Healing and Forgiving a Paralytic
1 After getting into a boat he crossed to the other side and came to his own town.sn His own town refers to Capernaum. It was a town of approximately 1000-1500, though of some significance.
2 Just thentn Grk “And behold, they were bringing.” Here καὶ ἰδού (kai idou) has been translated as “just then” to indicate the somewhat sudden appearance of the people carrying the paralytic. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1), especially in conjunction with the suddenness of the stretcher bearers’ appearance. some peopletn Grk “they”; the referent (some unnamed people) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.tn Traditionally, “on a bed,” but this could be confusing to the modern reader who might envision a large piece of furniture. In various contexts, κλίνη (klinh) may be translated “bed, couch, cot, stretcher, or bier” (in the case of a corpse). See L&N 6.106. When Jesus saw theirsn The plural pronoun their makes it clear that Jesus was responding to the faith of the entire group, not just the paralyzed man. faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.”sn The passive voice here is a divine passive (ExSyn 437). It is clear that God does the forgiving.
3 Thentn Grk “And behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events in the narrative. some of the experts in the lawtn Or “some of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4. said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”sn Blaspheming meant to say something that dishonored God. To claim divine prerogatives or claim to speak for God when one really does not would be such an act of offense. The remark raised directly the issue of the nature of Jesus’ ministry.
4 When Jesus saw their reaction he said, “Why do you respond with evil in your hearts?
5 Which is easier,sn Which is easier is a reflective kind of question. On the one hand to declare sins are forgiven is easier, since one does not need to see it, unlike telling a paralyzed person to walk. On the other hand, it is harder, because for it to be true one must possess the authority to forgive the sin. to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?
6 But so that you may knowsn Now Jesus put the two actions together. The walking of the man would be proof (so that you may know) that his sins were forgiven and that God had worked through Jesus (i.e., the Son of Man). that the Son of Mansn The term Son of Man, which is a title in Greek, comes from a pictorial description in Dan 7:13 of one “like a son of man” (i.e., a human being). It is Jesus’ favorite way to refer to himself. Jesus did not reveal the background of the term here, which mixes human and divine imagery as the man in Daniel rides a cloud, something only God does. He just used it. It also could be an idiom in Aramaic meaning either “some person” or “me.” So there is a little ambiguity in its use here, since its origin is not clear at this point. However, the action makes it clear that Jesus used it to refer to himself here. has authority on earth to forgive sins” – then he said to the paralyticsn Jesus did not finish his sentence with words but with action, that is, healing the paralytic with an accompanying pronouncement to him directly. – “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.”tn Grk “to your house.”
7 And he stood up and went home.tn Grk “to his house.”
8 Whentn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. the crowd saw this, they were afraidtc Most witnesses (C L Θ 0233 Ë13 Ï) have ἐθαύμασαν (eqaumasan; “marveled, were amazed”) instead of ἐφοβήθησαν (efobhqhsan) here, effectively turning the fearful reaction into one of veneration. But the harder reading is well supported by א B D W 0281 Ë1 33 892 1424 al lat co and thus is surely authentic. and honored God who had given such authority to men.tn Grk “people.” The plural of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") usually indicates people in general, but the singular is used in the expression “Son of Man.” There is thus an ironic allusion to Jesus’ statement in v. 6: His self-designation as “Son of Man” is meant to be unique, but the crowd regards it simply as meaning “human, person.” To maintain this connection for the English reader the plural ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") has been translated here as “men” rather than as the more generic “people.”
The Call of Matthew; Eating with Sinners
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth.tn While “tax office” is sometimes given as a translation for τελώνιον (telwnion, so L&N 57.183), this could give the modern reader a false impression of an indoor office with all its associated furnishings.sn The tax booth was a booth located on the edge of a city or town to collect taxes for trade. There was a tax booth in Capernaum, which was on the trade route from Damascus to Galilee and the Mediterranean. The “taxes” were collected on produce and goods brought into the area for sale, and were a sort of “sales tax” paid by the seller but obviously passed on to the purchaser in the form of increased prices (L&N 57.183). It was here that Jesus met Matthew (also named Levi [see Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27]) who was ultimately employed by the Romans, though perhaps more directly responsible to Herod Antipas. It was his job to collect taxes for Rome and he was thus despised by Jews who undoubtedly regarded him as a traitor. “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him.
10 Astn Grk “And it happened that while.” The introductory phrase καὶ ἐγένετο (kai egeneto, “it happened that”) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been supplied in the translation for clarity. was having a mealtn Grk “was reclining at table.”sn As Jesus was having a meal. 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away. in Matthew’stn Grk “in the house.” The Greek article is used here in a context that implies possession, and the referent of the implied possessive pronoun (Matthew) has been specified in the translation for clarity. house, many tax collectorssn See the note on tax collectors in 5:46. and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples.
11 When the Phariseessn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7. saw this they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”sn The issue here is inappropriate associations. Jews were very careful about personal associations and contact as a matter of ritual cleanliness. Their question borders on an accusation that Jesus is ritually unclean.
12 Whentn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. Jesus heard this he said, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do.sn Jesus’ point is that he associates with those who are sick because they have the need and will respond to the offer of help. A person who is healthy (or who thinks mistakenly that he is) will not seek treatment.
