In these last two miracles, Matthew foreshadows the growing conflict with the Pharisees. While the crowds are excited and amazed, the Pharisees reject Jesus as working with the devil. Ultimately the unbelief of the Jewish leadership will be a crucial part of the story.
In chapters 8-9, Matthew presents a series of miracles which establish the God-given authority of Jesus. The miracles Jesus performed prove his authority and testify to the fact that he is the Messiah.
27And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28When 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.” 29Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31But they went away and spread his fame through all that district. – Matthew 9:27-31
- It’s likely these men were beggars, as not many professions were open to the blind.
- When a beggar received money, he would usually stand up and proclaim in a loud voice that the giver was among the most pious of men and invoke God’s blessing upon him.
- Most beggars, especially if they were blind, had no education, training or employment record. They had no other marketable skills. These men will find self-support difficult at first.
- The blind men say: We have no right to demand it, but we know that you are the Messiah. You have the power of God to heal. We’re asking you to graciously take the trouble to heal us.
- Jesus responds: You believe that I am the Son of David, the Messiah from God who can heal your blindness and that is what I will do for you.
- Jesus is careful at this point in his ministry not to incite a mob or a large crowd.
32As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” – Matthew 9:32-34
- Matthew gives us the situation, skips the miracle and contrasts the reaction of the crowd and the Pharisees.
- As with the last 2 stories Matthew emphasizes that people are really getting excited about Jesus.
- The conflict with the Pharisees will be an important part of the story.
Theme 1: Faith
- These miracles stories are about the faith of the person healed.
- Jesus is NOT saying: “Your conviction that you would be healed was strong enough to make it happen.”
- Jesus is saying “God has healed you because you were right to trust me and believe God sent me.”
Theme 2: Acts of mercy
- The miracles of Jesus are specific and concrete acts of mercy for individuals.
- These stories are encouraging examples of God’s kindness toward His people.
- It is fitting that Jesus delivers people from all kinds of suffering because ultimately he intends to deliver His people from their ultimate suffering: sin and death.
Theme 3: Symbolism
- It is fitting that God testifies to His Messiah through acts of mercy and compassion.
- Each miracle points to a greater miracle to come.
- He casts out demons and he will ultimately defeat all the forces of evil.
- He delivers people from diseases that render them ritually unclean which points to his work in restoring the true inner purity of His people.
- He rescues people who can’t see, can’t hear, can’t speak and can’t walk which points to the spiritual renewal of those who see truly, hear truly, speak truly and walk truly.
- He rescues people from death because he will rescue his people from the power of sin and death forever.
- The miracles point backward to the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 35:3-6) and ahead to the fullness of the promise to come.
Theme 4: Authority
- The miracles of Jesus prove his God-given authority.
- His claim to be the Messiah is verified and supported by the miracles.
Theme 5: Response
- The miracles confront us with a choice.
- The wrong response is to reject Jesus like the Pharisees.
- Another wrong response is to seek only the physical healing.
- The right response is to fix your hope on Jesus.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
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Podcast season 20, episode 11