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Matthew 9:1-38
Yeshua's Miracles
Last Updated 5/30/00

CHAPTER 9:1-38 TEXT:

And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Matthew Chapter 9 is an important section, whose main lesson is largely overlooked. Here we find the "definition" of what the "Gospel message" is. Contrary to what some teach, the "Gospel message" is not the "death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah." It can't be that, as we have Yeshua Himself, "preaching the Gospel" in this chapter - and He is still alive. Add to that the fact that His disciples also preach the Gospel while He is alive, and that in Hebrews 4:2 we are told the Gospel was preached to the children of Israel with Moses in the wilderness. Just what is "the Gospel message" then?

9:1 "Son of Man"

In this context, "son of Man" is a Messianic term found in the Tenakh and numerous Hebrew sources including:

Daniel 7:13 - I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 98a - R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. it is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written, I [the Lord] will hasten it! — if they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee . . . ] lowly, and riding upon an ass!

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 145b - “And, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man” (Dan. VII, 13), alluding to the Messiah, concerning whom it is also written: “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, etc.” (Ibid. II, 44).

Enoch XLVIII - In that hour was this Son of man invoked before the Lord of spirits, and his name in the presence of the Ancient of Days ... In his presence they shall fall, and not be raised up again; nor shall there be any one to take them out of his hands, and to lift them up: for they have denied the Lord of spirits, and his Messiah.

9:11 ... Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
9:12 ... They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
9:13 ... go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice

This is an important section. Here, a group of Pharisees is critical of Yeshua for associating with those whom they consider to be sinners. Yeshua responds by gives these Pharisees a direct command to go "learn something." Later, in Matthew 12:7, we see Yeshua will criticize them again, for not doing as He told them to do here.

Yeshua's instruction to them is a quote from the prophet Isaiah. The context in Isaiah's original message and that of Yeshua's is similar. In each case you had people "going through the motions" of the instructions God gave in His Torah. What Yeshua is telling these Pharisees is that their reliance on performing God's commands, although absolutely part of their faith, was secondary to what God wants first -- a trusting relationship with Him. In no way does this mean the Torah is not to be followed. Rather, the message here is that, just as faith without works is dead (James, chapters 1 and 2), the same goes for works without faith.

This is the message God has given his chosen people throughout the Bible:

Isaiah 64:6 - But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Romans 2:28-29 - For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the
letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Hebrews 4:2 - For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

If these Pharisees had gone back to learn what Isaiah was talking about, they would have seen that they were just as much in "need of a physician" as these other people were. One could say that their "legalistic view" of the Torah made them more in need of Yeshua than the people they were criticizing.

It is evident to most that these Pharisees were outwardly performing the commandments of God but lacked the humility and trust God desired. This caused them to not recognize Yeshua for who He was. They made themselves "blind."

It should be noted however, that there is a "flip side" to this situation that is prevalent today. Anyone claiming to "believe in the Messiah," but who rejects the Torah as God's instruction, (i.e., "we're not under the Law") is no better off than these Pharisees. You cannot separate the "Torah in the flesh" from the Torah of Scripture. Yeshua said so (Matthew 5:17-21, 7:21-29), Paul said so (Romans 2:13, 3:31) and James said so (James, chapters 1 and 2). John goes so far as to have said that if you claim to know God but don't obey His commandments (His Torah), you are a liar and the truth is not in you (1 John 2:3-4).

Of course this message goes against the overwhelming consensus today -- just as it did in Yeshua and Isaiah's times.

9:14 the disciples of John

We know from Scripture that John the Baptist was raised in the Wilderness area and had a following of his own (Matthew chapters 3 and 11, Acts 18:25; 19:3). Discoveries in the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown a very Messianic-oriented community in the Wilderness, dating from about 100 BCE to 135 CE.  These people included Essenes, a community that formed their own system of sacrifices, due to corruption of Saducees. The latest research indicates that John and his followers probably were a break-away group from the Essenes.

9:14 ... Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
9:17 ...
new cloth unto an old garment ... new wine into old bottles

Yeshua's statement of not placing new wine in old bottles (wineskins) is one of many Scripture verses often taken out of context to support some group's latest (non-Hebrew) doctrine. The proper interpretation of verse 17 would seem to be in relation to verse 14, as it is part of Yeshua's answer to the question posed to Him by John's followers about why His disciples were not fasting.

