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Matthew 9:27-34

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Introduction

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came 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, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

If you’ll recall Jesus had just been at the home of the local synagogue ruler raising this man’s daughter from the dead. We read there in verse 26 that the report of this went throughout all that district of Galilee, which sets the stage for what we’ve read here this morning. We’re told that Jesus passes on from the ruler’s home and is at some point is followed by two blind men who are crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Blindness

Now I want us to take a moment to visualize this moment. Imagine being blind, essentially groping in the dark wherever you go, not knowing what you might run into, whether you’ll stub your toe or stumble into a ditch. We can all relate to this to some degree or another. I remember just this last year making my way from the bedroom to the bathroom in the dark, and as I was heading back to my bedroom I was carefully walking in that general direction but my eyes hadn’t adjusted quite since being in the lit bathroom. I had just walked from the bedroom to the bathroom with no issue, but this time I couldn’t see anything but the glow of the window off to my left. Despite proceeding with extreme caution my shin collided with the wooden coffee table. I can still remember the excruciating pain, and the less than appropriate words that escaped my mouth. It had hurt so bad that I felt as though I didn’t have time to restrain my words.
The next morning I had a large purple bruise on my shin, and for more than a week I winced with nearly every step I took with that leg. To this day I still look back and wonder how could I have done so much damage and caused myself so much pain while walking so slowly and carefully through the living room. It didn’t take much to cause myself bodily harm, and I can only imagine what it would be like to be totally blind, the risk it would be, every time I wanted to go somewhere. It’s astounding to think that there are hundreds of people who suffer from blindness yet cross the street on their own, even with the help of a dog and a stick, the risk seems too great.

Two Blind Men

So when we read here that “two blind men followed him” that’s no small thing. They were putting themselves at great risk to leave their station and follow after a man they couldn’t see. Jesus could’ve evaded them at any point and they would have been left crying aloud to no one. However, it’s likely a crowd was accompanying Jesus, if so, then this is likely how these two men had come to know that Jesus was passing by. And because of the miraculous reports that regularly came from Jesus’ ministry, there’s little doubt that these two men had come to hear of Jesus’ miraculous deeds. And it’s these reports that undoubtedly motivated them to grope in darkness after him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” Like the woman with the discharge of blood they were desperate for Jesus’ help.

“Have mercy on us, Son of David”

Now I want us to hone in on what these men are crying out. They say, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” Now there’s significance to both parts of what they say, 1) they plead with Jesus to “Have mercy on [them]” and 2) they call Jesus the “Son of David.” Let’s look at the first part.

Jesus is compassionate

I think it’s helpful that we recognize that these two men were not asking Jesus for mercy instead of justice. They were asking Jesus for pity, they were asking him to have compassion upon them. Therefore, the second half of verse 27 could be translated, “Have pity on us, Son of David.” They didn’t care what people thought of them, they just wanted Jesus to help them, just like he had helped the ruler’s daughter, just as he had raised her from the dead, they were hoping that he would heal them of their blindness.
This account is not only an account of Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah but also an account of his compassion. So let us be reminded that this is the same kind of compassion we find in our Lord in the gospel. In the gospel we encounter God’s mercy, we encounter his compassion toward us. For “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” () Remember that Jesus’ compassion in healing the sick is meant to reflect his compassion he has toward us in the gospel. Physical realities are used over and over to point us, ultimately, to spiritual realities.
So as Jesus passes on from the synagogue ruler’s home two blind men begin to follow him. Now you might wonder how do two blind men begin following Jesus - they’re blind? Well, we have similar accounts recorded in Mark and Luke’s gospels which describe a blind beggar named Bartimaeus who asks the crowd following Jesus who it is that’s passing by. So I suspect in similar fashion, that these two blind men hear the crowd that’s following Jesus and curiously ask them what’s going on. And given their cries for mercy, I can only imagine they’re immediately compelled to cling to the passing crowd only to be hard by Jesus himself, and they cry, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Son of David

What is it that motivates them to get up from their chair
Now, with regards to the second part, what’s interesting is that they call him, “Son of David.” Up to this point in chapters 8-9 Jesus has been called "Lord,” “Son of God,” the “Son of Man” but here we have a new title recorded for us by Matthew, the “Son of David.” And this title is uttered by two blind Israelites. If you’ll recall Matthew opens up his gospel account with these words, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David” (). Matthew undoubtedly intends for us to see that Jesus is indeed the prophesied messiah who will come from the line of David. It’s why he spends half of the first chapter of his Gospel tracing Jesus’ lineage all the way back to David in order to prove his earthly credentials as the Messiah.
But there’s even greater implications associated with this title the Son of David. Not only is the Messiah prophesied to come from the line of King David, but Jesus was also David’s Lord. David himself writes in , “Yaweh says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” Yahweh is talking to someone who’s sovereign even over David, in fact Yahweh tells David’s Lord to sit at his right hand, a position of supreme authority. This is a conversation within the Godhead, between God the Father and God the Son.
The writer of Hebrews, when describing the supremacy of Jesus, even over the angels, says this, “And to which of the angels has God ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Jesus is the Son of David, and the Son of David is both David’s son and David’s Lord. This is why we sing in the first verse of the hymn Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted,
‘Tis the long expected Prophet
David’s son, yet David’s Lord
What’s incredible about this title is that it’s pregnant with meaning. It carries with it so much weight and significance. Now did those two blind men have all of this in mind when they called Jesus the Son of David? I don’t know. However, at the very least they seem to make the connection between Jesus’ power and authority, and with what the Son of David should look like.
In fact, in chapter 11 Matthew records that,

