“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel”

Matthew 9:27-34

In this passage, Jesus encounters a blind man and a man who was demon possessed. I need not tell you that He handled the situation in both cases, restoring sight to the one, and driving out the impure spirit in the other. By this time, we have seen these kinds of things before, and yet the people of that day were not reading about His miracles in a book, they were seeing them for the first time, and Jesus was getting their attention.

If you read the verses, you will see that the blind man called Jesus “Son of David” in recognition of His Messianic position. I point this out to you because it would be entirely too easy to read the story of the life of Christ, and when the people reject Him, to simply conclude that nobody recognized who He was. Yet in Matthew chapter nine, verse 27, a blind man recognized Him.

People with sight had no excuse.

Jesus healed the blind man “according to your faith”. We might read this and just conclude that the man believed, but we should notice that there is more than just believing, for this man acted upon his belief, and placed himself in Jesus’ hands, with the result that his sight, already significantly more keen than most, was restored. Today, many “believe” but few are willing to put themselves in His hands, and their sight is not restored.

After this, Jesus came upon a man who was demon possessed and mute. Jesus drove out the demon and the man’s speech was restored; the witnesses were amazed. Naturally, both men told the world what had taken place, even though the once blind man had been told to keep his mouth shut, and the news of the Kingdom spread like wildfire throughout the land. Sadly, however, the story ends on a sour note, for when they heard the news, some Pharisees, always the Pharisees, weren’t pleased at what Jesus was doing, saying that He was able to drive out demons by the power of the “prince of demons”.

So begins the plots to kill Jesus that would ultimately backfire on the “prince of demons” and his little friends.

I can’t help thinking about people I know today, people who are excited about spreading the news of the Kingdom in our time, and people who see healing all around them. Yet as I reflect on such people, I also can’t help thinking about the modern day Pharisees that I know. To be honest, I know many more of these “Pharisees” than the others, and I never cease to be amazed at the creative ways in which they criticize those who are enthusiastic about the Kingdom in our time, for it would seem that tradition and kingdom don’t really mix all that well, even now.

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