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. Matthew 9:12–13
1. Jesus returns across the lake.
2. Jesus heals a man sick with palsy (paralyzed and unable to move his legs).
3. Jesus calls Matthew and eats with publicans.
4. Jesus explains to the disciples of John why His disciples do not need to fast.
5. Jesus heals the woman who has an issue of blood.
6. Jesus heals the daughter of a ruler in the local synagogue.
7. Jesus heals two blind men.
8. Jesus casts a demon out of a possessed and dumb man.
Verses 27–38. There are four lessons in this passage, which deserve close attention. Let us mark them each in succession.
Let us mark, in the first place, that strong faith in Christ may sometimes be found where it might least have been expected. Who would have thought that two blind men would have called our Lord the “Son of David?” They could not, of course, have seen the miracles that He did. They could only know Him by common report. But the eyes of their understanding were enlightened, if their bodily eyes were dark. They saw the truth which Scribes and Pharisees could not see. They saw that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. They believed that He was able to heal them.
An example like this shows us, that we must never despair of any one’s salvation, merely because he lives in a position unfavorable to his soul. Grace is stronger than circumstances. The life of religion does not depend merely upon outward advantages. The Holy Spirit can give faith, and keep faith in active exercise without book-learning, without money, and with scanty means of grace. Without the Holy Spirit a man may know all mysteries, and live in the full blaze of the Gospel, and yet be lost. We shall see many strange sights at the last day. Poor cottagers will be found to have believed in the Son of David, while rich men, full of university learning, will prove to have lived and died like the Pharisees, in hardened unbelief. Many that are last will be first, and the first last (Matt. 20:16).
Let us mark, in the next place, that our Lord Jesus Christ has had great experience of disease and sickness. He “went about all the cities and villages” doing good.
He was an eyewitness of all the ills that flesh is heir to. He saw ailments of every kind, sort, and description. He was brought in contact with every form of bodily suffering. None were too loathsome for Him to attend to. None were too frightful for Him to cure. He was a healer of every “sickness and every disease.”
There is much comfort to be drawn from this fact. We are all dwelling in a poor frail body. We never know what quantity of suffering we may have to watch, as we sit by the bedside of dear relations and friends. We never know what racking complaint we ourselves may have to submit to, before we lie down and die. But let us arm ourselves betimes with the precious thought that Jesus is specially fitted to be the sick man’s friend. That great High Priest to whom we must apply for pardon and peace with God, is eminently qualified to sympathize with an aching body, as well as to heal an ailing conscience. The eyes of Him who is King of kings used often to look with pity on the diseased. The world cares little for the sick, and often keeps aloof from them. But the Lord Jesus cares specially for the sick. He is the first to visit them, and say, “I stand at the door and knock.” Happy are they who hear His voice, and let Him in!
Let us mark, in the next place, our Lord’s tender concern for neglected souls. “He saw multitudes” of people when He was on earth, scattered about “like sheep having no shepherd,” and He was moved with compassion. He saw them neglected by those who, for the time, ought to have been teachers. He saw them ignorant, hopeless, helpless, dying, and unfit to die. The sight moved Him to deep pity. That loving heart could not see such things, and not feel.
Now what are our feelings when we see such a sight? This is the question that should arise in our minds. There are many such to be seen on every side. There are millions of idolaters and heathen on earth—millions of deluded Muslims—millions of superstitious Roman Catholics. There are thousands of unsaved Protestants near our own doors. Do we feel tenderly concerned about their souls? Do we deeply pity their spiritual destitution? Do we long to see that destitution relieved? These are serious inquiries, and ought to be answered. It is easy to sneer at missions to the heathen, and those who work for them. But the man who does not feel for the souls of all unconverted people, can surely not have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
Let us mark, in the last place, that there is a solemn duty incumbent on all Christians, who would do good to the unconverted part of the world. They are to pray for more men to be raised up to work for the conversion of souls. It seems as if it was to be a daily part of our prayers. “Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest.”
If we know anything of prayer, let us make it a point of conscience never to forget this solemn charge of our Lord’s. Let us settle it in our minds, that it is one of the surest ways of doing good, and stemming evil. Personal working for souls is good. Giving money is good. But praying is best of all. By prayer we reach Him without whom work and money are alike in vain. We obtain the aid of the Holy Spirit. Never, never may we forget that if we would do good to the world, our first duty is to pray!
1. What are the themes of chapters 1 through 9?
2. What makes the reference to “Son of David” made by the blind so important?
3. What were the two things Jesus addressed in His ministry?
4. What is this “harvest” that Jesus mentions here? What is needed for the harvest?
1. Do we feel tenderly concerned about the unconverted? Do we pray for them? Do you share the heart of Christ for those who are wandering without a shepherd or teacher? What things might we do to show our compassion for the spiritual and physical needs of others?