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Matthew 9:27-34 by Robert Dean
"Come on, shouldn't we just go along to get along? What harm does that do?" What happens in a culture when people can no longer see the difference between what is evil and what is good? Listen to this lesson to learn that Biblical values need to be firmly adhered to even in the face of negative consequences. See how Jesus restored sight to two blind men and speech to a man possessed by a dumb demon. Understand that these miracles are unique to the Messiah and demonstrated Jesus' credentials as God. Learn about seven "Son of" titles that relate to Jesus. Understand that Jesus saw the crowds of people as sheep without a Shepherd and He sends out a call for disciples.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:56 mins 4 secs

Restoration of Sight and Speech
Matthew 9:27-34
Matthew Lesson #055
October 19, 2014

I want to give the congregation a brief update on what is going on with this situation with the mayor in Houston. We need to think through this biblically. That is the only reason I am bringing this up. I don't want this to become a hobbyhorse or something that defines this ministry. We live in an era today when the other side, whatever it is, whoever that is, is targeting Christianity specifically because Christianity, especially biblical Christianity, stands for a specific set of absolute norms and standards. We have seen for thirty or forty years if we have been paying attention that there has been a foundation laid that has really eroded the Judeo-Christian foundation of this nation and culture; so that what we are seeing today is a rotten structure. This has happened very suddenly and behind the scenes for forty years, and now it has become much more overt and we are hearing things like this. Ten years ago no mayor in this country would have done what this mayor did; but this mayor has done it. As a result of this she may get a lot of blowback, and she has gotten a lot of negative press and a lot of negative reaction, but it has opened the door to something that never would have been opened before. That is going to have ramifications down the road. Next time it is going to be a little easier, and the time after that it is going to be a little easier.

We have to be careful how we read and understand what is being reported in the press because it is not always accurate. Who'd have thought that! I don't read this particular columnist in the Houston Chronicle, I heard about this; but she got everything wrong, which she usually does. Unfortunately this is an example of when you have suppressed truth in unrighteousness and you buy into a non-biblical worldview you can't properly interpret reality. It always goes through your pagan grid, and then that gets reoriented and redefined, and what you think you see is not really there anymore. She doesn't understand, and neither do many of the other people in the press, that what is going on here is part of the first amendment. The issue is not about the HERO ordinance right now, it is about the freedom we have as Americans to express our opinions at the polls.

The occasion for that is this HERO ordinance, which was passed by the City Council. But once they passed it there was a provision in the city charter for redress if the citizens of Houston do not believe that the City Council has done something correct. They can recall that vote and take it to the people in terms of a referendum. There are specific guidelines given in the city charter for how that referendum is supposed to be conducted. What the group that has brought the law suit against the city is saying is that the city violated the city charter; that the mayor and the city attorney violated the city charter and by doing so are seeking to take away from the citizens of the city the right to vote on this issue. And this is why this is a voting issue, it is not related to anyone's view of the homosexual issue; it is about the right of the citizens of Houston to have their say. We need to keep focused on that because the attempt from the other side is going to be to make this a conservative Christian issue, and I think that our side has made a mistake strategically in letting that stand because there are Orthodox Jews and Muslims and many atheists and secularists who do not believe that this is right either. They understand what the real problem is in this kind of legislation.

Let me give one example. I learned about this yesterday when talking to somebody in the congregation. If you are working for the federal government and are involved in dealing with the public, and somebody comes in to deal with you, whatever it may be, and this person believes (even though they are biologically a male) they are a woman, then you are required by federal government policy to refer to them by the feminine pronoun. You can be written up and can possibly lose your job if you refer to the person in terms of their biological sex instead of their psychological sex. People talk about this HERO ordinance as the bathroom ordinance and that is what gets all the play, but trust me, the evils of having somebody who is one sex going into the other sex's bathroom, and whatever perverted motivation they have, is nothing compared to the real insidious danger of this ordinance. Once this gets passed into law, then it becomes a legal foundation for the city government to put pressure on employers to have these same kinds of policies that are being enforced by federal agencies.

