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Matthew Chapter Nine


I. Content of the Chapter


Works of the King

I. He forgave sins and healed the paralytic one (v.1-8).

II. He called sinners and sat down with them (v.9-13).

III. He abandoned the old regulations and letters (v.14-17).

IV. He healed the woman who had a flow of blood (v.18-22).

V. He raised the ruler’s daughter who was dead (v. 23-26).

VI. He opened the eyes of the two blind men (v.27-31).

VII. He healed the demon-possessed mute (v.32-34).

VIII. He called men to work with Him (v.35-38).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Matt. 9:1 “So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.

   YLT: “And having gone to the boat, he passed over, and came to his own city,”

   Literal Meaning: “His own city”: Capernaum (Mark. 2:1). The Lord Jesus grew up in Nazareth and started to work in Capernaum (Matt. 4:13). Therefore Matthew called Capernaum His own city.

   Spiritual Meaning: according to flesh Jesus was a Jewish and therefore His own city stood for the sphere of influence of Judaism. Here Judaism was used by the Holy Spirit as a representation to show the state of common religions.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord Jesus was rejected by people in Gergesenes (Matt. 8:34) and then returned to Capernaum silently. We should hold aloof from the world and should not resent others or retaliate against others.

2) The Lord Jesus regarded the place where He started to work as “His own city”, indicating that His life and work were merged together.


Matt. 9:2 “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, on, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.

   YLT: “and lo, they were bringing to him a paralytic, laid upon a couch, and Jesus having seen their faith, said to the paralytic, `Be of good courage, child, thy sins have been forgiven thee.’”

   Meaning of Words: “bed”: couch; “be of good cheer”: to have courage.

   Literal Meaning: “their faith” It is the faith of those who brought the paralytic one instead of the paralytic one himself. It indicates that the faith of intercession is of great effect.

  “Your sins are forgiven you” The outward symptom of the paralytic one is his disability to walk. But actually the cause of disease is sins in him. The Lord here pointed out the problem of sins and laid bare the crucial point of diseases.

   Spiritual Meaning: the paralytic one knew how to walk and he was unable to walk. Therefore this symbolizes men’s state in religion that “they are unable to do what they hope to do”.

The paralytic one was lying on a bed and the “bed” symbolizes rest, showing that there is only the appearance of rest and there is not the reality of rest in religion.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Jesus saw their faith”. Faith is able to be seen.

2) “Their faith” is of those who brought the paralytic one. On one hand it is the faith of body and on the other it is faith of acts.

3) We should always pray for the weak believers (“the paralytic”) and bring them to the Lord through intercessions (“they brought to Him”). He will assuredly answer intercessions with faith.

4) Sin is men’s fundamental difficulty. To those who are bound by sin, though they have the will to do right, they could not perform right (see Rom. 7:18). Therefore the condition for men to be healed is to remove sins.

5) If someone’s sins are not forgiven, he is unable to “be of good cheer”. The forgiveness of sins is the fundamental of rest in men’s heart.

6) Religion teaches men to do that what is good. It is full of doctrines and it lacks the motive power to put into practice (the paralytic one stands for religion). In religion everything is paralytic and unable to walk because religion lacks life and energy.

7) What men value is the healing of body and what the Lord values is the healing of soul. We should look at souls more than bodies and look at the things that are eternal more than things that are temporal (2Cor. 4:16-18).

8) Though not all the diseases are the consequent of sins (John. 9: 1-3), possibilities still exist. Therefore when we are sick, we should come to the Lord and ask Him whether we have done something against Him.

9) When preaching glad tidings, we may use various kinds of tools (such as taxis and private cars) to bring friends who are interested in the glad tidings to the Lord (they brought the paralytic one by bed) so that they could enjoy the glad tidings’ benefits.


Matt. 9:3“And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, ‘this Man blasphemes!’”

   YLT: “And lo, certain of the scribes said within themselves, `This one doth speak evil.’”

   Literal Meaning: “this Man blasphemes!” The Jews held that nobody had the power to forgive sins except God Himself. “Blaspheme” means that someone speaks beyond his own role and usurps God’s unique power to forgive sins.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the scribes” stand for those with knowledge and status in the role of religion. They only know to condemn others and have no idea that they themselves are in sins.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) We should hear in humble and meek spirit. If men hear in the spirit of resisting, opposing and finding fault with the words, though he hears the Lord prophesy, he benefits nothing and he would suffer losses.

2) The scribes could not receive the words of the Lord because of the old concepts in their hearts. Every time we come to the Lord, only if we empty ourselves could we receive the new words of the Lord (see Luke. 1:53).


Matt. 9:4 “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?

