5 March 2013

Matthew 9:27-31

"But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district." (v. 31)


Like yesterday, we are faced with the second in a trip of healing narratives. And once again, the context is deeply significant. The woman with an embarrassing haemorrhaging problem (Matthew 9:18-26), the two blind men, and the mute man (Matthew 9:32-34), all encounter Jesus as he travels.

These people are described as 'amme ha'ares' - people of the land. They were the outsiders and the outcasts, the people of whom no one wanted to take care or responsibility. They are left to fend for themselves. Not even the rabbi's would offer to support them. They are all alone, destitute and ignored.

Jesus, throughout his ministry, pays particular attention to those who feel alone, destitute and ignored. Here, that attention means that Jesus meets them where they are most comfortable - behind closed doors - and rather unexpectedly touches the men. Through this simple action, their sight was restored and they began to see things differently - so differently, in fact, that they quickly became early evangelists, effervescently proclaiming their healing throughout the region.

There is one more crucial part of the story, however. This is the part in the story between meeting Jesus and the healing of the men, The part when Jesus asked for a declaration of faith. So often we can forget that Jesus is actually doing something more than meets the eye. Here, Jesus is recognising that a public declaration of faith and intent is significant. The men know that they are healed because they first have to demonstrate confidence in Jesus. They have to state their belief, and stick to it.

Such a declaration probably gave them the confidence to speak after the event too. They knew that it was God who had healed them, and they had already stated their faith in public. They are confident and brash, and broke the one thing asked of them - not to go and keep talking about Jesus.

To Ponder

  • Where have you felt alone, destitute or ignored?
  • What do you need to see differently?
  • What do you need healing for? And dare you ask God?
  • The people ignored Jesus' command not to talk about what had happened. How do you talk about what Jesus has done through and to you? This video may give further food for thought.

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Joanne Cox-Darling

Joanne Cox-Darling is a Methodist presbyter currently serving in the Wolverhampton Circuit, where most recently she participated in a harvest festival in a farmyard, surrounded by a 'small' dairy herd of nearly 200 cattle. Joanne is the chair of the Christian Enquiries Agency (www.christianity.org.uk) - described by the Archbishop of York as the "possibly the easiest form of evangelism you will ever do".