when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Jesus gives John the Baptist assurance that he is indeed the one who is to come by telling him that the prophecies in Isaiah chapter 35 have been fulfilled, which is precisely what Matthew intends to accomplish with his gospel account. He wants his Jewish counterparts to see that this Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Son of David.

Their eyes were opened

Now let’s continue reading there in verse 28,

28 When he entered the house, the blind men came 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, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened.

So Jesus apparently invites them into his house at Capernaum, and sits them down to ensure that their requests are genuine. He says to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” And as soon as they say, “Yes, Lord” he touches their eyes and tells them that, “According to your faith be it done to you.” and their eyes are opened.

The danger of the prosperity gospel

I want to remind us at this point that when Jesus says, “According to your faith be it done to you.” he does not mean “in proportion to your faith”, but rather “because of your faith.” Because you trust that I can do this, because of your faith I will open your eyes. I stress this because of the pervasiveness of the prosperity gospel, the false teaching that God intends everyone to be completely healed and whole in this age, and that if somehow you’re not healed of all your infirmities that the problem then therefore lies with a lack in quantity of a person’s faith. It’s a subtle but important distinction. And it’s easy to read into this text a wrong understanding of faith and its relationship to healing.

His hour had not yet come

Let’s continue reading there in verse 30,

And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

We frequently come across passages like this and wonder why Jesus would want, at times, to hide his miraculous works. The reality is, we don’t know for sure, however, I think there are two likely reasons he does this.
The first reason might be that he’s exhausted from his daily ministry, we must remember that while Jesus is truly divine, that he’s also truly human. He gets hungry and he becomes weary, his body requires sleep and everything else that comes with a having a human body.
The second reason might be that his ministry was a double-edged sword so to speak. On one hand he came to cast out demons, to heal the sick, and to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Yet, on the other hand by doing so these things invited ever increasing controversy and conflict with the religious leaders. This conflict would ultimately result in his death, so I suspect there was a careful and calculated restraint that he imposed upon his own ministry so that he would not be delivered up before the appointed time. We see him saying things like, “My hour has not yet come” () or reading that some were unable “to arrest him, or lay a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come” ().

The mute man spoke

Now let’s spend the rest of our times looking at verses 32-34, we read,

Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

So here we have Jesus, presumably alone at home, the two blind men have regained their sight and have since left to disobediently spread his fame throughout all of Gallilee, and then we read in verse 32, “as they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him.”
Can you imagine Jesus trying to have some down time, or simply trying to get some sleep when everyone in the surrounding district knows he can heal any ailment and cast out any demon? People were probably knocking on his door day and night, and so it is here, a group of unnamed individuals bring to Jesus’ door a man who is mute, who’s unable to speak because the oppression inflicted upon him by demons. And yet again, Jesus, without hesitation, does as they ask. He casts out the demons who were oppressing this man, I can only imagine the relief.

Casts out demons by the prince of demons

Therefore we’re told that “the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” The people are simply in awe of Jesus’s power and authority. Yet, just one verse later we’re told that the Pharisees respond by saying, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” They cannot deny his power and authority so they attack his character. On one hand here we have passages that time and again reflect the not only the power and authority of Jesus but Jesus’ compassion, and the only conclusion the religious leaders can reach is that “the power behind [his] compassion … was the power of evil?” (R.C. Sproul, Matthew Commentary, p. 292). It’s no wonder it’s this accusation that prompts Jesus discussion later concerning the unpardonable sin, namely, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit; to attribute evil to the work of God’s Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

So let us not harden our hearts toward God as the Pharisee did, let us instead see our great need for Christ, and cry aloud, “Have pity on me, Son of David!”, “Have mercy on me, Lord!” Because like those two men who were blind, so it is with us by nature. Our sin blinds us to Christ, so if you cannot see him cry out to him, that he might have pity on you, that you might see.

Prayer

I stress this because of the pervasiveness of the prosperity gospel, the false teaching that God intends everyone to be completely healed and whole in this age, and that if somehow you’re not healed of all your infirmities that the problem then therefore lies with a lack in quantity of a person’s faith. It’s a subtle but important distinction. And it’s easy to read into this text a wrong understanding of faith and its relationship to healing.
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