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Matthew 9

9
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Man Who Can’t Walk
1So Jesus got into a boat, crossed over the lake again, and came to his own town. 2Some men brought him one of their friends who couldn’t walk and was lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Don’t be discouraged, son. Your sins are forgiven.”
3At this, some teachers of the law said to themselves, “This man has no right to talk like that, as if he were God!”
4Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking such bad things? 5Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? 6But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man who couldn’t walk, “Get up, take your mat, and go home.” 7The man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with wonder, and they praised God for giving that kind of authority to a human being.
Jesus Chooses Matthew and Eats With His Friends
9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at a tax collection booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10Jesus went to have dinner at Matthew’s house, and many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12When Jesus heard this, he responded, “Those who are healthy don’t need a doctor. Sick people do. 13Go and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ I haven’t come to call those who are right with God. I’ve come for sinners.”
John’s Disciples Ask Jesus About Fasting
14One day John’s disciples came and asked Jesus, “We and the Pharisees often fast, or go without eating, so why don’t your disciples do the same?”
15Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the groom be sad while he’s with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16“People don’t sew a patch of new cloth onto old clothes. If they did, the new piece would pull away from the old and make the tear worse. 17And people don’t pour new wine into old wineskins. If they did, the skins would burst, the wine would run out, and the wineskins would be destroyed. No, people pour new wine into new wineskins, and then both are preserved.”
Jesus Heals a Dead Girl and a Suffering Woman
18While Jesus was saying this, a synagogue leader came and got down on his knees in front of Jesus. He said, “My daughter has just died. But if you come and place your hand on her, she will live again.” 19Jesus got up and went with him. His disciples came along too.
20On the way, a woman came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel on his clothes. She’d had a sickness for 12 years that had made her bleed, 21and she’d thought, “If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed.”
22When Jesus turned and saw her, he said, “Don’t be discouraged, daughter. Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that very moment.
23When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house, he found flute players and a crowd of mourners. 24“Go away,” he told them, “the girl isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” They all laughed at him. 25But after the crowd had moved outside, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26News of this spread through that whole area.
Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
27As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him. They called out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28Jesus went indoors, and the blind men came to him. He asked them, “Do you believe that I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
29Then he touched their eyes and said, “May it happen to you just as you have believed.” 30Then they could see. Jesus warned them sternly, “Make sure that no one knows about this.” 31But they went out and spread the news about him all over that area.
32While they were going out, another man was brought to Jesus who was controlled by a demon that kept him from speaking. 33When the demon was driven out, the man became able to speak. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
34But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the power of the prince of demons.”
Jesus’ Concern for the Crowds
35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every illness and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he felt deep concern for them, because they looked ragged and bewildered, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but there are only a few workers. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers out into his harvest field.”
9
Who Needs a Doctor?
1-3Back in the boat, Jesus and the disciples recrossed the sea to Jesus’ hometown. They were hardly out of the boat when some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of them. Jesus, impressed by their bold belief, said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son. I forgive your sins.” Some religion scholars whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!”
4-8Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.” And the man did it. The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.
9Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.
10-11Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”
12-13Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”
Kingdom Come
14A little later John’s followers approached, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?”
15Jesus told them, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!”
16-17He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.”
Just a Touch
18-19As he finished saying this, a local official appeared, bowed politely, and said, “My daughter has just now died. If you come and touch her, she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, his disciples following along.
20-22Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on.
23-26By now they had arrived at the house of the town official, and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and the neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Clear out! This girl isn’t dead. She’s sleeping.” They told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. But when Jesus had gotten rid of the crowd, he went in, took the girl’s hand, and pulled her to her feet—alive. The news was soon out, and traveled throughout the region.
Become What You Believe
27-28As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”
29-31He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.
32-33Right after that, as the blind men were leaving, a man who had been struck speechless by an evil spirit was brought to Jesus. As soon as Jesus threw the evil tormenting spirit out, the man talked away just as if he’d been talking all his life. The people were up on their feet applauding: “There’s never been anything like this in Israel!”
34The Pharisees were left sputtering, “Hocus-pocus. It’s nothing but hocus-pocus. He’s probably made a pact with the Devil.”
35-38Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”