Matthew 9:27 – And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”
Jesus is now going from the ruler’s house to his own lodgings (Peter’s house) when two blind men begin to follow him.
Thus far, the Jews who had come to Jesus for healing acknowledged him as a man to whom God had given great power, but they stopped short of recognizing him as Messiah. We might describe them as ‘spiritually blind’ for not recognizing their Messiah during the time of his visitation.
However, here we have two physically blind men who ‘see’ the truth.
Relentlessly and with great faith, they address Jesus as ‘Son of David’ as they follow him down the street. This was a title which the Jews reserved exclusively for the Messiah. There can be no mistake about what they were proclaiming to all within earshot – that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, the King of Israel! These men may have been blind, but they had something more important – spiritual sight.
They are also very persistent, aren’t they? When Jesus was approached by the disciples of John, or stopped by Jairus, or touched by the woman with the issue of blood, he immediately interacted with them. But in this case, He continues to walk down the street seeming to ignore the cries of the men following him. Yet, they do not give up or stop.
Why would he do that? Many scholars see this as a lesson to persevere in prayer. Later on, Jesus will tell the parable of the woman and the unjust judge. Jesus says the point of the parable is to never give up in prayer.
Luke 18:1-2- And he [Jesus] spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge…
I am willing to confess that sometimes I feel like giving up in prayer. Sometimes when you feel like you have prayed and prayed but the answer has not come, you can get discouraged and there is a real temptation to give up (at least for me).
But at the same time, I can also recall several instances where the answer to my prayers only came after a prolonged period of time. One time, in my extended family, there was a possible legal problem on the horizon but the situation could not be resolved because of some broken relationships. The problem was complex and there was no hope of a resolution, unless God moved. It took months, but through prayer, God brought about a successful outcome to both of those problems, one right after the other!
So, shame on me for growing weary and doubting! We know that God always hears our prayers. We also know that even though we don’t see anything happening, God is at work on our situation. We know God’s timing is always perfect.
Deep down, we know that the only clear and logical course of action is to pray, pray and pray, until we see the answer.
Hmmm…. it seems I have successfully encouraged myself to renew my resolve to pray when the answer doesn’t come immediately. I hope this has helped you too!
Matthew 9:28-29 – 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.” Then he touched their eyes saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”
Eventually, Jesus comes to the house and enters it; the blind men come into the house as well. At this point, out of the public view, Jesus begins to interact with the men.
He asks them a single question – did they believe that he could heal them? In other words, did they believe that he wielded the power of God because he was the Son of God (as they proclaimed), not just a prophet?
Once their confession of faith has been made, Jesus touches their eyes and immediately heals them.
Let me ask you something – did you notice that throughout the entire 9th chapter of Matthew, Jesus has shown us the importance of faith again and again? Faith was a key part of these New Testament folks receiving the miracles they were asking for. It was faith that moved the hand of God on their behalf.
Since God has not changed (Malachi 3:6), we can safely conclude that we, too, will need faith when asking God to move on our behalf. This fact is substantiated throughout the New Testament. Jesus himself says this:
Matthew 17:20 – … verily I [Jesus] say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
What a remarkable promise from Jesus! Since faith is so important, maybe we should pause and examine our own. What is the state/level of your faith? Is it a bit weaker/lower than you would like? If so, be encouraged – there are ways to increase your faith. One way is to meditate or dwell on the word of God:
Romans 10:17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Maybe it’s time to exercise some moderation in our activities and commitments and use some of that time to get into the word of God. Or, perhaps while riding in your car, you could spend your time meditating on the word, instead of singing to the radio. Another good way is to memorize a scripture. When was the last time you did that? As a child or teenager?
I believe there are some really good ways to increase the amount of time we are dwelling on God’s word, without making cataclysmic lifestyle changes. What ideas do you have?
Matthew 9:30-31 – And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.
Jesus gave them the deepest desire of their hearts – then firmly instructed them not to tell anyone! Despite the volumes and volumes of speculation on this topic, the truth is, we don’t know the exact reason why Jesus requested their silence, but we can be sure that his reasons were good ones. We can also be sure that obedience to God’s commands is always good for us. Unfortunately, in this case, the men were disobedient to Jesus’ command, publishing the news far and wide.
Matthew 9:32 – As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him.
In this case, the inability to speak was not the result of some physical defect, but was a side effect of the demon possession.
We should not be surprised that the demon took this man’s ability to speak. If he had a voice, he could pray. He could confess his sin to God. He could offer thanksgiving and praise. He could testify. He could preach the word of God. He could encourage others. He could speak life and hope to those around him. It’s no wonder the demon wanted to prevent his ability to speak.
