AN EXPOSITION OF MATTHEW 9: 27-31
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
Following the healing of the daughter of Jarius, “Jesus departed.” The Lord Jesus was on the road once more to minister to others. It did not take long for that to happen because “two blind men followed him.” They cried for mercy because they needed a miracle of healing. They were blind.
The miracles Jesus performed were prophesied by Isaiah. “Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? 18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. 19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:17-19).
It was a wonderful prediction which Isaiah gave. He said the Messiah would heal the deaf, and make the blind to see. In fulfillment of that prophesy, and to establish His credential as the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of David, heard the pleas of two blind men who kept on following after Him. They would not be denied. They would jostle against individuals, they would stumble down the dusty roads of Palestine, but they would not stop following after Jesus. They desperately needed His healing touch in their lives.
That there were two blind men together elicits pity, because it is understandable. Those who are afflicted seek out others who can understand their pain, their suffering, and their situation, not in theory, but in actuality. Those who suffer together can encourage one another.
Blindness was common in the Middle East in the Lord’s day. The glare of the sun would hurt unprotected eyes. Any neglect of personal hygiene that left the eyes unwashed, and rubbed by unclean hands would also contribute to disease.
The blindness of the two men represents the true state of every person who is born physically alive, but spiritual dead. In his spiritual death, or separation from God, the natural man cannot perceive spiritual realities. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
There is need for spiritual sight to see the way of salvation, and the Savior of the salvation that is said to be the gift of God. Let the sinner call on the Son of David to have mercy. Let the blind stumble in their blindness, but stumble towards trying to follow after Jesus. Let those who are spiritually blind cry out for divine mercy.
By pleading for mercy, the men confessed their unworthiness. The person who asks for God’s mercy understands the desperate condition they are in. They are helpless, but not without hope in the Lord, but it is the Lord in whom hope is placed, not self, and not human resources.
The practical problem with so many, is that they do not humble themselves before God. Many do not ask for mercy because they are depending upon their baptism, confirmation, Church membership, the taking of communion, or good works to please the Lord.
When God does have mercy, when spiritual sight is restored, the soul is able to behold wonderous truths. These wonderful truths are illuminated by the Holy Spirit, who draws the soul to the Savior.
The blind men were being drawn to the Lord, because their spiritual sight had been restored by the Holy Spirit. They understood He was the Son of David. They knew they needed mercy. Their wills were not obstinate, but pliable to the gospel. They were worthy objects of Divine healing.
The restorative miracles of healing Jesus performed in making the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the dead to live, are reflective of regeneration.
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.
As Jesus did on other occasions, the Lord waited, before responding to the pleas for mercy by the two blind men. This divine delay was not because Jesus did not care, He did care. Sometimes the Lord delays hearing, our prayers in order to test our sincerity. These men were earnest. They cried out. They want Jesus to know their need, and they were not ashamed they were needy. The blind men were persistent. They were emotional, and they were determined. When others blocked their paths, the blind men did not become discouraged. “Where is He?” they asked. “Which way is He turning?” Perhaps someone took pity on one of the men and said, “Give me your hand. Follow me.” He in turn took the hand of his friend who was also blind, and in this way were brought to the house into which Jesus had gone. Groping for the door, they barged in. Their heads turned to listen for the voice of Jesus. They wanted to know, “Did He hear their voices?” “Would Jesus answer their prayers?” “Why does Jesus delay?”
Sometimes the Lord delays listening to our petitions in order to test our faith. Sometimes Jesus delays doing something we think is urgent because the time is not right, or the circumstances are not according to divine design. Sometimes the Lord is slow to respond to discern if we recognize His Lordship. The blind men were aware of the right of Jesus to rule over Israel, for they called Him the Son of David, Messiah. They were wiser, and more insightful than the Pharisees. It is the wise person who has a Christ centered theology.
There are many types of theology. There is a Liberation Theology, which argues for the use of violence to right what is wrong in society. There is Process Theology based on the philosophy that the only absolute which exists is change. There is the Theology of Hope by Jurgen Moltmann, a German theologian who suffered in a prison camp in World War II. The past, and the present, is not as important as the hope of the future. There is Dispensational Theology, which has brought false hope to Christians of escaping great tribulation and suffering. There is Reformed Theology, which emphasizes the various covenants God has made with men. There is Self Esteem Theology, based on the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller, which exalts man and his Ego. But they do not satisfy. Only the heart that cries out to Jesus, the Son of David, will find rest for body and soul.
