Matthew 9

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1 και G2532 CONJ εμβας G1684 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM εις G1519 P EP το G3588 T-ASN πλοιον G4143 N-ASN διεπερασεν G1276 G5656 V-AAI-3S και G2532 CONJ ηλθεν G2064 G5627 V-2AAI-3S εις G1519 P EP την G3588 T-ASF ιδιαν G2398 A-ASF πολιν G4172 N-ASF

2 και G2532 CONJ ιδου G2400 G5628 V-2AAM-2S προσεφερον G4374 G5707 V-IAI-3P αυτω G846 P-DSM παραλυτικον G3885 A-ASM επι G1909 P EP κλινης G2825 N-GSF βεβλημενον G906 G5772 V- PP-ASM και G2532 CONJ ιδων G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM την G3588 T-ASF πιστιν G4102 N-ASF αυτων G846 P-GPM ειπεν G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3S τω G3588 T-DSM παραλυτικω G3885 A-DSM θαρσει G2293 G5720 V-PAM-2S τεκνον G5043 N-VSN αφεωνται G863 G5769 V- PI-3P σοι G4671 P-2DS αι G3588 T-NPF αμαρτιαι G266 N-NPF σου G4675 P-2GS

3 και G2532 CONJ ιδου G2400 G5628 V-2AAM-2S τινες G5100 X-NPM των G3588 T-GPM γραμματεων G1122 N-GPM ειπον G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3P εν G1722 P EP εαυτοις G1438 F-3DPM ουτος G3778 D-NSM βλασφημει G987 G5719 V-PAI-3S

4 και G2532 CONJ ιδων G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM τας G3588 T-APF ενθυμησεις G1761 N-APF αυτων G846 P-GPM ειπεν G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3S ινα G2443 CONJ τι G2444 ADV-I υμεις G5210 P-2NP ενθυμεισθε G1760 G5736 V-PNI-2P πονηρα G4190 A-APN εν G1722 P EP ταις G3588 T-DPF καρδιαις G2588 N-DPF υμων G5216 P-2GP

5 τι G5101 I-NSN γαρ G1063 CONJ εστιν G2076 G5748 V-PXI-3S ευκοπωτερον G2123 A-NSN-C ειπειν G2036 G5629 V-2AAN αφεωνται G863 G5769 V- PI-3P σου G4675 P-2GS αι G3588 T-NPF αμαρτιαι G266 N-NPF η G2228 P T ειπειν G2036 G5629 V-2AAN εγειραι G1453 G5669 V-AMM-2S και G2532 CONJ περιπατει G4043 G5720 V-PAM-2S

6 ινα G2443 CONJ δε G1161 CONJ ειδητε G1492 G5762 V- AS-2P οτι G3754 CONJ εξουσιαν G1849 N-ASF εχει G2192 G5719 V-PAI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM υιος G5207 N-NSM του G3588 T-GSM ανθρωπου G444 N-GSM επι G1909 P EP της G3588 T-GSF γης G1093 N-GSF αφιεναι G863 G5721 V-PAN αμαρτιας G266 N-APF τοτε G5119 ADV λεγει G3004 G5719 V-PAI-3S τω G3588 T-DSM παραλυτικω G3885 A-DSM εγερθεις G1453 G5685 V-APP-NSM αρον G142 G5657 V-AAM-2S σου G4675 P-2GS την G3588 T-ASF κλινην G2825 N-ASF και G2532 CONJ υπαγε G5217 G5720 V-PAM-2S εις G1519 P EP τον G3588 T-ASM οικον G3624 N-ASM σου G4675 P-2GS

7 και G2532 CONJ εγερθεις G1453 G5685 V-APP-NSM απηλθεν G565 G5627 V-2AAI-3S εις G1519 P EP τον G3588 T-ASM οικον G3624 N-ASM αυτου G846 P-GSM

8 ιδοντες G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NPM δε G1161 CONJ οι G3588 T-NPM οχλοι G3793 N-NPM εθαυμασαν G2296 G5656 V-AAI-3P και G2532 CONJ εδοξασαν G1392 G5656 V-AAI-3P τον G3588 T-ASM θεον G2316 N-ASM τον G3588 T-ASM δοντα G1325 G5631 V-2AAP-ASM εξουσιαν G1849 N-ASF τοιαυτην G5108 D-ASF τοις G3588 T-DPM ανθρωποις G444 N-DPM

9 και G2532 CONJ παραγων G3855 G5723 V-PAP-NSM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM εκειθεν G1564 ADV ειδεν G1492 G5627 V-2AAI-3S ανθρωπον G444 N-ASM καθημενον G2521 G5740 V-PNP-ASM επι G1909 P EP το G3588 T-ASN τελωνιον G5058 N-ASN ματθαιον G3156 N-ASM λεγομενον G3004 G5746 V-PPP-ASM και G2532 CONJ λεγει G3004 G5719 V-PAI-3S αυτω G846 P-DSM ακολουθει G190 G5720 V-PAM-2S μοι G3427 P-1DS και G2532 CONJ αναστας G450 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM ηκολουθησεν G190 G5656 V-AAI-3S αυτω G846 P-DSM

10 και G2532 CONJ εγενετο G1096 G5633 V-2ADI-3S αυτου G846 P-GSM ανακειμενου G345 G5740 V-PNP-GSM εν G1722 P EP τη G3588 T-DSF οικια G3614 N-DSF και G2532 CONJ ιδου G2400 G5628 V-2AAM-2S πολλοι G4183 A-NPM τελωναι G5057 N-NPM και G2532 CONJ αμαρτωλοι G268 A-NPM ελθοντες G2064 G5631 V-2AAP-NPM συνανεκειντο G4873 G5711 V-INI-3P τω G3588 T-DSM ιησου G2424 N-DSM και G2532 CONJ τοις G3588 T-DPM μαθηταις G3101 N-DPM αυτου G846 P-GSM

11 και G2532 CONJ ιδοντες G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NPM οι G3588 T-NPM φαρισαιοι G5330 N-NPM ειπον G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3P τοις G3588 T-DPM μαθηταις G3101 N-DPM αυτου G846 P-GSM δια G1223 P EP τι G5101 I-ASN μετα G3326 P EP των G3588 T-GPM τελωνων G5057 N-GPM και G2532 CONJ αμαρτωλων G268 A-GPM εσθιει G2068 G5719 V-PAI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM διδασκαλος G1320 N-NSM υμων G5216 P-2GP

12 ο G3588 T-NSM δε G1161 CONJ ιησους G2424 N-NSM ακουσας G191 G5660 V-AAP-NSM ειπεν G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3S αυτοις G846 P-DPM ου G3756 P T-N χρειαν G5532 N-ASF εχουσιν G2192 G5719 V-PAI-3P οι G3588 T-NPM ισχυοντες G2480 G5723 V-PAP-NPM ιατρου G2395 N-GSM αλλ G235 CONJ οι G3588 T-NPM κακως G2560 ADV εχοντες G2192 G5723 V-PAP-NPM

13 πορευθεντες G4198 G5679 V-AOP-NPM δε G1161 CONJ μαθετε G3129 G5628 V-2AAM-2P τι G5101 I-NSN εστιν G2076 G5748 V-PXI-3S ελεον G1656 N-ASM θελω G2309 G5719 V-PAI-1S και G2532 CONJ ου G3756 P T-N θυσιαν G2378 N-ASF ου G3756 P T-N γαρ G1063 CONJ ηλθον G2064 G5627 V-2AAI-1S καλεσαι G2564 G5658 V-AAN δικαιους G1342 A-APM αλλα G235 CONJ αμαρτωλους G268 A-APM εις G1519 P EP μετανοιαν G3341 N-ASF

14 τοτε G5119 ADV προσερχονται G4334 G5736 V-PNI-3P αυτω G846 P-DSM οι G3588 T-NPM μαθηται G3101 N-NPM ιωαννου G2491 N-GSM λεγοντες G3004 G5723 V-PAP-NPM δια G1223 P EP τι G5101 I-ASN ημεις G2249 P-1NP και G2532 CONJ οι G3588 T-NPM φαρισαιοι G5330 N-NPM νηστευομεν G3522 G5719 V-PAI-1P πολλα G4183 A-APN οι G3588 T-NPM δε G1161 CONJ μαθηται G3101 N-NPM σου G4675 P-2GS ου G3756 P T-N νηστευουσιν G3522 G5719 V-PAI-3P

15 και G2532 CONJ ειπεν G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3S αυτοις G846 P-DPM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM μη G3361 P T-N δυνανται G1410 G5736 V-PNI-3P οι G3588 T-NPM υιοι G5207 N-NPM του G3588 T-GSM νυμφωνος G3567 N-GSM πενθειν G3996 G5721 V-PAN εφ G1909 P EP οσον G3745 K-ASN μετ G3326 P EP αυτων G846 P-GPM εστιν G2076 G5748 V-PXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM νυμφιος G3566 N-NSM ελευσονται G2064 G5695 V-FDI-3P δε G1161 CONJ ημεραι G2250 N-NPF οταν G3752 CONJ απαρθη G522 G5686 V-APS-3S απ G575 P EP αυτων G846 P-GPM ο G3588 T-NSM νυμφιος G3566 N-NSM και G2532 CONJ τοτε G5119 ADV νηστευσουσιν G3522 G5692 V-FAI-3P

16 ουδεις G3762 A-NSM δε G1161 CONJ επιβαλλει G1911 G5719 V-PAI-3S επιβλημα G1915 N-ASN ρακους G4470 N-GSN αγναφου G46 A-GSN επι G1909 P EP ιματιω G2440 N-DSN παλαιω G3820 A-DSN αιρει G142 G5719 V-PAI-3S γαρ G1063 CONJ το G3588 T-NSN πληρωμα G4138 N-NSN αυτου G846 P-GSN απο G575 P EP του G3588 T-GSN ιματιου G2440 N-GSN και G2532 CONJ χειρον G5501 A-NSN σχισμα G4978 N-NSN γινεται G1096 G5736 V-PNI-3S

