Matthew 9:18-34 Do You Believe?

Matthew 9:18-34                    Do You Believe?                                             WC McCarter

Have you ever found yourself in a desperate situation? What do you do in those times when you have sunk to your lowest point and have nothing else to lose? Do you lay down and sulk, or do you fight and scratch? For some, the desperate, seemingly hopeless situations are the ones that drive them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we will consider a narrative that tells of a woman who has been plagued for years by a certain ailment, but in the end she finds restoration and joy in the power of Jesus Christ. We also will read about a young girl who was raised from the dead, blind men who were healed, and a demon-possessed man who was freed. These hopeless situations find hope in the Lord, and you can find hope as well, if you approach Him by faith.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
A Woman Who had a Flow of Blood vv20-22
This is a fantastic story bookended by the beginning and end of the story of the girl raised from the dead. This woman who comes to Jesus has been continually bleeding for twelve years. Obviously the problem is no threat to her life, but with this condition she is an outcast. She would have been considered unclean by the community. She would not have been able to worship at the Temple, in the synagogues, nor had relationships with any friends or family.
Because of this, she approaches Jesus from behind. This is a daring move to approach someone, especially Jesus. She went for the hem of His garment, maybe the tassels that would have been hanging from His prayer shawl. For some reason, the woman thinks that if she could touch the hem of His garment she would be healed. The grammar tells us that’s what she continually told herself as she approached the Master. Maybe it was an act of humility. Maybe she thought it would be out of the question to grab Jesus’ hand or something of the like, but if she just touched His garment it would be enough. Or possibly she considered the act of grabbing His garment as a sign of a request for help. Either way, she was healed when she touched the garment, but Jesus makes clear that it was her faith that accessed the mercy that was provided. That she was made “well” or was “healed” is more literally the word “saved.” Jesus told the woman that her faith had saved her. She was delivered from her present condition, and, possibly, we can hear a hint that she was saved from her sins. She could now be cheerful.
What is so important about this story? First of all, notice the irony. Jesus is on His way to a girl’s dead body and is met on the way be a woman who has a flow of blood. Both of these could make Jesus unclean, but He is not concerned with external laws of cleanliness. He is concerned about the people. So, He does not consider Himself, but others. Remember, He is the One who said that He had come not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Second, Jesus was on a mission to raise the girl from the dead. One request had already been made, yet He takes the time to stop the parade that was forming in the street in order to speak to this woman. Not only would this have been viewed as inappropriate for the situation, but the crowd would have found it inappropriate for Jesus to speak to a woman. Yet, Jesus is not concerned with what is socially appropriate. Lastly, “This woman lived in a perpetual state of impurity, which resulted in her poverty, isolation, and suffering” (Burge, 44). Yet, we see that Jesus is not a respecter of persons. He is a respecter of faith. Faith is what He is looking for and is what He responds to.
Daughter has just Died vv18-19 and 23-26
At the beginning of our text this morning we were told that Jesus was approached by a ruler while He was still teaching. Visualize this scene. A ruler comes and bows down to Jesus, the Lord. This man was probably the ruler of a synagogue. He had to truly humble himself to go and request help from Jesus. He is desperate because his daughter had become greatly ill and had died, but He knows Jesus’ reputation. He says, “. . . lay Your hand on her and she will live.” The ruler’s faith is as great as desperation. He believes that Jesus can raise the dead to life! Notice that the woman with the hemorrhage had bled for twelve years. This girl was about that age. Jesus’ response is immediate. He gets up and follows the man.