When Jesus was come into the house, He turned to deal with the blind men who came into the house with him. They were not going to be denied. They were so close to the only person in all the world who could help them, and they were not about to leave His presence when they knew He was so very near.
Before the Lord healed the blind men, He had a question for them. “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” The question was not for His benefit, but for theirs, and for others who were listening. One person’s faith can encourage others to have faith in the Lord Jesus.
What is faith?
Faith is the instrumental cause of our salvation. Faith is the means by which the blessings of the Lord are bestowed. Faith itself does not save, but it is the means by which the Savior instills the salvation. A person is saved through faith (Eph. 2:8, 9). Faith is placed in Christ as He is set forth in Scripture. Faith receives the Bible as the Word of God, and embraces without reservation what is written. Faith is not natural to fallen man. It is a gift of God. Faith can be asked for. Once saving faith is given, the Holy Spirit does not withdraw it. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29).
To have faith in Christ, is to see Him as the Son of God, who is divine. Saving faith is to believe that Christ offered Himself as a penal sacrifice for atonement that is sufficient for sinners. It is not enough to say that a person has faith in Jesus. Saving faith is specific. It is defined. It is focused. A Jesus who is not the eternal Son, a Jesus who is not sufficient to save, a Jesus who is not resurrected, a Jesus who is not divine, is not the Jesus who saves the soul. Faith does not save. It is the object of faith who saves, and if the object of faith is not the Lord Jesus, then you do not have an object which saves. The object of faith must be sufficient to save. Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him.
When Jesus asked, “Do you believe ye that I am able to do this?” He was directing their faith to Himself. When pressed, the honest heart might confess, “No, I do not believe Jesus is able to save.” In that moment of unbelief, the heart returns to the true ground of hope of salvation,n which is personal goodness, good works, or some religious act, such as praying a sinner’s prayer, being baptized, or confirmed. True saving faith is placed in Christ.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Faith is not based on simple propositions, but in the person, about which the propositions speak. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).
In answering the inquiry of Jesus, the two blind men said simply, “Yea, Lord.” One moment the blind men called Jesus, “Son of David,” and in the next moment they called Him, “Lord.”
To call Jesus, “Lord”, is to recognize that He is a unique person that possesses both a divine and a human nature.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Time and again in the ministry of Jesus it is said that He touched someone. Jesus touched the leper (Matt. 8:3). Jesus touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14, 15). Jesus touched a littler girl (Matt. 9:25). Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men because He was a man of compassion and pity. According to their faith, they were to be healed. Their faith was great, for sight was restored to each of them.
30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
The eyes of the blind men were opened according to their faith. If you would have more faith, open your Bibles and study it, for faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Faith will grow, as you grow in knowledge, and confidence in Jesus.
When their eyes were opened, with their first look, they saw Jesus. How beautiful He must have been to them. He was altogether lovely.
The people who were in the house and witnessed all of this transpire knew the two blind men had true faith, for faith produces results. True faith is manifested in the salvation of the soul, the healing of the body, and the answer to prayer. What a moment of witnessing this was.
Then the Lord Jesus said something rather startling. “Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.”
Perhaps one reason why Jesus instructed the blind men not to make public their healing, was because so many of the people in Israel, including religious leaders, viewed the Son of David as a political figure. It was thought the Messiah would lead the Jews to military and political victory over their enemies. In contrast, the objective of the Son of Man was to seek and to save the lost, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. To heal the sick, and give sight to the blind.
31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
Unfortunately, the two blind men immediately disobeyed the known will of the Lord. Though the blind men who were healed were strictly instructed by Jesus not to tell others of the miracle they had received, they did so. The blind men departed, and “spread abroad his fame in all that country.”
The temptation comes to forgive the men for being so exuberant with the sight they had received, and to understand how they simply could not keep silent. We ask ourselves, “Who would be able to keep silent when a miracle of healing of such magnitude takes place?” Our heart hopes Jesus forgave them for their indiscretion. Nevertheless, the basic fact remains, the two blind men disobeyed Jesus, and that is never right. We do not want to call wrong right. We honor the Lord most when we obey Him. Furthermore, we are most effective in our witnessing when we are led by the Holy Spirit. By telling others without permission, the blind men brought dishonor to themselves, and caused more trouble for Christ in His ministry.
Let us be more careful, and learn from their disobedience. Let us also rejoice that the men received new eyes. That is what all men need. You need new eyes, and so do I. We need spiritual eyes to seek Christ clearly, to discern every situation in life more precisely, and to read God’s Word more insightfully.