Matthew 9:10
Later, as Jesus was dining at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples.
At CapernaumMarcus Dods Matthew 9:1-17
The Sinner's FriendJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 9:9-13
Jesus the Friend of SinnersW.F. Adeney Matthew 9:10-13
The Model Readiness of MercyP.C. Barker Matthew 9:10-13

The incident here recorded follows on the call of Matthew the publican. Our Lord had just appointed a member of an order usually regarded as hopelessly reprobate to be one of his apostles. It was natural that the publican's old associates should recognize this breaking down of old barriers, and flock to the feast which Matthew provided to welcome and honour his new Friend.

I. THE FACT. Jesus did eat and drink with men of questionable occupation, and even with those of notoriously bad character. He did not simply show himself kindly disposed towards such people. He associated with them. Many benevolent persons would wish them well, and-some would support homes and refuges for the most miserable and degraded among them. But the Church of Christ has been slow in following her Master's example in showing real brotherhood for people under a social ban. The conduct of Jesus was new to the world, and it has been but rarely followed. Here is the wonder of his brotherly nature. He will take the lowest to the priceless privilege of his friendship.

II. THE COMPLAINT. This conduct of our Lord was regarded as scandalous by the religious people of his day, as similar conduct on the part of any good man who was daring enough to attempt it would be regarded by the religious people of our own times. It was not really suspected that he enjoyed the bad atmosphere of low society, but he was charged with courting that society in order to win popularity. Ungenerous people cannot conceive of generous motives. To them the grandest act of self-sacrifice must have some sinister aim.

III. THE EXPLANATION. Jesus associated with persons of bad character in the hope of raising them. He compared himself to a physician who does not pay his visits to healthy people. The doctor on his rounds goes to some strange houses. If he were but a casual caller, his choice of associates might raise a scandal. But his work determines his action. Though he has to handle and study what is very repulsive, science and humane ends elevate his treatment of it, and keep this pure. Christ goes first where he is most needed. Not desert, not pleasure, but need, draws him. When he comes it is to heal. His purpose sanctifies his association with persons of loose character. His one aim is to do them good.

IV. THE JUSTIFICATION. The religious people who accused our Lord had formed a totally false conception of the service which was acceptable to God. Jesus answered them out of their own Bible. There they might have read that what God required was not ceremonial offerings, but kindness to our fellow-men - "mercy and not sacrifice." Thus he turns the tables. These very religious people, his accusers, are not pleasing God. They are very particular about formal observances, but they neglect the weightier matters of the Law. Christ is truly doing God's will by showing mercy. God is love, and Divine love is never so gratified as by the exercise of human charity. Therefore it is quite in accordance with his Father's will that Christ shall call the sinners. His mission is to them. Those people who think themselves righteous cannot have any blessing from Christ. The self-righteous hypocrite is really further from the kingdom of heaven than the publican and the sinner. - W.F.A.

A man sick of the palsy.
American Homiletical Review.



(American Homiletical Review.)

I. OUR FAITH MAY BE EFFECTUAL IN SAVING OTHERS. The faith of the centurion obtained a cure for his servant. Such instances prove that, in all .eases, we may help on the salvation of our friends; that in some cases our faith may stand in the place of theirs. Another one's faith may do for an infant, a lunatic, for one who has an insurmountable obstacle m the way of coming to Christ. Apply this to the case of sponsors in infant baptism. We are related to God, and members one of another.

II. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DISEASE AND SIN. Christ goes deeper than the outward evil, to that which is evil — sin. The consequence of sin often traced in suffering. The consequences of past deeds remain.

III. CHRIST THE RESTORER OF HEALTH AND THE FORGIVER OF SIN. We have no right to argue there was no repentance: he felt his need of Christ. Christ spoke to the suffering sinner; giving first that we may return to Him of His own. There may be s crowd of evil thoughts, doubts between you and your Saviour; let none of these hinder you.

(C. B. Drake, M. A.)

