3 December 2010Matthew 9:27-31
"As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him ..." (v. 27)
This short passage is all about blindness and sight.
Physical blindness was common in the time of Jesus. It could be caused by the glare of the sun, poor cleanliness and hygiene or from the clouds of flies that carried infections.
But there is also another sort of blindness - being blind to reality or understanding.
It is quite possible that these two blind men were suffering from both.
When they called out to Jesus, the pair used the title "Son of David". This was a traditional term for the Messiah - the promised deliverer from the line of David. (One of the readings that will be heard at many carol services is Isaiah 11:1-3, which prophecies that the Messiah will come from "the stump of Jesse" (Jesse was King David's father)). The popular view of the Messiah was a leader who would restore people's freedom, and lead them to power, glory and greatness. But as the Gospels reveal Jesus is a very different Messiah. Was this the blind men's view too?
Jesus didn't respond to the appeals for help immediately. Instead he went into a house (verse 26), which meant that the blind men had to come to him. On meeting them, Jesus asks them a single question, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" and waits for their answer. It is only then that he moves into action.
"And their eyes were opened" (verse 30) - the passage implies that their physical sight was restored, but there is also an implication that their spiritual sight was recovered and they could see Jesus for who he really was. This is reinforced by Jesus' command to "See that no one knows of this". The irony is the use of the word "see" again.
But the change in them was so great - after all it wouldn't be difficult to realise that a person you once knew was blind could now see, and the news about Jesus was spread "throughout that district" (verse 31).
What do you believe that Jesus is able to do?
Think of times when your faith and understanding in Jesus has deepened, as if you were once blind, but then you could see. What happened?
The men could keep their meeting with Jesus secret. What can you not keep a secret, in terms of your faith and discipleship? If you find you can keep everything a secret, why do you think that might be?