by Martin G. Collins
December 15, 2010
In Matthew 9:28, Jesus asks the two blind men seeking healing, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" Christ's challenge concerns their faith. If faith is present, miraculous healing will occur according to God's will. If it is absent, God will grant no healing. A person of faith receives preferential treatment, and in fact, faith is so important to God that His Word declares, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
The blind men answer Christ's challenge with outstanding, genuine faith, saying, "Yes, Lord." In the Greek, this is a strong affirmation, carrying a tone of certainty. The men had no doubt that Christ could heal them, unlike many people today. They believed Jesus was the son of David, indicating that, though they were blind, God had begun to open their minds.
These men faced many disadvantages that worked against producing faith, but they still trusted Christ in impressive ways. Those who—unjustifiably—excuse their lack of faith because of life's difficulties hinder their spiritual growth. Many with handicaps and weaknesses have come to have faithful relationships with Christ.
1. Why does Jesus always touch the blind to heal them? Matthew 9:29-30.
Comment: Christ does not always touch the afflicted in healing, but in each of the four miracles involving the blind, He touches them, which was appropriate to their condition. They could not see Him, but they could feel His touch. He used a variety of methods in touching them, as the occasion warranted. In healing these two men and Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), Jesus simply touches the eyes. In Mark 8:22-26, Christ spits on the blind man's eyes then puts His hands on them. As the blindness is not completely healed, He lays His hands on them again. In the healing in John 9:1-41, He spits on the ground to make clay, then puts the clay on the man's eyes and tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The blind's sense of touch is heightened, so to feel Christ the healer perform this miracle would never be forgotten.
2. What is essential to healing? Matthew 9:29.
Comment: Jesus says, "According to your faith let it be to you," similar to His words to the centurion whose servant was dying in Matthew 8:13. In both cases, the condition for the miraculous cure is faith. Faith opens the door for divine blessing; its lack closes the door. Christ could do few mighty works in Nazareth due to the people's lack of faith (Matthew 13:57-58). Similarly, salvation is a great work, but unbelief prevents it. It is important to study the Word of God to increase faith, as it comes by hearing or reading God's Word (Romans 10:17).
"Their eyes were opened" is more than a description of a literal action; it is also a Hebrew figure of speech. The Jews thought of blind eyes as "shut," and seeing eyes as "open." Jesus removes two men's blindness—they can now see and comprehend what was once closed to them. Thus, the opening of the eyes also suggests spiritual understanding.
Most people do not grasp the value or the meaning of Scripture, but Christ can open a person's eyes to enable him to understand His Word just as He did for His disciples after His resurrection (Luke 24:16-31, 45). The psalmist prays, "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18).
3. Why does Christ instruct the two men to keep quiet about their healing? Matthew 9:30-31.
Comment: Jesus gives this command in five of His thirty-three miracles. His warning is sternly given, as in Greek it is a scolding phrase linked to strong emotion like anger. It adds extra force and implies danger in disobedience. Here, it suggests that the two men need to improve in doing right.
We should not always go easy on new converts about living a strict, upright life. God's standards must be upheld, guarded, and not watered down, whereas today's society tolerates sin and weakens standards that are deemed "too hard" to keep. While ministers must follow God's command in Isaiah 58:1 to, "Cry aloud, spare not; . . . tell My people their transgression," they must be careful not to offend or burden new converts with requirements that, because of their weak understanding, they cannot fulfill completely. Nevertheless, new members need to know God's holy standards. If His Spirit is working in their hearts and minds, they will not be driven away by them.
At first, Christ's warning to keep quiet may seem to contradict the Christian duty to tell the world about His works (Mark 16:15). In this case, He has something else in mind. His command is first to protect against the impedance of His ministry (Mark 1:45) and imperiling Himself.
In addition, He wants to keep the healed men from being puffed up with pride, as well as to give proof of their healing in their conduct, not by words. Nothing proves faith in Christ as well as righteous conduct that comes from a true change of heart. However, though these men had faith enough for healing, they did not have enough to follow His commands. A Christian must make sure that His faith is not a temporary faith that lacks obedience, but one based on love for God. As Christ says in John 14:23-24, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word."