Nobody is challenging these kinds of things. Where this impacts you as an individual believer is if you are working in this kind of environment and you are told that when somebody comes in that you have to deal with as a customer or patient or some other situation like that and they are transgender—they look like a male but they think they are a female—and you are forced by policy to refer to them by a feminine pronoun (she), then what happens is that is breaking down your conscience, and before long you don't think there is anything strange. It causes your values to be destroyed, so that the reality now is, and I hate to put this to you, we have already lost this battle. We need to fight the battle but we have lost it.

If you are an evangelical Christian under 25 in this country you probably think that it is okay to have same-sex marriage. That is the predominant view, not among non-church people but among evangelicals under the age of twenty-five, because they haven't been taught and because they have been so pressured already by the agenda in the schools and by the culture at large that if you think that it is wrong then somehow you are prejudiced, you're biased and out of touch. And you are really evil if you have that kind of prejudice and bias. 

Sadly, there are Christians who believe that committing a sin like homosexuality is some sort of super sin and you lose your salvation by committing it. The reality in the Bible is that sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery, fornication, gossip or vindictiveness or seeking revenge, are all sins against God. God paid the penalty for those sins, and that is the grace message that we should be known for. But we recognize that even though all sins are violations of God's standards some sins have greater consequences and ramifications in the culture than other sins, and that when you approve of these sins and they are no longer considered to be socially problematic or socially prohibited, then it destroys the foundational institutions that give stability to a culture and to a society. When certain sins—adultery, fornication, same-sex marriage, and homosexuality—become approved it destroys the foundation of marriage, the family; and these are the divine institutions that God has established for the stability and perpetuation of the human race. Once that breaks down then the culture breaks down.  

So what we are seeing is a government and a culture, the powers that be whether they are Democrat or Republican, who are pushing an agenda that doesn't protect the citizenry but harms the citizenry, and they don't understand that. But it plays itself out in numerous other policies. You can't close the borders and protect the nation because you don't understand that your role is to protect the people from evil. Therefore you not only let terrorists across the borders, you let serious diseases come across the borders, and many other things. All of a sudden, instead of treating evil as evil and impacting that, what we end up with is calling good evil, and those who oppose your policies become identified as the enemy, and you want to shut them down.

With these subpoenas they keep saying, well our language was too broad. In the language they wanted all sermons and speeches and emails and any form of communication. Now they say, 'Oh we don't want to infringe in religious liberty; we don't want to get into the religious part; we just need the part where any pastor communicates anything about how to fill out these petitions. So we are going to correct ourselves and we are going to take the word "sermon" out.' The question should be: Is there a legal definition of sermon that distinguishes it from a speech? Theologians and pastors can't even define the difference. So do we have a law that gives a technical legal definition to sermon? This is just smoke and mirrors; this is a head fake, and nothing has changed. What they really want to do is intimidate the pulpit and intimidate Christians that we can't take our biblical values and on that basis address the serious issues that face our culture. They don't want anybody coming along that will say that something that is being done in terms of social policy, is wrong or evil or using the horrible s-word, sin. That is the problem.

We are in a war and we need to take a stand. But we need to make sure that we deal with whoever is on the other side in a gracious manner. Which means we may be taken advantage of, but we have to stand our ground and not allow them to gain any ground in this issue or in any other issue. There needs to be a lot of prayer for this and a lot of insight. Some people think that if we were doing things right we wouldn't face any opposition. That is not true and we will see that in our text today. Jesus did everything right and yet what we see at the end of this chapter is that the opposition is becoming more stabilized. We have already seen the hint of opposition in some of the other miracles, but it becomes more overt by the end of this set of miracles.

In the last two miracles Jesus is going to restore sight to two blind men and then He will restore speech to a man who cannot speak because of demon possession. So this demon is not like the demons that were cast out of the two Gadarene demoniacs in Matthew 8:28ff who spoke. These do not speak.

