“Two Blind Men”
Matthew selects ten miracles in chapters 8-9 during the ministry of Jesus, which gives evidence that Jesus is the King of the promised Kingdom of Heaven; He alone is the one who has power over disease, demons, death, all of the elements and all of the earth. Nine of the miracles deal with human dilemmas of all sorts, and the other one showed Jesus’ power over nature in the stilling of the wind and sea. Matthew gives a preview of what the Kingdom of God will look like in its fullness and that Jesus is the one who will reign in God’s Eternal Kingdom. He alone will fulfill all of Isaiah’s prophecies in God’s Heavenly Kingdom: There will be no sin, no sickness, and no death or disorder of any kind in His Kingdom is fulfilled.
Two Blind Men
We looked at the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and also Jairus’ daughter, and now the same day, we pick up in Matthew 9: 27-31: “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" 28 When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this ?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord." 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith." 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: "See that no one knows about this!" 31 But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.”
The Physical and Sinful Condition of Men
Blindness was a common handicap in Jesus’ time. The arid, dusty climate caused eye damage, but eye disease contracted at birth from untreated venereal disease, caused permanent blindness within three days. That is why people would ask the question: “Is he blind because of his parent’s sin?” It could very well be that a person was blind, not because of THEIR sin but because of the sins of their parents.
Of course, all sickness is the result of sin, but first of all, from being born IN sin and into a sinful world. Being spiritually dead and spiritually blind was and is the broken and hopeless condition of unsaved men and women in this world, who are still locked into their sin and misery. It wasn’t uncommon to see a couple of blind people hanging onto each other in order to help each other, especially since they were so often despised by the general population, having judged them and their blindness. “Misery likes company”, as the old saying goes, but Jesus also hinted to the Pharisee’s sinful condition as the “blind leading the blind…you both fall in the ditch together.”
The Penitent Prayer of a humble heart “Crying out”
The Penitent prayer of a humble heart “crying out” of men is heard in verse 27: “Have mercy on us, Son of David!" The hurting, the unfit, the outcasts, the discouraged, the sorrowing, the lonely, the sinful, the guilty are the ones who seek and follow Jesus. You never find those who think they are self-sufficient. You never find the people who think they have the answers, the resources and the cures. The broken-hearted are the ones who find Jesus, not the self-sufficient and prideful ones. It is only the desperate people who come to Jesus for help and healing.
The word for “crying out” has a multitude of possibilities, but it most often resembles a screaming, pleading, begging cry. It was the sound that demons made. It was the cry of a woman in child birth in Revelation 12:2. It was the emotional scream of the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on the water through the stormy sea: “It is a ghost!” It was frightened Peter as he began to sink: “Save me!” The crowds were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David,” on Palm Sunday!” It was the sound of the same crowds yelling: “Crucify Him!” It was the cry of Jesus as He yielded up His spirit.
Their cry of “Son of David” tells us that they knew at least some of the truth about Jesus: They knew that Jesus was the promised one of God. “Son of David” was the Old Testament title that was given to the Promised Messiah. 2 Samuel 7:12 had stated the promise to David: "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Every Jew knew that eventually there would come a Son of David who would fulfill this promise, and it certainly wasn’t in King Solomon.
The men knew their physical need, but they ALSO knew they didn’t deserve anything. Remember the prayer of the “Publican” verses the prayer of the penitent sinner? “Crying out” is the cry of desperation from the heart which often precedes regeneration. “Crying out” to Jesus is what people do, who know their extreme need for MERCY. The Jewish leaders didn’t cry out for mercy because they were content and proud of their own survival and self-sufficiency, but the sinner knows their own destitute condition before God, and cries for undeserved pity and unmerited grace from a God who is willing to pour out mercy.
There was never a person who made “giving mercy” clearer than our Lord Jesus. Mercy is also what WE should be giving to those who are “crying out” in need; that is why Jesus included it in His “TOP NINE”: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)
The Constancy of men seeking mercy
You have to realize that Jesus had had a very busy day of healing. It is difficult to say exactly when Jesus’ day began, but we know that He had been pursued by the crowds everywhere He went. These men followed Him into the house where He was staying; that is the idea of verse 28: “When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him.” It is actually a wonderful thing in ministry to experience the constancy of men seeking God’s mercy. To be persistently pursued by someone who is genuinely in search of mercy and healing is a beautiful thing because when they finally receive the grace that Jesus has to offer, you realize that it was totally God’s doing. If you seek God with all your heart, you will be found by Him, even though you may be blind.
The Confession of sinners
When Jesus asked the blind men: "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" Did He ask about the quantity or quality of faith that they had? Not at all. Jesus knows all and He knew they had faith; that was not purpose of the question. And besides, faith is not a requirement in order for Jesus to perform a miracle. In Matt 8:26, when the storms came and Jesus was asleep in the boat, the disciples had “little faith”, yet Jesus quieted the sea. In Matt 8: 28, the demon-possessed had NO faith. In Matt 11:20, Jesus explained that people received miracles and yet did not repent.