17 ουδε G3761 ADV βαλλουσιν G906 G5719 V-PAI-3P οινον G3631 N-ASM νεον G3501 A-ASM εις G1519 P EP ασκους G779 N-APM παλαιους G3820 A-APM ει G1487 COND δε G1161 CONJ μηγε G3361 P T-N ρηγνυνται G4486 G5743 V-PPI-3P οι G3588 T-NPM ασκοι G779 N-NPM και G2532 CONJ ο G3588 T-NSM οινος G3631 N-NSM εκχειται G1632 G5743 V-PPI-3S και G2532 CONJ οι G3588 T-NPM ασκοι G779 N-NPM απολουνται G622 G5698 V-FMI-3P αλλα G235 CONJ βαλλουσιν G906 G5719 V-PAI-3P οινον G3631 N-ASM νεον G3501 A-ASM εις G1519 P EP ασκους G779 N-APM καινους G2537 A-APM και G2532 CONJ αμφοτεροι G297 A-NPM συντηρουνται G4933 G5743 V-PPI-3P

18 ταυτα G5023 D-APN αυτου G846 P-GSM λαλουντος G2980 G5723 V-PAP-GSM αυτοις G846 P-DPM ιδου G2400 G5628 V-2AAM-2S αρχων G758 N-NSM εις G1520 A-NSM ελθων G2064 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM προσεκυνει G4352 G5707 V-IAI-3S αυτω G846 P-DSM λεγων G3004 G5723 V-PAP-NSM οτι G3754 CONJ η G3588 T-NSF θυγατηρ G2364 N-NSF μου G3450 P-1GS αρτι G737 ADV ετελευτησεν G5053 G5656 V-AAI-3S αλλα G235 CONJ ελθων G2064 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM επιθες G2007 G5628 V-2AAM-2S την G3588 T-ASF χειρα G5495 N-ASF σου G4675 P-2GS επ G1909 P EP αυτην G846 P-ASF και G2532 CONJ ζησεται G2198 G5695 V-FDI-3S

19 και G2532 CONJ εγερθεις G1453 G5685 V-APP-NSM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM ηκολουθησεν G190 G5656 V-AAI-3S αυτω G846 P-DSM και G2532 CONJ οι G3588 T-NPM μαθηται G3101 N-NPM αυτου G846 P-GSM

20 και G2532 CONJ ιδου G2400 G5628 V-2AAM-2S γυνη G1135 N-NSF αιμορροουσα G131 G5723 V-PAP-NSF δωδεκα G1427 A-NUI ετη G2094 N-NPN προσελθουσα G4334 G5631 V-2AAP-NSF οπισθεν G3693 ADV ηψατο G680 G5662 V-ADI-3S του G3588 T-GSN κρασπεδου G2899 N-GSN του G3588 T-GSN ιματιου G2440 N-GSN αυτου G846 P-GSM

21 ελεγεν G3004 G5707 V-IAI-3S γαρ G1063 CONJ εν G1722 P EP εαυτη G1438 F-3DSF εαν G1437 COND μονον G3440 ADV αψωμαι G680 G5672 V-AMS-1S του G3588 T-GSN ιματιου G2440 N-GSN αυτου G846 P-GSM σωθησομαι G4982 G5701 V-FPI-1S

22 ο G3588 T-NSM δε G1161 CONJ ιησους G2424 N-NSM επιστραφεις G1994 G5651 V-2APP-NSM και G2532 CONJ ιδων G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM αυτην G846 P-ASF ειπεν G2036 G5627 V-2AAI-3S θαρσει G2293 G5720 V-PAM-2S θυγατερ G2364 N-VSF η G3588 T-NSF πιστις G4102 N-NSF σου G4675 P-2GS σεσωκεν G4982 G5758 V- AI-3S σε G4571 P-2AS και G2532 CONJ εσωθη G4982 G5681 V-API-3S η G3588 T-NSF γυνη G1135 N-NSF απο G575 P EP της G3588 T-GSF ωρας G5610 N-GSF εκεινης G1565 D-GSF

23 και G2532 CONJ ελθων G2064 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM εις G1519 P EP την G3588 T-ASF οικιαν G3614 N-ASF του G3588 T-GSM αρχοντος G758 N-GSM και G2532 CONJ ιδων G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM τους G3588 T-APM αυλητας G834 N-APM και G2532 CONJ τον G3588 T-ASM οχλον G3793 N-ASM θορυβουμενον G2350 G5746 V-PPP-ASM

24 λεγει G3004 G5719 V-PAI-3S αυτοις G846 P-DPM αναχωρειτε G402 G5720 V-PAM-2P ου G3756 P T-N γαρ G1063 CONJ απεθανεν G599 G5627 V-2AAI-3S το G3588 T-NSN κορασιον G2877 N-NSN αλλα G235 CONJ καθευδει G2518 G5719 V-PAI-3S και G2532 CONJ κατεγελων G2606 G5707 V-IAI-3P αυτου G846 P-GSM

25 οτε G3753 ADV δε G1161 CONJ εξεβληθη G1544 G5681 V-API-3S ο G3588 T-NSM οχλος G3793 N-NSM εισελθων G1525 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM εκρατησεν G2902 G5656 V-AAI-3S της G3588 T-GSF χειρος G5495 N-GSF αυτης G846 P-GSF και G2532 CONJ ηγερθη G1453 G5681 V-API-3S το G3588 T-NSN κορασιον G2877 N-NSN

26 και G2532 CONJ εξηλθεν G1831 G5627 V-2AAI-3S η G3588 T-NSF φημη G5345 N-NSF αυτη G3778 D-NSF εις G1519 P EP ολην G3650 A-ASF την G3588 T-ASF γην G1093 N-ASF εκεινην G1565 D-ASF

27 και G2532 CONJ παραγοντι G3855 G5723 V-PAP-DSM εκειθεν G1564 ADV τω G3588 T-DSM ιησου G2424 N-DSM ηκολουθησαν G190 G5656 V-AAI-3P αυτω G846 P-DSM δυο G1417 A-NUI τυφλοι G5185 A-NPM κραζοντες G2896 G5723 V-PAP-NPM και G2532 CONJ λεγοντες G3004 G5723 V-PAP-NPM ελεησον G1653 G5657 V-AAM-2S ημας G2248 P-1AP υιε G5207 N-VSM δαυιδ G1138 N-P I

28 ελθοντι G2064 G5631 V-2AAP-DSM δε G1161 CONJ εις G1519 P EP την G3588 T-ASF οικιαν G3614 N-ASF προσηλθον G4334 G5656 V-AAI-3P αυτω G846 P-DSM οι G3588 T-NPM τυφλοι G5185 A-NPM και G2532 CONJ λεγει G3004 G5719 V-PAI-3S αυτοις G846 P-DPM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM πιστευετε G4100 G5720 V-PAM-2P οτι G3754 CONJ δυναμαι G1410 G5736 V-PNI-1S τουτο G5124 D-ASN ποιησαι G4160 G5658 V-AAN λεγουσιν G3004 G5719 V-PAI-3P αυτω G846 P-DSM ναι G3483 P T κυριε G2962 N-VSM

29 τοτε G5119 ADV ηψατο G680 G5662 V-ADI-3S των G3588 T-GPM οφθαλμων G3788 N-GPM αυτων G846 P-GPM λεγων G3004 G5723 V-PAP-NSM κατα G2596 P EP την G3588 T-ASF πιστιν G4102 N-ASF υμων G5216 P-2GP γενηθητω G1096 G5676 V-AOM-3S υμιν G5213 P-2DP

30 και G2532 CONJ ανεωχθησαν G455 G5681 V-API-3P αυτων G846 P-GPM οι G3588 T-NPM οφθαλμοι G3788 N-NPM και G2532 CONJ ενεβριμησατο G1690 G5662 V-ADI-3S αυτοις G846 P-DPM ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM λεγων G3004 G5723 V-PAP-NSM ορατε G3708 G5720 V-PAM-2P μηδεις G3367 A-NSM γινωσκετω G1097 G5720 V-PAM-3S

31 οι G3588 T-NPM δε G1161 CONJ εξελθοντες G1831 G5631 V-2AAP-NPM διεφημισαν G1310 G5656 V-AAI-3P αυτον G846 P-ASM εν G1722 P EP ολη G3650 A-DSF τη G3588 T-DSF γη G1093 N-DSF εκεινη G1565 D-DSF

32 αυτων G846 P-GPM δε G1161 CONJ εξερχομενων G1831 G5740 V-PNP-GPM ιδου G2400 G5628 V-2AAM-2S προσηνεγκαν G4374 G5656 V-AAI-3P αυτω G846 P-DSM ανθρωπον G444 N-ASM κωφον G2974 A-ASM δαιμονιζομενον G1139 G5740 V-PNP-ASM

33 και G2532 CONJ εκβληθεντος G1544 G5685 V-APP-GSN του G3588 T-GSN δαιμονιου G1140 N-GSN ελαλησεν G2980 G5656 V-AAI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM κωφος G2974 A-NSM και G2532 CONJ εθαυμασαν G2296 G5656 V-AAI-3P οι G3588 T-NPM οχλοι G3793 N-NPM λεγοντες G3004 G5723 V-PAP-NPM ουδεποτε G3763 ADV εφανη G5316 G5648 V-2API-3S ουτως G3779 ADV εν G1722 P EP τω G3588 T-DSM ισραηλ G2474 N-P I

34 οι G3588 T-NPM δε G1161 CONJ φαρισαιοι G5330 N-NPM ελεγον G3004 G5707 V-IAI-3P εν G1722 P EP τω G3588 T-DSM αρχοντι G758 N-DSM των G3588 T-GPN δαιμονιων G1140 N-GPN εκβαλλει G1544 G5719 V-PAI-3S τα G3588 T-APN δαιμονια G1140 N-APN

35 και G2532 CONJ περιηγεν G4013 G5707 V-IAI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM ιησους G2424 N-NSM τας G3588 T-APF πολεις G4172 N-APF πασας G3956 A-APF και G2532 CONJ τας G3588 T-APF κωμας G2968 N-APF διδασκων G1321 G5723 V-PAP-NSM εν G1722 P EP ταις G3588 T-DPF συναγωγαις G4864 N-DPF αυτων G846 P-GPM και G2532 CONJ κηρυσσων G2784 G5723 V-PAP-NSM το G3588 T-ASN ευαγγελιον G2098 N-ASN της G3588 T-GSF βασιλειας G932 N-GSF και G2532 CONJ θεραπευων G2323 G5723 V-PAP-NSM πασαν G3956 A-ASF νοσον G3554 N-ASF και G2532 CONJ πασαν G3956 A-ASF μαλακιαν G3119 N-ASF εν G1722 P EP τω G3588 T-DSM λαω G2992 N-DSM

36 ιδων G1492 G5631 V-2AAP-NSM δε G1161 CONJ τους G3588 T-APM οχλους G3793 N-APM εσπλαγχνισθη G4697 G5675 V-AOI-3S περι G4012 P EP αυτων G846 P-GPM οτι G3754 CONJ ησαν G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3P εσκυλμενοι G4660 G5772 V- PP-NPM και G2532 CONJ ερριμμενοι G4496 G5772 V- PP-NPM ωσει G5616 ADV προβατα G4263 N-APN μη G3361 P T-N εχοντα G2192 G5723 V-PAP-NPN ποιμενα G4166 N-ASM

37 τοτε G5119 ADV λεγει G3004 G5719 V-PAI-3S τοις G3588 T-DPM μαθηταις G3101 N-DPM αυτου G846 P-GSM ο G3588 T-NSM μεν G3303 P T θερισμος G2326 N-NSM πολυς G4183 A-NSM οι G3588 T-NPM δε G1161 CONJ εργαται G2040 N-NPM ολιγοι G3641 A-NPM

38 δεηθητε G1189 G5676 V-AOM-2P ουν G3767 CONJ του G3588 T-GSM κυριου G2962 N-GSM του G3588 T-GSM θερισμου G2326 N-GSM οπως G3704 ADV εκβαλη G1544 G5632 V-2AAS-3S εργατας G2040 N-APM εις G1519 P EP τον G3588 T-ASM θερισμον G2326 N-ASM αυτου G846 P-GSM

  

Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 9      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman

Chapter 9.