   YLT: “And Jesus, having known their thoughts, said, `Why think ye evil in your hearts?”

   Literal Meaning: “Jesus, knowing their thoughts” The Lord is the one that searches reins and hearts (Rev. 2:23) and He knows men’s thoughts in their hearts.

  “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” The scribes held the thoughts of unbelief and criticism towards the Lord. In the sight of the Lord unbelief is evil heart (Heb. 3:12).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord does not look down upon our thoughts and therefore we should ask the Lord to keep our thoughts be acceptable to Him (Ps. 19:14).

2) Any thing that is against the Lord is the evil thing. Any thought that is against the Lord is the evil thought.

3) The thought of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Gen. 8:21) and therefore we should ask God to create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Ps. 51:10). 


Matt. 9:5 “For which is easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, "Arise and walk'?

   YLT: “for which is easier? to say, The sins have been forgiven to thee; or to say, Rise, and walk?”

   Literal Meaning: the Lord here did not say that, “which is more difficult?” because there is nothing too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17). Forgiveness of sins is a matter of authority. Arising and walking is a matter of power. His is the authority and power (Rev. 12:10).

  In men’s eyes, “your sins are forgiven you” is only a word out of mouth and nobody could see the effect of this word. And the effect could be seen at once by asking one to arise and walk. Therefore the former seems easier than the latter.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Men look on the outward result ------“arising and walking”. God looks on spiritual reality------“your sins are forgiven you”. We have to seek spiritual reality first and then seek outward result in order to avoid artificiality and hypocrisy. However the inside reality should be proved by outward result lest it is only empty word.

2) Arising and walking is a matter of power and forgiveness of sins is a matter of authority. The authority is empty without power. The power is lawless without authority.

3) Men’s difficulty is not how to “say” but saying on what. Words are of no spiritual power without spiritual authority. 


Matt. 9:6 “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.’”

   YLT: “`But, that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power upon the earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the paralytic) having risen, take up thy couch, and go to thy house.’”

   Literal Meaning: “the Son of Man”: the Lord Jesus. Originally nobody except the Lord and the person involved knew that he had forgiven his sins. However the Lord showed His authority to forgive sins through the thing which was more difficult in men’s eyes ------the paralytic one was healed.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Men’s diseases are usually caused by their disease in their hearts. Many people get ill because they sin against God. Therefore the problem of sins has to be solved first and then the disease may be healed.

2) The Paralytic one was healed because his sins were forgiven. Sins are forgiven through faith (v.2) instead of works. It indicates that religion which stresses on works does not have a single redeeming feature before God.

3) At first he was supported by the bed and now he took up his bed. The salvation of life of the Lord could make believers have power in them which enables them to do things which they were unable to do before.

4) The Lord said to the paralytic to arise and walk, indicating that what the Lord said was reliable. If things that are seen are real, things that are not seen are also real.

5) On one hand spiritual things are unable to see by eyes and to touch by hands, on the other spiritual things are manifested real in those who have faith.


Matt. 9:7 “And he arose and departed to his house.

   YLT: “And he, having risen, went to his house,”

   Literal Meaning: “and he arose” He’s arising showed that he had been healed. His being healed showed that his sins were forgiven. This shows that the Lord Jesus has the authority to forgive sins (Acts. 5:31).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The most important principle of glad tidings is that forgiveness of sins should be first and then the arising and walking. It is not that the sinner walks to the Lord but the sinner walks out from the Lord. The Old Testament is to work and then to live and the New Testament is to live and then to work. The former are works and the latter is grace.

2) The man was carried by others before and now arose and walked by himself. When we serve the young believers in the assembly, we should serve them until they are able to walk by themselves.

3) All that are saved by the Lord have the power to control their desire (bed) and they will have the experience of reigning in life, not being slaves of flesh (Rom. 5: 17).

4) House is the habitation of men’s rest: only receiving the salvation could we have true rest.


Matt. 9:8 “Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

   YLT: “and the multitudes having seen, wondered, and glorified God, who did give such power to men.”

   Meaning of Words: “marveled”: be afraid, wonder.

Literal Meaning: the multitudes’ reaction towards this sign showed that they misunderstood the aim of the Lord Jesus to do this sign. It did not show that God gave power to men. It showed that He is God through incarnation.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The manifestation of power not only let men be forgiven and healed but also let men see God of glory because God is the fountainhead of power (Matt. 6:13).

2) Though the Lord did not say who He is, through what he did it could be seen who He is.


Matt. 9:9 “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him.

   YLT: “And Jesus passing by thence, saw a man sitting at the tax-office, named Matthew, and saith to him, `Be following me,’ and he, having risen, did follow him.”

