After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.
I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at
Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
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.
This miracle comes on the heels of our previous miracle of the raising of the 12 year old girl. Let’s recount the day Jesus was experiencing
- A storm on the sea
- A calming of the storm
- Pigs in the lake
- Rejection by the people of the decapolis
- Travel across the sea again
- Jairus begging for help
- A woman claiming a healing
- A raising of the 12 year old girl
- Now – healing of the two blind men.
Quite the day!
Again, Jesus instructs the recipients of a miracle to not publish the effects of His power on their lives. In our modern culture of media attempts to grab our attention, Jesus restricts that option. Do not speak of this miracle. See that no one know about it!
This is so counterintuitive, and even as we spoke in our last blog post, the miracle is not the focus, it is still astounding that this was the only command Jesus gave these two blind men. And this command was sternly given. Jesus was not suggesting the blind men consider His suggestion. No – the command was sternly required of the blind men.
Questions to Consider
Who were the audience?
Whatever house Jesus entered (most likely Peter’s) restricted those who witnessed this miracle. Jesus and the two blind men were the only ones called out specifically in the text. Might the disciples have been included, along with the owner of the house?
When did the Lord perform this mighty work?
Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?
See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.
Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?
This is another time when Jesus was requested to do the impossible, and He provided.
Might the fact that the blind men referred to Jesus as the Son of David play a part in the reception of this healing. Might this provide some insight as to what is going on between the Lord and the blind men?
Let’s take a look at an Old Testament promise to get some background
2 Samuel 7:12-13
When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
This “son” of David, since His throne was to be forever, was widely considered by the Jewish nation to refer to the Messiah. David’s Son would reign forever. To call Jesus the “Son of David” was to ascribe to Him the office of Messiah.
Obviously every human son of David had failed at establishing an eternal throne, and this included some truly great kings, such as Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, and Hezekiah. To be called the Son of David, was to claim a very specific faith in this man called Jesus.
To be called the “Son of David” also had political overtones, and by this time in the Lord’s ministry, the powers that be were already dogging the Lord. Minimizing additional fodder for the press may have been the reason for waiting to address the blind men until in the house, as opposed amongst the crowds.
What was the message for the original audience?
Let’s remember that the blind men began this request calling aloud, for all to hear, requesting the Son of David to have mercy on them. Everyone would hear this cry for help. Eventually Jesus isolated these men in a home and He challenged them to understand their confession of Him as the Son of David.
Do you believe that I am able to do this?
When you call me Son of David, there are implications associated with this claim. Do you believe this Son of David is able? Jesus didn’t ask them if He would perform the miracle, but if he could perform the miracle! I believe this is a distinction we may miss as we walk with Him, but we will get to that in the next section. For now, the focus is on the blind men, and their ability to see that their public identification of Jesus as the Son of David carried with it great baggage.
To establish a throne for ever, as Nathan the prophet spoke to David, implied a kingdom of righteousness, of no degradation of sin, of no slippage away from the God of Israel, of complete and exact compliance with the nature and character of God. In other words, this Son of David would have to be God Himself to be able to establish an eternal throne.
The blind men confessed they understood what they understood.
“According to your faith be it done to you.”
This faith, that is that Jesus was the Messiah, is what was being clarified by the Lord. He wanted to get a clear understanding of what the blind men understood when they called out “Son of David”. Based on this understanding, this miracle was provided, along with some possible associated fallout. This possible fallout may include additional persecution of the Jewish leadership in investigating this miracle.
Let’s remember that to restore the sight of a blind man was a clarion call to the Jewish leadership for some examination. No prophet in the Old Testament had healed a blind man, although we have recounts of prophets raising the dead. Compared to raising the dead, blindness was the greater (or should I say rarer) accomplishment! One of many passages claiming who can open the eyes of the blind include Psalm 146:8.
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The leadership would have to examine the miracle, and admit that a true miracle had occurred. This must have been galling to the leadership, since by now, their opinion of Jesus was becoming hardened into a fixed judgement against Him.
And yet Jesus sternly commanded the blind men to
See that no one knows about it.
Was Jesus exhibiting a reluctance to get the Jewish leadership involved? That was too late. The Jewish leadership had been examining the Master’s movements and miracles since the cleansing of the man with leprosy. (See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #7 – Jesus Cleanses a Man With Leprosy)
This “stern command’ sounds familiar though. When dealing with the leper, he had also “sternly charged” him with silence.
Mark 1:43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once,
He had spoken likewise to the leper, and instructed him to only provide evidence of the healing to the priests. No command to show the priest was included in the command to the blind men, for the priests were already on Jesus trail, watching His every move.
But let us not think this command was a suggestion, allowing the blind men to consider it and make a decision to lightly ignore it. This was not the intent of the command. To sternly charge was a serious matter, and carried with it a sense of anger.
Yet, the blind men did what they wanted to do. Somewhat like our modern belief system. (As an aside, a great song depicting this attitude may be found here) They simply spread His fame throughout all the district. But this was not what the Lord wanted! This was not to be done!
What is the message for us today?
Jesus asked the blind men if He was able to have mercy on them. He did not ask them of his desires, or of His opinion, or of what the weather was like? The question was “Do you believe the Son of David is able to heal the blind?
The question was regarding strength, skill, power. The ability to perform something no one else had ever performed. Jesus didn’t ask them of His feelings toward them, or of His schedule, or of anything else.
The question centered on the blind men’s belief of Jesus ability!
Ability is the general word for a capacity to do something. It may imply that the work will be done, or can be done, but not necessarily. The Lord asked the blind men of His ability to perform a miracle. A safe assumption by this time, was that Jesus would perform a miracle. It had become evident that He was filled with compassion and the previous few minutes with the woman and Jairus’ daughter had proven His willingness to heal.
But blindness? That was a big one. If He could, He would. But could He?
What big hurdle are you facing today? What question is Jesus asking you today, to stretch your faith, to refocus on Him, to put into practice the claim we have made, that He is the Son of David and that He is ruling an eternal kingdom, granting citizenship to all those who follow.
What hurdle are you facing my friend?
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