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Newtown Bible Church

Messiah: Sight, Sound, and Seditious Opposition, Pt. 1 (Matthew 9:27-34)

  • In every miracle of Christ there is a portrait of redemption. A picture of His mission to seek and save the lost; to rescue sinners from the grip of sin. John Calvin, in a pamphlet entitled:  Psychopannychia, makes the following statement:

 

“Would you know what the death of the soul is? It is to be without God - to be abandoned by God, and left to itself: for if God is its life, it loses its life when it loses the presence of God … If without God, there are no rays to illumine our night, surely the soul, buried in its own darkness, is blind. It is also dumb, not being able to confess unto salvation what it has believed unto righteousness. It is deaf, not hearing that living voice. It is lame, nay, unable to support itself, having none to whom it can say, ‘Thou hast held my right hand, and conducted me in thy will.’ In short, it performs not one function of life … let us consider with ourselves what life Christ hath brought us, and then we shall understand what the death is from which he hath redeemed us.”  

 

  •  And so the glory of Christ and all He came and has accomplished for sinners shines in each of His miracles; in every blind person made to see, deaf person made to hear; demon possessed person set free; lame man made to walk; dead person given life; and sinner forgiven and reconciled to God through Christ. The mercy and mission of Christ is laid before us. 

 

READ: Matthew 9:27-34.

 

2 Testimonies of Christ’s Power that draws & divides sinner: (1) The Mercy of Sight; (2) The Mercy of Sound

 

I. The Mercy of Sight

  •  Leaving from there” - This event is only recorded in Matthew’s gospel. There is a later healing of two blind men as Jesus was leaving Jericho (Matt. 20:29), also recorded in Mk 10 & Lk 18 , that its not the same even recorded here. “From there” is from the rulers house after the raising of his daughter. 

 

(A) Though Blind they See by Faith. 

  •  “Two blind men followed Jesus” -
  • (a) Physical Blindness: “blind” that is without use of their eyes and unable to see. Matthew does not tell us if this is a recent condition, or one from birth. We know from John 9:1f that Jesus did heal a man blind from birth, possibly it is so with these men. In either case they were blind now and knowing about Jesus they came with the hope that He would restore their sight. 
  • (b) Common Problem: It is interesting that giving sight to the blind is the most common category of JEss’s miracles. This is due to the fact it was so common. 

 

“Blindness is much more common in the East than among us, in consequence of abounding dust, the practice of sleeping in the open air, the sudden change from darkened houses to dazzling light without, and the fact that their head-dress does not protect the eye.” (Broadus).

 

  • It is the same today, blindness is still a very common problem in the Middle Eastern countries. Saint John of Jerusalem hospital, which specialized in ophthalmic problems, in 2010 treated 102,382 patience; 34,238 under the age of 18.
  • It is easy to understand why the healing ministry of Jesus would have made Him so popular, However,r these men, though blind display remarkable sight. 

 

