Notes for Midwest Conference 2015 Part 1

We are a few weeks away from the Midwest conference. The questionnaires were carefully made and chosen. I have developed below some other notes on the passage Matthew 9:1-13

In this passage our Lord is brought a man who is paralyzed. After proclaiming his sins are healed Jewish leaders accuse him of blasphemy. At this Jesus heals the man and sends him away. The second part is on the calling of Matthew.

The Paralyzed Man healed

What can be said about this passage? First and foremost Jesus has authority to forgive sins. Jesus has authority to forgive sins because it was given to him by the father. Beyond this his death and sacrifice for our sins allow us to live. When Jesus forgives the man the religious leaders become indignant. The religious leaders understood that only God could forgive sins, and they also understood this was done though the law, which they were the sole interpreters and keepers thereof. God would forgive them, they reasoned, but only through the means that have been given to them through the covenant of Abraham. Jesus knew all of this, yet he says “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”. This means that there was something beyond them just being mistaken and not knowing the plan of the father for this is no sin. No, Jesus calls their thoughts evil because they were more concerned about someone stepping on their toes than their offense to God. This is a common theme in all of the gospels. Jesus goes on to challenge them with “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”- pointing out that they should know how to act but are not acting in the way God desires and commands after he is mocked by the leaders while eating with known sinners. How many of us are sinners? All of us, and so Jesus comes to all, but he is least accepted by those who are least without excuse. When Jesus heals the man he says “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” This is an example of a Jewish qal wahomer (“how much more”) argument: if God gives Jesus authority to heal the visible effects of humanity’s fallenness, why would he not send him to combat that cause of that fall? This is why social justice, mercy, and alms giving is so important for the Christian life. It proclaims the gospel.

The Calling of Matthew

Matthew’s calling displays that Jesus loves us in spite of us. I have often wondered why tax collector is such a “sinful” job. After all the entire bible gives a high view of taxes. Historically the tax levied to Rome was an occupier’s fee. The Jews were being charged for their occupation, and since their nation was seen as instituted under and by God; since it was a “kingdom of priests and holy nation”- being a Jewish tax collector would have been seen as traitorous and against God. Being a tax collector would have been seen as a betrayer of his culture, God, and people. So Jesus coming to the tax collector is a bold statement. Our sin is betrayal of God and yet this is who Jesus comes to. He comes to those who have betrayed him, “rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.” His action suggests that if God is willing to come to worst, is his not willing to come to all? And this is what he says “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The Pharisees self-righteousness he seeks to correct, but at this time they are unreceptive of him, as are all people who think they are so good as to be free from any sin. I often suspect that one can be so proud that they are beyond all save divine intervention. God must often break people like the Pharisees with painful trials so they can understand their condition.

These are my thoughts on the passage. If anyone has anything else to add please leave it in the comments.


  1. Here are the Karcher notes for this passage. One of the best parts of Scripture for changing UBF.

    v2 – Jesus saw their faith. Jesus did not give a crap about how many one-to-one’s they had or how much offering they gave or how many times they attended worship service.

    v4 – Jesus asked the teachers of the law: “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” I ask the UBF bible teachers the same question, especially those at NYUBF.

    v6 – Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” This is great advice to every student paralyzed by UBF ideologies. Get up, and go home to your family and friends whom you cut off for the sake of your shepherd.

    v9 – Jesus called a tax collector. This has zero relevance to the UBF fishing or shepherding. UBF bible teachers are not Jesus and have no right to demand students to leave their families and friends behind. Stop putting yourselves into the bible stories. Students are not tax collectors.

    v12 – Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” UBF is not healthy. UBF missionaries are sick. They need Jesus.

    v13 – Jesus said, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” This is THE ONE THING missionaries and shepherds at ubf need to learn. Get rid of your theology of sacrifice. Throw out your stupid ideologies such as “offer your Isaac”. Learn what Jesus demands: mercy, not sacrifice.

  2. MJ Peace

    Random question, Why is there a picture of the Koran with this article?

    • Not sure. Ben and/or Forests posted this one :)

    • forestsfailyou

      I thought it was a bible, didn’t look close enough at the text. I feel like this mistake is funny enough to stay however- so unless someone has a violent reaction I am not changing it :)