   Literal Meaning: “a man named Matthew” Matthew was the author of this book. He originally collected taxes for the Roman Government. The tax collectors as Matthew on one hand pressed their race and on the other embezzled levies. Therefore the Jews loathed them extremely and regarded them as sinners.

  “Sitting at the tax office” “tax office” refers to the office in the street to collect taxes. Usually, tax collectors sat there and waited men to pay taxes.

  “Follow Me” The Lord did not say “trust me” but said “follow me” because trusting the Lord is included in following the Lord. Christian’s life is a life to follow the Lord.

   Spiritual Meaning: “sitting at the tax office” symbolizes the time when he was committing sins or doing iniquities.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is not that we look for the Lord, but the Lord comes to look for us. The Lord’s calling enables us to forsake sins and follow Him.

2) If a man has not heard the Lord’s calling, he cannot follow the Lord. The moment the Lord’s calling comes men have to obey the calling. Matthew did not reason for himself and did not say that the account had not been settled. He followed the Lord immediately. It is inconceivable in the eyes of unbelievers.

3) If the Lord draws us, we will run after Him (Song. 1:4).

4)  The Lord asks us not only to trust Him but also to follow Him. Following the Lord is to do the will of God on the road of cross. It is not worthwhile for God to use those who only believe in Him and do not follow Him.

5) Christians’ life is to “follow the Lord”. Following the Lord is to partake in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of the Lord (Rev. 1:9).

6) Matthew gave up his leisurely career but found his destiny. He gave up the respectable income but found glory. He gave up comfortable security but received unexpected experience.


Matt. 9:10 “Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.

   YLT: “And it came to pass, he reclining (at meat) in the house, that lo, many tax-gatherers and sinners having come, were lying (at meat) with Jesus and his disciples,”

   Literal Meaning: “sat at the table” shows dining and wining. This feast was held by Matthew and through this he showed his homage towards the Lord (Luke. 5:29). However the other guests he had invited except the Lord and His disciples were sinners and tax collectors who used to keep in touch with him and were also despised by the Jews.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord is so close to us that we could sit with Him and share fun and joy with each other (Song. 1:12).

2) After we have believed the Lord, we should invite our relatives and friends to share our joy that is received from the Lord with them.


Matt. 9:11 “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’”

   YLT: “and the Pharisees having seen, said to his disciples, `Wherefore with the tax-gatherers and sinners doth your teacher eat?’”

   The Background: “the Pharisees” were the most exact sect in Judaism. They boasted that they had holy life, godliness and the knowledge of the Bible.

   Literal Meaning: “the Pharisees” symbolizes conservative Christians. They held that God treats men with righteousness and therefore anyone that was of God should refuse to be contaminated by evil influences and do not deal with sinners. But the Lord’s actions were unlike their religious concepts.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Pharisees measured the Lord with traditional religious concepts and could not keep up with the Lord’s actions. If we adhere obstinately to old concepts of the Bible, we will not keep up with the Lord’s new guidance.

2) Though men are unrighteous, they like God to treat men with righteousness. Men blame God to show grace to men because they do not know God’s grace. Therefore the attitude of grace is criticized and blamed by men.

3) Though the Lord contacted with sinners, the Bible told us that He was separated from sinners (Heb. 7:26). Only He who is separated from sinners is able to draw near to sinners.


Matt. 9:12 “When Jesus heard that, He said to them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.’”

   YLT: “And Jesus having heard, said to them, `They who are whole have no need of a physician, but they who are ill;”

   Literal Meaning: the Lord revealed that He is a physician, showing that He treats men with an attitude of a physician to those who are sick rather than the attitude of a judger to judge sinners. In other words, He treats the world not according to righteousness but according to compassion and grace (Rom. 9:15).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord is our physician and He is able to restore our life to normal. 

2) Unless the sick person admits that he is sick, he could not receive the help of a physician. Unless a sinner confesses that he is a sinner, he could not receive the Lord’s salvation.

3) The common difficulty of the world is that they do not know themselves rather than that they do not know the Lord------ those who do not know themselves hold that the Lord is not essential and those who know themselves hold that the Lord is very precious.

4) In order to be a Christian, one has to come with the qualification as a sick person and then one may help others with the qualification as a nurse.

5) In the sight of God those who have pious appearance and whose hearts are full of selfishness and jealousness inside are the same as sinners and tax collectors.


Matt. 9:13 “But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’”

   YLT: “but having gone, learn ye what is, Kindness I will, and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call righteous men, but sinners, to reformation.’”

   Literal Meaning: “mercy” is that God works for men and supplies men’s needs.

  “Sacrifice” is that men works for God and supplies God’s needs. Religious concepts require men to work for God and devote something to God. These concepts are contrary to God’s will.

