Key Verse | Matthew 9:9

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.

Scripture | Matthew 9

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing 1 their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Jesus Calls Matthew

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesus 2 reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

A Question About Fasting

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, 3 but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly 4 the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus 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, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”


[1] 9:4 Some manuscripts perceiving
[2] 9:10 Greek he
[3] 9:14 Some manuscripts add much, or often
[4] 9:22 Greek from that hour

Jesus Never Told Us to Ask Him in to Our Hearts

Devo | Matthew 9

Pastor Francis Chan once said, "Our greatest fear should not be failure. It should be succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." Wow, that quote described my life well. I had...

Pastor Francis Chan once said, "Our greatest fear should not be failure. It should be succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." Wow, that quote described my life well. I had succeeded at all the things I wanted, but they were meaningless.

I didn't realize that until I had everything, like Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes (e.g., Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 14). If only I had read Ecclesiastes before I wasted many years of my life. Like Solomon, I chased success, money, and travel, yet I was hopeless and suicidal.

After following Jesus for six years, I have come to know Jesus is better than anything the world can offer (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:10). The name Jesus means "Jehovah saves." Jesus displays that He is God by His authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:3, 5, 6, 8). Jesus confirms that He is the Messiah prophesied as a healer in Isaiah 35:5-6.

I once heard the biblical definition of love in a sermon at The pastor said love sends (initiates) (Romans 5:8), love sacrifices (John 15:13), and love stays (Matthew 28:20). If only our world knew God's definition of love! Nothing we do can earn God's love (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; Titus 3:5).

Jesus doesn't merely ask us to believe that He is God, since even the demons believe (James 2:19). A savior doesn't save people who think they are "right" (Proverbs 21:2) and can earn heaven on their own. The Savior saves those who by God's grace realize they are spiritually dead apart from Him and need saving (Ephesians 2:1-10; Isaiah 66:2). Jesus says "follow Me" about 23 times in the Gospels. He never requires a sinner's prayer as a prerequisite to salvation; rather, Jesus says, "Follow Me."

Pastor Tim Keller described repentance as being characterized by deep humility (Psalm 38:18, 139:23-24), together with joyful confidence in the mercy of God (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20). To repent is to completely pull up the foundation of our life and totally rebuild our lives on Jesus as the foundation (Matthew 7:21-28).

Discussion Questions

1. We desire love, hope, peace, joy, and wisdom, but we forget the God who is the source of these things. What created things are you worshiping? Would you still daily thank God if those worshiped things were taken away?

2. You may have heard it said, "What you feed grows." Are you feeding gratitude to God, or are you feeding self-pity and frustrations? Scripture memory has been such a helpful spiritual discipline to feed on God's Word in any situation. Equipped Disciple training can help you!

3. What will you do this year to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Will you consider setting some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) spiritual goals to help you grow in loving God? Some ideas include praying Scripture, daily time in the Word of God through Join The Journey, Scripture memory, and journaling about what you are reading.

4. Have you seen Season 2 of The Chosen series? Matthew 9 is shown with great acting! The healing of the paralytic and Jesus calling Matthew to "follow Me" are powerful.

5. Are you having thoughts of suicide? Please don't do it. You may think it will end the pain, but it will only transfer the pain to the people around you when you die. God created you and has a plan for your life, even if you can't see it now. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Do you want to know what the Bible says about suicide? Check out these verses: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Exodus 20:13; Psalm 36:9; Job 14:5. And note how Jesus responded when He was "very sorrowful, even to death" in Matthew 26:36-44. Then call 214.361.2275 if you would like to talk to someone who cares for you concerning how to respond to thoughts of suicide.

Meet Mark Warner

I am thankful for Join The Journey because God used it to change my life and avoid suicide!

I serve in Watermark's Moneywise ministry and am a co-leader in our community group. In 2016, I contemplated suicide after obtaining all of the money I wanted by age 30. I reflected on being single with no kids the rest of my life, which left me hopeless and despairing. Thank God, He kept me from following through with suicide and instead delivered to me what I needed most: Him.

I enjoy two-stepping, wakesurfing, and hanging out with my baby nephews and nieces.

13 Comments available

Michael Scaman 5 days ago

Jesus says He has authority to forgive sins and then in the next account calls Matthew the tax collector.

Holly Lester 8 days ago

What a powerful testimony, Mark! Love the Chan and Keller references as well. Q1 - I am constantly wanting to look to relationships for fulfillment - whether that’s friends, kids, etc. Praying that God alone would be on the throne of my heart, and all other things would be in their proper place. Thanks for this Devo!

Linda Green 8 days ago

With the new format of the bio after the devo, I thought, “This person has to have been in Equipped Disciple!” And Q#2: Amen, brother!

Awesome that God uses brokenness and failure to bring us to new life- only God can do that!! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Choosing to live in the enemy’s camp made me not want to live anymore also. Why did I think it would be any different when I walked away from the source of abundant Life? (John 10:10)

In Q#5 you reference Isaiah 55:8-9. Love Isaiah 55:7 as well- our ways are not like His because He loves to pardon terrible people and show us compassion!