Fasting was part of following the Torah and Yeshua certainly never broke the commandments. Nor would we expect His immediate followers to do so, yet they seem to be at this time. Yeshua replies to this question using three consecutive and related images:

  • You don't fast when the bridegroom is still with you - only later.
  • You don't put a new piece of cloth on an old garment
  • You don't put new wine in an old wineskin

There is a teaching in the Talmud that compares an experienced Torah teacher to a wineskin and his knowledgeable teaching to "old wine."

Mishna Avoth 4:20 - ... he who learns from the young, unto what is he [to be] compared? Unto one who eats unripe grapes, and drinks wine from his vat; and he who learns from the old, unto what is he [to be] compared? Unto one who eats ripe grapes, and drinks old wine. ... regard not the container but that which is therein: there is a new container full of old [wine], and an old [container] in which there is not even new [wine].

Yeshua's teachings were "old" as they were from God (John 7:16), and therefore He is the old wineskin with old wine.

The connection between these items can now be seen as follows:

new piece of cloth = new wine = fasting

old garment = old wineskin = Messiah still present

With these three examples, Yeshua is simply stating that there is a proper time and place for everything and this does not abrogate the Torah. The time while He (Elohim in the flesh) was walking among man, was a time for enjoyment (old wine) and not fasting. (1)

A similar situation occurs in chapter 12, when his disciples are again accused of breaking Torah (by their picking and eating ears of corn). As we will see, Yeshua will counter their argument in a similar fashion as He did in this chapter. There He cites examples from the Tenakh showing how the Torah allows (in fact commands) for certain actions under specific circumstances.

9:20 ... "If I may but touch his garment"
9:25 ... and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

A difficult question can be asked at this point. Did Yeshua become ritually unclean by either the woman touching His garment or by Him touching the dead girl? (If she was indeed dead!) Or was he not made unclean (by anything) because of his Deity? This is a very deep issue and one that merits further study. (Feel free to send your thoughts in to YashaNet!).

9:30 See that no man know it

Why did Yeshua "play down" who He was? One thought is that He didn't want the masses taking up arms against Rome, as many had the false idea that this would be a role of the Messiah.

In addition to this idea, looking back at the Hebrew Tenakh, we find the following:

Isaiah 6:8-13 - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

Yeshua's actions are in accordance to what God told the prophet Isaiah. The people in Isaiah's time, just as in Yeshua's time, had strayed from God. As such, it was not for those who were haughty and arrogant to understand who He truly was. Those of a humble and contrite heart would receive the message however. As we will see later in this study, Yeshua makes a similar statement regarding His parables, which He says were not for all to understand.

9:35 ... preaching the gospel of the kingdom

As previously mentioned, many today believe the "gospel message" is the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah. This creates a conflict when faced with verses such as this one, or Hebrews 4:2, or other places where the disciples are preaching "the gospel" before Yeshua has died. To counter this, it is taught that the "gospel of the kingdom" is not the same as the "gospel of the Messiah's death, burial and resurrection." Scripture doesn't offer support for such a teaching however.

An alternative explanation is that there is one gospel message and it has never changed. It was indeed given to the Hebrews in Moses' time and preached by Yeshua Himself and his apostles. This "gospel" was "pictured" in the commandments regarding the Yovel Year, also called "Jubilees," where every 50 years, debts were forgiven and properties returned to their original owners. The Yovel Year has heavy Messianic significance in Jewish literature. The prophet Isaiah (chapter 61) makes the connection between the elements of the Yovel year commandment and their ultimate fulfillment by the Messiah.

A detailed look at the connection between the Yovel year and the Gospel may be found in our Revelation study. NOTE: This is more advanced material, and the student of this Matthew study would do well to examine it and return here.

Just as the Yovel year brought freedom to captives, forgiveness of debts and a restoration of things to their original order, the Messianic kingdom will bring freedom, forgiveness and a restoration of the the name of God, Israel and creation - complete and everlasting physical and spiritual healing (Revelation 21 and 22).

The "death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah" is not the Gospel. Rather, it is God's personal "signet" on Yeshua confirming that He was/is the one bringing in what is called the "Jubilee release" -- the "good news" or "gospel" from God. This will all come fully into place when the New Covenant is established in the Millennium.

9:36 ... as sheep having no shepherd

The shepherds of the people were the priesthood. Just as in the days of Malachi, they had become corrupted, leaving the people without Godly leadership. But as the prophet foretold, the true Shepherd, God's Messiah, would one day come:

Malachi 3:1 - Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

The book of Malachi closes with a reminder that God does not change. It also makes it clear that the end times and arrival of the Messiah are linked to the keeping of the Torah:

Malachi 4:1-6 - For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.


1. See: Hermeneutics: How to Understand the Scriptures, James Trimm, Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism - www.nazarene.net


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