Summary: Jesus gives mercy to anyone who asks.
A Messiah of Mercy
Text: Matthew 9:27-34
1. Illustration: As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband (Gary Thomas, Christianity Today, October 3, 1994, 26)
2. One of the great things about our God is that he is a God of mercy. He doesn't give us what we truly deserve and does give us what we definitely don't deserve.
3. As our Messiah, Jesus gives us the:
a. Mercy of Persistence
b. Mercy of Faith
c. Mercy of Authority
4. Read Matt. 9:27-34
Proposition: Jesus gives mercy to anyone who asks.
Transition: Jesus gives us the...
I. Mercy of Persistence (27-28).
A. Have Mercy On Us
1. Jesus had just finished bringing a dead girl back to life, and as he left her home when "two blind men followed along behind him..."
a. Blindness was a common problem in the ancient world, often caused by poor hygiene.
b. Blindness was one of the grimmest maladies in the ancient world and was considered to be only a little less serious than being dead (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 372).
c. Think about if you will. In today's world, blindness is a serious condition. Even though there are many modern advances like brail, special canes, seeing eye dogs, and special services for the blind, it is still a very debilitating and devastating condition.
d. However, in the ancient world none of those things existed, and blind people were left at the mercy of others for their very existence.
e. These men were desperate for someone to help them, and their desperation is indicated in the fact that the word "followed" is an active verb in the Greek text.
f. In other words, they kept following him!
2. Not only were they following him, but they were making a spectacle of themselves because they kept "shouting, '“Son of David, have mercy on us!”'
a. Mercy: to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
b. They cried out, not for justification, but for mercy. They did not make demands, but sought Jesus with a humble, trusting petition (Horton, CBL: Matthew, 179).
c. It is interesting that they are requesting mercy from Jesus. In 9:13, Jesus states that mercy is one of the things that God requires of us.
d. Therefore, he is about to practice what he has been preaching (France, NICNT: Matthew, 366).
e. This is the first of seven occurrences of "Son of David" in Matthew, whereas it is used only once by Mark and Luke. Again we see Matthew's stressing of Jesus as Messiah (France, 366).
f. The title "Son of David" was a royal title of the Messiah, and most expected that the Messiah was to be a political deliverer who would set them free from Roman rule.
g. This may explain why Jesus seems to ignore them at first, because he did not want to confirm them their political expectations (Horton, 179).
3. Now I want you to notice just how persistant they are in this text. In verse 28 it says, "They went right into the house where he was staying..."
a. They followed him right into someone's home and kept persisting that Jesus grant them their request for mercy.
b. Illustration: At one church that we pastored, the parsonage was right next door to the church. One Sunday night after church, we walked into the parsonage to find this one family from the church sitting in our living room. If that wasn't bad enough, they stayed for what seemed like an eternity. Finally about 10:00, I said "Well you don't have to go home but you can't stay here!"
c. These two blind men were persistent enough to risk being rude and maybe even beaten up.
d. But isn't that what Jesus told his disciples to do when they pray?
e. Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.