christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

matthew 9

Read Matthew 9 at Bible Gateway.

This chapter forms a chiastic structure:

Mat 9:1-37
1a) Mat 9:1-2, Jesus forgives the paralytic’s sins;
1b) Mat 9:3, The scribes think He is blaspheming;
1c) Mat 9:4-8, Jesus healed the paralytic + the multitudes marveled;
1d) Mat 9:9-13, Repentance from sin = spiritual life (Matthew the tax collector);
central axis) Mat 9:14-17, Bridegroom with us and the new wine;
2d) Mat 9:18-31, Healing from death, flow of blood, blindness = physical life;
2c) Mat 9:32-33, Jesus healed a mute demoniac + the multitudes marveled;
2b) Mat 9:34, The Pharisees said of Him that He casts out demons by the ruler of demons;
2a) Mat 9:35-37, Jesus taught, preached, and healed for He was moved with compassion.

The D pairs are so interesting. What does the salvation of Matthew the tax collector, and his tax collector and sinner friends, have to do with the physical healings which Jesus performs later in the chapter, which are in the position of its matching pair?

Jesus Himself gives us the clue: of the tax collector and sinner friends of Matthew’s, Jesus says: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick,” (Mat 9:12). In other words, the tax collectors and sinners are suffering from a sickness, just as the ruler’s daughter, the woman with the issue of blood, and the blind men are. Only instead of causing a physical death, their sickness causes a spiritual death. It is the sickness of unrepented sin.

There are three sicknesses, then, which form the matching D pair on the second side of the chiastic structure. Three is a sign of Messiah in Scripture, as we have seen throughout the Old Testament. The three sicknesses are: death, a flow of blood, and blindness.

We saw yesterday in Mat 8 that the cleansing from leprosy, which Jesus performed, brought us back to Lev 13-14 and the Law for purification from leprosy, an uncleanness which leads to death. Interestingly enough, Lev 11 contains the Law for purification from death or a dead body, and Lev 12 contains the Law for purification from a woman’s flow of blood. The healings that Jesus performs in Mat 9 heals death, and the flow of blood. This is not a coincidence, but these events occurred as they did because they are thematically connected with Lev 11-12, just as the healing of the leper was thematically connected with Lev 13-14.

Then there is the healing that does not seem to fit the pattern, the healing of two blind men. What is the Scripture teaching us, by grouping these together as it has? That the spiritual sickness of unrepented sin causes death just as much as physical sicknesses do. That those things which cause uncleanness, according to Torah, Jesus healed, or purified. He is the High Priest of which Leviticus prophesied. That we are to see the Law of Purification from Leviticus as the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom from Torah. That blindness is related to sinners, in that unrepentance is a form of blindness: spiritual blindness.

And most importantly, that Jesus came to heal it all: sickness, disease, demonic oppression and possession, uncleanness, unrepentance and sin, blindness, both physical and spiritual, and death, both physical and spiritual. Whatever it is that the fall of man brought, Jesus came to undo it. Not the least motivation for His undoing it, is because He is moved with compassion on our behalf.

matthew 9, faith for healing (2011)


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