Scripture: And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 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.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district. Matthew 9:27-31 ESV
Observation: Having restored to life Jairus’ daughter and healed a woman of her chronic menstrual bleeding, Jesus and his disciples move on to another region of Galilee, where two blind men follow them. While it is unclear how these men made their way (whether with the aid of others or simply by the sounds of the crowd and familiarity with the landscape), they waste no time in seeking a new start on life: restoration of their sight. And having heard the hype about this prophetic miracle worker who may be the promised Messiah, they show due respect and address Jesus as the Son of David while requesting mercy for healing.
Seeing their determination, Jesus asks a seemingly forgone conclusion, “Do you believe that I am able to do this to you?” They resoundingly confirm “Yes” using the title “Lord” as a show of deference. Following formulaic pre- and post-healing responses, Jesus declares, “According to your faith be it done to you.” and then issues a stern warning to keep their miraculous healing to themselves. And like those he previously healed, they ignore his command, spread the news, and Christ’s fame continues to spread.
Of note, as theologian Michael Wilkins explains, in the ancient Near East, blindness, while not uncommon, was considered a severe disorder only slightly worse than death. That Jesus restored (or perhaps even created) sight is a miracle unique to him, for nowhere in the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) is such a miracle duplicated.
Takeaway: This is the first time in Matthew’s Gospel we read of someone referring to Jesus as the Son of David, but not the last time. We will hear the words echoed as Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem for the last time before completing his mission at Calvary. And what two blind men declare (before having their sight restored), a crowd of sighted people will shout out before they are soon struck with spiritual blindness and cry out for Jesus’ crucifixion.
The good news for us is that Christ, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, continues to bring spiritual sight to all of us who were once spiritually blind. But like the two blind men, this is not a passive process. While we can do nothing to earn our salvation, similarly:
- We follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
- We confirm that we believe he can heal us of our spiritual blindness.
- We confess he is Lord.
- We go and tell others what our Savior has done.
Indeed, in the words of John Newton, we once were blind, but now we see, for the Son of David has opened our eyes to see his glory and has taken away the sting of death.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who still restores the sight of the spiritually blind. Would you please help us to walk by faith, relying on our spiritual vision to see where our Lord is going and, along the way, telling others what he has done for us? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling