Summary: This is the second sermon in a series of texts unique to Matthew’s gospel and taken from Chapters 9 and 10. Jesus shows his compassion for outcasts, his caution among unbelievers, and his consideration for believers.
Matthew’s Unique Message #2
Of Snakes and Doves
CHCC: June 10, 2007
This summer I’m going to be preaching from the Gospel of Matthew. We’re going to look at the things Matthew tells about Jesus that none of the other Gospels mention. Today we’ll look at some teachings and events recorded in Matthew 9 and 10. Matthew 9 is the chapter where Matthew tells about his own calling. Jesus saw Matthew sitting at the Tax Collector’s booth and said two life-changing words: Follow Me. Matthew 9:9 says very simply, “and Matthew got up and followed him.” Right after that, Matthew records two miracles that Mark, Luke, and John don’t mention. These miracles probably stood out in Matthew’s recollection because they were some of the first things that happened after he started traveling with Jesus.
First is the healing of two blind men. The second is the healing of a man who was demon-possessed. Being blind or demon-possessed --- or disabled in ANY way --- meant being an OUTCAST. The Jews, like every other culture of that day, looked down on anyone with a physical disorder. To the Jews being blind or crippled was a curse --- brought upon you because of your sin or the sin of one of your ancestors.
Matthew would identify with these men because he also had been considered an OUTCAST --- not because of any disability but because of his profession as a Tax Collector. The Jews didn’t say “Tax Collector” by itself … the phrase was, “Tax Collectors and other Sinners.”
Jesus stood out because He didn’t look down on the Outcasts. Jesus’ HIGHEST priority was to reach the LOWEST of the low. The very ones who got nothing but CONTEMPT in the Kingdom of this World got nothing but COMPASSION in the Kingdom of Heaven!
1. Compassion for the Outcasts Matthew 9:27-36
Soon after Matthew left his Tax Booth to go with Jesus, he saw Jesus perform two astounding miracles. Jesus actually raised a young girl from the dead. And while he was on his way to do that, he healed a woman who touched the hem of his robe.
Because of these kind of public miracles, Jesus was drawing bigger and bigger crowds. When Jesus entered a Village, it was kind of like what happens when a Rock Star walks on stage … except that Jesus didn’t have bodyguards or a get-away car.
As Jesus was trying to make his way through the pressing crowds, he could hear two blind men shouting “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” Now, it’s interesting that these men … who after all, were blind … could SEE that Jesus was the Messiah … (That’s what the title Son of David meant to the Jews.) As soon as Jesus got inside a building, he focused His attention on these two blind men. Look at the first thing Jesus asked them: "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" In other words, “Do you REALLY believe I’m the Messiah and that I can give sight to the blind?”
I think there’s an important principle we can learn here. We all know people who might be considered OUTCASTS --- people with all kinds of needs or handicaps or addictions or diseases. We need to remember that … no matter what else we do for them … the most important thing we can do is share our faith.
That’s what I admire about the GIDEON’S ministry. They are a very single-minded organization with one goal. They want everyone --- no matter what their circumstance and no matter where they are --- they want everyone to have the chance to answer that all-important question, “Do you believe in Jesus?”
In the case of the two blind men, I picture them shouting out their answer in unison: “YES, Lord, we believe!” Verse 29 says, Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"--- and their sight was restored. Matthew 9:29-30 Notice that Jesus TOUCHED them. Sometimes a hug or handshake or a pat on the back says more about the LOVE of God than any words or any amount of money could convey. Jesus showed Compassion up close and personal. If we’re going to follow Him, we will do the same.
Recently two missionaries that we support, Dr. Suzie Snyder and Dr. Florence Muindi, went to Afghanistan. Their Islamic translators warned them not to talk to or touch the Muslim women. Well, guess what … Suzie and Florence were walking in the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of this world. They extended the love of God by talking and touching the women they met. Through their touch as much as their words they offered Compassion to the Outcasts of Afghanistan.