According to Matthew 9:1-38

9  So boarding the boat, he traveled across and went into his own city.+  And look! they were bringing him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. On seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic: “Take courage, child! Your sins are forgiven.”+  Now certain scribes said to themselves: “This fellow is blaspheming.”+  Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said: “Why are you thinking wicked things in your hearts?+  For instance, which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?+  However, in order for you to know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins—” then he said to the paralytic: “Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go to your home.”+  And he got up and went to his home.  When the crowds saw this, they were struck with fear, and they glorified God, who gave such authority to men.  Next, while moving on from there, Jesus caught sight of a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: “Be my follower.” At that he rose up and followed him.+ 10  Later as he was dining* in the house, look! many tax collectors and sinners came and began dining* with Jesus and his disciples.+ 11  But on seeing this, the Pharisees said to his disciples: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”+ 12  Hearing them, he said: “Healthy people do not need a physician, but those who are ill do.+ 13  Go, then, and learn what this means: ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’+ For I came to call, not righteous people, but sinners.” 14  Then John’s disciples came to him and asked: “Why do we and the Pharisees practice fasting but your disciples do not fast?”+ 15  At this Jesus said to them: “The friends of the bridegroom+ have no reason to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, do they? But days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them,+ and then they will fast. 16  Nobody sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old outer garment, for the new piece pulls away from the garment and the tear becomes worse.+ 17  Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins. If they do, then the wineskins burst and the wine spills out and the wineskins are ruined. But people put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” 18  While he was telling them these things, look! a certain ruler who had approached did obeisance to him, saying: “By now my daughter must be dead, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will come to life.”+ 19  Then Jesus got up and, with his disciples, followed him. 20  And look! a woman suffering for 12 years from a flow of blood+ approached from behind and touched the fringe* of his outer garment,+ 21  for she kept saying to herself: “If I only touch his outer garment, I will get well.”*+ 22  Jesus turned around and, noticing her, said: “Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well.”*+ And from that hour the woman was made well.+ 23  When, now, he came into the ruler’s house and caught sight of the flute players and the crowd making a commotion,+ 24  Jesus said: “Leave the place, for the little girl did not die but is sleeping.”+ At this they began to laugh at him scornfully. 25  As soon as the crowd had been sent outside, he went in and took hold of her hand,+ and the little girl got up.+ 26  Of course, the talk about this spread into all that region. 27  As Jesus moved on from there, two blind men+ followed him, shouting out: “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28  After he had gone into the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus asked them: “Do you have faith that I can do this?”+ They answered him: “Yes, Lord.” 29  Then he touched their eyes, saying: “According to your faith let it happen to you.” 30  And their eyes received sight.+ Moreover, Jesus sternly warned them, saying: “See that nobody gets to know it.”+ 31  But after going outside, they made it public about him in all that region. 32  When they were leaving, look! people brought him a speechless man possessed of a demon;+ 33  and after the demon had been expelled, the speechless man spoke.+ Well, the crowds were amazed and said: “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.”+ 34  But the Pharisees were saying: “It is by the ruler of the demons that he expels the demons.”+ 35  And Jesus set out on a tour of all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the Kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity.+ 36  On seeing the crowds, he felt pity for them,+ because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.+ 37  Then he said to his disciples: “Yes, the harvest is great, but the workers are few.+ 38  Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”+


Or “reclining at the table.”
Or “reclining at the table.”
Or “edge; border; tassel.”
Or “will be saved.”
Or “has saved you.”

Study Notes

his own city: That is, Capernaum, Jesus’ home base in the region. (Mt 4:13; Mr 2:1) This city was not far from Nazareth, where he grew up; from Cana, where he turned water into wine; from Nain, where he resurrected the son of a widow; and from the vicinity of Bethsaida, where he miraculously fed about 5,000 men and restored sight to a blind man.

look!: The Greek word i·douʹ, here rendered “look!,” is often used to focus attention on what follows, encouraging the reader to visualize the scene or to take note of a detail in a narrative. It is also used to add emphasis or to introduce something new or surprising. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term occurs most frequently in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and in the book of Revelation. A corresponding expression is often used in the Hebrew Scriptures.

look!: See study note on Mt 1:20.

seeing their faith: The use of the plural pronoun “their” shows that Jesus noted how much faith the entire group had, not just the paralyzed man.

child: Used by Jesus as a term of endearment.​—2Ti 1:2; Tit 1:4; Phm 10.

which is easier: It would be easier for someone to say that he could forgive sins, since there would be no visible evidence to substantiate such a claim. But to say, Get up and walk required a miracle that would make plain for all to see that Jesus also has the authority to forgive sins. This account and Isa 33:24 link sickness to our sinful condition.