Forgiving Sin

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1. And stepping into a ship, He crossed over, and came into His own city.

2. And behold, they brought to Him one sick of the palsy cast down upon a bed; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the sick of the palsy, “Child, have confidence, thy sins have been forgiven thee.”

3. And behold, some of the scribes said within themselves, “This [man] blasphemes.”

4. And Jesus, seeing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think wickedness in your hearts?

5. For which is easier, to say, ‘[Thy] sins have been forgiven thee,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk?’

6. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on the earth to forgive sins” — then He says to the [one] sick of the palsy, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house.”

7. And arising, he went away to his house.

8. And the crowds seeing, marveled, and glorified God, who gives such authority to men.
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It is becoming increasingly clear that the gradual revelation of Jesus’ divinity is a central theme in this gospel. At the same time, Matthew is also about our gradual realization of Jesus’ presence and power in our lives. The dawning of this awareness is represented by the orderly, sequential, revealing of His divinity, in episode after episode, first in the Sermon on the Mount, next in the healing of leprosy, paralysis, and fever, and then in the calming of the wind and waves. In all of this, Jesus has been gradually revealing His power in the natural world — speaking with authority, curing sickness, and calming the sea. After that, He demonstrates that His also has power in the spiritual world: He casts demons out of two demon-possessed men.

Now, in this next episode, Jesus performs a miracle that further reveals His power in the spiritual world. We read: “Behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed, and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer: your sins are forgiven you’” (9:2).

Here, for the first time, Jesus reveals something of His Divine Fatherhood, for He addresses the paralytic as “son.” He also reveals that He has the Divine ability to forgive sins, for He adds “Your sins are forgiven.” To the religious leaders who overhear Him, this constitutes blasphemy. According to their understanding, only God can forgive sins. It is inconceivable to them that a mere man could have this ability. Therefore, they accuse Jesus, saying within themselves, This man blasphemes (9:3).

Jesus knows that they are intimidated by His growing influence. And He knows that that they consider Him a threat to their authority. Knowing all of this, Jesus says to them, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?” (9:5).

It is an important question. After all, it’s easy to say, “Arise and walk,” but forgiving sins is another matter. Arising and walking is physical; forgiveness — whether given or received — is spiritual. It’s easier for an exasperated parent to say to a reluctant child, “Get up and get going,” but it takes greater effort to first understand the deeper causes that lay behind the child’s unwillingness to obey. Understanding is always the more difficult part. Forgiveness is even harder.

While it takes much more awareness, sensitivity, and effort to pay attention to causes, it is, nevertheless, the most effective way to deal with symptoms. Similarly, if we are to get over our spiritual paralysis — whether it be the inability to follow through with necessary tasks, or resistance to letting go of a grievance — we must begin at the level of causes. What are the spiritual causes that prevent us from doing our best? What are the spiritual causes that prevent us from letting go of resentments? These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves on the journey of spiritual development — a journey that begins with the recognition and acknowledgement of some sin in ourselves and leads on to the forgiveness of sin.

In order to understand the difficulty involved in forgiving sin, we need to understand what is entailed. If we believe that it is a simple prayer such as, “Forgive me, Lord, for I have sinned,” we are much mistaken, for it involves much more. It’s not that easy. While the Lord’s forgiveness is always available to us, we need to examine ourselves and be very specific about the sin we have committed. This is the first step. Once we have identified it, we must acknowledge it, take responsibility for it, confess it to the Lord, and beg for the power to no longer commit that sin. Next, we must start a new life, believing that the Lord not only has the power to remove sinful desires, but also give us the power to start a new life, as if from ourselves. It will be a new life in accordance with the divine truth. 1

As we continue to live according to divine truth, we discover that the truth indeed drives away sin, and sends it to the outermost reaches of our consciousness even as Jesus (in the previous episode) sent the demons out of the men, into the swine, and then into the depths of the sea. Similarly, in this episode, He says, “the Son of Man [divine truth] has power on earth to forgive sins” (9:6).

The secret within this miracle is that the Lord’s goodness and power works through the truth we strive to put into our lives. Truth alone, apart from the Lord’s goodness and power, cannot help us. But it can serve as a sacred vessel into which God’s goodness and power can flow. The more accurate the truth, the more fully it receives and makes use of the love and power which flows in from God. It is similar to the way our bodies receive and make use of the food we choose to eat: the more nutritious the food, the more energy and power is made available for our use. 2

All of this is contained in Jesus’ claim “the Son of Man [divine truth] has power on earth to forgive sins” (9:6). In Greek, the term “forgive” is ἀφίημι (aphiémi) which means to “release” or “send away.” The word “remittance” is perhaps the closest term, for it literally means “to send back. So, the phrase “the forgiveness of sins” means, quite literally, to send sins back to the hells from which they come. This, then, is the more interior meaning of the phrase “the forgiveness of sins.” In other words, when sins are forgiven, they are remitted, sent back, and removed. This “removal of sins” is a matter of having them removed from our consciousness and sent to the back of our mind — not obliterating them from our life. 3

After declaring that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins, Jesus turns to the paralytic and says, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (9:6) Amazingly, the paralytic arises and departs to his house, his sins forgiven, and his ability to walk restored. It is noteworthy that Jesus first takes care of the paralytic’s spiritual needs (forgiving his sins) before meeting his natural needs (restoring his ability to walk). When we are physically sick or disabled, it’s easy to acknowledge that something is wrong, and easy to identify causes — we caught a cold, we sprained an ankle, etc.

But spiritual infirmities are more difficult because the deeper causes are harder to identify, and the healing process is less evident. When people are physically sick or physically injured, they seldom want to remain in that state; they want to get well. However, when people are spiritually sick or spiritually injured, they are not always eager to change their state; they may not want to give up their destructive habits or let go of gnawing resentments. They sometimes prefer to cling to these states of spiritual paralysis saying things like, “Leave me alone.”

That’s why forgiving sin — healing from the inside out — is, up to this point in the gospel narrative, Jesus’ greatest miracle. First He healed a soul; then He healed a body. In forgiving sin, Jesus enabled a paralyzed man to arise and walk.

The multitudes were amazed. When they saw what happened, “they marveled and glorified God” (9:8). The religious leaders, on the other hand, had a very different response. Hardly noticing that a paralyzed man had just been healed, they focused instead on what they considered blasphemy: Jesus had arrogated to Himself the right to forgive sins — something that only God can do. In so doing, Jesus had made Himself equal to God.

The multitudes did not see it that way. Not only did they marvel at what Jesus had done, but they also “glorified God, who had given such power to men” (9:8). This verse makes it clear that the multitudes still see Jesus as a man — but a very special man who has been given extraordinary power, including the God-like power to forgive sins.

New Wine

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9. And Jesus, passing by thence, saw a man sitting at the receipt of tribute, called Matthew; and He says to him, “Follow Me”; and standing up, he followed Him.

10. And it came to pass, as He sat in the house, that behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat with Jesus and His disciples.

11. And when the Pharisees saw, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with publicans and sinners?”

12. But Jesus hearing said to them, “They that have strength have no need of a physician, but they that have an illness do.

13. But go ye [and] learn what [it] means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; for I have not come to call the just, but sinners, to repentance.”

14. Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Thy disciples fast not?”

15. And Jesus said to them, “Can the sons of the bride-chamber mourn so long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast.

16. And no one patches an old garment [with] a patch of unshrunk fabric; for that which fills in takes from the garment, and the rip becomes worse.

17. Neither do they pour young wine into old bottles, otherwise the bottles are torn, and the wine is spills out, and the bottles perish; but they pour young wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
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When Jesus was born, the angel said to Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (1:20-21). Divine love, in its essence, desires the salvation of every person. 4 This is a general, easily understood concept. More specifically, however, the gospels declare that God came into the world as Jesus Christ to save people from their sins, to redeem them, and to free them from bondage to selfish concerns. In the Sermon on the Mount, in the healing of the sick, in the calming of the storm, and in the casting out of demons, Jesus manifests this essential love, but does not fully reveal it. Now, however, in casting out demons and forgiving sin, Jesus makes His divine purpose more clearly known: He comes to forgive His people — “to save them from their sins” — and thereby set them free. As we have just seen, forgiveness is the removal of sin — something that can only be done through Divine Power with human cooperation.

It is important, therefore, to know how God accomplishes this. First, He gives us the divine truth (the Sermon on the Mount). He teaches us truths by which we might lead our lives in order to be saved. Second, because we cannot do this by ourselves, He gives us the power to live according to that truth. In this way, and in no other, can our sins be removed from us, and thereby forgiven. 5

This approach to the forgiveness of sin was, at the time, an entirely new concept. Prior to this, it was believed that sins could only be forgiven through the sacrifice of innocent animals. Once a year, the “sins of the people” were ceremoniously placed upon a goat who was driven off into the wilderness. It was believed that the expulsion of this “scapegoat” could somehow “take away” the sins of the people (Leviticus 16:21-23). Meanwhile, sinners (including tax collectors) were to be scrupulously avoided; socializing with them was unthinkable.

