Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Matthew 9:27-31 Coming Out of the Darkness

I told you that you shoulda used Lifeboy.
I was born with cataracts so I spent about the first 18 months of my life blind as a bat.  Two other times over the years I’ve had eye surgery and had to be led around by other people to get anywhere, so when I read the healings in the gospels involving blind folks, it warms my heart.  Because, one day, in heaven I will get a new resurrection body and both of my eyes will see clear as day and let me tell you I am looking forward to it.  The men we read about in these verses were blessed because not only did they get their sight because of their faith in Christ; they got their sight in this lifetime.

Notice with me that after Christ walked by them in verse 37, they cried out to Him for mercy.  In particular, observe the title they used to call Him—“Son of David”.  Now, from this we can assume these men had saving faith.  They believed Jesus was the Messiah sent from God and likely knew, as was prophesied in Isaiah, that the Messiah would open the eyes of the blind.  Unlike what is taught by Word of Faith heretics, their genuine faith did not cause them to be healed miraculously.  Rather, it drove them to seek out Jesus and appeal to Him for mercy and healing. 

Being blind is a limiting disability now but being blind back then meant you had to depend on others—family, friends, and strangers.  It was impossible to work.  Instead, you had to beg.  You were at the bottom of the social and religious totem pole, so to speak, and many people would assume you had been cursed by God (John 9:2).  But physical blindness is less severe than spiritual blindness (II Corinthians 4:4) and in many ways it is a picture of what spiritual blindness is like.  A person who is spiritually blind is helpless and hopeless, unable to see their sin and need for a Savior.  These men had their physical eyes opened and sought the Messiah to have their physical eyes opened. 

In Matthew 9:28, after Jesus entered the house, they followed him, demonstrating their faith with their persistence.  Giving them an opportunity to verbalize their faith, He asked them if they believed He could heal them.  He didn’t ask if they thought He was willing, but rather was He able—“Do you believe I am Who you say that I am?”  When they answered “Yes, Lord”, He compassionately touched their eyes and they were healed.  Of course, He could have healed them without touching them, but perhaps, because they were blind, He gave them a touch so they could know that He did respond to their faith. 

In any case, their eyes were opened.  I can imagine their excitement.  During my recovery from my last eye surgery, I was unable to see much of anything for two weeks.  I was scheduled to preach and bought a Giant Print NASB so that I could see.  I remember the sheer joy of being able to open that Bible and read God’s word after having been worried I’d never see again.  These men had been blind, probably from birth, so their joy even eclipsed mine.  A whole new world opened right before their eyes, literally.

Of course, as we read in Matthew 9:30, Jesus knew what could happen as a result of their excitement.  These men, likely as not, were going to go shouting as loudly as they could to everyone they could tell what Jesus had done.  And, as we’ve seen in this gospel and others, when Jesus heals people, crowds form.  These crowds of course had some people who had genuine faith in the Messiah.  However, some of the people were just looking for a good show or a free meal.  Because the gawkers would pose an impediment to His ministry, Jesus wanted to avoid them so He commanded the men to keep quiet about this healing.  Of course, as we see in verse 31, these men, who had enough faith to be healed by the Messiah, disobeyed Jesus.  In the end though, are we really that different, brothers and sisters.  God reveals Himself to us in His word and calls us to repent of our sins, trust Christ, and walk in a manner consistent with our faith (Colossians 1:10) but we still struggle with sin and disobedience.  Praise God, however, that just like these blind men who were healed, God still loves us and forgives us when we sin because we are His children.

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