Jesus asks them to affirm the confession of their faith publicly. In Romans 10:9, the Apostle Paul said, "If you shall confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and you believe in your heart that God had raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." The two blind men no doubt trusted Jesus as the Messiah sent from God for sin, and not as a political savior, and they no doubt trusted that He had the power to give them sight. Jesus was asking them to state that publicly, that JESUS IS LORD. Jesus was asking them to help announce His Messiah-ship and Kingship by their confession.
The Power of the Compassion and Command of Jesus
The miracle, itself, again displays the mighty power of the Compassion and Command of Jesus. Who but God has mercy on sinners? Who but God can command blindness to disappear WITHOUT treatment or medication? Who but God can cause IMMEDIATE improvement by His Word.
Jesus’ command to for the blindness to disappear could be translated like this: “According to the faith of you, let it be to you.” (9:29) In other words, what you have in your heart, I will do for you. It is very similar to what Jesus said to the centurion in Matthew 8:13: “Just as you believe, let it be to you.” The bottom line is that Jesus had the power to perform what the request and desire of their hearts. We can have faith in all kinds of things, but that does not mean it happens.
Archbishop Trench wrote this in 1902: "Faith, which, in itself is nothing, is yet the organ for receiving everything. It is the conducting link between man's emptiness and God's fullness; Faith is the bucket let down into the fountain of God's grace without which the man could never draw water of life from the wells of salvation. For the wells are deep and, of himself, man has nothing to draw with. Faith is the purse which cannot of itself make its owner rich, and yet effectually enriches by the wealth which it contains."
Of course, the physical blindness is representative of the spiritual blindness which is the curse upon every person ever born. “EYES THEY HAVE BUT THEY SEE NOT.” The light of the Gospel of God’s mercy does not stream through the portholes or eyes of the heart, unless Jesus touches and commands the blindness to disappear. When He does that, then the darkness of our sin-filled hearts is illuminated with the Love of God in Christ. Then we can see who Jesus is, why He came, and of what the miracle of God’s grace consists: HE HAS THE POWER TO GIVE LIGHT TO SIN-DARKENED HEARTS.
Jesus commands the darkness to disappear, but He also gave the blind men another command: “Jesus sternly warned them, "See that no one knows about this!" Jesus gave this command many times in the early part of His ministry. The reasoning behind the command to “Be quiet about this miracle”, is that Jesus did not want people to see Him as merely a miracle worker, but MAINLY as the Messiah. He did not want the crowd to get caught up in the frenzy of the moment and miracles. His Kingdom was not of this earth. He wanted people to know that He was the King of Heaven and earth come to DIE for sins, and His time had not come yet. Jesus dying and reigning would be in God’s timing, and God’s conditions, not man’s.
The Contrariness of infants in Christ
Look at Matthew 9:32: “As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
They no doubt disobeyed Christ’s command and couldn’t keep quiet, which shows the the Contrariness of infants in Christ. We are so happy in Christ and it often takes a time of growth and understanding to realize that obedience is a key part of being a disciple. Our new found freedom is never a license to disobey the commands of God.
The inevitable contagious Contact with others
It could well be that the two blind men and the mute were traveling together, like the three musketeers. The mute couldn’t speak or hear but he could be the pair of needed eyes for his two friends. They no doubt pulled their deaf and dumb friend in since he couldn’t HEAR what happened but they certainly could point to their eyes. As followers of Christ, we will inevitably be conveyers of contagious Contact with others about our faith. Most of the time, we don’t need the power and obedience to keep our mouths quiet when it comes to telling others, but rather, we need the COURAGE to open them with the good news of the Gospel.
How clear it is to those who have received sight, that JESUS ALONE has fulfilled the promise of Isaiah 35: 5-6: "When the Kingdom comes, then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart or as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will sing." May we too sing the song of the redeemed to those who have yet to see and hear the message of the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
1. The physical and sinful Condition of Men
2. The penitent prayer of a humble heart, “Crying out”
3. The Constancy of men seeking mercy
4. The Confession of sinners
5. The power of the Compassion and Command of Jesus
6. The Contrariness of infants in Christ
7. The inevitable contagious Contact with others.
"Faith, which, in itself is nothing, is yet the organ for receiving everything. It is the conducting link between man's emptiness and God's fullness; Faith is the bucket let down into the fountain of God's grace without which the man could never draw water of life from the wells of salvation. For the wells are deep and, of himself, man has nothing to draw with. Faith is the purse which cannot of itself make its owner rich, and yet effectually enriches by the wealth which it contains." Archbishop Trent