Nothing Like This!

Very unique is an oxymoron. Jesus’ contemporaries recognized him as unique. Matthew 9:27–34 presents him to you as the unique one in whom you can place your trust.

Recognize Jesus as your Messianic King. Jesus is the Son of David. Two blind men follow Jesus pleading in their loud voices for pity from “the Son of David.” The term was a Messianic one. Perhaps that is why Jesus, who usually responded to requests for healing, did not stop and heal in the street. To do so might have encouraged the political and nationalistic notions which attached to the term. Nevertheless, as Matthew quotes their use of the title, he wants you to recognize that Jesus is indeed the Son of David (see Matthew 1:1). He is the great Messiah. Jesus’ strict warning to the healed men to keep quiet about the event may well have been to avoid the raising of the popular national notions of the Messiah. Jesus does restore sight. Restoration of sight had been prophesied as part of the work of the coming Messiah, see Psalm 146:8; Isaiah 35:5; 42:7. No miracles of restoration of sight to the blind are recorded in the Old Testament. In Christ’s ministry, where the nature of healing is specified, restoring of sight to the blind is the most frequently mentioned. And the miracle does not recur after the ascension of Jesus (the restoration in Damascus of Saul’s temporary blindness is of a different order). After asking the blind men, who had followed him into the house, about their faith, Jesus touched their eyes (a significant communication with those who are sightless) and their vision was restored. Then, as he leaves, Jesus casts the demon out of a man who was mute, and he spoke, verse 32. While certainly not all physical illness was the result of demonic activity, this one was. And illness and suffering are consequences of the Fall. Jesus reveals himself again as the sovereign Lord, even over the forces of Satan. “[Jesus’ miracles] all prove that Satan’s power has been broken and that, therefore, the kingdom has come.” “A miracle, as much as preaching, in the sense of being a revelation of the kingdom of God, is a confrontation which necessitates a decision: for or against Jesus as the victor of the Evil one and the Beraer of the Spirit of God” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, pages 66–67, 70).

Stand in awe of your Redeemer. The amazement at this miracle parallels the reaction to the teaching of Jesus, see Matthew 7:28. Although Matthew has just recorded the raising of the ruler’s daughter, the crowd may not have been aware of that yet. In any case, this was their miracle—the one they had witnessed. And as they look over the history of God’s people, there was no record of miracles like this. Jesus is unique. Matthew stops short of telling you that the crowd trusted Jesus, or that it recognized him as the Messiah. Yet he takes their words, and records them so that you, as you know the full story, can recognize that Jesus is unique. The blind men spread the news about him. Their trust that Jesus could heal was not matched by an obedience to his stern command to keep the matter quiet. Without justifying their disobedience, Matthew is showing you that the works of Jesus are so mighty that they will not be concealed. The time would come soon when Jesus would send out his disciples to preach and heal, Matthew 10:7, 8. And upon the completion of his redemptive work, Jesus not only removes restrictions on speaking, but sends out his church to proclaim his kingdom to the nations. Matthew presents you with Jesus, the awe-inspiring Messiah. The amazement of the crowd and the news spread by the once blind confront you with a Messiah who is more than just a man.

Respond with faith. The kingdom of darkness opposes Jesus. Jesus is confronted with the mute, demon possessed man. The powers of darkness are active on earth, seeking to harm God’s creation, to frustrate the work of his kingdom, and above all to oppose the Messiah. Although the mute demon possessed man is promptly healed, the reaction of the Pharisees contrasts with that of the crowd. They attribute this miracle to Satan. This kind of blasphemy is repeated and Jesus responds in Matthew 12:22–37. Jesus points out the absurdity of the charge. However, he also warns against the unforgivable character of this kind of blasphemy, Matthew 12:31, 32. The time prepared by the Father has come. He has sent into the world his beloved, unique Son. He has equipped him with the Spirit for his messianic work and pronounced his approbation. Now the Pharisees, the leaders of Israel, who should have led the people to the Messiah, are attributing his work (and that of the Holy Spirit) to Satan! What is amazing is not so much the power of the demon to inhabit the man and make him mute, but rather the way that the religious leaders oppose the Messiah and array themselves against him. That kind of conflict continues in the hearts of men. You cannot remain neutral about Jesus. “It was the messianic interpretation of the events, more than the events themselves, which proved to be a stumblingblock to the Pharisees” (Ned B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, p. 142).

Trust your Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew has just emphasized the faith of the ruler, verse 18, and of the woman, verse 22. Although no trust is recorded by the mute demoniac, there may well have been such faith on the part of those who brought him to Jesus for healing, 32. The blind men do trust in Jesus.

Blind, they had never seen Jesus work a miracle. Nevertheless they believed the reports they heard, and cried out for pity. Notice that Jesus’ question deals, not with what they might want of him, but with whether they believe that he is able to do this. He is explicitly drawing out their trust in him. He extends to you the same invitation and command trust. “According to your faith” has the force of “since you have faith.” (It is not that the healing would have been more complete or greater if they had had a little more faith.) Matthew records Jesus’ conversation with these men because he is confronting you with the unique Savior. He is calling you to ask yourself if you believe in him.

Jesus is not “almost” unique. Rather, he is unique. None is like him. And because Jesus is who he is, the Spirit, who inspired Matthew’s account, calls you to trust him.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
This entry was posted in Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.