(2) Spiritual Sight

  •  “They were crying out saying, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David’”
  • (a) Notice their persistence: they were continually “crying out” - strong term - some “yelling,” or “shrieking,”- an overstatement; but at the very least: loud.  
    • As with the previous miracles, these men are displaying a remarkable tenacity (friends going through roof; ruler falling down; woman grabbing tassels)
    • They would have been somewhat clumsy in their approach due to their blindness. No doubt annoying to the crowd (20:31 [similar situation] “crowd sternly told them to be quiet”) - likely same attitude here, but in either case they were desperate and persistent, but they were also perceptive. 
  • (b) Notice their faith: “Have mercy” (imperative) - strong, intense plea. They are determined to receive mercy. “Mercy” - God’s goodness to those in distress, and they were certainly in distress. Blindness is a difficult condition in any age, but especially so in the ancient world. 
    • This was long before seeing eye dogs, brail, and other modern helps for those with this condition. It left one essentially helpless and utterly dependent upon the care of others; either of family and friends, or by resorting to begging (Mk. 10:46; John 9:8)
    • Not only did it leave them destitute, they were thought to be accursed by God (2 Kings 6:18; John 9:2); according to Lev. 21:18 were forbidden from temple service. 
  • As Jews, they understood God’s sovereignty over blindness (Ex. 4:11 “The LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?’”); they also understood that God is merciful (Ps. 146:8 “The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down”)
    • They clearly see both this power and mercy in Jesus enough to come to Him. Not to say they fully understood that this was God in the flesh; but there is an acknowledgement of His power to heal, and compassionate willingness to do so. 
    • But, there were other prophets given this ability by God; but this was a key feature of the coming ministry of Messiah: Is. 35:5-6; Matt. 11:2.  
  • Their clearest display of faith, then, comes in the title the assign to Him. “Son of David” - title is used 14x in the gospels. First direct application in Matthew to Jesus. It links Him to key OT promise of Messiah. Behind this statement is a wealth of hope and desire from the heart of the nation who awaited their Messiah King. 
    • Matthew begins his gospel by making this connection 1:1; Matt. 1:19-20, he refers to Joseph as the “son of David.” There Matthew is establishing the legal right of Jesus to the throne of David through Joseph. 1:23 links to Is. 7:14; 9:6-7
  • God’s promise of a coming Deliverer is a constant theme of the OT going all the way back to (Gen. 3:15)
    • This promise was then narrowed to Noah’s son Shem (Gen. 9:26); then Abraham (12:1-3); Isaac (Gen. 21:12); the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10); and the line of David (2 Sam. 7:12-16). Solomon wasn’t fulfillment (sin/split/deportation - end monarchy)
  • This promise became a central theme in the OT prophets and was the key identification of the Messiah: (Is. 55:4; 16:5; *Jer. 23:5; 30:9; *33:15, 17; *Ezek. 34:23; 37:24-25; Hos. 3:5). This future promise was linked to the NC, a time of peace, righteousness, and joy under the leadership of the true Son of David, the Messiah. 
  • Even after the resurrection, this is a significant link to the Person of Messiah: 
    •  Rom. 1:1-4 Paul links Jesus to the Son of David by physical linage and spiritual power evidenced in the resurrection. Early Christian creeds (2 Tim. 2:8) linked Jesus as the Son of David. 
    •  Rev. 5:5 reveals Him in heaven as the Lamb “from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, [who] has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” And the very last words of the NT will connect Jesus to David, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things, for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16)
  • They may have been physically blind, but the cry of these men stands a testimony to their faith in Jesus as Messiah and a rebuke to the ignorance of the Pharisees. 
    • Even a Canaanite woman knew to put Jesus in line with the promise of David (15:22-23)
    • The Pharisee clearly understood that the Messiah was to be in the line of David, however, they simply refused to yield to the truth of the ministry of either Jesus, or the Scriptures (22:41-26; cf. Ps. 110)
    • These two men though physically blind are demonstrating incredible spiritual sight; while the Pharisees, though physically seeing demonstrate spiritual blindness: “seeing they do not see … hearing they do not hear.” So it is with so many religious people today. The only thing that removes the blinders is humble faith. 
  • It is not as though there is a lack of evidence, or it is unreasonable. People reject because of love of sin. Faith begins by recognizing the reality of your condition & your need that only a Divine Savior can meet. Jesus was their only hope. 

(B) Faith leads to Sight: 

  • “Entering the house the blind men came to Him” - not sure which house; could be Peter’s 8:14, Matthew’s 9:10, or simply the home of a friend. In either case, the two blind men follow Him, at which point Jesus addresses them: 
  • “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” - they had already displayed faith by acknowledging Him as Messiah, David’s Son; but now Jesus is both putting them to the test and putting the necessity of faith on the table. The present tense is not calling them to faith, but affirming the faith they already have. 
  • “Yes, Lord” - tender response of trusting submission; it is immediate and decisive. They did not need to think about the question. 
  • “Then He touched their eyes saying, ‘Let it be done according to your faith,’ and their eyes were opened” - “According to your faith” - does not mean you will be healed according to the measure of your faith; for some did not believe, and some had faith to varying degrees, yet all of the healing’s were complete. The statement is, rather, an affirmation of the faith that they already had. 
    • He knew their heart and the sincerity of their faith. Matthew does not explicitly say, but the clear implication is that it was  humble, broken, sincere faith unto salvation. It is not that their faith was a work, or came with merit, but simply the instrument by which they laid hold of the marvelous grace and mercy of God. 

