Matthew – God’s Purposes
The first words of this chapter cause us to look back to the swine situation which precedes it, where we find the Gadarenes so resenting the loss of their swine economy and disgusted with Christ’s company that they sent Him away from their coasts.
So, Jesus entered a ship, and passed over. They were glad to see him go, probably jeering on the shoreline. He took them at their word, and we never read that he came into their coasts again. Now here observe His justice—that he left them. Christ will not tarry long where he is not welcome. In righteous judgment, he forsakes those places and persons that are weary of him, but abides with those that covet and court his stay. If the unbeliever will depart from Christ, let him depart; it is at his peril, 1 Cor. 7:15. 2.
We also see His patience—that he did not leave some destroying judgment behind him, to punish them, as they deserved, for their contempt and contumacy. How easily, how justly, might he have sent them after their swine, who were already so much under the devil’s power. The provocation, indeed, was very great: but He passed it by without any angry resentments or uproar of emotion.
Jesus just entered into a ship, and passed over. This was the day of his patience; he came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them; not to kill, but to cure. Spiritual judgments agree more with the constitution of gospel times; yet some observe, that in those bloody wars which the Romans made upon the Jews, which began not many years after this, they first besieged the town of Gadara, where these Gadarenes dwelt. Think about it…Those that drive Christ from them, draw all miseries upon them. Woe unto us, if God depart from us.
Now we come to the other side where Jesus picks up where He left off. He still seeks to save the lost who are without God.
Matthew 9, NKJV
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic
9 So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. 2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 7 And he arose and departed to his house.
8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.
THINK ABOUT IT…
He came into his own city, Capernaum, the principal place of his residence at present (Mark 2:1), and therefore called his own city. He had himself testified, that a prophet is least honored in his own country and city, yet He came; for he sought not his own honor. He was content to be humiliated and despised of the people.
Are we content to carry out the mission God has given us if it includes humiliation at times?
We read and understand two things happening here:
I. The faith of his friends in bringing him to Christ. His illness was such, that he could not come to Christ himself, so he was carried. If we do as well as we can, Jesus will accept us. Christ had an eye for their faith.
Little children cannot go to Christ themselves, but He will have an eye for the faith of those that bring them. Our efforts will not be in vain. How encouraging, right?!
Jesus saw their faith, the faith of the paralytic himself, as well as of those who brought him to Jesus to be healed. He was also questioned by the authorities of the synagogue.
2. The favor of Christ to this man. What encouragement to a sick man who for days on end could only lie in his bed. “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven”. This was sovereign hope and healing to a sick man. It was enough for him to get up, pick up his bed of linens and be transformed! He was changed instantly by the power and authority of Jesus Christ! He was healed and pardoned by the only One who had authority to do both. Addressing him as “Son” showed Christ comforting compassion.
Do we bring people to Jesus for healing, restoration and forgiveness for the right motivations of heart? Do we only invite them to church and hope for the best?
A group of the scribes were appalled and said within themselves, in their hearts, among themselves, in their secret whispering, “This man blasphemes”. See how the greatest instance of heaven’s power and grace is branded with the blackest note of hell’s enmity; Christ’s pardoning sin is termed blasphemy. Nothing Jesus did was out of the sovereignty and commission of God, His Father. THEY, therefore, are guilty of blasphemy, that have no such commission, and yet pretend to pardon sin.
Do we take credit for what God does and who God is at times? Do we take the glory that is due to God?
1. Jesus calls them out. He knows their hearts before he hears their voices.
2. Jesus argues the case. He exerts his authority in the Kingdom of grace.
Matthew Henry, Commentator, “This is a general argument to prove that Christ had a divine mission. His miracles, especially his miraculous cures, confirm what he said of himself, that he was the Son of God; the power that appeared in his cures proved him sent of God; and the pity that appeared in them proved him sent of God to heal and save. The God of truth would not set his seal to a lie.”
Do we question the power of God when done in and for others?
Dear Heavenly Father,
There is so much to learn from Your Word each time we read and listen and learn. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to earth to explain and give examples, for being a Master Teacher and storyteller. But most of all, thank you for laying down your life for all of us, paying the debt of all our sins. There is no one like you. No one. To You be all glory, honor and praise.
In Jesus Name, Amen