What did they say (Matthew 9:18-26)


Jesus asked the blind men what they thought of him. He wanted them to reveal to him their faith in him. What is faith? Faith is not an attitude merely based on desperation. Nor is it a response based only on emotion. Instead faith is based on knowledge of who the Lord is. Faith is not the discovery of how bad we are; instead it is the discovery of how great and how suitable Jesus is.

They knew that Jesus was the Messiah (the Son of David) who could perform miracles predicted of him. They had received this information from the Bible and acted upon what they had discovered. We too are to search the Bible to discover what we should expect from the exalted Saviour and base our confidence on what is revealed about him.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the two men who had received their sight were then sternly warned by Jesus not to say what had happened to them. Often, our discipleship is tested by our willingness to obey. Obviously the two men failed.

From one point of view, we can understand why they told everyone about what had happened. Their actions may have come from a desire for Jesus to be acknowledged as great. What was wrong with their action? They listened to their own ideas rather than to the wisdom of Jesus. Of course, we know that every person whom Jesus has helped has made this response in one way or another. The outcome of their action would be to make Jesus popular in a way that he did not wish to be popular. He was the Messiah, not a miracle worker, and he was the Messiah who was on his way to the cross, a direction and intention that most people did not understand.

Matthew then briefly refers to a man who could not speak because he was possessed by a demon. There is much about demon possession that we don’t understand. All that Matthew wants to tell us about here is the response to the deliverance.Surprisingly we are not given the information we may like to have been given – the first words that the mute man spoke. No doubt he said something to Jesus and this is a reminder that some things don’t need to be made public.

Matthew also informs us what the crowds affirmed and what the religious leaders concluded. Neither of the responses linked the activity of Jesus with God. The crowd merely said that the activities of Jesus were unique and the Pharisees concluded that Jesus was working for the devil. The crowd stated a half-truth and the Pharisees stated a lie.

The answers from the crowd reveal that they were still spiritually blind. Saying something commendable about Jesus that does not reach the truth about him is not evidence of spiritual sight. They were still in the dark, although the ones who had been physically blind and the one who had been deaf and dumb had discovered who Jesus was.

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