This brings up a point for our consideration: Is it worth the devil’s time and effort to stop our mouths? Are there enough good and righteous things coming out of us that the devil takes notice? Or, are we giving him glory and furthering his evil purposes by the things we speak?
Entire books have been written on the subject of the tongue and its power. You might want to study this topic in more detail. It is very important to each one of us!
Matthew 9:33 – 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.”
On the command of Jesus, the demon must leave. Once the demon was gone, the man could speak again.
The crowds react by commenting that nothing like this was ever seen in Israel. If you think about it, that is a very bold statement. God created Israel. He brought them out of Egypt with signs and wonders. He parted the Red Sea. He provided water in the desert. He gave them victory in battle, time and time again. He caused manna to appear six days a week for 40 years. He made the walls of Jericho fall. He caused the sun to stand still in the sky. The list of miraculous events goes on and on and on and on…
Based on the Israelites own testimony that nothing like the power of Jesus had ever been seen in their nation, there was only one conclusion to be drawn. Jesus was the Messiah.
Matthew 9:34 – But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
What could possibly drive the Pharisees to such blatant blasphemy?
The Pharisees had long ago abandoned the true faith. They were no longer concerned about serving their fellow man, practicing righteousness, protecting the widows & fatherless or being champions of justice. Their only concern now was to keep the power, status and authority they had grown to love. Their pride knew no limits. This left them only two choices:
Swallow their pride, repent/admit they were wrong, relinquish their authority, and follow Jesus just like the ‘common’ people were.
Hold onto their pride/position/authority by trying to discredit this great show of divine power in the only way possible – to credit it to Satan.
Pride can cause us to do some truly evil things. If you sense it in your life, beware, lest you end up like they did! I can think of nothing sadder than to forfeit the eternal love of God for the trifling things of this world.
Matthew 9:35 – 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.
Jesus came to reveal the kingdom of heaven to men, and to provide his blood for our salvation. He confirmed and accredited his message with signs, wonders and miracles.
Matthew 9:36 – When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Spiritually speaking, the Israelites were without true leadership. The Pharisees had burdened them with the rites of religion, the crushing weight of tradition and their own deadly doctrines. The result was a generation of people who were at best hopeless and neglected; at worst torn to spiritual shreds. They wandered through life with no one to offer spiritual direction, spiritual healing, or spiritual protection.
Their plight aroused compassion within the Savior. Clearly he desired them to have true spiritual leaders who could lead them to victory in Christ!
Matthew 9:37-38 – Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
During this time, the people had heard the gospel from both John the Baptist and now Jesus. The Holy Spirit had quickened this word to their spiritual hearts, and they were ‘ripe’; or ready to repent and accept salvation, which was soon to come.
In this generation, God still has a vast harvest of souls to be brought into the kingdom. We are to fervently pray that God sends more and more workers into this harvest field
Notice that Jesus directs his comments about laboring in the harvest to his disciples. In other words, Jesus was calling them to fill in the gap left by the idle Scribes and Pharisees. They would be true spiritual shepherds who would lead, guide, comfort and instruct the people after the death of Jesus.
In addition, each one of us should also be available to share the love of Christ with all those around us.
So, let me give you some encouragement:
We don’t have to read too much of the scripture to know that faith pleases God and moves mountains. Therefore, we need it! If you feel like your supply of faith is running low, there are things you can do to increase it. You can meditate on the word. You can listen to the testimonies of others. You can remind yourself of times that God moved on your behalf in the past.
But one of the best things you can do is to simply use the faith you have right now! You can never ‘use up’ your faith because when you use it, it actually grows, not diminishes! So take a step of faith this week – even a small one – and when God answers, you will have even more faith to take the next step!
Let me give you some relief and some strength:
Have you ever experienced a time when you prayed for an answer or a change or some relief in a situation, but it seems as though God did not hear or act? If this is you, let me offer you some relief – it’s not just you! I believe that most of us have been in your shoes at one time or another.
During these tough times, I suggest that you change your perspective. When we are beset by difficulties our vision tends to become very narrow. We only see how the problem affects us, not how it might be affecting others.
God did not cause Jairus’ daughter to die, or the woman to have an issue of blood or the two men to be born blind. However, he did allow those things and use them to display his glory. He used a small amount of human discomfort to show the world a dazzling display of his glory. The temporary suffering of those people caused untold numbers of people to trust in God.
If God asked you to suffer a bit so that lost souls could be forever changed by Him, would you allow it? Would you welcome it and consider it an honor? The next time you are in a period of suffering, widen your perspective. Trust that God is bringing about eternal blessings to other people through you. You will find yourself in a whole new level of intimacy with God. Be strong and draw close to Him. He will use your suffering for his glory, if you will allow him.