  “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Actually, there is not a righteous, not even one (Rom. 3:10). Therefore if we hold fast traditional religious concepts and regard ourselves righteous, we will lose the chance to receive grace. Because God sets Himself against proud, but to humble gives grace (1Pet. 5:5).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” God does not ask from men and He wants to give to men. Showing mercy to others is more acceptable to God than obeying religious letters. 

2) The All-sufficient God lacks nothing and He does not need men to do something for Him or give something to Him. He is intent on pouring out His abundance onto men. If we have something that is worth dedicating to Him, it must come from God Himself.

3) We have to receive the Lord Jesus as our sacrifice first and then we are able to present our body a living sacrifice to God. We firstly experience the third chapter in Romans and then experience the twelfth chapter in Romans.

4) “But go and learn…” Talking about the Bible is different from learning the Bible. True knowledge of the Bible is learnt from experience of life.

5) “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Those who are righteous in their own eyes won’t be called by God. Even though they have been called by God, they are worthless to God.


Matt. 9:14 “Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?’”

   YLT: “Then come to him do the disciples of John, saying, `Wherefore do we and the Pharisees fast much, and thy disciples fast not?’”

   Literal Meaning: “fast often” shows that they regarded fasting as a fitting behavior to a pious man. They showed off themselves with fasting (Matt. 6:16).

   Spiritual Meaning: “the Pharisees” symbolizes senior religionists.

  “Disciples of John the Baptism” symbolizes junior religionists.

  Religion means “some cases the teaching”. Its original intention is to teach men to fear God. Unfortunately it becomes a mere formality and even disregards God and His son. Fasting is one of the letters and regulations that the religionists keep.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) What matters is not pious appearance and ways but whether one holds fast Christ. Anything departing from Christ (there are “we” and “you” between men and the Lord) is the so-called “religion”.

2) The Pharisees said the Lord behind Him and commented their rabbi towards the Lord’s disciples. The disciples of John came to the Lord and questioned Jesus in His presence. They both made objections to the Lord. Concepts that the religionists hold became their block to follow Christ.

3) Fasting originally was a manifestation of true piety and repentance. However it would lose its real meaning if fasting turns to be a regulation. Fasting itself is not the aim and it is only done under proper condition.

4) Both those who keep the regulations and do the letters (the Pharisees) and those who haven’t received the Lord’s grace (the disciples of John) need to fast. Men’s hearts cannot get satisfaction beyond Christ.


Matt. 9:15 “And Jesus said to them, Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

   YLT: “And Jesus said to them, `Can the sons of the bride-chamber mourn, so long as the bridegroom is with them? but days shall come when the bridegroom may be taken from them, and then they shall fast.”

   Literal Meaning: “the bridegroom” refers to the Lord Himself;

  “The friends” refer to His disciples;

  “Is with them” refers to the time when the Lord was with His disciples in flesh;

  “The days will come” denotes the day that the Lord would be crucified was coming;

  “When the bridegroom will be taken away from them” indicates that He departed out of the world in flesh because the Lord was rejected by the Jews (see John. 13:1).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Only those who walk with the Lord (the friends of the bridegroom) are able to enjoy the abundant feast. There will be abundant enjoyment with the Lord’s presence. Once the presence of the Lord is gone, the spirit will suffer hunger.

2) The Lord is our bridegroom and He keeps fresh all the time. The moment we meet Him, we will be full of beauty, freshness and joy.

3) The life and actions of those who follow the Lord should only be guided by the Lord Himself and His presence instead of being impelled by ways and knowledge. 

4) To those who wait for the second coming of the Lord the bridegroom, waiting with fasting is the proper way for exercise.


Matt. 9:16 “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.

   YLT: “`And no one doth put a patch of undressed cloth on an old garment, for its filling up doth take from the garment, and a worse rent is made.”

Meaning of Words: “a piece of unshrunk cloth”: the cloth that has not been made complete.

Literal Meaning: If the unshrunk cloth was “put on an old garment”, after the cloth is washed and dried up, the unshrunk cloth will pull away the garment and the tear is worse and irreparable.

   Spiritual Meaning: “cloth” symbolizes our righteousness before God (Rev. 19:8).

  “An old garment” refers to good works done by religionists by their old natural life. They are full of flaws and holes and therefore religionists always do the repairing and improving work.

  “A piece of unshrunk cloth” symbolizes the life and deeds of the Lord on earth.

  What the religionists do is to “put a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment”------they only want to learn from the example of the Lord’s life and deeds and do not receive the salvation done by the Lord on the cross.

