Jesus’ Tireless Service
27As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!"
28When He had gone indoors, the blind men came to Him, and He asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they replied.
29Then He touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; 30and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this." 31But they went out and spread the news about Him all over that region.
32While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." 34But the Pharisees said, "It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons."
With this episode, Matthew concludes the section of his Gospel that recounts many miracles that Jesus performed. In this chapter, we get a sense of the tirelessness of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus did good for others continually, and tirelessly, always looking to the needs of those who sought Him out. He had just journeyed to Jairus’ house to raise his daughter from the dead. On the way to Jairus’ house, the woman who suffered from bleeding touched Jesus’ garment, and was healed. Now, concerning the return trip from Jairus’ house, we read: "As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, calling out, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When He had gone indoors, the blind men came to Him, and He asked them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they replied. Then He touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you’; and their sight was restored" (vs. 27–30).
The two blind men addressed Jesus as "Son of David". This was a term for the Messiah, which, more specifically, refers to the Kingship of Jesus as the Son of David. It is appropriate that the blind men seek healing by referring to Jesus as the Messiah because it was prophesied that the Messiah would "open eyes that are blind" (Isa. 42:7; see also Isa. 35:5 and Isa. 29:18). One might say, even, that since it was prophesied, this was a miracle that had to happen. And in fact, it is recorded that Jesus gave sight to many who were blind (see Matt. 11:5; 12:22; 15:30; 20:30; 21:14; Mark 8:22; John 5:3; 9:1).
Interestingly, Jesus did not immediately heal the blind men. First, He delayed until He reached His destination. The blind men followed Him indoors, and then He asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (vs. 28). They answered with assurance: "Yes, Lord." Jesus responded to their faith, "touched their eyes" and told them, "According to your faith will it be done to you." We see demonstrated here an established connection between the faith of the blind men, and their being healed by Jesus. Jesus sensed the faith of the blind men, verified it, and responded to it by touching their eyes and healing them. The faith of the blind men is similar to our faith. Their faith was based not upon what they saw, but upon what they heard from others, just as ours is. The blind men could not see the miracles of Jesus, but heard of the miracles and great works of Jesus, and also heard the teachings of Jesus, and based on these things, believed in Him as their Lord and Messiah.
After He healed them, "Jesus warned them sternly, ‘See that no one knows about this’" (vs. 30). The healed men, however, ignored this command of Jesus: "But they went out and spread the news about Him all over that region" (vs. 31). So, although the men had faith, sadly they did not have obedience. Jesus’ command was unambiguous and definitive, "sternly" given. Now, someone might argue that the Lord’s command in this case didn’t make sense, was not even in the Lord’s best interest. "Some have sought to excuse the disobedience of the two men on the ground that it was very natural, and was no doubt sincerely designed to do Him honor. But still it was a fault. What can be so pleasing to Him, or so conducive to His glory, as simple, unquestioning, loving obedience?" [Broadus, 208].
Are we smarter than the Lord? Do we, more than the Lord, know what is best? It is never right to disobey the Lord, even if we do not understand the reasons for the Lord’s command. Is He not our "Lord"? What is quite sad here is that, though the faith of the healed men was true, their declaration that Jesus was their "Lord" was not true. One does not disobey one’s "Lord", if he truly is his "Lord". We do not, here and now, know the exact reasons for the Lord’s command to them; and clearly, the men did not know either. However, the Lord did have a reason for His command (He is a reasonable Lord), and so, they should have obeyed. We must obey the Lord’s commands, at times, without knowing the reasons behind them.
Matthew continues recounting Jesus’ tireless service to those who were in need: "While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.’ But the Pharisees said, ‘It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons’" (vss. 32–34). The demon-possessed man, naturally, did not approach Jesus, but "was brought to Jesus". They are good friends who bring a man in need to Jesus.
The demon was "driven out" by Jesus. Note the strong term "driven out". Demons do not leave without forceful expulsion. The crowd, it seems, did not expect a healing, for they were "amazed", and noted their astonishment, saying, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." The reaction of the crowd is contrasted with the reaction of the Pharisees to the healing. The Pharisees said, "It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons." There is jealousy in their explanation of Jesus’ power. They desperately seek an explanation for Jesus’ great works that will diminish His esteem in the eyes of the people. "They were not willing to acknowledge the truth about Jesus’ miracles, for it would diminish their own consideration among the people" [Broadus, 209]. But their explanation makes no sense, as Jesus later tells them: "If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself" (Matt. 12:26). By their reaction, "we learn that when godlessness comes to the extreme point of blindness, there is no work of God, however plain, which will not be distorted in its eyes" [Calvin, 276].