Enter Jesus. Immediately after forgiving and healing the paralyzed man, Jesus reaches out to Matthew, a despised tax collector, and says, “Follow Me” (9:9). Jesus then sits down to eat with many other tax collectors and sinners. The religious leaders, who are shocked by Jesus’ behavior, confront the disciples and ask them why their teacher sits with tax collectors and sinners (9:11). According to their standards, religion is not for sinners; rather, it is for the respectable, well-educated, upper class — those whom God has blessed with wealth and privilege; it is for those who consider themselves above the taint of sin.

But Jesus came to turn all of that upside down. He came to show that religion is for everyone, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, rulers and servants. No longer would religion be seen as a means for enhancing one’s glory and obtaining power in the world. Rather, it would serve to free people from sin so that they might experience the kingdom of heaven — a kingdom that is not “on high,” but rather around them and within them. 6

In other words, Jesus came to revive and resuscitate the religion of the day — a religion that had fallen into the death-grip of misguided and self-absorbed people. Because these religious leaders had false ideas of what real religion is, or even who God is, the people were led astray, and were living in hellish bondage. Well-intentioned, but misled followers spent their lives trying to uphold the rigorous traditions of the religious establishment, even while God’s own commandments were being neglected.

Meanwhile, as genuine religion suffered and was becoming extinct, spiritual ills of various kinds infested the people. When Jesus declares that He has come to heal the spiritual sicknesses that have been destroying the soul of His people, the religious leaders are outraged. They are especially shocked that Jesus flagrantly violates the taboo which strictly forbids socializing with sinners. Jesus, however, sees things quite differently. He knows that He has come, especially for sinners — not for those who consider themselves well. As He puts it, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (9:12).

In no uncertain terms, Jesus tells the religious leaders that they should be focusing more on the essentials of religion, and less on external ceremonies. Quoting the prophet Hosea, He says to them: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’” (9:13). Jesus wants the religious leaders to understand that their real work is not about sacrificing lambs, burning doves, or sprinkling people with the blood of bulls. Nor is it about long fasts and ostentatious shows of suffering. Rather, it is about teaching truth and encouraging people to lead good lives. This includes helping people recognize that we are all sinners called to help and support one another in the process of spiritual development. As Jesus says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (9:13).

True religion, however, is not only about recognizing and seeking deliverance from our sinful ways; it is also about feasting and rejoicing because the Lord is present. Jesus demonstrates this by sitting down with His disciples, with publicans, and with sinners to dine with them. Religion, for Jesus, certainly involves serious repentance. But the goal is a joyful, delightful life, filled with God’s presence — for He lives among His people as a bridegroom with his friends. When asked why His disciples do not fast, Jesus says, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (9:15).

These are some of the new ideas that Jesus was bringing to the world. They were new garments and new wine — garments that cannot be sewn onto old clothes, and wine that cannot be poured into old wineskins (9:16-17). To those who continued to believe that God is only pleased with the old garments of worn-out traditions and the old wineskins of rigid teachings, the living religion of Jesus Christ was a startling — even shocking — reality.

In order to properly receive the new truths that Jesus came to reveal, people would have to be flexible and yielding. They would have to root out old attitudes and stretch beyond rigid beliefs. Otherwise, these new truths could not be contained in old wineskins; like new wine, these new truths would continue to ferment and expand, eventually bursting through the old, dried-out wineskins. Therefore, “new wineskins” would be needed, new ways of responding to the needs of others, and a new understanding of how to treat people.

The “new wine” that Jesus came to reveal would not be about rigid conformity to external laws, or the strict observance of empty rituals. Rather, it would be about a new, more interior life of faith and love, indeed guided by the commandments, but understood with new eyes, and practiced with new hearts. A religion of external ritual would be replaced by a religion of inner cleansing. This new religion would bring new life to a world on the brink of spiritual death. But before this could happen, false ideas (old cloth and old wineskins) would have to be removed. Only then would the words of the prophet be fulfilled, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

The Restoration of Spiritual Life

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18. While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler coming worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter is now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.”

19. And Jesus arising followed him, and His disciples.

20. And behold, a woman who was diseased with an issue of blood for twelve years, having come [from] behind [Him], touched the hem of His garment;

21. For she said in herself, “If I may only touch His garment, I shall be healed.”

22. And Jesus turning and seeing her, said, “Have confidence, daughter, thy faith has saved thee”; and the woman was healed from that hour.

23. And Jesus coming into the house of the ruler, and seeing the flute players, and the crowd making an uproar,

24. Says to them, “Depart; for the damsel is not dead, but sleeps”; and they laughed at Him.

25. But when the crowd was cast out, entering in He [took] hold of her hand, and the damsel arose.

26. And this fame went out into that whole land.

27. And Jesus passing by thence, two blind [men] followed Him, crying and saying, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

28. And when He had come to the house, the blind [men] came to Him, and Jesus says to them,” Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They say to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

29. Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.”

30. And their eyes were opened, and Jesus admonished them, saying, “See [that] you let no one know.”

31. But going out they spread His fame in that whole land.

32. And as they came out, behold, they brought to Him a man mute, demon-possessed.

33. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke, and the crowds marveled, saying that it never so appeared in Israel.

34. But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out the demons.”
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Reviving affections

This episode begins with Jesus being asked to perform a miracle that will surpass all preceding miracles. He is asked to restore a dead girl to life! Along the way, He is approached by a woman who has had “an issue of blood for twelve years” (9:20). Believing that she could be healed by simply touching the outer hem of Jesus’ robe, she approaches Jesus from behind and touches “the hem of His garment” (9:21). As soon as she does this, Jesus turns around, sees her, and says, “Daughter, thy faith has saved thee” and the woman is healed in that very moment (9:22).

It should be remembered that this healing occurs while Jesus is on His way to revive a young girl who, reportedly, is dead. He has been asked to bring the young girl back to life. How might this seeming interruption be connected to what goes before and what follows?

The connection is not readily apparent in the literal sense, but a more interior understanding of the spiritual sense provides some helpful clues.

An important clue can be found in understanding the spiritual significance of the phrase “hem of His garment.” In the Word, “garments” represent truths. Just as clothing protects our naked bodies from exposure to various weather conditions, truth protects us from exposure to false beliefs that would hurt our innocence. Inner garments, then, represent the more interior truths of the Word, and outer garments represent the more external, literal truths of the Word. So, the woman who touched the hem of the Lord’s outer garment, represents a sincere belief that the Lord can communicate healing power to us through the most literal truths of His Word — the very “hem of His garment.” And because these truths are connected to the Lord, they contain the power to heal our spiritual infirmities. 7

But this woman had to do something. She had to act on her belief that the Lord could heal her. And so, she did. She approached Him and touched the hem of His garment. It is similar in each of our lives. We must act; we must take the first step. We must demonstrate our faith by acting on our beliefs — even if it as simple as reading the Word, trusting that the healing power of the Lord can flow through the literal words of sacred scripture. 8 And whenever we do this, with love and faith in our hearts, something wonderful happens within us: we experience an inner healing. The gradual draining away of spiritual life that we have been experiencing (“issue of blood”) is stopped, and we begin to receive new life. A new will is being born in us. 9

Having healed the woman who suffered from an issue of blood, Jesus continues His journey. When He arrives at the house of the dead girl, Jesus is confronted with a roomful of mourners bewailing the death of the young girl. Jesus had recently spoken about true religion as a joyful experience — not just a lifeless procession of solemn rituals, sacrifices, and external observances — which He compared to old cloths, and old wineskins (see 9:15-17). Comparing true religion to a wedding celebration, Jesus spoke about religious life as the union of God with His people — like a bridegroom with friends, celebrating a wedding By contrast, the house of mourning that He entered, in this next episode, is filled with wailing and lamentation. It is certainly not a place of joy.

The disparity between the joy of true religion and the funeral scene is striking. True religion is about life, not death; more interiorly, it is about being raised above spiritual death and into higher levels of spiritual life. Whether it as gradual loss of spiritual life (the woman who had been losing blood), or a total loss of spiritual life (the dead girl), God comes to heal us and restore us to full life. The healing of the dead girl, then, is an opportunity to teach this important truth. It also serves as a symbolic representation of the dying religious system He came to revive.

It is noteworthy that Jesus begins by scattering the mourners. “Make room,” He says, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping” (9:24). Certain that the girl is dead, “they laugh Him to scorn” (9:24). Nevertheless, Jesus puts the crowd outside, takes her by the hand, and, miraculously, raises the girl to life. In our own lives, “the mourners” must be driven away — they must be chased out of our inner rooms before the Lord can enter. The fears, anxieties, resentments, and discouragements — whatever has been keeping us in a state of spiritual death — must be driven away in order to make room for the Lord.

There are times when we don’t feel like making room for the Lord. There are times when we do not feel like casting out the negative thoughts and discouraging feelings. And yet, whatever we might be feeling at the moment, and however discouraged we might be, it is never too late to find meaning and purpose in life. Even when our hopes and dreams have been lulled to sleep, they are not dead. Therefore, Jesus says to the mournful spirits that surround our deathbed, “Depart, for the girl is not dead but is sleeping” (9:24).

The raising of the girl who seemed to be dead speaks of a re-awakening of our true affections — those affections that are willing to receive and love God. The good news is that although these affections in us are often asleep, they are never dead. All we need to do is drive away the negative thoughts and feelings. It begins by believing in the Lord’s power to heal (symbolized by the woman with the issue of blood). Once the issue of blood (our gradual loss of spiritual vitality) is stopped, we can be raised up to higher levels of spiritual life (symbolized by the raising of the dead girl).

Opening our eyes

In the miracle of the seemingly dead girl being brought back to life, we see a symbolic representation of how God often awakens us from our unmotivated states of “spiritual death” so that we may live a vibrant, motivated, truly spiritual life. But in order to understand how this miracle is connected to the one which follows, we need to introduce another law of scriptural interpretation. In sacred scripture the feminine gender usually represents the affectionate, loving side of human nature, while the masculine gender tends to represent the intellectual, thinking side. 10

So the next miracle, the healing of two blind men, speaks about how God heals the other side of our nature — the intellectual, thinking side. This is the side that can see the truth when it is presented. Everyday expressions such as, “Now I see what you mean” and “None are so blind as those who will not see,” remind us that there is a deep symbolic connection between physical sight and spiritual sight. It is this healing of our spiritual sight — our understanding — that is described in the next miracle.