13 Go and learn what this saying means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’sn A quotation from Hos 6:6 (see also Matt 12:7). For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Superiority of the New
14 Then John’ssn John refers to John the Baptist. disciples came to Jesustn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been supplied in the translation for clarity. and asked, “Why do we and the Phariseessn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7. fast often,sn John’s disciples and the Pharisees followed typical practices with regard to fasting and prayer. Many Jews fasted regularly (Lev 16:29-34; 23:26-32; Num 29:7-11). The zealous fasted twice a week on Monday and Thursday. but your disciples don’t fast?”
15 Jesus said to them, “The wedding gueststn Grk “sons of the wedding hall,” an idiom referring to wedding guests, or more specifically friends of the bridegroom present at the wedding celebration (L&N 11.7). cannot mourn while the bridegroomsn The expression while the bridegroom is with them is an allusion to messianic times (John 3:29; Isa 54:5-6; 62:4-5; 4 Ezra 2:15, 38). is with them, can they? But the daystn Grk “days.” are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them,sn The statement the bridegroom will be taken from them is a veiled allusion by Jesus to his death, which he did not make explicit until the incident at Caesarea Philippi in 16:13ff. and then they will fast.
16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, because the patch will pull away from the garment and the tear will be worse.
17 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins;sn Wineskins were bags made of skin or leather, used for storing wine in NT times. As the new wine fermented and expanded, it would stretch the new wineskins. Putting new (unfermented) wine in old wineskins, which had already been stretched, would result in the bursting of the wineskins. otherwise the skins burst and the wine is spilled out and the skins are destroyed. Instead they put new wine into new wineskinssn The meaning of the saying new wine into new wineskins is that the presence and teaching of Jesus was something new and signaled the passing of the old. It could not be confined within the old religion of Judaism, but involved the inauguration and consummation of the kingdom of God. and both are preserved.”
Restoration and Healing
18 As he was saying these things, a ruler came, bowed low before him, and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.”
19 Jesus and his disciples got up and followed him.
20 Buttn Grk “And behold a woman.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhagesn Suffering from a hemorrhage. The woman was most likely suffering from a vaginal hemorrhage which would make her ritually unclean. for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edgesn The edge of his cloak refers to the kraspedon, the blue tassel on the garment that symbolized a Jewish man’s obedience to the law (cf. Num 15:37-41). The woman thus touched the very part of Jesus’ clothing that indicated his ritual purity. of his cloak.tn Grk “garment,” but here ἱμάτιον (Jimation) denotes the outer garment in particular.
21 For she kept saying to herself,tn The imperfect verb is here taken iteratively, for the context suggests that the woman was trying to find the courage to touch Jesus’ cloak. “If only I touch his cloak, I will be healed.”tn Grk “saved.”sn In this pericope the author uses a term for being healed (Grk “saved”) that would have spiritual significance to his readers. It may be a double entendre (cf. parallel in Mark 5:28 which uses the same term), since elsewhere he uses verbs that simply mean “heal”: If only the reader would “touch” Jesus, he too would be “saved.”
22 But when Jesus turned and saw her he said, “Have courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well.”tn Or “has delivered you”; Grk “has saved you.” This should not be understood as an expression for full salvation in the immediate context; it refers only to the woman’s healing. And the woman was healedtn Grk “saved.” from that hour.
23 When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the disorderly crowd,
24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but asleep.” And they began making fun of him.tn Grk “They were laughing at him.” The imperfect verb has been taken ingressively.
25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and gently took her by the hand, and the girl got up.
26 And the news of this spread throughout that region.tn For the translation of τὴν γῆν ἐκείνην (thn ghn ekeinhn) as “that region,” see L&N 1.79.
Healing the Blind and Mute
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, shouting,tn Grk “shouting, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. “Have mercysn Have mercy on us is a request for healing. It is not owed to the men. They simply ask for God’s kind grace. on us, Son of David!”sn There was a tradition in Judaism that the Son of David (Solomon) had great powers of healing (Josephus, Ant. 8.2.5 [8.42-49]).
28 Whentn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. he went into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesustn Grk “to him, and Jesus.” This is a continuation of the previous sentence in Greek, but a new sentence was started here in the translation. said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.”
29 Then he touched their eyes saying, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
30 And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about this.”
31 But they went out and spread the news about him throughout that entire region.tn For the translation of τὴν γῆν ἐκείνην (thn ghn ekeinhn) as “that region,” see L&N 1.79.
32 Astn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. they were going away,tn Grk “away, behold, they brought a man to him.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). a man who could not talk and was demon-possessed was brought to him.
33 After the demon was cast out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel!”
34 But the Phariseessn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7. said, “By the rulertn Or “prince.” of demons he casts out demons.”tc Although codex Cantabrigiensis (D), along with a few other Western versional and patristic witnesses, lacks this verse, virtually all other witnesses have it. The Western text’s reputation for free alterations as well as the heightened climax if v. 33 concludes this pericope explains why these witnesses omitted the verse.
Workers for the Harvest
35 Then Jesus went throughout all the townstn Or “cities.” and villages, teaching in their synagogues,sn See the note on synagogues in 4:23. preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness.tn Grk “and every [kind of] sickness.” Here “every” was not repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
36 Whentn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless,tn Or “because they had been bewildered and helpless.” The translational issue is whether the perfect participles are predicate (as in the text) or are pluperfect periphrastic (the alternate translation). If the latter, the implication would seem to be that the crowds had been in such a state until the Great Shepherd arrived. like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
38 Therefore ask the Lord of the harvestsn The phrase Lord of the harvest recognizes God’s sovereignty over the harvest process. to send outtn Grk “to thrust out.” workers into his harvest.”