Is. 55:7: “…let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God is good!

Matthew Gregory 9 days ago

Amazing DEVO Mark! Your testimony is so powerful. I can personally identify with your story. Just like Matthew, when we are faithful and choose to follow Him daily, by God’s grace we too can become disciples.

Kolby Lundgren 9 days ago

Here’s link the Ben Stuart’s message from Porch, “Love Does” in First Comes Love series

Awesome devo, thanks for all scripture and shout out to MoneyWise and ED ministries!!

Greg Jones 9 days ago


Like Francis Chan’s quote about fear.

Fear mentioned in the Gospel of Mark. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obeyed him. Mark4:40-41.

A discussion concerning understanding parables, forgiveness, and the kingdom Mark4:10-13, preceded the fear and faith question caused by the storm. In the discussion questions are asked by the insiders, and outsiders are discussed. The disciples ability to grasp what Jesus teaches is questioned. The first of the gospels.

In the tone of Mark, the first gospel, it sounds like there’s little understanding of parables with the apostles, differences between insiders and outsiders are hardline. After some time another gospel comes out, Matthew.

Greg Jones 9 days ago


“Even the wind and rain obey him. Who is this man?”Limited to that, Mark and Matthew agree. Who was in the boat? They might not agree. Bigger than a boat passenger question, for me, is the visual perception of how the kingdom to come is growing. And how understanding Jesus has grown with time between the gospels of Mark and Matthew.

“Even the wind and the waves obey him!” To know that isn’t failure. To stop asking and retelling “Who is this man? That would have been failure for the gospel writers.

Dylan Jackson 9 days ago

Wow, thank you Mark for your authenticity and for connecting the dots of Scripture in such a poignant way.

And I wanna say thank you to those who comment daily - Hugh, Sue, Michael, etc. - I really appreciate your insight and authenticity as well. You’ve made this “journey” even more fruitful for me and been an added resource in addition to the already abundant resources, including the Podcast, which has been amazing (way to go Emma and team)!

Sue Bohlin 10 days ago

(1/2) WHOA, MARK! Amazing bio and devo! The depth of your understanding is such a blessing! I was struck by two ways in which the Lord invites us into what He’s doing. First, in responding to the two blind men, He said the healing they asked for would be done to them according to their faith. Huh. Full stop. Putting myself in their shoes, I ask, “What can I do to enlarge my faith?” I mean, why settle for a thimble when I could grow my faith to, I don’t know, how about a lake? But it can’t be an act of flesh, it has to be a supernaturally-infused work of God in me. I realize that focusing on Jesus and learning to see Him as He really is will expand my capacity to trust Him because He’s so much bigger and more powerful than I can possibly grasp.

Sue Bohlin 10 days ago

(2/2) The other way is Jesus’ command to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers. My husband’s phone and watch are alarmed for 9:38 every morning to pray this prayer for workers in kids’ ministry. But why pray? Won’t God do what He wants to do regardless of what we do? It’s His invitation to be part of the eternal fruit of His kingdom work. He doesn’t NEED us, He graciously INVITES us to be part of His work. That, too, enlarges my perspective on Him and grows my faith.

Hugh Stephenson 10 days ago


Also, I have gained somewhat of an understanding of the “scapegoat” that took on the sins of the people and was sacrificed; the sins are transferred from “unclean” to “clean”.

So, I was taken aback at the teaching of how Jesus’s touch made the reverse come about; His “cleanliness” took away their “uncleanliness”. His touch transferred His cleanliness and purity to them, not their uncleanliness to Him.

This understanding has been very powerful for me.

Three times through re:gen from 2013 to 2016 helped me experience the healing I desperately needed; except for Amy’s and my abortion in 1982. Too tough to shake

This truth plus others was the final piece that gave me the total acceptance of the full and complete atonement of Jesus.

Hugh Stephenson 10 days ago


GM Mark! What an awesome devo and such great questions. Thank you for blessing us with this. And thank you for not taking your own life. Having had several suicides among family and friends I can agree with you that it doesn’t end pain but just transfers it.

One of my favorite books is Leviticus.


Yes, Leviticus.


Because it gave me a very different lens through which to see the purity and holiness of God via how the sacrificial system worked. So, I am drawn to the passages on ritual cleanliness and purity. I could see that in the ways and methods of becoming unclean and impure as well as the ways to remedy it.

An incredibly powerful statement of the holiness of God.

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

The friends of the paralytic saw the crowds and came up with a way around the congested home. seeing no conventional way in. They saw, acted, climbed up on the roof, dug through and in hope lowered their friend down.

His friends had a lot of faith. The man also had the courage to allow them to do it.

The friends left happy and blessed, the religious leaders left unhappy and mad. Faith in Jesus resulting in forgiveness becomes an issue.

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