When Jesus finally arrived at the man’s house, after His encounter with the bleeding woman, He sees flute players and wailers. All Jews were required to hire at least two flute players and one wailing woman. Jesus is actually able to get the noisy crowd to leave the house. “Put outside” reflects a word that can literally mean “throw out.” Apparently Jesus and the ruler throw the people out of the house. Matthew gives us few details, but sticks to the root of what happened. “. . .  He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.” Of course, this news spread throughout all the land in a matter of moments.
Two Blind Men vv27-31
Jesus rarely finds the time to rest. He is teaching and is interrupted by a man who wants his daughter brought back to life. He is on His way to that house and is interrupted by a woman who wants to be healed from an issue of blood. As soon as both are restored, two blind men follow Him seeking another miracle. They want to be healed of their blindness. Jesus apparently ignores their cries, but they follow Him into a house. Jesus has one question for them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They reply affirmatively and respectfully. If Jesus can raise the dead, He can surely restore sight!
As Jesus touches their eyes with His healing hands, He once again emphasizes faith. He heals them in response to their faith. Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would have such a ministry. He said in 35:5-6, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.” Their eyes were opened, but Jesus commands them to tell no one. Possibly Jesus does not want to gain a false following. He did not want followers who were only there to see a spectacle or only there for physical healing. The two are disobedient to the word of the Lord, and they go spread the news all over that country.
A Man, Mute and Demon-Possessed vv32-34
Once again Jesus is faced with another issue that demands His attention. As He leaves that house He is confronted by a group who bring to Him a mute and demon-possessed man. This miracle will mark the end of this section in Matthew’s Gospel account. He has shown us the great wonder-working power of the Son of God in sweeping fashion. Jesus has the authority and power to cast out demons, command the storms, heal every type of illness, and even raise the dead to life. In this last paragraph, we are not directed toward the details of the exorcism, but to the crowd’s reaction. There is a foreshadowing here of things to come. The crowd says, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” Yet, the Pharisees say, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” Matthew gives us no explanation, just the facts. We are left with the two options of how we will respond. Will we react with derision or with delight in the things of God?
1) Jesus does not allow Himself to be constrained by tradition or social standards. What does this teach us? First, none of us are too far from Him. He will touch and save any of us. He is no respecter of persons. He has come to seek and save the lost. He did not come to call the righteous (seemingly) to repentance, but sinners. He did not come to be served, but to serve and lay down His life for us. Second, we should not allow ourselves to be limited in our scope of ministry. How dare we discriminate against certain peoples! How dare we show favoritism to one and not another! Are we above our Master? He humbled Himself to do the work of the ministry, Gospel ministry, Kingdom ministry, and we must do the same. No servant is greater than his master.
2) We are called to follow our Master, to pick up our cross and follow Him. Therefore, we must act immediately when we are confronted with needs, even when we must be inconvenienced. As Americans, our goal every day is to find convenience. Convenience in-and-of-itself is not a bad thing, but the ferocious pursuit of it can be sinful. We are to consider others better than ourselves. Therefore, if we see a need, even if it may hassle us, we must act in response.
3) There is nothing too great for the Lord Jesus to overcome. An application to almost any sermon is found in two words: Trust Christ. Why would you not trust the one who heals diseases and conditions, raises the dead back to life, restores strength from disability, and is sovereign over the works of the adversary? I will trust Him, every moment, and I hope you will too.

