themselves. They were like injured sheep without a shepherd to tend their wounds.37 He turned to his disciples and said, "Abundant are those who are ready to be brought into the kingdom of love, but those working to do so are few.38 Ask the Lord to send workers to spread the Remedy."