MATTHEW 9:32-35 THE KING AND THOSE POSSESSED WITH DEVILS
32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
As a pair of patients leave the surgery, another poor creature comes in.
Note the “behold. ” The case is striking. He comes not freely, or of his own accord: “they brought ” him: thus should we bring men to Jesus. He does not cry for help, for he is “a dumb man. ” Let us open our months for the dumb. He is not himself, but he is “possessed with a devil. ” Poor creature! will anything be done for him?
33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
Our Lord does not deal with the symptoms, but with the source of the disorder, even with the evil spirit. “The devil was cast out ”; and it is mentioned as if that were a matter of course when Jesus came on the scene. The devil had silenced the man, and so, when the evil one was gone, “the dumb spake. ” How we should like to know what he said! Whatever he said it matters not; the wonder was that he could say anything. The people confessed that this was a wonder quite unprecedented; and in this they only said the truth: “It was never so seen in Israel. ” Jesus is great at surprises: he has novelties of gracious power. The people were quick to express their admiration; yet we see very little trace of their believing in our Lord’s mission. It is a small thing to marvel, but a great thing to believe.
O Lord, give the people around us to see such revivals and conversions, as they have never known before!
34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
Of course, they had some bitter sentence ready. Nothing was too bad for them to say of Jesus. They were hard pressed when they took to this statement, which our Lord in another place so easily answered. They hinted that such power over demons must have come to him through an unholy compact with “the prince of the devils. ” Surely this was going very near to the unpardonable sin.
35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
This was his answer to the blasphemous slanders of the Pharisees. A glorious reply it was. Let us answer calumny by greater zeal in doing good.
Small places were not despised by our Lord: he went about the villages as well as the cities. Village piety is of the utmost importance, and has a close relation to city life. Jesus turned old institutions to good account: the “synagogues ” became his Seminaries. Three-fold was his ministry: expounding the old, proclaiming the new, healing the diseased.
Observe the repetition of the word “every ” as showing the breadth of his healing power. All this stood in relation to his royalty; for it was “the gospel of the kingdom ” which he proclaimed. Our Lord was “the Great Itinerant”: Jesus went about preaching, and healing. His was a Medical Mission as well as an evangelistic tour. Happy people who have Jesus among them! Oh, that we might now see more of his working among our own people!
MATTHEW 9:36-38 THE KING PITYING THE MULTITUDES
36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
A great crowd is a demand upon compassion, for it suggests so much sin and need. In this case, the great want was instruction: “they fainted ” for I want of comfort; they “were scattered abroad ” for lack of guidance. They were eager to learn, but they had no fit teachers. “Sheep having no shepherd ” are in an ill plight. Unfed, unfolded, unguarded, what will become of them? Our Lord was stirred with a feeling which agitated his inmost soul. “He was moved with compassion. ” What he saw affected not his eye only, but his heart. He was overcome by sympathy. His whole frame was stirred with an emotion which put every faculty into forceful movement. He is even now affected towards our people in the same manner. He is moved with compassion if we are not.
37, 38. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.
His heavy heart sought solace among “his disciples ”, and he spake to them. He mourned the scantiness of workers. Pretenders were many, but real “laborers ” in the harvest were few. The sheaves were spoiling. The crowds were ready to be taught, even as ripe wheat is ready for the sickle; but there were few to instruct them, and where could more teaching men be found?
God only can thrust out, or “send forth laborers ” Man-made ministers are useless. Still are the fields encumbered with gentlemen who cannot use the sickle. Still the real ingatherers are few and far between. Where are the instructive, soulwinning ministries? Where are those who travail in birth for their hearers’ salvation? Let us plead with the Lord of the harvest to care for his own harvest, and send out his own men. May many a true heart be moved by the question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? “to answer,” Here am I! Send me.”