Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

by Spiros Zodhiates

Spiros ZodhiatesDr. Zodhiates continues his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew.

[Verse 27] By now everybody in Galilee and the surrounding area must have heard that Jesus had raised Jairus' daughter from the dead. Among them were two blind men.

As Jesus "departed" (from pargo [3855], to pass on further) from this region, the two followed Jesus (cf. 20:29, 30), crying out, "Son of David." The Syro-Phoenician woman (15:22), the blind men of Jericho (20:30), and the multitude witnessing His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (21:9) also used this messianic title.

Although these men desperately wanted and needed their eyesight, they did not ask for it directly. Instead, they simply said, "Have mercy (from eleéo [1653]) on us." Mercy is the relief God brings to the consequences of sin. God gives us both grace and mercy (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2 John 3). Although grace saves us (Eph. 2:8), we still will die as a result of Adam's original sin (1 Cor. 15:22). In all our sufferings, however, we experience God's mercy; as His children, He asks us to show mercy to others (Matt. 5:7).

Although blind, these men could "see" that they were suffering the consequences of sin. Their request was for relief and mercy with respect to their blindness, but they left it in the Lord's hands to determine the means of relief. That is the best prayer we can offer to the Lord in the midst of suffering. We should seek relief but not try to dictate to God what kind to give us.

[28] Jesus then entered the house (we are not told whose), and the blind men approached Him.

The Lord's next question implied that their request for mercy was an indirect request for sight: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" Just as faith was present in several others Jesus had healed (the man sick with palsy, vv. 1-2; Jairus' daughter, vv. 18-25; the woman with an issue of blood, vv. 20-22), so it was with these two blind men.

They quickly responded, "Yea, Lord!" They now addressed the "Son of David" as "Lord." This is the "yea, Lord" of implicit faith, as we find the "yea, Lord" of deep humility in the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:28) and the "yea, Lord" of absolute love in Peter (John 21:15).

[29] Here also, as in Matthew 8:15; 9:20, 21, the verb hptomai (680), to touch, to affect, or influence, is used. The result was immediate.

[30] "Straitly charged" is translated from embrimomai (1690), which means to admonish strongly or charge strictly, to warn against disobedience, implying that Jesus expected obedience and had a reason for His command. The same prohibition was given to the cleansed leper in Matthew 8:4.

The general reason the Lord did not want most of His miracles publicized (8:4; 12:16; 16:20; 17:9) is that He did not want people to acclaim Him as the Messiah prematurely. He knew He must first suffer and die before being enthroned as King (John 6:14, 15). Nor did He want to arouse premature hostility from the Romans out of fear that a competing king had arisen. There was a perfect time for everything. However, Jesus made one exception to this general rule. After the demon-possessed man had been healed, he wanted to accompany Jesus. But Jesus told him to go home and tell his friends what God had done for him (Mark 5:19). Apparently, in that region there was no danger of a Jewish uprising that could precipitate a Roman backlash.

When public acclaim was likely to arise, Jesus avoided it. In this, too, we see His humility compared with the human tendency to prefer popularity. Jesus was God on earth, Emmanuel, but He chose the predominantly Gentile Galilee (Matt. 4:15) for much of His activity and even the desert where few ventured to live (Matt. 14:13).

Then, too, less populated places had more room for large numbers to congregate. Those truly interested would make an effort to go, hear, and follow. In every case, Jesus carefully subordinated His fame (Matt. 12:16-21; note the emphasis on Gentiles in vv. 18, 21).

[31] The formerly blind men were so grateful and happy for their sight that they disobeyed the Lord and proclaimed the miracle throughout the land. The verb "spread abroad" is from diaphemzo (1310), to advertise, from di (1223), throughout; and phemzo (n.f.), to speak, declare, which occurs in only two other places (Matt. 28:15; Mark 1:45). We can certainly understand their euphoria.

Dr. Zodhiates is president emeritus of AMG International and publisher emeritus of Pulpit Helps.

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