Son of man: Or “Son of a human.” This expression occurs about 80 times in the Gospels. Jesus used it to refer to himself, evidently emphasizing that he was truly human, born from a woman, and that he was a fitting human counterpart to Adam, having the power to redeem humankind from sin and death. (Ro 5:12, 14-15) The same expression also identified Jesus as the Messiah, or the Christ.​—Da 7:13, 14; see Glossary.

Son of man: See study note on Mt 8:20.

to forgive sins​—: The dash indicates that Jesus stopped in mid-sentence and then powerfully proved his point by publicly healing the man.

Matthew: The Greek name rendered “Matthew” is probably a shortened form of the Hebrew name rendered “Mattithiah” (1Ch 15:18), meaning “Gift of Jehovah.”

Matthew: Also known as Levi.​—See study notes on Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27.

Matthew: See study notes on Mt Title and 10:3.

tax office: Or “tax collection booth.” This could be a small building or a booth where the tax collector sat and gathered taxes on exports, imports, and goods taken through a country by merchants. Matthew’s tax office was located in or near Capernaum.

Be my follower: See study note on Mr 2:14.

Be my follower: The Greek verb used in this exhortation has the basic sense of “to go along behind, come after,” but here it means “to follow someone as a disciple.”

dining: See study note on Mr 2:15.

the house: Refers to Matthew’s house.​—Mr 2:14, 15; Lu 5:29.

tax collectors: See study note on Mt 5:46.

sinners: The Bible shows that all humans are sinners. (Ro 3:23; 5:12) Therefore, the term is used here in a more specific way, evidently referring to those who had a reputation for practicing sin, perhaps of a moral or a criminal nature. (Lu 7:37-39; 19:7, 8) This term was also used for non-Jewish people and by the Pharisees for Jewish people who did not observe the rabbinic traditions.​—Joh 9:16, 24, 25.

tax collectors: Many Jews collected taxes for the Roman authorities. People hated such Jews because they not only collaborated with a resented foreign power but also extorted more than the official tax rate. Tax collectors were generally shunned by fellow Jews, who put them on the same level as sinners and prostitutes.​—Mt 11:19; 21:32.

dining: Or “reclining at the table.” To recline with someone at a table indicated close fellowship with that person. Thus, Jews in Jesus’ day would normally never have reclined at the table, or taken a meal, with non-Jews.

mercy, and not sacrifice: Jesus twice refers to these words from Ho 6:6 (here and at Mt 12:7). Matthew, a despised tax collector who became an intimate associate of Jesus, is the only Gospel writer to record this quote as well as the illustration of the unmerciful slave. (Mt 18:21-35) His Gospel highlights Jesus’ repeated insistence that mercy is required in addition to sacrifice.

practice fasting: See study note on Mt 6:16.

fast: That is, abstain from food for a limited time. (See Glossary.) Jesus never commanded his disciples to fast, nor did he direct them to avoid the practice altogether. Under the Mosaic Law, rightly motivated Jews humbled themselves before Jehovah and showed repentance for sin by means of fasts.​—1Sa 7:6; 2Ch 20:3.

friends of the bridegroom: Lit., “sons of the bridechamber,” an idiom describing wedding guests but especially the friends of the bridegroom.

wine into . . . wineskins: It was common in Bible times to store wine in animal skins. (1Sa 16:20) Skin bottles were made of the complete hides of domestic animals, such as sheep or goats. Old leather wineskins would become stiff and lose their elasticity. New wineskins, on the other hand, could stretch and swell and thus could withstand the pressure caused by the ongoing process of fermentation of new wine.​—See Glossary, “Wineskin.”

a certain ruler: The name of this “ruler” (Greek, arʹkhon), Jairus, is given in Mark’s and Luke’s parallel accounts, where he is called a presiding officer of the synagogue.​—Mr 5:22; Lu 8:41.

did obeisance to him: Or “bowed down to him; honored him.”​—See study note on Mt 8:2.

did obeisance to him: Or “bowed down to him; honored him.” People mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures also bowed down when meeting prophets, kings, or other representatives of God. (1Sa 25:23, 24; 2Sa 14:4-7; 1Ki 1:16; 2Ki 4:36, 37) This man evidently recognized that he was talking to a representative of God who had power to heal people. It was appropriate to bow down to show respect for Jehovah’s King-Designate.​—Mt 9:18; for more information on the Greek word used here, see study note on Mt 2:2.

flow of blood: Likely a chronic menstrual flow. According to the Mosaic Law, this condition would render the woman ceremonially unclean. As such, she was not supposed to touch others.​—Le 15:19-27.

