To Be Like Yeshua Means – To Serve Others
In my last post, we looked at how Yeshua raised to life the dead daughter of the Jewish synagogue leader and the women with the issue of blood who way laid Him on the His way to the leader’s home. In this post, we will complete Matthew 9 by examining two more miracles.
The Blind Receive Their Sight
“As Yeshua went on from there, two blind men began following him, shouting, “Son of David! Take pity on us!” ~ Mathew 9:27.
Yeshua and the talmidim returned from there (that is, from Ya’ir’s house, 9:23), most likely with a crowd continuing in their wake. Two blind men began following him. These men cried out for pity, meaning that they wanted Yeshua to help them. Isaiah had prophesied that a day would come when God would open the eyes of the blind (see Isaiah 29:18; 35:5-6; 42:7). These men called Yeshua Son of David, a popular way of addressing Yeshua as the Messiah. It was known that the Messiah would be a descendant of David (see Isaiah 9:7). This is the first time this title is used in Mathew.
“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.” ~ Mathew 9:28 (ESV).
Yeshua didn’t respond immediately to the blind men’s pleas, but they persisted, following Yeshua indoors, right into the house where Yeshua was staying. They knew Yeshua could heal them, and they brought their request to him. The focus of this story is the power of faith. Yeshua asked these blind men first if they had faith (Do you believe …?). Then he healed them according to their faith (9:29). These men answered Yeshua’s question about their belief, saying, “Yes, Lord.”
“Yes, Lord.” How simple and profound. The blind men showed their faith in plain talk that says, “Yes, Lord, you can do it!” The “Amen” that closes our prayers is like saying “Yes, Lord.” “Amen” is not just a period at the end of a sentence, or a courtesy closing at the end of a letter. It is our vote of confidence that Yeshua, our Lord, can do it. Let your Amen be as strong and simple, direct and plain, as if you had followed Yeshua into the house and asked him for help, person to person. Occasionally, to help remind you of its meaning, say at the end of your prayers, “Yes, Lord, you can do it!”
“Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen to you according to your trust;” and their sight was restored. Yeshua warned them severely, “See that no one knows about it.” But instead, they went away and talked about him throughout that district.” ~ Mathew 9:29-31.
These blind men had proven their faith in Yeshua to heal them by coming to Him with their need and following Him right into a house in order to receive healing. Because these men believed, Yeshua touched their eyes and their sight was restored.
The words “according to your trust” do not mean “in proportion to,” but “in response to.” This healing was a powerful example that Yeshua was the Messiah. Healing of the blind had never occurred in the Old Testament or in Judaism before Yeshua. “Then Yeshua sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.’” (nrsv) Yeshua told these men to be quiet because he was concerned for His ministry. Yeshua did not want to be known as just a miracle worker; He wanted people to listen to His words that would heal their broken spiritual lives. Yeshua’s mission was to preach the Good News of the kingdom of God. If crowds descended on him to see amazing healings and dead people raised, they would not be coming with the heart attitude needed to hear and respond to the gospel. The talmidim would understand Yeshua’s miracles and talk about them after his resurrection – then they could write them down for all of us to read and marvel at as well. But these blind men were too excited to heed Yeshua’s words.
Yeshua had sternly ordered them to keep quiet “but they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.” (nrsv) Obviously the blind men would not be able to hide their healing for long. The power of God and the miracle were so great that no one could keep silent. What, exactly, did Yeshua expect? Yeshua simply wanted these men to keep the details to themselves and think about them. He wanted them to worship quietly and treasure in their hearts what Yeshua had done. He wanted them to focus on the spiritual aspect. Above all, He did not want more advertisement of His healing power. But the men could not contain themselves; they told everyone in that area what Yeshua had done.
Easy Disobedience: Sometimes we think that conversion will solve the world’s problems because converted people will obey Yeshua and live under His commands. But here we see two faith-filled blind men, newly healed, who receive a direct command and almost immediately disobey. How easy it is! Sometimes we mistakenly let joyous feelings become our guide, instead of listening to Yeshua’s word. Or we think we know better (“He can’t be serious?!”) and so disregard Yeshua’s words. Thus, gospel-preaching churches have supported slavery, apartheid, oppression, and bigotry – failing to obey the words of Yeshua. Take Yeshua’s words seriously and live by them. Give Yeshua priority over your own hunches, preferences, and exuberance. Show your commitment to Yeshua by obeying him.
Yeshua Heals a Mute
“As they were going, a man controlled by a demon and unable to speak was brought to Yeshua.” ~ Mathew 9:32.
Yeshua could hardly come or go without someone in need coming to Him! This time, as Yeshua and His talmidim were leaving, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Yeshua. The word translated “could not talk” is kophos, which can mean deaf, unable to talk, or both. Such disabilities are not always the work of demons, because Yeshua healed many people of illness and disability without casting out demons. Mathew wanted his readers to understand, however, that in this situation a demon was at work. While Yeshua was on earth, demonic forces seemed especially active. Although we cannot always be sure why or how demon possession occurs, it causes both physical and mental problems. In this case, the demon made the man unable to talk.
“After the demon was expelled the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Isra’el,’ they said. But the P’rushim said, ‘It is through the ruler of the demons that he expels demons.’” ~ Mathew 9:33-34.
Mathew avoided detail about the exorcism of the demon (he had already established Yeshua’s authority over demonic powers, see Matthew 8:16, 28-34) and focused instead on the reaction of the crowd. After Yeshua cast out the demon, the mute man was able to speak. Once again, the ever-present crowds were amazed. They had seen nothing like this. The teachings Mathew recorded in chapters 5–7 established Yeshua’s authority; the miracles grouped in chapters 8 and 9 revealed Yeshua’s power and divinity. The crowds saw God’s power at work in Yeshua and began to realize that He was one of the greatest prophets.
The religious leaders, however, saw something entirely different: But the P’rushim said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” In these words of the P’rushim, Mathew was showing the full extent of their rejection of Yeshua. This chapter has the P’rushim accusing Yeshua of four different sins: blasphemy, befriending outcasts, impiety, and serving Satan, the prince of demons. In Scripture Satan is constantly portrayed as the imitator of God, so the P’rushim may have been referring to this belief. They tried to explain Yeshua away by saying that he was only imitating God but was really in league with Satan – and that’s why the demons obeyed him. Mathew showed how Yeshua was maligned by those who should have received him most gladly.
Why did the P’rushim do this?
- Yeshua bypassed their religious authority.
- He weakened their control over the people.
- He challenged their cherished beliefs.
- He exposed their insincere motives.
While the P’rushim questioned, debated, and dissected Yeshua, people were being healed and lives changed right in front of them. Their skepticism was based on jealousy of Yeshua’s popularity. The opposition to Yeshua was intensifying; Yeshua was far too powerful and popular for the P’rushim’ comfort.
The Lessons that we can take away from this final passage are:
- We need to persevere in prayer. Messiah has saved others; doubt not and earnestly believe; He will save all who come to Him in faith.
- Follow Him in the crowd, on the highways and byways, in our house or at the market; we need pray everywhere. As Scripture says, we need to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17)
- Be watchful against prideful, self-righteousness; true Believer’s imitate Yeshua’s humility.
- Finally, we need to honor and respect goodness in all men. After all, to speak against the work of Ruach HaKodesh is a grievous sin.
In my next post, we will explore the concept to be like Yeshua means to affirm others by examining Yeshua’s instructions to his talmidim found in Matthew chapter 10.