It occurs just as Jesus is leaving the home of the girl whom He has awakened from what seemed like death. He has just healed two women. Now, as He continues His journey, two blind men follow Him, crying out, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” (9:27). In the preceding miracles we saw the healing of our affections. Although they seemed to be gradually dying or even “dead,” they could be revived. In this miracle we see the healing of our understanding, represented in Jesus’ giving sight to the blind men. As He opens their physical eyes with the touch of His hand, He opens our spiritual eyes, giving us the power to understand spiritual truth. “And their eyes were opened” (9:29). He sternly warns them, however, to tell no one about it. “See that no one knows it,” He says (9:30). 11

Healing our muteness

The next healing in this series of miracles involves a man who is both mute and demon possessed. It is clear that the demon-possession is connected with the man’s muteness, for we read that “when the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke” (9:33). Throughout the scriptures, the children of Israel are exhorted to rejoice and sing praises to God, especially in celebration of the new life God brings to humanity. “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! . . . Shout joyfully to the Lord; break forth in song, rejoice, sing praises” (Psalm 98:1, 4); “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands” (Psalm 100:1); “Praise the Lord, for it is good to sing praises to our God” (Psalm 147:1); and the very last line of the Psalms is, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).

This is the goal of God’s salvation work; it is to bring us into that wonderful state of happiness and contentment in which our heart and mind are filled with gratitude — gratitude for being freed from our sins, gratitude for the abundant blessings that surround us, and gratitude for the new life we have received. In this state of gratitude we cannot contain the spontaneous praise that springs forth from our lips: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise” (Psalm 51:15).

Rejoicing, praise, and gratitude then, is an essential component of religion — especially a religion that is about life, not death. In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus listed the many blessings we could receive, the final blessing involved the expression of joy and gratitude: “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,” He said (5:12). In casting out the demon of muteness, Jesus allows this man to express his inner joy, to rejoice, and to be glad.

This is the joy that God intends for each of us.

These sequence of healing stories summarize how God brings us into this state of exultant joy. First, He stops the loss of spiritual life through our initial efforts to read His word (the woman who touched the hem of His garment); then He rekindles our affections (raising the apparently dead girl); then He opens our understanding (the two blind men); and, finally, He gives us the ability to express the inner joy that we feel for all of this, in words of praise, and in expressions of gratitude (the healing of the mute man).

Differing responses

The multitudes receive these divine works with amazement. They marvel, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel” (9:33). Instinctively, they know that this is something breathtakingly different. But the religious leaders have a different response. They say: “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons” (9:34). These dramatically different responses represent the decision that is set before each of us in this gospel. Do we respond with awe and gratitude to the wonderful ways God heals our affections, enlightens our understanding and enables us to offer praise? Or do we respond with doubt and disbelief, saying, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons”?

For some, the whole idea that Jesus can work miracles seems preposterous. Admittedly, it often seems that we can revive ourselves, understand spiritual truth, and express gratitude without supernatural aid. The appearance is that we can do all of this on our own. But the reality is quite different: God alone gives us the power to do all these things. The more we align ourselves with that power, through learning truth and applying it to our lives, the more power we receive. All the while, wonderful changes are happening within our souls. Amazing miracles are taking place as God quietly stops the loss of spiritual vigor, restores our affections, gives us the ability to understand spiritual truth, and opens our lips so that we might praise His name and live in gratitude. 12

A practical application

There are times when a relationship in our life might seem to be dying or is already dead. Perhaps a misunderstanding has not been resolved, and because of this a stoney silence has dragged on for several hours or even many days. This is the time to believe in the power of the Word (to touch the hem of His garment), to pray for an awakening of our original affection (a dead girl is raised), and to seek a new understanding of the situation (blind men see). If we do this, our lips will be opened so that we might speak the kind and loving words we were not willing to say. We might even be given the power to ask for forgiveness (a mute man speaks).

This series of miracles speaks to a new possibility in each of us: we can speak out of a new understanding, using words that come from love.

Jesus is Moved with Compassion

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35. And Jesus went around all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every malady in the people.

36. And seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion concerning them, because they were faint and thrown down, as sheep not having a shepherd.

37. Then He says to His disciples, “The harvest [is] indeed much, but the workers [are] few.

38. Entreat ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, so that He will send out workers into His harvest.”
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As Jesus gradually reveals His Divine identity, people begin either to accept or reject Him. The multitudes marvel, recognizing that there has never been anything like this in Israel. At the same time, the religious leaders — seeing that their authority and influence are threatened — are provoked to anger. They insist that Jesus casts out demons through invoking the power of Satan himself.

The believing multitudes and the disbelieving religious establishment represent opposing attitudes in every human being. This is how God keeps us in spiritual equilibrium — free to accept or reject Him at any given moment. In other words, the faithful multitudes and the incredulous religious leaders are in each of us; at any given moment we are simultaneously in the presence of heavenly and hellish influences from the spiritual world. Every step we take in acknowledging God (through a life according to His commandments) is met by an equal and opposite sphere of influence from hell that endeavors to attack our growing faith in Him. 13

In the context of this episode, then, “the multitudes” represent the innocent thoughts and tender affections in each of us that sense something of Jesus’ divinity. often, however, these multitudes of thoughts and affections are a disorderly mass of scattered feelings, intuitions about what is good, hunches about truth, and inclinations to be useful. Although good, true, and useful, these thoughts and affections are compared to weak and scattered sheep with no shepherd to lead them. As long as they remain disorganized and scattered, they will be easy prey for wolves who are eager to devour them. Therefore, we read that when Jesus sees the multitudes, He is “moved with compassion for them,” because they are weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd (9:36).

Jesus, therefore, calls together His disciples so that they may begin their ministry. It’s time to plant seeds (of goodness and truth) and reap the harvest (of love and wisdom): “The harvest truly is plentiful,” says Jesus, “but the laborers are few” (9:37). And He concludes with an exhortation to prayer: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (9:38).

In terms of our spiritual development, it’s time to get serious. We need to be organized, deliberate, and well-focused as we go about getting our spiritual lives in order. There is important work to be done, vital uses to be performed, and people in need of both physical and spiritual healing. The Lord is calling us into His vineyard and giving us an assignment — a personal assignment, uniquely designed for each of us.

It’s harvest time. It’s time to heed the words that Jesus says to Matthew, “Follow Me” (9:9). It’s time to become an apostle.

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Footnotes:

1True Christian Religion 528: “True repentance is examining oneself, recognizing and acknowledging one’s sins, praying to the Lord and beginning a new life. There are in the Word many passages and plain sayings of the Lord which establish that the act of repentance is absolutely necessary, for a person’s salvation depends upon it.”

2Arcana Coelestia 3091: “The power which appears to be from truth is actually from good, through truth.” See also Conjugial Love 122-123: “From the marriage of good and truth that emanates and flows in from the Lord, a person acquires truth, to which the Lord joins good…. The Lord attaches and joins good to the truths a person acquires…. “A person acquires truth from the Lord, and the Lord joins good to that truth according as the truth is put to use, thus as a person tries to think wisely and so live wisely.”

3Arcana Coelestia 9937: “Forgiveness of sin is nothing else than their removal [to the sides]; for they remain with the man; but insofar as the good of love and the truth of faith are implanted, so far the evil and falsity are removed.” See also HD 170: “To be withheld from evil and kept in good, constitutes remission of sins…. It is a consequence of the remission of sins to look at things from good and not from evil.” Arcana Coelestia 5398: “Sins can by no means be wiped away from anyone, but when a person is kept in good by the Lord they are separated, rejected, and sent to the sides so as not to rise up.”

4Apocalypse Explained 386: “He came into the world to save humanity… which means that from Divine love He willed and desired the salvation of the human race.”

5Arcana Coelestia 8393: “Sins are not forgiven through repentance of the mouth, but through repentance of the life. A person’s sins are continually being forgiven by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but sins adhere to the person, however much that person may suppose that they have been forgiven, nor are they removed from a person except through a life according to the commands of faith. So far as a person lives according to these commands, so far are sins removed. And so far as they are removed, so far they have been forgiven.”

6Heaven and Hell 319: “Heaven is within a person, and those who have heaven within them come into heaven. Heaven in a person is acknowledging the Divine and being led by the Divine.” See also Arcana Coelestia 8153: “That the Divine was signified by what is high, is because by the starry heaven was signified the angelic heaven, and it was also believed that it was there; although the wiser among them knew that heaven is not on high, but is where the good of love is, and this within a person, wherever that person may be.”

7Apocalypse Revealed 45: “In the Word ‘garments’ symbolize truths. Thus, a long robe, being an outer garment, symbolizes, when said of the Lord, Divine truth emanating.” See also Arcana Coelestia 9917:2: “The fact that ‘the hem of the robe’ means the most external parts, where the natural is, is clear from places in the Word where ‘the hem’ is mentioned, as in Isaiah, ‘I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His hem filling the temple’ (Isaiah 6:1). The ‘throne’ on which the Lord was seated means heaven… and His ‘hem’ there means Divine Truths on lowest or most external levels, such as the truths of the Word in the sense of the letter.”

8. DeVerbo 20: “All power in the spiritual world belongs to the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord… and all the power of Divine truth resides in the sense of the letter of the Word.”

9Arcana Coelestia 4353:3: Act precedes, willing follows; for that which one does from the understanding is at last done from the will, finally becoming a habit. When it is instilled in a person’s rational or internal, the person no longer does good from truth, but from good.”

10Heaven and Hell 368: “In the Word ‘youth’ or ‘man’ means in the spiritual sense the understanding of truth, and ‘virgin’ or ‘woman’ the affection of good.”

11. In Mark we will speak at length about why the Lord sometimes tells people to speak about what He has done for them and sometimes commands them to tell no one. In biblical scholarship, this is referred to as “The Messianic Secret.”

12Arcana Coelestia 5202:4: “The person with whom good is present is undergoing rebirth every moment, from earliest childhood to the final stage of life in the world, and after that forever. This is happening not only interiorly but also exteriorly; and this rebirth involves processes that are amazing.”

13Heaven and Hell 595: “The hells are continually assaulting heaven and endeavoring to destroy it. But the Lord continually protects the heavens by withholding those who are in it from the evils derived from their self, and by holding them in the good that is from Himself. I have often been permitted to perceive the sphere that flows forth from the hells, which was entirely a sphere of effort to destroy the Divine of the Lord, and thus heaven.” See also Heaven and Hell 599: “In order that a person may be in freedom, to the end that reformation might take place, the person’s spirit is connected to both heaven and hell. For with every person there are spirits from hell and angels from heaven. It is by means of hell that person is in evil, while it is by means of angels from heaven that a person is in good from the Lord; thus everyone is in spiritual equilibrium, that is, in freedom.”

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Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 9      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman

Chapter 9.

