19. Healing of the Two Blind Men
A. Passage Selected: Matthew 9:27-31
B. Progression Stated: Ideological
Tracking on the idea of faith.
C. Presentation Summarized:
There are several other passages where blind are healed - Matt 12:22, 20:30, 21:14, Mark 8:22-26; John 9. This one does not seem to be a parallel to any of the other gospels.
Determining the order and timing of the miracles is very tricky. I seem to remember hearing that we only have about 50 days recorded out of three years of Jesus’ ministry. The gospel writers recorded different sayings and events and placed the events in a certain order to help make their points. For example, Matthew organizes this section of his gospel around 10 sermons, 10 miracles and then 10 rejections. It is a very symetrical presentation, but is it the order in which Jesus said these things and did these things?
If this miracle follows the healing of Jairus’ daughter, then after leaving Jairus’ house, two blind men hear that Jesus is passing by and they call out to Him. But Jesus doesn’t stop, He goes into a house. I assume that at least Peter, James and John are with Jesus after they left Jairus’ house. So it is probably one of their houses in Capernaum since He does not have his own house (Matt 8:20). If so, that lends support to my speculation last week that Jairus was the synagogue official in Capernaum.
Also, if our chronology is correct, it is one of several miracles performed just before the disciples are sent out to witness to Israel.
a. The approach of faith 9:27a
Two blind men call Him the “Son of David.” This is a title which emphasizes His Messiahship. Especially in Matthew with his Jewish audience and emphasis on the Kingdom is this true. This is the first time Jesus is addressed this way, and it shows that these blind men recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Also, the mercy to heal comes from God and they recognize that too. It is amazing how much these blind men see.
Some question why Jesus would pass these men by, and then even after they call out to him, keep on going into the house. Bruner identifies three possible reasons: messianic, modesty and the testing of faith.13
b. The questioning of faith 9:27b-28
(1) His Person (27)
They know that God is merciful and they know that the Messiah, being from God, would be too. So they have faith in who He is and that He would be disposed to show mercy. What is mercy? Is it feeling sorry for someone? I think it may involve that sometimes, but the main idea is to offer practical help to someone in need. We needed salvation, and God provided it, even though we didn’t deserve it. These men could not see. They needed help and Jesus could help them.
The question that comes to my mind is this. If Jesus passed them by, was He not intending to help them? Was it their appeal to His mercy that caused Him to respond? Was it their persistence? Was it their faith? What does this say about election? I don’t know the answer.
(2) His power (28)
Since they already believe that He has mercy, Jesus inquires as to their belief in His ability (not his will). It seems that the emphasis in this section of Matthew is the need to believe that Jesus has the power to heal. And the logical conclusion is that He has the power to save.
They respond, “Yes, Lord.” The word “Lord” could just be a term of respect and just mean “Sir” as in, “Yes, Sir.” Or it could be that they understand that He is “The Lord.” We can’t know for sure. I think it means more than just “Sir.”
c. The result of faith 9:29-31
(1) The touch of Jesus
He touches them and heals them. In the Near East, eye diseases were as repulsive as leprosy.14 So touching them has special significance. He doesn’t just talk to them. He touches them at the point of their oppression.
Then He tells them to tell no one. Relating this back to what was mentioned before, this is possibly because Jesus wants to avoid the political aspirations of the multitudes that would result from the blind men’s identification of Him as “Son of David.”
(2) The transgression of the men
They disobey. They don’t follow his will for them. This is the same thing that we saw in the miracle of the leper who was told to be silent, but didn’t. They experienced his mercy, but disobey the mandate. I have to wonder what it was that Jesus wanted them not to tell. Certainly, if someone asked how they were healed, they could have said, “Jesus healed us.” But, going back to the messianic reason we mentioned earlier as to why Jesus didn’t stop… perhaps what Jesus didn’t want them saying was “The Messiah, Son of David, is here to deliver Israel from….” I imagine that would have been their inclination because of the way they addressed Jesus.