Miracle 17:
Healing of the Two Blind Men
   

I. OBSERVATION

A. Passage Selected: Matthew 9:27-31

Matthew 9:27-31 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

B. Progression Stated: Ideological

Tracking on the idea of faith.

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

a.       There are several other passages where blind are healed - Matt 12:22, 20:30, 21:14, Mark 8:22-26; John 9. This one does not seem to be a parallel to any of the other gospels.

b.       Determining the order and timing of the miracles is very tricky.  I seem to remember hearing that we only have about 50 days recorded out of three years of Jesus’ ministry.

c.        The gospel writers recorded different sayings and events and placed the events in a certain order to help make their points.  For example, Matthew organizes this section of his gospel around 10 sermons, 10 miracles and then 10 rejections. It is a very symmetrical presentation, but is it the order in which Jesus said these things and did these things?

d.       If this miracle follows the healing of Jairus’ daughter, then after leaving Jairus’ house, two blind men hear that Jesus is passing by and they call out to Him. But Jesus doesn’t stop, He goes into a house. 

e.       I assume that at least Peter, James and John are with Jesus after they left Jairus’ house. So it is probably one of their houses in Capernaum since He does not have his own house (Matt 8:20).  If so, that lends support to my speculation last week that Jairus was the synagogue official in Capernaum.

f.         Also, if our chronology is correct, it is one of several miracles performed just before the disciples are sent out to witness to Israel.

2. Content

a. The approach of faith  9:27a

1.       Though dispossessed of natural vision, these men had acute spiritual discernment. In addressing Jesus as Son of David, they recognized Him as the long-awaited Messiah and rightful King of Israel. And they knew that when the Messiah came, one of His credentials would be that He would give sight to the blind (Isa. 61:1)

2.       Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

3.       Two blind men call Him the “Son of David.” This is a title, which emphasizes His Messiahship. Especially in Matthew with his Jewish audience and emphasis on the Kingdom is this true. 

4.       This is the first time Jesus is addressed this way, and it shows that these blind men recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Also, the mercy to heal comes from God and they recognize that too.  It is amazing how much these blind men see.

5.       Some question why Jesus would pass these men by, and then even after they call out to him, keep on going into the house. Bruner identifies three possible reasons: messianic, modesty and the testing of faith.[1]

·          Messianic - A possible explanation is that since these men identify him as the “Son of David,” a phrase which also has political connotations, Jesus moves into His house to get away from the crowd because He doesn’t want to advance the political kingdom at this time.  His focus is on the spiritual function of Messiah.

·          Modesty - Bruner says Jesus wanted to avoid the “show business” aspect of miracles. It’s true that Jesus didn’t make a big show of His miracles.  As we’ve seen, the miracle itself occupies little space in the retelling. But, I think too many of Jesus’ miracles were performed in public for this to be the reason He went into the house.

·          Testing of faith - perhaps Jesus passed them by to stretch their faith a little.  If they really believed, then they would follow him. And sure enough, they did. The emphasis in the miracle of the centurion’s servant was on the faith of the centurion.  The woman with the hemorrhage was healed because of her faith.  Jairus was told not to fear, but to have faith. Here we see Jesus emphasizing the need for faith.

b. The questioning of faith  9:27b-28
(1) His Person  (27) They know that God is merciful and they know that the Messiah, being from God, would be too. So they have faith in who He is and that He would be disposed to show mercy. 
a.                   Their petition, Have mercy on us. It was foretold that the Son of David should be merciful (Ps. 72:12, 13), and in him shines the tender mercy of our God, Lu. 1:78.
b.                   Note, Whatever our necessities and burthens are, we need no more for supply and support, than a share in the mercy of our Lord Jesus. Whether he heal us or no, if he have mercy on us, we have enough;
c.                    They did not each of them say for himself, Have mercy on me, but both for one another, Have mercy on us. Note, It becomes those that are under the same affliction, to concur in the same prayers for relief. Fellow-sufferers should be joint-petitioners. In Christ there is enough for all.[2]
d.                   What is mercy?  Is it feeling sorry for someone? I think it may involve that sometimes, but the main idea is to offer practical help to someone in need.
e.                   We needed salvation, and God provided it, even though we didn’t deserve it. These men could not see.  They needed help and Jesus could help them.
f.                     The question that comes to my mind is this.  If Jesus passed them by, was He not intending to help them? Was it their appeal to His mercy that caused Him to respond?  Was it their persistence? Was it their faith?  What does this say about election? I don’t know the answer.
 (2) His power (28)

a.                   Since they already believe that He has mercy, Jesus inquires as to their belief in His ability (not his will). 

