Matthew 9:6
Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? Thought-reading may be made a plaything, and it may be developed into a science. It is a commonplace faculty which every one possesses, in greater or less degree, and which every one more or less efficiently cultivates by the practice and experience of life. The mother reads the thought of her child; the wife the thought of her husband; and the friend often guesses, as we say, the thought of his friend. This ordinary power our Lord possessed, and the faces and movements of his disciples must often have suggested to him what was in their minds. This, however, may not be felt to explain all the instances that are recorded, and we may well assume that our Lord had a Divine power of thought-reading, and it included not only the thought, but also the tone and character and quality of the thought. Here our Lord reproves the spirit of the thought rather than the thought; the suspicious temper, which prefers to light upon an evil explanation rather than a good one, and assumes that every one must mean to do the bad thing. The apostle makes a special point of "charity" that it "thinketh no evil." And the sin is so common that a familiar proverb has been fashioned to warn us against it, "Honi sol qui real y pense" - "Evil be to him who evil thinks." The loving, trustful temper will ensure kindly thoughts, and the suggestion of good motives wherever possible.

I. THINKING EVIL AS AS ACT. It is an act that Jesus here reproves. These scribes heard words which were strange to them, and found a claim made which they could not understand. What, then, should they have done? Plainly they should have taken the matter into quiet consideration; gathered up what might help to explain it, and formed a careful and wise judgment. What did they do? Thought too quickly; let bias and prejudice guide thought; encouraged the evil suggestion that came; allowed themselves to feel pleasure in the assumption of bad motives. When a judgment has to be made of persons or of motives, it should never be made hurriedly; because at first we seldom can get into consideration the entire circle of grounds on which a judgment should be based. It is the easiest thing to "think evil;" it may be the right thing to "think good." If these scribes had thought more, they might have thought good.

II. THINKING EVIL AS A HABIT. This it readily grows to become. This involves distortion of the mental faculties. The soul sees through coloured glasses, and never sees the truth. Suspicion becomes a mood of mind; and with those who have fixed this habit, no man's character is safe. - R.T.







But that ye may know that the Son of Man.
This narrative is remarkable,

1. Because it is evident that while our Lord forgave the sick man's sins for his own sake, He healed his disease for the sake of those who stood by.

2. Because our Lord claims the power of forgiving sins, not because He is the Son of God, but because He is the Son of Man.

3. It is one of the very rare instances in which a miracle seems to have been performed for the purpose of convincing unbelief. What is this forgiveness? It must be the same thing as human forgiveness. "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." It therefore cannot mean the remission of punishment. Forgiveness is reconciliation; the offence is no longer allowed to stand between the parties. When God forgives He receives us back to His favour. It is free, full, and outruns our repentance. But He does not destroy the consequences of sin; the punishment remains. But it entirely changes the character of the punishment. What we regarded as the blow of an angry Ruler, becomes the chastisement of a kind Father. Our Lord claims the power of forgiving sins, not because He is the Son of God, but because He is the Son of Man. Why does our Lord thus describe Himself? We are accustomed to think that the pardon of sin is a power possessed by God alone. When Christ calls Himself the Son of Man, He is displaying before our eyes a pattern of what we ought to be, and of powers we ought to possess. Were we perfect beings, the power of forgiving sins would be ours. The ministry of reconciliation is committed to man. The forgiveness of sins is the reconciliation of the sinner to God; people of great personal holiness have the power of reconciling sinners to God. This may fall short of the power to forgive; but it is because the holiest man falls short of the measure of Christ. We may now see why our Lord accepted the challenge of unbelief. He cured the man to show the bystanders that they ought to have like power. It was man, not God, who had made the way of forgiveness hard. Love raised the life that self-righteous scorn had trampled down.

(J. P. Wright, M. A.)

Christ here addressed the soul of the man first; sometimes His first attention was given to the body. From the indiscriminate order of Christ's procedure in this matter, we like to see how body and soul are equally dear to God. The power which is given to Christ upon earth to forgive sins.

1. There is a beautiful justice in the fact that He who purchased the pardon, at such an untold price of suffering, should be the one to whom it is permitted to have the joy of giving it.

2. At the moment when our blessed Lord said these words the apostles were all standing by; and He did His own work, in His own solitude, to His own glory.

3. In these words "on earth "I read the blessed promise that so long as this earth shall last, more and more wicked though it may grow, He will never leave this earth while it is an earth, but will be always here to do His forgiving work.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. As THE GREAT WANT OF MAN.

II. AS THE PECULIAR ACHIEVEMENT OF CHRIST.

III. As THE PRIMARY OFFER OF THE GOSPEL.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

1. The force of the name " Son of Man," implying

(1)Divine origin.

(2)Representative of manhood. Not the Son of the Jew, or carpenter.

(3)Brotherhood.

(4)Manlike sympathy.

2. His grand prerogative — "power on earth to forgive sins.":Forgiveness is His own right by virtue of His

(1)Sacrifice;

(2)Intercession (Acts 5:31).

3. The great blessing — "forgiveness." "The soul might have been healed and the body untouched; but the paralysis, both moral and physical, was removed.

(1)Forgiveness is obtainable "on earth."

(2)Many realized it now.

(J. Harris.)

"There have been two men in the world," says St. Paul: "the fallen Adam, with his infantile and undeveloped perfections; and the Christ, with His full and complete humanity." All other men are fragments; He is the "Entire and perfect Chrysolite." "Aristotle is but the rubbish of an Adam," and Adam is but the dim outline sketch of a Jesus. And between the two there have been none. The one Man as God meant Him, the type of man, the perfect humanity, the realized ideal, the home of all the powers of manhood.

(Dr. Maclaren.)

The Oriental frequently spreads a mat upon the ground and sleeps in the open air. In the morning he rolls up his mat, and carries it away.

(A. Cart, M. A.)

The Rev. H. Wilkins, Cheltenham, in " Good Cause for Good Cheer," writes: "It is no general statement, but a personal assurance of the forgiveness of sins. Looking with His own keen glance of love into the sick man's eyes, He says: 'Thy sins be forgiven thee.' The general truth of the pardon of sins is not enough for us, we want a personal forgiveness. One day when Martin Luther was almost overwhelmed with despair in his cell at Erfurth, an old monk tried to comfort him by repeating the article of the Apostles' Creed, 'I believe in the forgiveness of sins.' Luther often repeated the same words. 'Ah!' said the good old monk, 'it is not enough to believe in the forgiveness of David's sins or Peter's sins; this the devils believe. God's command is to believe that our own sins are forgiven.' This was the assurance that Jesus gave here. He knew this man's life-history; He knew, probably, that there was a close connection between his suffering and his sin; but whatever his sins were, they were frankly forgiven."

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