“For the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse” If we only imitate the Lord’s works and deeds when He was on earth, our defects in deeds are shown contrarily and it does not help the situation.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Nobody could use God’s grace to make up our weak points of our old deeds.

2) We should not mix grace and the Law together. Once they are mixed together, grace loses its sweetness and the Law loses its fearfulness. It becomes neither grace nor the Law.

3) In Christianity it is not that the New Testament makes up the Old Testament. It is that the New Testament replaces the Old Testament. Keeping the Law of the Old Testament may contrarily corrupt the faith in the New Testament.

4) In the New Testament, there is not any regulation about outside ways and we fully follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in us. We should serve the Lord in newness of spirit and not in oldness of letter (Rom. 7:6).

5) The way for Christians to be acceptable to God is not in imitating the works and deeds of the Lord on earth, but in receiving the great redemption that has been done by Christ and putting on Christ as our garment of righteousness.

6) The garment the Lord made for the assembly is new and His work is “the new creation”. He has completely ended all the things of the old creation. Therefore we should not bring natural things and works of the world into the assembly.

7) The Lord never uses the new grace to make up and keep the old patch. When our works fall into the state of oldness, we do not need to repair and we should ask the Lord to give us another new cloth.


Matt. 9:17 “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.’”

   YLT: “`Nor do they put new wine into old skins, and if not the skins burst, and the wine doth run out, and the skins are destroyed, but they put new wine into new skins, and both are preserved together.’”

   Meaning of Words: “new wine”: wine newly being brewed; “new wineskins”: wineskins that have not been used before.

   Literal Meaning: “wineskins” were sheepskins used by the Jews to put drink.

  “Old wineskins” were sheepskins that lack tension because of oldness.

  “New wine” has strong power of fermentation. The old wineskins cannot bear the force produced by the fermentation of wine and therefore they are ruined easily.

   Spiritual Meaning: “nor do they put new wine into old wineskins.” “New wine” symbolizes the rising and fresh life of Christ and this life would make men joyful, high and energetic. “Old wineskins” symbolizes old men and religious ways. “Putting new wine into old wineskins” means that one only receives Christ into his thoughts, will and feeling of old men (soul). Religionists use their wisdom to study Christ, use their feeling to treat Christ and use their wills to decide to serve the Lord, that is to say, they use their natural men to receive Christ.

  “The wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined” Our minds could not fully understand Christ. Many times, we feel extremely excited in some so-called spiritual things and we break down fully. In addition, those who follow the Lord with their wills are immediately offended by persecutions and tribulations (Matt. 13:21).

  But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” “New wineskins” symbolizes new men. It means that we obtain the spirit that is born from above and the renewing soul (Tit. 3:5, Eph. 4:23-24, Col. 3:10, Rom. 12:2). It will be effective if we exercise our spirit and use our thoughts, feelings and wills that are dealt with by cross to hold Christ.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Christ the new life (“new wine”) is full of vigor and it will excite and strengthen us. However it could only be put in vessels that have been renewed (“new wineskins”).

2) “Unshrunk cloth” (v.16) refers to outward living. “New wine” refers to inner life. Cloth is shown outwardly and wine is fermented inside. The former is living and the latter is life. The good news of the New Testament brings men inside life------new wine and outward living------unshrunk cloth.

3) The Liberal Christians receive Christ as “unshrunk cloth” (v.16). Fundamental Christians receive Christ as “new garment”. True Christians receive Christ as “new wine” and usually they lack “new wineskins”. Only normal Christians use “new wineskins” to put “new wine”.

4) The Holy Spirit in us (new wine) would break the old living, deeds and habits (old wineskins). A true Christian should have new living, deeds and habits (new wineskins).

5) “Wineskins” symbolizes the individual Christian and Christians as a body------the assembly. Organizations made by men’s will are “the old wineskins” and they will break sooner or later, the wine is spilt and they cannot keep Christ’s presence.


Matt. 9:18 “While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.’”

   YLT: “While he is speaking these things to them, lo, a ruler having come, was bowing to him, saying that `My daughter just now died, but, having come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.’”

   Literal Meaning: “a ruler” managed the order of worship in Jewish synagogue. He had high social status in the Jews. 

   Spiritual Meaning: “synagogue” is a place for the Jews to gather together. Therefore a ruler symbolizes the Judaism.

  “Daughter” is the offspring from father. Therefore the death of the ruler’s daughter symbolizes that the state out of the Judaism is death.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The daughter of the ruler has died------if the leader in the assembly lacks life, those who are led by him will lack life. The state of life of common believers shows the state of life of the minister.

2) If we only stress on ways, doctrines and ceremonies in the assembly, probably those who are edified by us have a name that they live, and are dead (Rev. 3:1).


Matt. 9:19 “So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.

