Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 41
Matthew:9:27-34 Jesus Heals the Blind and Mute
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:9:18-26 A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman
What is God doing?
"Believe ye that I am able to do this"?
As many times now that the Father has sought to establish HIS Promised One Jesus with the confirmations of signs and wonders, it seems as though it would be getting easier and easier to believe in one's healing. Jesus had just raised a girl from the dead and the fame from that had already begun to spread. Here two blind men have been brought to Him. When He is looking for the person's faith sometimes it is evident by what they have done to get there or what they are asking, other times HE has to ask. There are times when He heals multitudes one at a time, all of them with no mention made by Matthew of their faith at all. There are also some like the two graveyard demoniacs that have no voice or faithful action at all. What I am saying is that the entire healing thing appears to based upon Jesus' obedience first and foremost with only occasional acknowledgement of faith.
"Touched he their eyes"
The communication between the Father and Son regarding each obedience is not specifically described. There can be the general or overall direction as given by the prophets saying that there will be a messiah and He will be doing this that Jesus is believing on and obeying. There could be that and more specific directions such as "touch their eyes" or "spit in mud" or "take by hand" else broader instructions "go to _?" "sail to". We do have the recent case of the woman and the coat hem where there was no specific direction, it was as a virtue exiting out of Him.
"According to your faith be it unto you"
Now when He asks "that I am able to do this" we begin to question whether the power is His actually His or as I have suggested being made for the time being lower than the angels submitted to human flesh it is the Father's power that He is representing. I leave that to each reader to investigate and decide. I believe as represented in His previous baptism that Jesus has placed Himself and His divine powers fully into the Father's hands and is submersed even unto death into whatever will the Father have for Him. I believe as represented in His immediate temptation following that He is being lead by the Holy Ghost and would fall to temptation if to call upon His own inherent powers rather than to first be lead from above into doing this or that. You will have to decide what "that I am able to do this" means and whether these other considerations are of any effect.
"See that no man know it"
Another peculiarity in this current case is that the two are asked not to say anything about it. Surely people familiar with either man are going to know that they were brought to Jesus and from that moment that they have their sight. So apparently there is something more that they are adding to the account that they don't understand (perhaps the mode of healing) or else that they are going out of their way to make it known; either has been forbidden. In other cases the recipients are being directed to the local priests, one to his home in Decapolis Syria, some pickup and follow; different requests for different people. In a sense for some He is asking for a reciprocal obedience in acknowledgement of His, at least from some.
There is also the consideration that some people being healed are being harassed by the religious establishment. I think of the man who even his parents were called into the tribunal to answer for their son's occasion with Jesus. There is much going on that Jesus could either be testing the two on or else protecting them from.
What is man doing?
"Thou Son of David, have mercy on us"
It is interesting to note that the two consider this not as a right/entitlement to see nor a violation that they cannot see, but a mercy from the Son of David if HE could make them to see. Son of David ties back to a covenant with David that within HIS broader covenant with Abraham, Messiah would come more specifically from David's kingly line. Many prophecies suggest this linkage as well. It was both common knowledge and a common expectation; this is a common label Jesus was called by suggesting a considerable understand of the people then of who Jesus was.
"When they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country"
Being inside of a house at the time it is likely that the general public outside was not aware of Jesus's expressed restriction upon these men; they would be aware that the blind men were now seeing. They would naturally be asking questions and spreading the gossip as people do. Something appears to have been done however to promote the occurrence beyond what would naturally have happened that we do not know. The way it is recorded by Matthew suggests that this particular fame is noteworthy, substantial and disobedient.
"Multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel"
This is said of the second miracle in the passage, the forth major one recorded by Matthew of this day. When you think about what has already transpired, the woman's twelve year issue of blood/the dead daughter/the two blind men, the dumb man's devil seems an odd pick for never seen in Israel, but that is the way that the multitudes see it. To Jesus I am guessing it is all the same, it is the Father working through His obedience. Remember that we had taking note that for devils He is casting out, for afflictions He is Himself bearing. For the recipients it is likely the same as to them what had happened was incomprehensibly huge and life altering. How much more joy and appreciation can a mortal man or woman express? Something that the crowd is making out of this however is making more out of this than other events. Though I am not sure what their point is, their known natural tendency suggests that their understanding of it is corrupted.
"He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils"
It is obvious that the Pharisees have already firmly rejected the claims of Jesus. To take such a stance as this is in no way intellectually curious, no way seeing how it all plays out, no way even honest, it is downright degrading and damning. That is not to say that all Pharisees individually were as firm and forthright, but as a political mass they certainly presented themselves to be thus unified and resolved.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
One thing we can take out of this is that the opposition has an agenda, most everything that we can say or do can be used to fit into that agenda and be used against us. Be it good works and wonders as never seen before or sitting to eat at a new converts home or even our slips and mistakes; it is all fairly easy for them. What makes it all the more easy is that word will spread, listeners will make of it what they will, they will repeat it without the slightest understanding of what it initially meant, the listeners of that will make of it what they will. What is meant to be the cure is new and unfamiliar. What keeps bending it is old and comfortable; even habitual. All that the opposition has to do is keep the new from settling and taking root.
Another point to consider is that our obedience is nothing about drawing fame to ourselves nor Christ, it is about the drawing Christ into the lives and living conditions of individuals with a close eye on their eternity. Fame, as much as we think it does, cannot do that. Fame is always vulnerable to corruption as it is predisposed to whatever self and mass wants to make out of it. Let him that desires to be the greatest be he that serves the least. Service is one on one/one to another just as it was with Jesus.
Third, our call to a particular obedience can come from a few different directions. It doesn't have to be from one source or another exclusively. It can be from a general command in scripture: to go into all the world, to love thy neighbor, to owe no man. It can be from a confirmed voice: go into a certain place and ask for Saul of Tarsus, take no purse. It can be from a confirmed vision: a net filled with every living creature. It can be from a doctrinal principal: money I do not have but what I do have from God that I give to you. It can be from a door unexpectedly opened or a expected open door shut tight: we were restrained of the Spirit not to enter Asia. It can be from the directions of an elder: stay there in Ephesus, come to me here in Rome before the winter/bring my coat and scrolls. It can be a combination, but all inputs need to be scripturally studied and prayerfully considered to be confirmed.
Jesus once said "my sheep know my voice" which is absolutely true; just as Jesus certainly knew His Father's. Too often though that voice is not the voice that we are most comfortable listening to, rather it is our own or the voice of peer pressure or worry.
Finally, I would like also to suggest that our obedient service to others it is permissible in certain situations to promote reciprocal obedience in return. In situations such a parenting this would seem even wise promoting obedience by example. I say promote though because expecting a return in most all cases can be quite maddening. Not even Jesus obeyed/served expecting others to be obeyed/served back; it was probably the opposite.
Next: devotion:Matthew:9:35-38 The Workers Are Few