Forgiving Sin

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1. And stepping into a ship, He crossed over, and came into His own city.

2. And behold, they brought to Him one sick of the palsy cast down upon a bed; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the sick of the palsy, “Child, have confidence, thy sins have been forgiven thee.”

3. And behold, some of the scribes said within themselves, “This [man] blasphemes.”

4. And Jesus, seeing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think wickedness in your hearts?

5. For which is easier, to say, ‘[Thy] sins have been forgiven thee,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk?’

6. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on the earth to forgive sins” — then He says to the [one] sick of the palsy, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house.”

7. And arising, he went away to his house.

8. And the crowds seeing, marveled, and glorified God, who gives such authority to men.
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It is becoming increasingly clear that the gradual revelation of Jesus’ divinity is a central theme in this gospel. At the same time, Matthew is also about our gradual realization of Jesus’ presence and power in our lives. The dawning of this awareness is represented by the orderly, sequential, revealing of His divinity, in episode after episode, first in the Sermon on the Mount, next in the healing of leprosy, paralysis, and fever, and then in the calming of the wind and waves. In all of this, Jesus has been gradually revealing His power in the natural world — speaking with authority, curing sickness, and calming the sea. After that, He demonstrates that His also has power in the spiritual world: He casts demons out of two demon-possessed men.

Now, in this next episode, Jesus performs a miracle that further reveals His power in the spiritual world. We read: “Behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed, and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer: your sins are forgiven you’” (9:2).

Here, for the first time, Jesus reveals something of His Divine Fatherhood, for He addresses the paralytic as “son.” He also reveals that He has the Divine ability to forgive sins, for He adds “Your sins are forgiven.” To the religious leaders who overhear Him, this constitutes blasphemy. According to their understanding, only God can forgive sins. It is inconceivable to them that a mere man could have this ability. Therefore, they accuse Jesus, saying within themselves, This man blasphemes (9:3).

Jesus knows that they are intimidated by His growing influence. And He knows that that they consider Him a threat to their authority. Knowing all of this, Jesus says to them, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?” (9:5).

It is an important question. After all, it’s easy to say, “Arise and walk,” but forgiving sins is another matter. Arising and walking is physical; forgiveness — whether given or received — is spiritual. It’s easier for an exasperated parent to say to a reluctant child, “Get up and get going,” but it takes greater effort to first understand the deeper causes that lay behind the child’s unwillingness to obey. Understanding is always the more difficult part. Forgiveness is even harder.

While it takes much more awareness, sensitivity, and effort to pay attention to causes, it is, nevertheless, the most effective way to deal with symptoms. Similarly, if we are to get over our spiritual paralysis — whether it be the inability to follow through with necessary tasks, or resistance to letting go of a grievance — we must begin at the level of causes. What are the spiritual causes that prevent us from doing our best? What are the spiritual causes that prevent us from letting go of resentments? These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves on the journey of spiritual development — a journey that begins with the recognition and acknowledgement of some sin in ourselves and leads on to the forgiveness of sin.

In order to understand the difficulty involved in forgiving sin, we need to understand what is entailed. If we believe that it is a simple prayer such as, “Forgive me, Lord, for I have sinned,” we are much mistaken, for it involves much more. It’s not that easy. While the Lord’s forgiveness is always available to us, we need to examine ourselves and be very specific about the sin we have committed. This is the first step. Once we have identified it, we must acknowledge it, take responsibility for it, confess it to the Lord, and beg for the power to no longer commit that sin. Next, we must start a new life, believing that the Lord not only has the power to remove sinful desires, but also give us the power to start a new life, as if from ourselves. It will be a new life in accordance with the divine truth. 1

As we continue to live according to divine truth, we discover that the truth indeed drives away sin, and sends it to the outermost reaches of our consciousness even as Jesus (in the previous episode) sent the demons out of the men, into the swine, and then into the depths of the sea. Similarly, in this episode, He says, “the Son of Man [divine truth] has power on earth to forgive sins” (9:6).

The secret within this miracle is that the Lord’s goodness and power works through the truth we strive to put into our lives. Truth alone, apart from the Lord’s goodness and power, cannot help us. But it can serve as a sacred vessel into which God’s goodness and power can flow. The more accurate the truth, the more fully it receives and makes use of the love and power which flows in from God. It is similar to the way our bodies receive and make use of the food we choose to eat: the more nutritious the food, the more energy and power is made available for our use. 2

All of this is contained in Jesus’ claim “the Son of Man [divine truth] has power on earth to forgive sins” (9:6). In Greek, the term “forgive” is ἀφίημι (aphiémi) which means to “release” or “send away.” The word “remittance” is perhaps the closest term, for it literally means “to send back. So, the phrase “the forgiveness of sins” means, quite literally, to send sins back to the hells from which they come. This, then, is the more interior meaning of the phrase “the forgiveness of sins.” In other words, when sins are forgiven, they are remitted, sent back, and removed. This “removal of sins” is a matter of having them removed from our consciousness and sent to the back of our mind — not obliterating them from our life. 3

After declaring that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins, Jesus turns to the paralytic and says, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (9:6) Amazingly, the paralytic arises and departs to his house, his sins forgiven, and his ability to walk restored. It is noteworthy that Jesus first takes care of the paralytic’s spiritual needs (forgiving his sins) before meeting his natural needs (restoring his ability to walk). When we are physically sick or disabled, it’s easy to acknowledge that something is wrong, and easy to identify causes — we caught a cold, we sprained an ankle, etc.

But spiritual infirmities are more difficult because the deeper causes are harder to identify, and the healing process is less evident. When people are physically sick or physically injured, they seldom want to remain in that state; they want to get well. However, when people are spiritually sick or spiritually injured, they are not always eager to change their state; they may not want to give up their destructive habits or let go of gnawing resentments. They sometimes prefer to cling to these states of spiritual paralysis saying things like, “Leave me alone.”

That’s why forgiving sin — healing from the inside out — is, up to this point in the gospel narrative, Jesus’ greatest miracle. First He healed a soul; then He healed a body. In forgiving sin, Jesus enabled a paralyzed man to arise and walk.

The multitudes were amazed. When they saw what happened, “they marveled and glorified God” (9:8). The religious leaders, on the other hand, had a very different response. Hardly noticing that a paralyzed man had just been healed, they focused instead on what they considered blasphemy: Jesus had arrogated to Himself the right to forgive sins — something that only God can do. In so doing, Jesus had made Himself equal to God.

The multitudes did not see it that way. Not only did they marvel at what Jesus had done, but they also “glorified God, who had given such power to men” (9:8). This verse makes it clear that the multitudes still see Jesus as a man — but a very special man who has been given extraordinary power, including the God-like power to forgive sins.

New Wine

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9. And Jesus, passing by thence, saw a man sitting at the receipt of tribute, called Matthew; and He says to him, “Follow Me”; and standing up, he followed Him.

10. And it came to pass, as He sat in the house, that behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat with Jesus and His disciples.

11. And when the Pharisees saw, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with publicans and sinners?”

12. But Jesus hearing said to them, “They that have strength have no need of a physician, but they that have an illness do.

13. But go ye [and] learn what [it] means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; for I have not come to call the just, but sinners, to repentance.”

14. Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Thy disciples fast not?”

15. And Jesus said to them, “Can the sons of the bride-chamber mourn so long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast.

16. And no one patches an old garment [with] a patch of unshrunk fabric; for that which fills in takes from the garment, and the rip becomes worse.

17. Neither do they pour young wine into old bottles, otherwise the bottles are torn, and the wine is spills out, and the bottles perish; but they pour young wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
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When Jesus was born, the angel said to Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (1:20-21). Divine love, in its essence, desires the salvation of every person. 4 This is a general, easily understood concept. More specifically, however, the gospels declare that God came into the world as Jesus Christ to save people from their sins, to redeem them, and to free them from bondage to selfish concerns. In the Sermon on the Mount, in the healing of the sick, in the calming of the storm, and in the casting out of demons, Jesus manifests this essential love, but does not fully reveal it. Now, however, in casting out demons and forgiving sin, Jesus makes His divine purpose more clearly known: He comes to forgive His people — “to save them from their sins” — and thereby set them free. As we have just seen, forgiveness is the removal of sin — something that can only be done through Divine Power with human cooperation.

It is important, therefore, to know how God accomplishes this. First, He gives us the divine truth (the Sermon on the Mount). He teaches us truths by which we might lead our lives in order to be saved. Second, because we cannot do this by ourselves, He gives us the power to live according to that truth. In this way, and in no other, can our sins be removed from us, and thereby forgiven. 5

This approach to the forgiveness of sin was, at the time, an entirely new concept. Prior to this, it was believed that sins could only be forgiven through the sacrifice of innocent animals. Once a year, the “sins of the people” were ceremoniously placed upon a goat who was driven off into the wilderness. It was believed that the expulsion of this “scapegoat” could somehow “take away” the sins of the people (Leviticus 16:21-23). Meanwhile, sinners (including tax collectors) were to be scrupulously avoided; socializing with them was unthinkable.

Enter Jesus. Immediately after forgiving and healing the paralyzed man, Jesus reaches out to Matthew, a despised tax collector, and says, “Follow Me” (9:9). Jesus then sits down to eat with many other tax collectors and sinners. The religious leaders, who are shocked by Jesus’ behavior, confront the disciples and ask them why their teacher sits with tax collectors and sinners (9:11). According to their standards, religion is not for sinners; rather, it is for the respectable, well-educated, upper class — those whom God has blessed with wealth and privilege; it is for those who consider themselves above the taint of sin.

But Jesus came to turn all of that upside down. He came to show that religion is for everyone, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, rulers and servants. No longer would religion be seen as a means for enhancing one’s glory and obtaining power in the world. Rather, it would serve to free people from sin so that they might experience the kingdom of heaven — a kingdom that is not “on high,” but rather around them and within them. 6

In other words, Jesus came to revive and resuscitate the religion of the day — a religion that had fallen into the death-grip of misguided and self-absorbed people. Because these religious leaders had false ideas of what real religion is, or even who God is, the people were led astray, and were living in hellish bondage. Well-intentioned, but misled followers spent their lives trying to uphold the rigorous traditions of the religious establishment, even while God’s own commandments were being neglected.

Meanwhile, as genuine religion suffered and was becoming extinct, spiritual ills of various kinds infested the people. When Jesus declares that He has come to heal the spiritual sicknesses that have been destroying the soul of His people, the religious leaders are outraged. They are especially shocked that Jesus flagrantly violates the taboo which strictly forbids socializing with sinners. Jesus, however, sees things quite differently. He knows that He has come, especially for sinners — not for those who consider themselves well. As He puts it, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (9:12).

