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Here’s a summary of the Bible study on May 5.


Doctor & Bridegroom (Matthew 9:1-26)

After the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7), Matthew records various activities of Jesus. These activities include healings, exorcisms, miracles, and other interactions with people (Matthew 8-9). What can we learn from these activities? On Sunday, we considered Matthew 9:1-26.


Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man (9:1-8)

“Some men brought to [Jesus] a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” (9:2) It’s interesting that Jesus said this rather than immediately healing the man.


The man’s condition may or may not have been related to his individual sins. In any case, sin is a more fundamental problem for any person. Thus forgiveness of sins is a deeper need. Still Jesus’ order of response was unusual compared to his other healings. But Jesus had a lesson to teach.


When some of the Jewish teachers of the law heard Jesus say this, they said to themselves, ‘This fellow is blaspheming!’” (9:3) “Blaspheming” means “speaking against God” in some way. The teachers of the law accused Jesus of “blaspheming” because only God has the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:7).


They did not understand or accept who Jesus really was. So how did Jesus respond?


He said, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (Matthew 9:5). And then Jesus healed the paralyzed man, thereby demonstrating his authority to forgive sins (9:6-7). “When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God…” (9:8).


Jesus Eats with Sinners (9:9-13)

Jesus went to Matthew’s house, where he and his disciples ate dinner with “many tax collectors and sinners” (9:10). Tax collectors were disliked because they were agents of the oppressive Roman government and were often dishonest. Thus they were lumped together with “sinners.” The Jewish religious leaders were bothered by Jesus’ association with these people.


“On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’” (9:12) 


Like the physically sick need a doctor (for physical healing), sinners need spiritual healing (mercy, forgiveness, and restoration), which Jesus came to bring. Jesus was not saying that the Jewish religious leaders were “healthy” and “righteous,” but he was making the point that “sinners” need a “doctor” and Jesus came to bring healing to them. If the Jewish religious leaders had the right attitude, they would care more about the “sinners” (9:13).


Jesus Explains His Eating (9:14-17)

In view of Jesus’ eating with his disciples and others, John the Baptist’s disciples wanted to know why Jesus’ disciples did not fast (abstain from food for religious purposes). “Jesus answered, ‘How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.’” (9:15, NIV)


As the promised Messiah (Christ), Jesus was also the “bridegroom” who would return for his “bride” – the church (Revelation 19:7, 9). In this stage of his ministry, Jesus (the “bridegroom”) was feasting, and he wanted his disciples to enjoy the moment. Later, when Jesus was “taken from them,” it would be a somber time, and fasting would be appropriate.


Jesus Raises a Dead Girl & Heals a Sick Woman (9:18-26)

A synagogue leader came to Jesus and said, ‘My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.’ Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples” (9:18-19).


On the way, “a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment. (9:20-22, NIV)


When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house, he said, “’…the girl is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him” (9:24). Though they knew Jesus had healed people, they considered him unable to help a dead girl. But Jesus demonstrated his authority over death by raising her (9:25).


What Can We Learn from This?

Through his various activities, Jesus demonstrated his authority over nature, demons, sickness, and even death. He demonstrated his authority to forgive sins. He also demonstrated his great love and compassion. Who benefited from Jesus’ authority and compassion, and why?


The paralyzed man was forgiven and healed after Jesus saw “their faith” (9:2, 6-7). After the suffering woman demonstrated her faith, Jesus healed her (9:21-22). In response to the synagogue leader’s faith, Jesus raised his daughter from the dead (9:18, 25)


Who received “the Doctor’s” healing? Those who were humble enough to realize they were “sick” (9:12). Those who had faith in the Doctor.


Why did Jesus heal? Jesus healed people to show who he is – the promised Messiah (Christ), the Doctor and Bridegroom. Jesus healed people to meet their needs. This was certainly not limited to their physical needs. While physical healing is a wonderful thing, the deeper need is spiritual.


The Bible says, “all have sinned… and the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Every human desperately needs what the Doctor (Jesus) offers – forgiveness of sins and restoration to God. For only in union with God can we be truly healed and experience total wholeness and well-being, for He is the Source of life and every good thing.

Are you truly well in your soul? Do you need to go the Doctor – often called “the Great Physician”? Do you need the help and healing that only Jesus can provide? Turn to him in faith. Entrust your daily life to Him who brings healing, salvation, and new life.


Brothers & sisters, you already know “the Great Physician.” Are you constantly “going” to him, listening to him, and following his instructions? Are you involved in his work among others who need his help?


Your Servant,


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