There are three views of the outward miracles of our Lord, one as marvels of power, as demonstrations of benevolence, as seeing in them a Divine correspondence between the things of nature and the things of the spirit; between the facts of the outer and inner world. Thus, the multiplied bread a visible image of heavenly nourishment.


II. THE CONDITION OF THE CURE. This patient does hear, does believe, and is ready to obey. Let us never despair of another. "They brought him" — notice this neighbourly and vicarious kindness. There are instances when the sick man alone lacks force to arise. In the fulfilment of the necessary condition faith and action are joined, and the action expresses the faith. These persons not only believe abstractly in Christ's power; they brought their sick neighbour where He was. It was not an experiment with them, but the faith of confident expectation. On our way to cure we have no time for speculation, or curiosity; but to draw near with faith.


1. A title of endearment and an assurance of hope. Adaptation of Christ's treatment; he never administers rebuke to self-abasement.

2. The words reveal a deep insight into the relations of physical and moral evil. Pain, the result of sin; hence He removes disobedience, then discomfort.

IV. THE LOW INSTINCTS AND PREFERENCES OF THE NATURAL MAN CHAFE AT THIS DIVINE FRIENDLINESS. These scribes represent jealous and selfish human nature. This friendliness is too wise, deep, holy, for their low desires. The scribes watch for the chance of hostile criticism. Self-will demands to be saved after its own manner.

V. HERE THEN, IN THE CAVILS OF THESE SPECTATORS, THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN FINDS A NEW DISORDER MORE DEEPLY STRUCK THAN THE OTHER. His compassion; His patience. He changes the manner of His mercy, and is willing by any means to convince the people that He is Lord. All miracle is one, the cure of sick bodies and sick hearts.

VI. THE MULTITUDE GLORIFIED GOD. The intended result was reached.

(Bp. Huntingdon.)

I. SIN — ITS RELATION TO THE BODY. Its sphere of action is in "high places; " mere matter cannot sin. It lives secretly in the soul, but works terribly in the body. As sin works outward through the body, punishment strikes the body on its way to the seat of sin. Here is one of God's grandest temples lying in ruins; and God incarnate comes to restore it. He came not to deliver the body from the temporal consequences of sin, but the man from its power here, and its presence hereafter.


1. It is by a free pardon that sin is removed and its eternal consequences averted. There is no other cure.

2. The Saviour to whom this needy man was brought has power to forgive sins. It is the acquired right of Him who bore the law's curse.

3. Christ has power to forgive on earth. While we are on this earth only.

4. The Son of Man hath power to forgive. The power lies in our brother's hands.

5. Christ the Saviour, in coming to a sinful man desires his safety hereafter, but also his happiness now — "Son, be of good cheer." Every man has his own way of seeking "good cheer"; some by money, lands, politics, war.

(W. Armlet.)

1. In awakening the dormant powers of the palsied man.

2. In calming the perturbed soul — "Be of good cheer."

3. In healing both soul and body.

(A. F. C. Wallroth.)




1. His knowledge. He knew the real need of the paralytic.

2. His authority. It is good to have been afflicted.

(D. Rees.)

Why does our Saviour begin with the pardon of sin?

1. To display His sovereignty.

2. To show that the soul is the principal care.

3. Perhaps the man suffered more from spiritual distress than from bodily pain.

4. It would seem to emit a ray of His glory, and prove a test to try the dispositions of the company.Here are several things worthy of notice: —

1. This cure was effected by a word.

2. He was ordered to return home. Christ did not seek His own glory.

3. Fix your eye on Jesus, the most prominent figure in the story.

4. How far the case of the paralytic resembles yours.

(1)Are you distressed in mind and body too?

(2)Has Christ healed thy body and not thy soul?

(3)Has he spoken peace to thy conscience, and is thy body still under the influence of disease?

(W. Jay.)



1. Observe what it was that found its way to the heart of Christ. .Not his suffering, but faith.

2. Mark the peculiarity of the reception he gave to the paralyzed man — "Son, be of good cheer," etc.



1. All men, till they come into saving contact with Christ, are carrying about with them two heavy burdens.

2. Christ has power to meet every case of accumulated guilt and heart-seated depravity.

3. What then is the nature of this blessing?

(P. Morrison.)