   YLT: “And Jesus having risen, did follow him, also his disciples,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Wherever our Lord goes, we should follow Him.

2) Our Lord came to solve men’s difficulties specially. As long as we are willing to tell Him our difficulties through prayer, He is willing to help us.


Matt. 9:20 “And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.

   YLT: “and lo, a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, having come to him behind, did touch the fringe of his garments,”

   The Background: the Jews regarded “a flow of blood” as unclean. Anyone who touches a woman who had a flow of blood will become unclean (Lev. 15:25-30). This may be the reason why the woman did not want others to know and secretly touched the hem of His garment.

  “Hem” was the slender belt wore by the Jews on the edge of garments. Its intention is to remind the wearer to keep the will of God (Num. 15:37-39).

   Spiritual Meaning: according to researches of Bible scholars, “a woman” was a gentile woman and therefore she symbolizes gentile religion.

  “A flow of blood” symbolizes the flow of life because the soul of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). This gentile woman had a flow of blood for twelve years and the former dead Jewish daughter was twelve years old (Luke. 8:42). Therefore they both refer to one thing that all the religions are leaking life and dead in God’s eyes. They have a name that they live and are dead (Rev. 3:1).

  “Twelve years” symbolizes that they had been really dealt with and instructed by God.

  The Lord’s garment symbolizes His righteousness. “Touch the hem of His garment” means that touch the Lord through faith, unite to the Lord and take the Lord’s accomplished righteousness as our own righteousness.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Anyone does not live for God or is not gained by God has a flow of blood------consumes his life.

2) “Came from behind” shows that the woman, with a lowly spirit, felt she was not worthy to come. God sets Himself against proud, but gives grace to lowly (James. 4:6).


Matt. 9:21 “For she said to herself, If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.’”

   YLT: “for she said within herself, `If only I may touch his garment, I shall be saved.’”

   Spiritual Meaning: “she said to herself” denotes the faith in her.

  “Touch His garment” means the outward act of faith.


Matt. 9:22 “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well. And the woman was made well from that hour.

   YLT: “And Jesus having turned about, and having seen her, said, `Be of good courage, daughter, thy faith hath saved thee,’ and the woman was saved from that hour.”

   Literal Meaning: “your faith has made you well” This shows that her act to touch the hem of the Lord’s garment with hand is due to her inner faith. Only touching the Lord with faith can one be healed by the Lord.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Without faith impossible to please (Heb. 11:6).

2) Religionists want to please God by good works and consequently they fall into the poor state of death. The only way to be saved and healed is to receive the salvation of the Lord Jesus through faith.   

3) If we outstretch our hand with faith to touch the Lord, His power will enable us to overcome difficulties.  

4) The woman who had a flow of blood prayed in her heart. The Lord answered her prayer and she was healed by Him. It shows that answer of prayer lies in one’s intention instead of words.


Matt. 9:23 “When Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing,

   YLT: “And Jesus having come to the house of the ruler, and having seen the minstrels and the multitude making tumult,”

   Literal Meaning: “the flute players” were hired to play flute to express the mourning to the dead in a funeral.

  “The noisy crowd wailing” The noisy crowd were women hired to mourn and cry for the dead.

   Spiritual Meaning: this verse symbolizes that religion is full of deathly stillness. Therefore the leader uses the stimulant way to stir the masses to do something in order to maintain the noisy and live scene.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The daughter was dead. Though the crowd played the flute and made noisy, she cannot arise from the dead. The state of the assembly is dead and any men’s instigating and encouraging way is of no use.

2) Commonly, men show indifference to others when they are alive. Men show compassion to others when they are dead. Help after the event is usually unnecessary.


Matt. 9:24 “He said to them, Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.And they ridiculed Him.

   YLT: “he saith to them, `Withdraw, for the damsel did not die, but doth sleep,’ and they were deriding him;”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When anyone who is elected by God is dead, he is not over as the others who have no hope. He is asleep (1Thess. 4: 13-14).

2) An hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that have heard shall live (John. 5:25).


Matt. 9:25 “But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.

   YLT: “but, when the multitude was put forth, having gone in, he took hold of her hand, and the damsel arose,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “The crowd was put outside” Religious ways have to be put outside of our hearts and then the Lord would come in. The moment the Lord comes, death will be removed and difficulty will be solved.

2) The ruler asked the Lord to lay hand on his daughter (v.18). However the Lord directly took her by the hand and asked to arise. Christ the infinite does not work according to men’s fixed ways. We should believe that the Lord is able to do and should not restrict how He works. This is another great principle of prayer.

3) “He took her by the hand”. The moment the Lord takes us by the hand that serves Him, it is a turning point in our service------“the girl arose”.

