Summary: Two blind men with faith, a dumb man with a devil, a crowd that marvelled, and Pharisees who wanted people to believe anything but good of Jesus.
Earlier in this chapter we saw how Jesus demonstrated His power to forgive sins by healing a paralysed man who had been brought to His home in Capernaum by faithful friends (cf. Matthew 9:5-7). Then we saw Jesus sitting in Matthew’s house eating with tax collectors and sinners (cf. Matthew 9:11-13). Then Jesus was called away by a faithful man (cf. Matthew 9:18), only to be interrupted in His journey by giving a positive reaction to the faith of a ritually unclean woman who had touched Him (cf. Matthew 9:22). Arriving at the man’s house, Jesus raised His host’s daughter from the dead by taking her by the hand (cf. Matthew 9:24-25).
As Jesus left the man’s house, two blind men followed Him (Matthew 9:27a). We are not told that they were bidden, like Matthew (cf. Matthew 9:9). But they were relentless, like the men who had carried the paralysed man into Jesus’ presence earlier (cf. Matthew 9:2).
They could not see with their eyes, but their spiritual eyes were open to the fact that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. They addressed Him by His Royal title: “Son of David” (Matthew 9:27b). They could also perceive, and no doubt had heard about Jesus’ authority to heal, so they cried out in faith, “have mercy on us” (Matthew 9:27c).
I say these two men were relentless, because they continued to follow Jesus all the way back to His home. It is like Jacob, wrestling all night with the Angel of the LORD, and then saying at daybreak, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’ (cf. Genesis 32:26). Jacob was persistent in prayer, refusing to let his opponent go until he procured the desired blessing. Such outpouring of ourselves, painful perseverance, tenacity in prayer - will cause us also to prevail.
For all their crying after Jesus, He still needed to check the basis of the blind men’s faith. When He got home, He said to them, “Do you (all) believe that I am able to this?” “Yes, Lord,” acknowledged the two men, addressing Him with the equivalent of the divine title (Matthew 9:28).
As Jesus touched their eyes, He pronounced: “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). This tells me that we have a responsibility to believe for the right things. Whatever their faith was reaching for, however much or as little, they received it all.
These men had received the touch of Jesus, and receiving just one instruction, they disobeyed (Matthew 9:29-31). They spread abroad His fame when He enjoined silence. They could never imagine what inconvenience this may have caused to Jesus and to His ministry at that time.
There is a certain irony in the fact that, just as two formerly blind men who had so recently been ENJOINED to SILENCE went out only to broadcast it abroad, so there was brought to Jesus a DUMB man, possessed by a devil (Matthew 9:32). This man had to be brought, but unlike the paralysed man (cf. Matthew 9:2), he would not be coming voluntarily. The devil within him would never desire that!
So Jesus dealt not with the dumbness of the man, but with the malignant spirit. The Great Physician deals with the cause: and when He does that the symptom is alleviated. The man spoke, and the multitudes marvelled saying, “It was never so seen in Israel” (Matthew 9:33).
Inevitably, as ever, the Pharisees put another spin on what had happened, wanting people to believe anything but good of Jesus. What blindness on their part, to blasphemously suggest in the face of all these proofs of Jesus’ Messiahship, “He casts out devils through the prince of the devils” (Matthew 9:34).
Elsewhere Jesus answers this accusation with two parables (cf. Mark 3:22-27).
‘How can Satan cast out Satan?’ asked Jesus in His first little parable. It is quite evident that a kingdom or a house that rises up against itself will ultimately fall. So if Satan is divided against himself, then he is at his end.
The second little parable looks at things from another angle. Jesus illustrates Satan as a strong man guarding his house. Now a stronger than he has come, and is in process of binding Satan, and spoiling his house.