The Healing of a Paralytic.
1#His own town: Capernaum; see Mt 4:13. #a. [9:1–8] Mk 2:3–12; Lk 5:18–26. He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town. 2And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”#b. [9:2] Lk 7:48. 3At that, some of the scribes#Scribes: see note on Mk 2:6. Matthew omits the reason given in the Marcan story for the charge of blasphemy: “Who but God alone can forgive sins?” (Mk 2:7). said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? 5Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6#It is not clear whether “But that you may know…to forgive sins” is intended to be a continuation of the words of Jesus or a parenthetical comment of the evangelist to those who would hear or read this gospel. In any case, Matthew here follows the Marcan text. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”#c. [9:6] Jn 5:27. 7He rose and went home. 8#Who had given such authority to human beings: a significant difference from Mk 2:12 (“They…glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this’”). Matthew’s extension to human beings of the authority to forgive sins points to the belief that such authority was being claimed by Matthew’s church. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.
The Call of Matthew.
#In this section the order is the same as that of Mk 2:13–22. 9As Jesus passed on from there,#d. [9:9–13] Mk 2:14–17; Lk 5:27–32. he saw a man named Matthew#A man named Matthew: Mark names this tax collector Levi (Mk 2:14). No such name appears in the four lists of the twelve who were the closest companions of Jesus (Mt 10:2–4; Mk 3:16–19; Lk 6:14–16; Acts 1:13 [eleven, because of the defection of Judas Iscariot]), whereas all four list a Matthew, designated in Mt 10:3 as “the tax collector.” The evangelist may have changed the “Levi” of his source to Matthew so that this man, whose call is given special notice, like that of the first four disciples (Mt 4:18–22), might be included among the twelve. Another reason for the change may be that the disciple Matthew was the source of traditions peculiar to the church for which the evangelist was writing. sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 10While he was at table in his house,#His house: it is not clear whether his refers to Jesus or Matthew. Tax collectors: see note on Mt 5:46. Table association with such persons would cause ritual impurity. many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.#e. [9:10] 11:19; Lk 15:1–2. 11The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher#Teacher: see note on Mt 8:19. eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.#See note on Mk 2:17. 13Go and learn the meaning of the words,#f. [9:13] 12:7; Hos 6:6. ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’#Go and learn…not sacrifice: Matthew adds the prophetic statement of Hos 6:6 to the Marcan account (see also Mt 12:7). If mercy is superior to the temple sacrifices, how much more to the laws of ritual impurity. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
The Question about Fasting.
14#g. [9:14–17] Mk 2:18–22; Lk 5:33–39. Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?” 15Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.#Fasting is a sign of mourning and would be as inappropriate at this time of joy, when Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom, as it would be at a marriage feast. Yet the saying looks forward to the time when Jesus will no longer be with the disciples visibly, the time of Matthew’s church. Then they will fast: see Didache 8:1. 16No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,#Each of these parables speaks of the unsuitability of attempting to combine the old and the new. Jesus’ teaching is not a patching up of Judaism, nor can the gospel be contained within the limits of Mosaic law. for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. 17People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
The Official’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage.
18#In this third group of miracles, the first (Mt 9:18–26) is clearly dependent on Mark (Mk 5:21–43). Though it tells of two miracles, the cure of the woman had already been included within the story of the raising of the official’s daughter, so that the two were probably regarded as a single unit. The other miracles seem to have been derived from Mark and Q respectively, though there Matthew’s own editing is much more evident. While he was saying these things to them,#h. [9:18–26] Mk 5:22–43; Lk 8:41–56. an official#Official: literally, “ruler.” Mark calls him “one of the synagogue officials” (Mk 5:22). My daughter has just died: Matthew heightens the Marcan “my daughter is at the point of death” (Mk 5:23). came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel#Tassel: possibly “fringe.” The Mosaic law prescribed that tassels be worn on the corners of one’s garment as a reminder to keep the commandments (see Nm 15:37–39; Dt 22:12). on his cloak. 21She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”#i. [9:21] 14:36; Nm 15:37. 22Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured.
23When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, 24he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”#Sleeping: sleep is a biblical metaphor for death (see Ps 87:6 LXX; Dn 12:2; 1 Thes 5:10). Jesus’ statement is not a denial of the child’s real death, but an assurance that she will be roused from her sleep of death. And they ridiculed him. 25When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. 26And news of this spread throughout all that land.
The Healing of Two Blind Men.
#This story was probably composed by Matthew out of Mark’s story of the healing of a blind man named Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46–52). Mark places the event late in Jesus’ ministry, just before his entrance into Jerusalem, and Matthew has followed his Marcan source at that point in his gospel also (see Mt 20:29–34). In each of the Matthean stories the single blind man of Mark becomes two. The reason why Matthew would have given a double version of the Marcan story and placed the earlier one here may be that he wished to add a story of Jesus’ curing the blind at this point in order to prepare for Jesus’ answer to the emissaries of the Baptist (Mt 11:4–6) in which Jesus, recounting his works, begins with his giving sight to the blind. 27#j. [9:27–31] 20:29–34. And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David,#Son of David: this messianic title is connected once with the healing power of Jesus in Mark (Mk 10:47–48) and Luke (Lk 18:38–39) but more frequently in Matthew (see also Mt 12:23; 15:22; 20:30–31). have pity on us!”#k. [9:27] 15:22. 28When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. 29Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” 30And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
The Healing of a Mute Person.
32#l. [9:32–34] 12:22–24; Lk 11:14–15. As they were going out,#The source of this story seems to be Q (see Lk 11:14–15). As in the preceding healing of the blind, Matthew has two versions of this healing, the later in Mt 12:22–24 and the earlier here. a demoniac who could not speak was brought to him, 33and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”#m. [9:33] Mk 2:12; 7:37. 34#This spiteful accusation foreshadows the growing opposition to Jesus in Mt 11; 12. But the Pharisees said,#n. [9:34] 10:25; Mk 3:22. “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”
The Compassion of Jesus.
35#See notes on Mt 4:23–25; Mt 8:1–9:38. #o. [9:35] 4:23; Lk 8:1. Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. 36#p. [9:36] Nm 27:17; 1 Kgs 22:17; Jer 50:6; Ez 34:5; Mk 6:34. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned,#See Mk 6:34; Nm 27:17; 1 Kgs 22:17. like sheep without a shepherd. 37#This Q saying (see Lk 10:2) is only imperfectly related to this context. It presupposes that only God (the master of the harvest) can take the initiative in sending out preachers of the gospel, whereas in Matthew’s setting it leads into Mt 10 where Jesus does so. #q. [9:37–38] Lk 10:2; Jn 4:35. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; 38so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”