“The faith which in itself is nothing is yet the organ for receiving everything. It is the conducting link between man’s emptiness and God’ fullness, and herein lies all the value faith has. Faith is the bucket let down into the fountain of God’ grace, without which the man could never draw water of life form 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” (Richard Trench/MacArthur). 

  • So it was with these men: “And their eyes were opened” - They already had spiritual eyes of faith to see the glory of Jesus; now they have physical eyes to see as well. The darkness was gone: Their faith became sight. Another tender display of the mercy and compassion of Christ.
  • Let’s make and important observation by asking: Why did He delay? He didn’t with the others; but He did with them.
  • (a) Could have been to avoid a wrong attachment to Him as a political Messiah, which would have been incited by the title Son of David with its strong overtones of the Kingly reign of Messiah. 
    • This was a constant problem of misunderstanding from the people. Not because the Scriptures are not clear; not because the ministry and teaching of Jesus were not clear; it is because of their interest in Hm was self-centered (John 6; Matt. 21)
    • They were not broken, mourning over their sin, poor in spirit; they honored God with their lips, but their heart was far from Him; they wanted Him to achieve their ends of freedom from troubles in this life; they were not interested in the freedom He offered: from sin. In their minds, that wasn’t the greatest issue. *No different for many today. 
  • (b) Could have been to avoid encouraging the carnal interest in the miraculous (John 6:26 “Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled”); or, John 2:23-25 [Turn To])
    • So many of the people, like so many today, and sometimes we ourselves, want Him for the wrong reasons and so are disappointed, or give up when He doesn’t perform as we would wish. 
  • (c) I think a better answer is that He wanted to emphasize their faith In Him. His question is zeroing in on their faith in Him: not as a political ruler, a miracle worker, but as promised Messiah, Son of David, Merciful Savior. 
    • To make more clear their profession before the ever increasing and watching crowds that were now doubt gazing with intense interest on everything that Jesus did; and particularly this somewhat dramatic scene.
  • (d) It is likely He wanted to strengthen their faith in him by putting it to greater exercise. Certainly, Jesus deals the same with His children now; again, this is the point of James 1:3, to produce “perseverance of faith.” 
    • The waiting and longing and seeking after the Lord on a matter teaches us to persevere in hope; to work through doubts that arise; the affirm and put to the test our experiential understanding of His character and His promises (cf. 15:23)
    • So also, the Lord may wait to answer a prayer simply because it: (1) Strengthens our faith; (2) Purifies our desires; (3) Brings more glory to Him at a later date. 
    • But He is a sovereign and loving Father to His own and knows what is best for them and when it is best for them (Matt. 7:7-12)
  • There is in this miracle, as in all the rest, a picture of salvation, those who were spiritually dead and blind are give in life and eyes of faith to see: “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like, I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

(C) Delivered but Disobedient 

  • “Jesus sternly warned them, ‘See that know one knows.’ But they went out and spread it in that whole land.” - “sternly warned” - surprisingly strong term (cf. John 11:33, 38), yet it displays the deep concern the Lord had that the message of His miracles not be wrongly represented; as we will see later, the religious leaders were already twisting and maligning His ministry. Jesus wanted to avoid all wrong publicity and keep His ministry as low-key as possible; but the blind men did go out and spread the news. 
    • These two men go from a deep display of faith, a deeper excitement over the miracle, and a disappointing act of disobedience. We could give them grace for getting lost in their excitement, however, they disobeyed nonetheless. Like us, in their excitement they failed to be constrained by obedience and let their emotions override simple faith and humble obedience to the Lord. They probably considered spreading the news of Him as a good thing to do, yet it was not what He commanded. They were asserting their wisdom above His. Jesus is most honored when we obey Him (John 14:15)
  • The overall point of Matthew in these accounts is still powerfully put forward: the authority of Jesus and the faith of some. 

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