In no uncertain terms, Jesus tells the religious leaders that they should be focusing more on the essentials of religion, and less on external ceremonies. Quoting the prophet Hosea, He says to them: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’” (9:13). Jesus wants the religious leaders to understand that their real work is not about sacrificing lambs, burning doves, or sprinkling people with the blood of bulls. Nor is it about long fasts and ostentatious shows of suffering. Rather, it is about teaching truth and encouraging people to lead good lives. This includes helping people recognize that we are all sinners called to help and support one another in the process of spiritual development. As Jesus says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (9:13).

True religion, however, is not only about recognizing and seeking deliverance from our sinful ways; it is also about feasting and rejoicing because the Lord is present. Jesus demonstrates this by sitting down with His disciples, with publicans, and with sinners to dine with them. Religion, for Jesus, certainly involves serious repentance. But the goal is a joyful, delightful life, filled with God’s presence — for He lives among His people as a bridegroom with his friends. When asked why His disciples do not fast, Jesus says, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (9:15).

These are some of the new ideas that Jesus was bringing to the world. They were new garments and new wine — garments that cannot be sewn onto old clothes, and wine that cannot be poured into old wineskins (9:16-17). To those who continued to believe that God is only pleased with the old garments of worn-out traditions and the old wineskins of rigid teachings, the living religion of Jesus Christ was a startling — even shocking — reality.

In order to properly receive the new truths that Jesus came to reveal, people would have to be flexible and yielding. They would have to root out old attitudes and stretch beyond rigid beliefs. Otherwise, these new truths could not be contained in old wineskins; like new wine, these new truths would continue to ferment and expand, eventually bursting through the old, dried-out wineskins. Therefore, “new wineskins” would be needed, new ways of responding to the needs of others, and a new understanding of how to treat people.

The “new wine” that Jesus came to reveal would not be about rigid conformity to external laws, or the strict observance of empty rituals. Rather, it would be about a new, more interior life of faith and love, indeed guided by the commandments, but understood with new eyes, and practiced with new hearts. A religion of external ritual would be replaced by a religion of inner cleansing. This new religion would bring new life to a world on the brink of spiritual death. But before this could happen, false ideas (old cloth and old wineskins) would have to be removed. Only then would the words of the prophet be fulfilled, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

The Restoration of Spiritual Life

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18. While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler coming worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter is now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.”

19. And Jesus arising followed him, and His disciples.

20. And behold, a woman who was diseased with an issue of blood for twelve years, having come [from] behind [Him], touched the hem of His garment;

21. For she said in herself, “If I may only touch His garment, I shall be healed.”

22. And Jesus turning and seeing her, said, “Have confidence, daughter, thy faith has saved thee”; and the woman was healed from that hour.

23. And Jesus coming into the house of the ruler, and seeing the flute players, and the crowd making an uproar,

24. Says to them, “Depart; for the damsel is not dead, but sleeps”; and they laughed at Him.

25. But when the crowd was cast out, entering in He [took] hold of her hand, and the damsel arose.

26. And this fame went out into that whole land.

27. And Jesus passing by thence, two blind [men] followed Him, crying and saying, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

28. And when He had come to the house, the blind [men] came to Him, and Jesus says to them,” Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They say to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

29. Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.”

30. And their eyes were opened, and Jesus admonished them, saying, “See [that] you let no one know.”

31. But going out they spread His fame in that whole land.

32. And as they came out, behold, they brought to Him a man mute, demon-possessed.

33. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke, and the crowds marveled, saying that it never so appeared in Israel.

34. But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out the demons.”
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Reviving affections

This episode begins with Jesus being asked to perform a miracle that will surpass all preceding miracles. He is asked to restore a dead girl to life! Along the way, He is approached by a woman who has had “an issue of blood for twelve years” (9:20). Believing that she could be healed by simply touching the outer hem of Jesus’ robe, she approaches Jesus from behind and touches “the hem of His garment” (9:21). As soon as she does this, Jesus turns around, sees her, and says, “Daughter, thy faith has saved thee” and the woman is healed in that very moment (9:22).

It should be remembered that this healing occurs while Jesus is on His way to revive a young girl who, reportedly, is dead. He has been asked to bring the young girl back to life. How might this seeming interruption be connected to what goes before and what follows?

The connection is not readily apparent in the literal sense, but a more interior understanding of the spiritual sense provides some helpful clues.

An important clue can be found in understanding the spiritual significance of the phrase “hem of His garment.” In the Word, “garments” represent truths. Just as clothing protects our naked bodies from exposure to various weather conditions, truth protects us from exposure to false beliefs that would hurt our innocence. Inner garments, then, represent the more interior truths of the Word, and outer garments represent the more external, literal truths of the Word. So, the woman who touched the hem of the Lord’s outer garment, represents a sincere belief that the Lord can communicate healing power to us through the most literal truths of His Word — the very “hem of His garment.” And because these truths are connected to the Lord, they contain the power to heal our spiritual infirmities. 7

But this woman had to do something. She had to act on her belief that the Lord could heal her. And so, she did. She approached Him and touched the hem of His garment. It is similar in each of our lives. We must act; we must take the first step. We must demonstrate our faith by acting on our beliefs — even if it as simple as reading the Word, trusting that the healing power of the Lord can flow through the literal words of sacred scripture. 8 And whenever we do this, with love and faith in our hearts, something wonderful happens within us: we experience an inner healing. The gradual draining away of spiritual life that we have been experiencing (“issue of blood”) is stopped, and we begin to receive new life. A new will is being born in us. 9

Having healed the woman who suffered from an issue of blood, Jesus continues His journey. When He arrives at the house of the dead girl, Jesus is confronted with a roomful of mourners bewailing the death of the young girl. Jesus had recently spoken about true religion as a joyful experience — not just a lifeless procession of solemn rituals, sacrifices, and external observances — which He compared to old cloths, and old wineskins (see 9:15-17). Comparing true religion to a wedding celebration, Jesus spoke about religious life as the union of God with His people — like a bridegroom with friends, celebrating a wedding By contrast, the house of mourning that He entered, in this next episode, is filled with wailing and lamentation. It is certainly not a place of joy.

The disparity between the joy of true religion and the funeral scene is striking. True religion is about life, not death; more interiorly, it is about being raised above spiritual death and into higher levels of spiritual life. Whether it as gradual loss of spiritual life (the woman who had been losing blood), or a total loss of spiritual life (the dead girl), God comes to heal us and restore us to full life. The healing of the dead girl, then, is an opportunity to teach this important truth. It also serves as a symbolic representation of the dying religious system He came to revive.

It is noteworthy that Jesus begins by scattering the mourners. “Make room,” He says, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping” (9:24). Certain that the girl is dead, “they laugh Him to scorn” (9:24). Nevertheless, Jesus puts the crowd outside, takes her by the hand, and, miraculously, raises the girl to life. In our own lives, “the mourners” must be driven away — they must be chased out of our inner rooms before the Lord can enter. The fears, anxieties, resentments, and discouragements — whatever has been keeping us in a state of spiritual death — must be driven away in order to make room for the Lord.

There are times when we don’t feel like making room for the Lord. There are times when we do not feel like casting out the negative thoughts and discouraging feelings. And yet, whatever we might be feeling at the moment, and however discouraged we might be, it is never too late to find meaning and purpose in life. Even when our hopes and dreams have been lulled to sleep, they are not dead. Therefore, Jesus says to the mournful spirits that surround our deathbed, “Depart, for the girl is not dead but is sleeping” (9:24).

The raising of the girl who seemed to be dead speaks of a re-awakening of our true affections — those affections that are willing to receive and love God. The good news is that although these affections in us are often asleep, they are never dead. All we need to do is drive away the negative thoughts and feelings. It begins by believing in the Lord’s power to heal (symbolized by the woman with the issue of blood). Once the issue of blood (our gradual loss of spiritual vitality) is stopped, we can be raised up to higher levels of spiritual life (symbolized by the raising of the dead girl).

Opening our eyes

In the miracle of the seemingly dead girl being brought back to life, we see a symbolic representation of how God often awakens us from our unmotivated states of “spiritual death” so that we may live a vibrant, motivated, truly spiritual life. But in order to understand how this miracle is connected to the one which follows, we need to introduce another law of scriptural interpretation. In sacred scripture the feminine gender usually represents the affectionate, loving side of human nature, while the masculine gender tends to represent the intellectual, thinking side. 10

So the next miracle, the healing of two blind men, speaks about how God heals the other side of our nature — the intellectual, thinking side. This is the side that can see the truth when it is presented. Everyday expressions such as, “Now I see what you mean” and “None are so blind as those who will not see,” remind us that there is a deep symbolic connection between physical sight and spiritual sight. It is this healing of our spiritual sight — our understanding — that is described in the next miracle.

It occurs just as Jesus is leaving the home of the girl whom He has awakened from what seemed like death. He has just healed two women. Now, as He continues His journey, two blind men follow Him, crying out, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” (9:27). In the preceding miracles we saw the healing of our affections. Although they seemed to be gradually dying or even “dead,” they could be revived. In this miracle we see the healing of our understanding, represented in Jesus’ giving sight to the blind men. As He opens their physical eyes with the touch of His hand, He opens our spiritual eyes, giving us the power to understand spiritual truth. “And their eyes were opened” (9:29). He sternly warns them, however, to tell no one about it. “See that no one knows it,” He says (9:30). 11

Healing our muteness

The next healing in this series of miracles involves a man who is both mute and demon possessed. It is clear that the demon-possession is connected with the man’s muteness, for we read that “when the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke” (9:33). Throughout the scriptures, the children of Israel are exhorted to rejoice and sing praises to God, especially in celebration of the new life God brings to humanity. “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! . . . Shout joyfully to the Lord; break forth in song, rejoice, sing praises” (Psalm 98:1, 4); “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands” (Psalm 100:1); “Praise the Lord, for it is good to sing praises to our God” (Psalm 147:1); and the very last line of the Psalms is, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).

This is the goal of God’s salvation work; it is to bring us into that wonderful state of happiness and contentment in which our heart and mind are filled with gratitude — gratitude for being freed from our sins, gratitude for the abundant blessings that surround us, and gratitude for the new life we have received. In this state of gratitude we cannot contain the spontaneous praise that springs forth from our lips: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise” (Psalm 51:15).