daughter: The only recorded instance in which Jesus directly addressed a woman as “daughter,” perhaps because of the delicate situation and her “trembling.” (Lu 8:47) By using this term of endearment, a form of address that signifies nothing about the woman’s age, Jesus emphasizes his tender concern for her.

has not died but is sleeping: In the Bible, death is often likened to sleep. (Ps 13:3; Joh 11:11-14; Ac 7:60; 1Co 7:39; 15:51; 1Th 4:13) Jesus was going to bring the girl back to life, so he may have said this because he would demonstrate that just as people can be awakened from a deep sleep, they can be brought back from death. Jesus’ power to resurrect the girl came from his Father, “who makes the dead alive and calls the things that are not as though they are.”​—Ro 4:17.

did not die but is sleeping: See study note on Mr 5:39.

son of David: Indicates that Jesus is the heir of the Kingdom covenant made with David that is to be fulfilled by someone in David’s line.​—2Sa 7:11-16; Ps 89:3, 4.

David the king: Although several kings are mentioned in this genealogy, David is the only one identified by the title “king.” Israel’s royal dynasty was referred to as “the house of David.” (1Ki 12:19, 20) By calling Jesus “son of David” in verse 1, Matthew emphasizes the Kingdom theme and identifies Jesus as the heir of the kingship promised in the Davidic covenant.​—2Sa 7:11-16.

Son of David: By calling Jesus “Son of David,” these men express their belief that Jesus is heir to the throne of David and thus is the Messiah.​—See study notes on Mt 1:1, 6.

teaching . . . preaching: Teaching differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, uses persuasive arguments, and offers proof.​—See study notes on Mt 3:1; 28:20.

the good news: First occurrence of the Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on, rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. A related Greek expression eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” means “a proclaimer of good news.”​—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

teaching . . . preaching: See study note on Mt 4:23.

the good news: See study note on Mt 4:23.

felt pity: The Greek verb splag·khniʹzo·mai used for this expression is related to the word for “intestines” (splagʹkhna), denoting a feeling experienced deep inside the body, an intense emotion. It is one of the strongest words in Greek for the feeling of compassion.

skinned: The Greek word originally meant “flayed,” or “stripped of the skin,” conveying an image of sheep with their skin ripped apart by wild animals or torn as they wandered among brambles and sharp rocks. The term came to be used figuratively, meaning “maltreated, harassed, wounded.”

thrown about: The image here is of sheep being thrown down, helpless and exhausted, figuratively conveying the idea of the crowd being dejected, neglected, and helpless.


North Shore of the Sea of Galilee, Looking Northwest
North Shore of the Sea of Galilee, Looking Northwest

1. Plain of Gennesaret. This was a fertile triangle of land, measuring about 5 by 2.5 km (3 by 1.5 mi). It was along the shoreline in this area that Jesus invited the fishermen Peter, Andrew, James, and John to join him in his ministry.​—Mt 4:18-22.

2. Tradition locates Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount here.​—Mt 5:1; Lu 6:​17, 20.

3. Capernaum. Jesus took up residence in this city, and it was in or near Capernaum that he found Matthew.​—Mt 4:13; 9:1, 9.

Jesus Invites Matthew to Be His Follower
Jesus Invites Matthew to Be His Follower

After teaching a crowd in Capernaum, Jesus catches sight of the tax collector Matthew sitting at a tax office. Tax collectors were despised because many of them unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of the people. But Jesus sees something good in Matthew and invites him to be his follower. Matthew responds immediately, becoming the fifth disciple to join Jesus in his ministry. (Lu 5:1-11, 27, 28) Later, Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 apostles. (Mt 10:2-4; Mr 3:16-19) Matthew’s Gospel often reflects his background. For example, he is explicit in his mention of money, figures, and values. (Mt 17:27; 26:15; 27:3) He also highlights the mercy of God, who allowed him, a despised tax collector, to repent and become a minister of the good news.​—Mt 9:9-13; 12:7; 18:21-35.

Animal Skins Used to Store Wine
Animal Skins Used to Store Wine

Skin bottles were often made of the complete hides of sheep, goats, or cattle. A dead animal’s head and feet were cut off, and the carcass was carefully removed from the skin to avoid opening its belly. After the hide was tanned, the openings were sewed up. The neck or a leg of the animal was left unsewed to serve as the bottle’s opening, which was closed with a stopper or tied with a string. Skin bottles were used to hold not only wine but also milk, butter, cheese, oil, or water.

First-Century Synagogue
First-Century Synagogue

This reconstruction, which incorporates some features of the first-century synagogue found at Gamla, located about 10 km (6 mi) northeast of the Sea of Galilee, gives an idea of what an ancient synagogue may have looked like.