Matthew 9:14-17 Both Are Preserved

Matthew 9:14-17                    Both Are Preserved                                       WC McCarter



We will pick up where we left off last week with Jesus saying, “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” This kind of ministry will turn the Jewish world upside down. The Pharisees and Scribes do not comprehend it, not even the disciples of John can come to an understanding. Jesus has already weathered an attack from the Pharisees. They were not bold enough to face Jesus with their scorn, but went to Christ’s disciples instead. Now Jesus will be faced with a critical question from the disciples of John the baptizer.


Jesus will answer the immediate, smaller question and then go on to describe the bigger picture. So often we get caught up with the small stuff and completely miss the large. We spend a lot of time packing a suitcase, but we miss the boat. You see, the Pharisees and John’s disciples had one thing in common. Both groups were extreme legalists. They were excessive in their rule-keeping, and their laws came from not only the Old Testament, but also the traditions that they had established. They spent so much time tending to the details of the Law that they completely missed the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among them.


READ Scripture- This is the Word of God


Question and Answer vv14-15

The Law of Moses only commanded that God’s people fast on one particular day, the Day of Atonement. Yet, the custom of the Pharisees and disciples of John was to practice fasting on a regular basis, even twice a week. Probably on several occasions the strict, legalistic Jews of the Pharisees and disciples of John found themselves fasting while Jesus and His disciples were feasting. It was so outrageous that Jesus’ disciples did not fast that the disciples of John put themselves in a category with the Pharisees, a group of which they were very critical. Remember, it was John who said to the Pharisees, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. . . .” I mean every good, law-keeping, righteous Jew fasted often; even twice a week. Yet, Jesus and His group had never been known to fast. This is strange, if not scandalous.


Jesus responds to the question with a question of His own. He answers allegorically, but the truth is apparent. There are plenty of times in life to mourn, but a wedding is not one of those times. A groom’s buddies are not going to grieve while they are with their friend. They are going to celebrate. They are going to enjoy themselves. “The bridegroom’s [friends] cannot be fasting while the feasting is at its height!” (Morris, 224). Jesus says that as long as He is present, the disciples have no reason to mourn. They have no reason to fast. Then Jesus foreshadows His coming death and future ascension back to heaven. That will be a time for fasting. The book of Acts tells us that the early Christians did spend time fasting.


Biblical Christianity is not about religious performance, but about faith. It is not our accomplishments to which God responds. The Father responds to the accomplishments of Christ. Thus, we are to trust in what Christ has done and not in ourselves.


Connective: Jesus has now answered the direct question, but He will go on to give the men more than they were asking for. He will tell them what they really need to know.


Unshrunk Cloth on an Old Garment v16

I have some old jeans that have holes in them. I wear them to work in. I went and bought some of the iron-on patches and followed the directions line by line, but down to the last patch they all fell off. This would hold true especially of materials in the New Testament times. A garment would shrink when it was washed and it would become worn over time. Now if you took a new piece of cloth that had not been shrunk and placed it on the old garment, what would happen? The first time the garment was washed the patch would shrink. There would be tension, and the tension would tear the garment even more. The hole would become larger.


The ministry of the Lord Jesus was not going to be a patch for traditional, legalistic Judaism.


New Wine into Old Wineskins v17

New wine refers to wine that is still fermenting. Old wineskins refers to a container that is practically worn out. In ancient times, people would make liquid containers out of animal skins, usually goats. They would skin the animal, tie up the feet and neck, and leave a small opening. Fermenting wine would have lots of pressure from the gases. New skins have flexibility, they have some stretch. An old skin loses that stretch and cannot withstand the pressure from new, still fermenting wine. The pressure would cause an old skin to burst. If that happens, you have lost both the wine and the skin. What people would do is put new wine into a new skin so that both are preserved.


The new wine of faith in Christ cannot be poured into the old wineskins of traditional Judaism.


Notice that Jesus does not completely do away with structure (wineskins). There are new skins for the new wine. We are not under law but under grace. We live in the age of the Spirit. He has come to dwell within all those who have accepted Christ by faith. He writes the law of Christ, the royal law, upon our hearts. This is the new skin in which the new wine is poured.



This is the point in the sermon when you are supposed to say, “So what?”


First, we do not have to do “religious” things because everyone else is doing them.

            Many of the “righteous” Jews of the first century fasted, but Jesus’ group did not.

Second, have you noticed the new vs. old idea?

Jesus was not going to force the new work He was doing into the old frame. Attempting to patch the old would have made an even worse tear from the tension. Attempting to pour the new into the old would have caused so much pressure that both the old and the new would have been lost.

Now let’s get real personal and practical. What is it in your life that you will not do away with? Is God doing a new thing, but you won’t let go of the old? The tension and pressure will only build if you don’t realize that you need a new frame for this new work. What is it that needs to be done in this church, but we are trying to force it into our tradition to the detriment of both?