4) All the work of the Lord makes men live instead of gaining men’s praise. All the work of the Lord makes men to have life instead of knowledge.


Matt. 9:26 “And the report of this went out into all that land.

   YLT: “and the fame of this went forth to all the land.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Every story that someone has truly touched the Lord or has been touched by the Lord will make men amazed and astonished and it will be told from mouth to mouth with approbation.

2) Any work that is truly of the Lord would be known by men and we do not need to make it widely known specially.


Matt. 9:27 “When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, Son of David, have mercy on us!’”

   YLT: “And Jesus passing on thence, two blind men followed him, calling and saying, `Deal kindly with us, Son of David.’”

   Literal Meaning: “Son of David” This name was commonly used by the Jews to call the coming “Messiah” (Matt. 21:9, 22:42).

   Spiritual Meaning: “two blind men” represent men in religion: the leader was blind and the follower was blind too (Matt. 15:14, Rom. 2:19). Their thoughts had been blinded by the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4) and so that they persecuted and killed the Lord and those who were of the Lord, holding that they were rendering service to God (John. 16:2).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The blind men only heard the Lord through others and they had not seen the Lord. It shows that this faith is from those who have not seen and have believed (John. 20:29).

2) The blind men did not impute all faults and wrongs on others, nor did they boost that they had done something good. They only asked the Lord to show mercy on them. This kind of prayer confessing one’s pity may be easily heard by God.


Matt. 9:28 “And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to Him, "Yes, Lord.’”

   YLT: “And he having come to the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus saith to them, `Believe ye that I am able to do this?’ They say to him, `Yes, sir.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord did not heal them on the road and until they followed Him into the house He asked them that whether they had faith. It shows that if men in religion want to receive salvation, they have to come out of their original ways and closely followed Christ, believing that He is the Son of God. This is our only salvation.

2) The blind men closely followed the Lord and came into the house, indicating that:

     A. They had persevering attitude;

     B. They carried out an undertaking from start to finishing;

     C. Their faith towards the Lord resisted the test.

3) The blind men came into the house. It also indicates that:

     A. If one wants to receive deeper healing from the Lord, he has to come nearer to the Lord.

     B. The Lord is in the assembly (in the house) and therefore we should live in the assembly so as to be healed by the Lord.


Matt. 9:29 “Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you.’”

   YLT: “Then touched he their eyes, saying, `According to your faith let it be to you,’”

   Literal Meaning: the Lord mentioned faith repeatedly in this chapter (v.2, 22, 28, 29) because religion emphasized on that “one shall be justified on the principle of works”. However, God’s salvation is that “one shall be justified on the principle of faith of Christ” (Gal. 2:16).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Men’s faith is a channel to draw the Lord’s power. The Lord’s power reaches the place where the channel of faith has been laid.

2) If men ask without faith or men only have faith in lips instead of in their hearts, they will not gain the effect of faith. Only the true faith is the one that can be fulfilled.


Matt. 9:30 “And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, See that no one knows it.’”

   YLT: “and their eyes were opened, and Jesus strictly charged them, saying, `See, let no one know;’”

   Literal Meaning: it is the usual way in religion to publicize signs and wonders so as to draw the astonished masses. When the Lord healed those who represented religion, He purposely abandoned the traditional religious ways.


Matt. 9:31 “But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country.

   YLT: “but they, having gone forth, did spread his fame in all that land.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) On spiritual works, the most important thing is obedience. Otherwise men may block the Lord’s works. When preaching good news and bearing witness to the Lord, we have to obey the Lord’s guidance, otherwise we may get half the result with twice the effort.

2) We should go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19), and we should not merely spread the news about Him.


Matt. 9:32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed.

   YLT: “And as they are coming forth, lo, they brought to him a man dumb, a demoniac,”

   Spiritual Meaning: “a man, mute and demon-possessed” “Mute” is the great feature of religionists. Religionists are unable to speak for God (Is. 56:10). There is the power of darkness behind every kind of religion. Satan is the fountainhead of religion and it utilizes religion to usurp men’s worship towards true God that He deserves.


Matt. 9:33 “And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never seen like this in Israel!’”

   YLT: “and the demon having been cast out, the dumb spake, and the multitude did wonder, saying that `It was never so seen in Israel:’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The moment the dumb idols (1Cor. 12:2) were cast out, men are able to speak.

2) We have been saved and delivered from the authority of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13).

3) The Lord raised the dead at first (v. 18-25) and then opened the eyes of the blind men (v.27-30) and finally made the mute to speak, indicating the spiritual order: life is first, understanding next and bearing witness last.


Matt. 9:34 “But the Pharisees said, He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.’”