1. The connection which subsists between the prevalence of sickness and the invasion of sin.

2. Why it is not always the case that when sin is pardoned sickness is healed. Not for want of power on the part of our Lord. Also in the case of the palsied man it was necessary that He should give to the Jewish people a proof that He possessed the power He claimed; this not necessary now. Christ does even now sometimes heal where all human remedy has failed; but not always. Then the discipline of continued affliction is good, impatience is subdued. Also we have given an evidence of the power of the gospel, in the triumph of grace over nature.

(S. Robjohns, M. A.)

The Clergyman's Magazine.
1. The terrible state of the patient.

2. The charity of his friends.

3. The compassion of Jesus, so ready and comprehensive.

4. The opposition of his enemies.

5. The patient, meek forbearance of our Lord.

6. The triumphant display of His Divine power.

7. Its effect upon the multitude, wonder, not repentance.

(The Clergyman's Magazine.)

One real case of bodily paralysis may help us to picture what above all things we ought to know, the state of our own inner life. I have seen this quoted from the medical records at Paris: — A man was attacked by a creeping paralysis; sight was the first to fail; soon after, hearing went; then, by degrees, taste, smell, touch, and the very power of motion. He could breathe, he could swallow, he could think, and, strange to say, he could speak; that was all; not the very slightest message from without could possibly, it seemed, reach his mind, nothing to tell him what was near, who was still alive; the world was utterly lost to him, and he all but lost to the world. At last, one day, an accident showed that one small place on one cheek had its feeling left. It seemed a revelation from heaven. By tracing letters on that place, his wife and children could speak to him, his dark dungeon-wall was pierced, his tongue had never lost its power, and once more he was a man among men. Strange this, and true; a parable too if we read it aright. The worst kind of paralysis, but, God be thanked, far the rarest of all, is that of the heart and conscience. There never was a man with no affections and no sense of right and wrong. But never must they be pronounced past cure. God alone knows our real state; there is always some tender spot in our nature, some sensitive place on which He can write in characters of love, and it may be some one's privilege to find it — the thought of a mother, of the days of childhood, of a little one who died, or whatever it be, God- can still use that as a means of cure.

(H. S. Swithinbank, M. A.)

Not, "Be of good cheer, thy health is given thee," though that he had also; but " thy sins are forgiven thee." If a friend should come to a malefactor, on his way to the gallows, put a sweet posy in his hands, and bid him be of good cheer, smell on that; alas! this would bring little joy with it to the poor man's heart, who sees the place of execution before him. But if one came from his prince with a pardon, put it into his hand, and bade him be of good cheer; this, and this only, would cheer the poor man's heart, and fill it with a ravishment of joy. Truly, anything short of pardoning mercy is as inconsiderable towards pacifying a troubled conscience, as that posy in the dying prisoner's hand would be.


ailment: — Sin is the well in which it springs, and perdition the sea to which it is flowing. When he looked on disease, he sees its beginning and its ending: his work is to cut short its course, ere it issue in the second death. He looks upward and downward: he will not confine his view to these symptoms which appear in the body, and pertain to time.

(W. Arnot.)

Many Oriental houses have a court or quadrangle in front; the buildings which form the house occupy one or more of its sides. The internal part of such a house is often screened by a corridor below, having the various household officers behind it, and a gallery above, from which is the entrance to the family apartments. The gallery is roofed over, and its roof is about the same height as the roof of the house. Bearing this in mind we may account for what occurred in this way. The quadrangle was full of people; our Lord instructs them from the gallery: the Pharisees are in the family apartments adjoining the gallery; the friends of the sick man cannot enter the quadrangle from the street; or if this could be done, they cannot reach the corridor, from which there were steps leading to the gallery; they ascend, therefore, the stairs from the back or side of the house leading to the roof, and break open the roof or verandah which covered the gallery. The house-roof was used for a terrace, and was built of strong materials; the gallery-roof was of very slight construction, of the same character as the covered balcony.

(Webster and Wilkinson.)

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