Matthew 9:9-13 I Desire Mercy

Matthew 9:9-13                      I Desire Mercy                                              WC McCarter
When was the last time that you sat down to eat with someone who was considered an outcast? When was the last time that you went to spend time at the house of a worthless sinner?
The Lord will challenge us today with not only His words, but with His actions as well. We will read of the time that He called a gross sinner to discipleship and even sat down at the guy’s house to eat a meal with many more sinners of the same ilk.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Proper Response v9
We don’t know what kind of contact Matthew had with the ministry of Jesus or the influence that Jesus had on Matthew previous to this “calling.” Matthew probably heard the preaching of Jesus. He had probably either seen or most definitely heard about His ministry. Thus, it is not outrageous that Matthew would drop what he was doing to follow Jesus. What we can say about Matthew’s action is that it was a proper response. You don’t have to make a decision about the Gospel the very first time you hear it, but you must begin to count the cost of following Christ and make a decision very soon. When you hear the call of Jesus you must respond. Maybe He is calling some of you today to follow Him. Make a commitment today. Maybe you have been a Christian for many years, but you have sensed that He is calling you to do a new thing. Make a decision to follow Him wherever He may lead.
Ministering, Not Communing vv10-11
We must go outside of our comfort zones to reach the lost in this community, but we must not participate in their sin. You see, Jesus ministered to “sinners,” but was Himself sinless. Do not fear sinners, outcasts, or this world, but go to them with the love of Christ. Go to them with the Gospel of their salvation by faith in Him. There is something to “meeting people where they are,” yet we must take caution to not fall into sin. Sin separates us from God. We want to bring people to the Savior, not separate ourselves from Him. The Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’ Awake to righteousness, and do not sin. . . .” Although we must minister to sinners, we must be wary of keeping bad company. The Apostle also told the Galatians, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” There is a ministry of restoring sinners back to God, but we must guard ourselves lest we fall into the same sin. Let me lastly quote to you what the Apostle told the Corinthians on another occasion. He said, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” My key point here is to say that there is a major difference between ministering to the lost and joining in their wrongdoing.
Jesus obviously dined with sinners. The word “sinners” here in verses 10-11 refer to the most grievous sinners of the community. They were the outcasts, the most despised. Now, let’s imagine something. What if Jesus were to put on flesh and blood and move into our neighborhood? Who would be the outcasts that He would dine with? I can imagine that He would eat with and minister to minorities, the poor, drug addicts, alcoholics, the homeless, homosexuals, prostitutes, and the like. That is not to say that all of these are sinners in the same sense, but they are all outcasts in our society. At best, we ignore them. At worst, we spite them.
Tax collectors like Matthew were hated for several reasons. They were considered:
1) traitors because they were Jews working for Rome.

2) unclean because of their constant contact with Gentiles.

3) Sabbath offenders for working on the Sabbath.

4) swindlers because they overtaxed the public to make a large commission.
The Great Physician vv12-13
Apparently the Pharisees who opposed Jesus were not bold enough to do it to the Lord’s face. So, they ask the Lord’s disciples why Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners. The Lord answers for His disciples with a proverb, a phrase, and the plan.
The proverb that Jesus answers with may have been one that was well-known, but we cannot know for sure. It seems innocent enough as it stands, but considering the tension between the Lord and the Pharisees, this was an indictment of their “righteousness.”
Jesus uses a phrase from Hosea 6:6 on a couple of occasions, and Matthew is sure to record it for us. Obviously it is an important expression. It teaches that God requires more than external obedience. He requires more than a going-through-the-motions type of law-keeping. Those things are all well and good, but God requires much more. He calls us to agree with Him sincerely from a pure heart. Under the Old Covenant, making sacrifices to God was good, but God expected mercy that much more.
The last part of the Lord’s response is the statement of the plan of redemption. Once again, this statement condemns the Pharisaical system and understanding of righteousness while stating the plan of God. Jesus has come to call everyone to repentance and salvation, all those who come to the understanding that they are poor in spirit.
1) Respond to the call of Christ whether it is initially or later in your Christian life.
2) Move outside of your comfort zone to minister to the lost, but do not sin.
3) Do not attempt to conform to a system of righteousness, trust in Christ’s righteousness.