   YLT: “but the Pharisees said, `By the ruler of the demons he doth cast out the demons.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If we randomly explain what we are unable to explain, we will distort the truth.

2) Religionists specialize in distorting others’ work: they say that others are utilized by the devil when others do anything that they are unable to do.


Matt. 9:35 “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

   YLT: “And Jesus was going up and down all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the reign, and healing every sickness and every malady among the people.”

Please see the notes in Matt. 4:23.


Matt. 9:36 “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

   YLT: “And having seen the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, that they were faint and cast aside, as sheep not having a shepherd,”

   Meaning of Words: “weary”: being threatened.

   Literal Meaning: in this verse the Lord used shepherd and sheep to liken the connection between Him and men (John. 10:14). Men are originally of Him. Once men depart from the Lord, men will fall into the weary and scattered state.

  “He was moved with compassion for them.” The Lord was not moved with compassion for their sins but for their weary and scattered state.

  “Weary” indicates that sheep suffer pain when being skinned by evil shepherds.

  “Scattered” indicates that sheep was scattered and helpless when being abandoned by irresponsible shepherds.


Matt. 9:37 “Then He said to His disciples,The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

   YLT: “then saith he to his disciples, `The harvest indeed [is] abundant, but the workmen few;”

   Literal Meaning: “the harvest truly is plentiful”: the harvest is great.

  “Labor”: manpower, toil.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though the Lord’s harvest is plentiful, workers who are able to endure suffering are few.

2) Both sheep and crops have life. Sheep needs to be shepherded. Harvest needs to be harvested. Both shepherding and harvesting are the Lord’s work.    The Lord needs men to work with Him on earth (Is. 6:8).


Matt. 9:38 “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”

   YLT: “beseech ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he may put forth workmen to His harvest.’”

   Literal Meaning: the Lord here used harvest and the Lord of the harvest to liken the connection between Him and men (Rev. 14:15).

  “Send out laborers into His harvest” “Into His harvest” means to partake in His harvest.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though the Lord is willing to send out laborers, He sends out laborers unless we pray for this. Praying is to pave the track for the will of God and makes His will to run.

2) We should always pray for preaching glad tidings (Col. 4:3). Praying is to work with the Lord and praying may rise many good soldiers of glad tidings.

3) Workers do not go out voluntarily and they are sent out to work by the Lord.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The King and Religion

I. What men need is the Lord instead of religion:

    A. Religion is helpless (v.1-2a).

    B. The fundamental reason for the helplessness of religion ------sins (v.2b-4).

    C. Only the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins (v.5-8).

II. God desires mercy and not sacrifice:

A. Religion condemned sinners and the Lord sat down with sinners (v.9-11).

B. The Lord was the physician to heal the sick and He was the savior to call sinners (v.12-13).

III. The old religion is not worthy of the new Christ:

    A. He is the bridegroom and there is no need of fasting with His presence (v.14-15).

    B. He is the unshrunk cloth and we should not mix Him with religion that is like the old cloth (v.16).

    C. He is new wine and should be put in new wineskins (v.17).

IV. Only the Lord could heal the common difficulties of religion:

    A. Religion leaks life and only the Lord could raise the dead (v.18-26).

    B. Religion made men blind and the Lord opened men’s eyes (v.27-31).

    C. Religion made men mute and the Lord made the mute speak (v.32-34).

V. The king’s work is to deliver men from religion:

A. The Lord worked everywhere to deliver men from the influence of religion (v.35).

B. Men originally were His sheep and they were weary and scattered because they departed from God (v.36).

C. Men were harvest of Him and they had not been harvested because of the lack of laborers (v.37).

D. The Lord wanted believers to work with Him through prayer (v.38).


Typifications for various kinds of times of grace

I. The time when the Lord was on earth:

A. He came to His own city (v.1) ------He came to the world to save the Jews.

B. Only few of the Jews are saved (v. 2-10).

C. Most of the Jews rejected the Lord (v.11-17).

D. They seemed to be dead before God ------the ruler’s daughter was dead (v.18).

II. Time of grace: salvation comes to the Gentiles------He healed the woman who had a flow of blood (v.19-22).

III. The time when the Lord comes back:

A. The Jews will be revived ------He raised the daughter (v.23-26).

B. The blind could see and the mute could speak (v.27-34).


The Order of the Lord’s healing

I. The Lord raised the dead first (v.18-25) ------He gives us the rising life of the Lord at first.

II. The Lord opened the eyes of the blind then (v.27-30) ------only life of God could understand spiritual things.

III. The Lord asked the mute to speak finally (v.32-33) ------only those who have seen spiritual abundance could bear witness for the Lord.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren