In today's study from Matthew 9:18-38, we look at how our Lord set out to prove that he was indeed the Great Shepherd of the scattered sheep of Israel.
The Shepherd of the Sheep
vv.18-38 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. (19) And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. (20) And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: (21) For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. (22) But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. (23) And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, (24) He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. (25) But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. (26) And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. (27) And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. (28) And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. (29) Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. (30) And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. (31) But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. (32) As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. (33) And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. (34) But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. (35) And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (36) But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (37) Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; (38) Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Here, Israel is depicted as a flock with no shepherd. (v.36). Their past shepherds had scattered them. Cf. Ez. 34:1-6 Thus, they needed a shepherd who would regather and care for them. He was presenting himself as that Shepherd! He now begins to perform miracles to show that he was not only willing but able.
The Enemy of Death (vv.18-19, 23-26)
First, He shows them that he could protect them by defeating death and healing them. He does this by raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead. In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” 1Co 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Deity of Christ (v.18)
In v.18, we see his deity displayed by allowing the man to worship him. This would have been blasphemy had Jesus not been God (Acts 10:25-26; Rev. 22:8-9).
Touch vs. a Word
On another note, notice that this man wanted Jesus to come and lay His hands upon his daughter. Totally the opposite of the centurion in Matthew 8:8 who only wanted him to speak a word. I don’t see anything different here except that the Lord made us all different. Cf. Ezra and Nehemiah’s leadership styles (Ezr 8:22 to Neh 2:9 and Ezr 10 to Neh 13:23).