b.                   It seems that the emphasis in this section of Matthew is the need to believe that Jesus has the power to heal. And the logical conclusion is that He has the power to save.

c.                    They respond, “Yes, Lord.” Then the Great Physician touched their eyes and assured them that because they believed, they would see. Immediately their eyes became completely normal.

d.                   Man says, “Seeing is believing.” God says, “Believing is seeing.”

1.       Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see?” (John 11:40).

2.       The writer to the Hebrews noted, “By faith we understand ... ” (11:3).

3.       The Apostle John wrote, “I have written to you who believe ... that you may know ... ” (1 Jn. 5:13).

4.       God is not pleased with the kind of faith that demands a prior miracle. He wants us to believe Him simply because He is God. [3]

c. The result of faith  9:29-31
(1) The touch of Jesus

a.          He touches them and heals them. In the Near East, eye diseases were as repulsive as leprosy.[4] So touching them has special significance. He doesn’t just talk to them. He touches them at the point of their oppression.

b.          Then He tells them to tell no one. Why did Jesus sternly warn the healed men to tell no one?

1.       Jesus probably He did not want to foment a premature movement to enthrone Him as King. The people were as yet unrepentant; He could not reign over them until they were born again.

2.       Also, a revolutionary uprising in favor of Jesus would bring terrible reprisals from the Roman government on the Jews.

3.       Besides all this, the Lord Jesus had to go to the cross before He could reign as King; anything that blocked His pathway to Calvary was at variance with the predetermined plan of God. [5]

(2) The transgression of the men

a.       They disobey.  They don’t follow his will for them. This is the same thing that we saw in the miracle of the leper who was told to be silent, but didn’t.

b.       They experienced his mercy, but disobey the mandate. I have to wonder what it was that Jesus wanted them not to tell.  Certainly, if someone asked how they were healed, they could have said, “Jesus healed us.”

c.        But, going back to the messianic reason we mentioned earlier as to why Jesus didn’t stop… perhaps what Jesus didn’t want them saying was “The Messiah, Son of David, is here to deliver Israel from….”  I imagine that would have been their inclination because of the way they addressed Jesus.

d.       In their delirious gratitude for eyesight, the two men spread the news of their miraculous cure. While we might be tempted to sympathize, and even to admire their exuberant testimony, the hard fact is that they were crassly disobedient and inevitably did more harm than good, probably by stirring up shallow curiosity rather than Spirit-inspired interest. Not even gratitude is a valid excuse for disobedience. [6]

 

 

II. INTERPRETATION

·          Even the blind recognize that Jesus is the Messiah.  The irony is that they have not “seen” any miracles, but the nation has seen at least 17 by now and still missed the point.  In fact, in a just a few verses we will see the nation’s leaders accuse Jesus of performing miracles by Satan’s power.

·          Sometimes the measure of faith is the measure of blessing.  Sometimes there is no faith involved - like when he raises the dead.

·          There is a need to follow mercy with obedience.

III. APPLICATIONS

·          Physical handicaps are no barrier to spiritual insight.

·          Just as Jesus touched the blind men’s eyes, He touches us where we hurt.

·          Do I have to be committed to obeying Him to experience His mercy?  No, It is not required, but it is desired.  It demonstrates God’s mercy and goodness even more that He .  There is a danger in front loading the message.  God is more gracious than we give Him credit for.

·          Do I ever experience the power, grace of God in my life and then fail to follow up with obedience to God’s commands?

I need to obey even if it is not what seems natural. It is natural to want to share what you know, especially great news like this, but sometimes it is not best to share it or do it. We know from the miracle of the leper that it may very well hinder the cause of Christ rather than help it. 


[1] Frederick Bruner, Matthew Vol. 1, p. 351.

[2]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[3]William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.

[4] Frederick Bruner, Matthew Vol. 1, p. 349.

[5]William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.

[6]William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.