Rejoicing, praise, and gratitude then, is an essential component of religion — especially a religion that is about life, not death. In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus listed the many blessings we could receive, the final blessing involved the expression of joy and gratitude: “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,” He said (5:12). In casting out the demon of muteness, Jesus allows this man to express his inner joy, to rejoice, and to be glad.

This is the joy that God intends for each of us.

These sequence of healing stories summarize how God brings us into this state of exultant joy. First, He stops the loss of spiritual life through our initial efforts to read His word (the woman who touched the hem of His garment); then He rekindles our affections (raising the apparently dead girl); then He opens our understanding (the two blind men); and, finally, He gives us the ability to express the inner joy that we feel for all of this, in words of praise, and in expressions of gratitude (the healing of the mute man).

Differing responses

The multitudes receive these divine works with amazement. They marvel, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel” (9:33). Instinctively, they know that this is something breathtakingly different. But the religious leaders have a different response. They say: “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons” (9:34). These dramatically different responses represent the decision that is set before each of us in this gospel. Do we respond with awe and gratitude to the wonderful ways God heals our affections, enlightens our understanding and enables us to offer praise? Or do we respond with doubt and disbelief, saying, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons”?

For some, the whole idea that Jesus can work miracles seems preposterous. Admittedly, it often seems that we can revive ourselves, understand spiritual truth, and express gratitude without supernatural aid. The appearance is that we can do all of this on our own. But the reality is quite different: God alone gives us the power to do all these things. The more we align ourselves with that power, through learning truth and applying it to our lives, the more power we receive. All the while, wonderful changes are happening within our souls. Amazing miracles are taking place as God quietly stops the loss of spiritual vigor, restores our affections, gives us the ability to understand spiritual truth, and opens our lips so that we might praise His name and live in gratitude. 12

A practical application

There are times when a relationship in our life might seem to be dying or is already dead. Perhaps a misunderstanding has not been resolved, and because of this a stoney silence has dragged on for several hours or even many days. This is the time to believe in the power of the Word (to touch the hem of His garment), to pray for an awakening of our original affection (a dead girl is raised), and to seek a new understanding of the situation (blind men see). If we do this, our lips will be opened so that we might speak the kind and loving words we were not willing to say. We might even be given the power to ask for forgiveness (a mute man speaks).

This series of miracles speaks to a new possibility in each of us: we can speak out of a new understanding, using words that come from love.

Jesus is Moved with Compassion

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35. And Jesus went around all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every malady in the people.

36. And seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion concerning them, because they were faint and thrown down, as sheep not having a shepherd.

37. Then He says to His disciples, “The harvest [is] indeed much, but the workers [are] few.

38. Entreat ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, so that He will send out workers into His harvest.”
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As Jesus gradually reveals His Divine identity, people begin either to accept or reject Him. The multitudes marvel, recognizing that there has never been anything like this in Israel. At the same time, the religious leaders — seeing that their authority and influence are threatened — are provoked to anger. They insist that Jesus casts out demons through invoking the power of Satan himself.

The believing multitudes and the disbelieving religious establishment represent opposing attitudes in every human being. This is how God keeps us in spiritual equilibrium — free to accept or reject Him at any given moment. In other words, the faithful multitudes and the incredulous religious leaders are in each of us; at any given moment we are simultaneously in the presence of heavenly and hellish influences from the spiritual world. Every step we take in acknowledging God (through a life according to His commandments) is met by an equal and opposite sphere of influence from hell that endeavors to attack our growing faith in Him. 13

In the context of this episode, then, “the multitudes” represent the innocent thoughts and tender affections in each of us that sense something of Jesus’ divinity. often, however, these multitudes of thoughts and affections are a disorderly mass of scattered feelings, intuitions about what is good, hunches about truth, and inclinations to be useful. Although good, true, and useful, these thoughts and affections are compared to weak and scattered sheep with no shepherd to lead them. As long as they remain disorganized and scattered, they will be easy prey for wolves who are eager to devour them. Therefore, we read that when Jesus sees the multitudes, He is “moved with compassion for them,” because they are weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd (9:36).

Jesus, therefore, calls together His disciples so that they may begin their ministry. It’s time to plant seeds (of goodness and truth) and reap the harvest (of love and wisdom): “The harvest truly is plentiful,” says Jesus, “but the laborers are few” (9:37). And He concludes with an exhortation to prayer: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (9:38).

In terms of our spiritual development, it’s time to get serious. We need to be organized, deliberate, and well-focused as we go about getting our spiritual lives in order. There is important work to be done, vital uses to be performed, and people in need of both physical and spiritual healing. The Lord is calling us into His vineyard and giving us an assignment — a personal assignment, uniquely designed for each of us.

It’s harvest time. It’s time to heed the words that Jesus says to Matthew, “Follow Me” (9:9). It’s time to become an apostle.

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Footnotes:

1. True Christian Religion 528: “True repentance is examining oneself, recognizing and acknowledging one’s sins, praying to the Lord and beginning a new life. There are in the Word many passages and plain sayings of the Lord which establish that the act of repentance is absolutely necessary, for a person’s salvation depends upon it.”

2. Arcana Coelestia 3091: “The power which appears to be from truth is actually from good, through truth.” See also Conjugial Love 122-123: “From the marriage of good and truth that emanates and flows in from the Lord, a person acquires truth, to which the Lord joins good…. The Lord attaches and joins good to the truths a person acquires…. “A person acquires truth from the Lord, and the Lord joins good to that truth according as the truth is put to use, thus as a person tries to think wisely and so live wisely.”

3. Arcana Coelestia 9937: “Forgiveness of sin is nothing else than their removal [to the sides]; for they remain with the man; but insofar as the good of love and the truth of faith are implanted, so far the evil and falsity are removed.” See also HD 170: “To be withheld from evil and kept in good, constitutes remission of sins…. It is a consequence of the remission of sins to look at things from good and not from evil.” Arcana Coelestia 5398: “Sins can by no means be wiped away from anyone, but when a person is kept in good by the Lord they are separated, rejected, and sent to the sides so as not to rise up.”

4. Apocalypse Explained 386: “He came into the world to save humanity… which means that from Divine love He willed and desired the salvation of the human race.”

5. Arcana Coelestia 8393: “Sins are not forgiven through repentance of the mouth, but through repentance of the life. A person’s sins are continually being forgiven by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but sins adhere to the person, however much that person may suppose that they have been forgiven, nor are they removed from a person except through a life according to the commands of faith. So far as a person lives according to these commands, so far are sins removed. And so far as they are removed, so far they have been forgiven.”

6. Heaven and Hell 319: “Heaven is within a person, and those who have heaven within them come into heaven. Heaven in a person is acknowledging the Divine and being led by the Divine.” See also Arcana Coelestia 8153: “That the Divine was signified by what is high, is because by the starry heaven was signified the angelic heaven, and it was also believed that it was there; although the wiser among them knew that heaven is not on high, but is where the good of love is, and this within a person, wherever that person may be.”

7. Apocalypse Revealed 45: “In the Word ‘garments’ symbolize truths. Thus, a long robe, being an outer garment, symbolizes, when said of the Lord, Divine truth emanating.” See also Arcana Coelestia 9917:2: “The fact that ‘the hem of the robe’ means the most external parts, where the natural is, is clear from places in the Word where ‘the hem’ is mentioned, as in Isaiah, ‘I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His hem filling the temple’ (Isaiah 6:1). The ‘throne’ on which the Lord was seated means heaven… and His ‘hem’ there means Divine Truths on lowest or most external levels, such as the truths of the Word in the sense of the letter.”

8. DeVerbo 20: “All power in the spiritual world belongs to the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord… and all the power of Divine truth resides in the sense of the letter of the Word.” 9. Arcana Coelestia 4353:3: Act precedes, willing follows; for that which one does from the understanding is at last done from the will, finally becoming a habit. When it is instilled in a person’s rational or internal, the person no longer does good from truth, but from good.”

10. Heaven and Hell 368: “In the Word ‘youth’ or ‘man’ means in the spiritual sense the understanding of truth, and ‘virgin’ or ‘woman’ the affection of good.”

11. In Mark we will speak at length about why the Lord sometimes tells people to speak about what He has done for them and sometimes commands them to tell no one. In biblical scholarship, this is referred to as “The Messianic Secret.” 12. Arcana Coelestia 5202:4: “The person with whom good is present is undergoing rebirth every moment, from earliest childhood to the final stage of life in the world, and after that forever. This is happening not only interiorly but also exteriorly; and this rebirth involves processes that are amazing.”

13. Heaven and Hell 595: “The hells are continually assaulting heaven and endeavoring to destroy it. But the Lord continually protects the heavens by withholding those who are in it from the evils derived from their self, and by holding them in the good that is from Himself. I have often been permitted to perceive the sphere that flows forth from the hells, which was entirely a sphere of effort to destroy the Divine of the Lord, and thus heaven.” See also Heaven and Hell 599: “In order that a person may be in freedom, to the end that reformation might take place, the person’s spirit is connected to both heaven and hell. For with every person there are spirits from hell and angels from heaven. It is by means of hell that person is in evil, while it is by means of angels from heaven that a person is in good from the Lord; thus everyone is in spiritual equilibrium, that is, in freedom.”

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Swedenborg

Výklad(y) nebo odkazy ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 1017, 2371, 2661, 4434, 6988, 6990, 8364, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 316, 458, 478, 553, 645, 664, 672, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 101

Conjugial Love 41, 117

Doctrine of the Lord 41, 42

Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 87

True Christian Religion 113, 252, 307, 783, 784


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 79, 120, 152, 195, 239, 376, 586, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 204, 213

Marriage 113

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 12

Skočit na podobné biblické verše

Leviticus 15:25

Numbers 38, 27:17

1 Kings 17:22, 19:21, 22:17

2 Kings 4:35, 13:21

Psalms 146:8

Ecclesiastes 3:4

Isaiah 29:23, 35:5, 6

Jeremiah 50:6

Ezekiel 34:5, 16

Hosea 6:6

Zechariah 11:7

Zdroje pro rodiče a učitele

Zde uvedené položky jsou poskytnuty se svolením našich přátel z General Church of the New Jerusalem. Můžete prohledávat/procházet celou knihovnu kliknutím na odkaz this link.


 Being Healed by the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Daughter Healed
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Healing the Blind Miracles
Compare four stories about the Lord healing the blind by dramatizing them using the “Readers’ Theater” technique. Actors read lines from the script and act out their parts.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Marriage and Family
Lesson and activities looking at how the love of children relates to marriage.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Prayer for the Harvest
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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