Reading Time: 6 Minutes
The next two episodes of healing conclude a long section of accounts of healing in Matthew’s Gospel. The first instance of healing involved two blind men.
Matthew 9.27-31 – 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.
Historical Setting and Application
There are a three unique aspects to this instance of healing.
(1) When the blind men called Jesus, “the Son of David,” it is the first time he is called by these words in the Gospel.
(2) When Jesus “sternly warned them” (verse 30), it is one of the strongest warnings he gave to anyone to not make him known.
(3) When Jesus asked the men, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (verse 28) that was the first time in the Gospel that he asked people to declare their faith. In the other instances of healing, Jesus merely acknowledged their faith.
The title, Son of David, was a title for the Messiah. At this stage in Jesus’ ministry, it was not helpful for people to label him as the Messiah. People hoped for a Messiah who would fit the expectation of who they longed for. They would embrace a miracle worker, but not a crucified Savior. This is why Jesus warned the men to be silent.
Why did Jesus ask the men about their faith? An illustration may help our understanding. I had to iron a shirt on Saturday. I didn’t stand before the iron and plead, “Oh, great iron, I pray thee to awaken in energy, get hot and press my shirt.”
Instead, I believed that electricity flows into our house. I made sure the iron was plugged in and turned it on. When it was at the right temperature, it made a short beep, signaling that it was ready. I picked it up and was able to press my shirt.
The two blind men had already connected to the power for healing when they came to Jesus. When Jesus asked them if they believed, and they said “Yes,” the power was turned on and released for their healing.
Just to make sure my illustration is clear. Prayer is coming to Jesus and our faith opens the circuits for the power of God to flow.
A Mute Man Healed
The next healing event involved a man who was mute because of demonic oppression. Matthew gave a very brief account of what was a very powerful and controversial experience.
Matthew 9.32-34 – 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.”
Verses 33 and 34 give two of the most opposite kind of reactions we will find in the Bible. The crowd marvels in joy at Jesus’ healing of the mute man. Their mouths hang open in astonishment and joy.
On the other hand, the Pharisees are seething with anger. They label the healing of a man who has been oppressed by demons as an act performed by the power of the prince of demons. If they had only stopped to think about how illogical was their statement, they may have refrained from speaking.
The Pharisees are good teachers in what not to do. Anger and disagreement clouds the mind so much that we can’t appreciate a clear act of God. We would do very well to remember this when we are ready to condemn someone with whom we disagree or dislike.
** Miracles – Signs of the Times
At the very beginning of his public ministry, Jesus made his position clear. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5.17).
The acts of healing in today’s passage, show how Jesus came to heal the spiritual blindness that was described by Isaiah. God told Isaiah to declare his word to the people:
“Go, and say to this people:
‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6.9-10)
Jesus not only came to heal those without physical sight, he also came to heal those whose hearts were blind to the wisdom, plans and purposes of God.
When Jesus comes, some people see, hear, understand, turn and are healed. They rejoice with the crowd and say, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel” (or Independence, or other place in the world).
The same Jesus comes to self-serving, self-pleasing, self-consumed persons and a tragedy results. Their hearts are dull, ears are heavy, eyes are blind, and they are not healed. It is sad to say that the Pharisees – the religious leaders of their day – were the ones who missed the healing that Jesus came to give us all.
Let’s determine to not miss what Jesus is doing in our lives.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your gracious activity in our midst. We rejoice in your healing and saving grace. We receive all you died for us to have. Thank you.