This is an extremely powerful claim that Matthew is making here, that Jesus by virtue of these last three miracles is making a claim to be the one and only Messiah of Israel. The first one we have already looked at last time was when Jesus restored health to the hemorrhaging woman and the second was to bring life to Jairus' daughter. The fact that she has died and Jesus brings her back to life is one of the unique signs that the rabbis expected the Messiah to do. Only the Messiah could bring someone back to life once they were dead and so this was an undeniable sign that Jesus was the Messiah, as was the healing of a leper. When Matthew reaches these last three examples, each of them fits that category of a unique, distinct miracle that only the Messiah could perform. The second miracle we will look at, where Jesus restores sight to two blind men, was another. Then the last one that we see here is Jesus restoring speech to a demon possessed man.

In the magical practice of the rabbis and the Jewish exorcists one of the things they thought they needed to be able to do to gain control over an indwelling demon was to find out the name of the demon. If they knew the demon's name and they called out the demon's name, then that would give them power over the demon. That idea is not biblical. There are many Christian s-called evangelists and healing evangelists who make that same claim. But what makes this miracle distinctive is that if the demon is mute, which means he doesn't talk, then they couldn't find out the name of the demon. So if you don't know the name of the demon and you cast the demon out then that shows that the power you have over the demon is a different power and a greater power, than the power that the Jews are calling upon to exorcise the demon. So we see here three distinct miracles that are unique to messianic expectation. 

Why is that so important? Because in a couple of chapters the Pharisees come along and say, "Why don't you show us a sign?" Well wait a minute. In just this group of miracles out of nine different miracles four at least are miracles that are unique to the Messiah. So Jesus has given them plenty of signs.

Matthew 9:27 NASB "As Jesus went on from there [Jairus' home in Capernaum], two blind men followed Him, crying out, 'Have mercy on us, Son of David!'"

A crowd had followed Jesus to Jairus' house, the know that He is going to and raise her from the dead. These two blind men are with them. They had already trusted in Jesus as Messiah, believing Him is obvious from their faith, and when Jesus comes out from having done that they follow Him.

As we look at the setup here, what Matthew is showing is that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. This is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 35:5, 6 NASB "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah." This is a prophecy related to the kingdom; this is what will characterize the kingdom when the Messiah comes. There will be healing of physical diseases and there will be fruitfulness and productivity in the desert. Jesus is giving a foretaste of this and Matthew is relating this to show that yes, indeed, He is the Messiah. He shows He is the Messiah by the words He communicated in the Sermon on the Mount, and now by the works that He performed in Matthew chapters eight and nine.

This is driving somewhere because the thrust that we will see in Matthew chapters eight and nine is not only on the works that Jesus performed, but those works entailed an obligation to His witnesses to respond to His claim to be the King and obedience, and to become disciples. It was in essence a claim to be the Messiah and that the religious leaders should have accepted Him as the coming Messiah and followed Him. But they rejected Him, and as a result their rejection of Him as Messiah Jesus makes the claim in the concluding part of this to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out harvesters into His harvest. The Pharisees should have provided the leadership but they are false shepherds, so He needs new workers. That is the disciples.

The other theme of these two chapters 8 and 9 is the preparation of the disciples and the demands upon disciples. He ends chapter nine showing the needs for these workers and chapter ten is where Matthew tells us of His call of the disciples, and we have the second great discourse from Jesus in chapter ten where He is giving instructions to the disciples as to what they should do in terms of their ministry. So that gives us the overview of how all these things fit together. The miracles demonstrate the credentials of the Messiah, and those credentials carry with them a certain demand of those who witness them that if He is who He claims to be then you need to respond in obedience to Him and follow Him. This is what happened with these two blind men. They have responded to Jesus' authority as demonstrated through His works. They call Him Son of David, a messianic title. It shows that they clearly have accepted Him as the Messiah of Israel and have recognized His authority, and on the basis of His authority as the Messiah. Because the Messiah is going to come and the Messiah is going to heal. Isaiah 35:5, the eyes of the blind shall be opened. They know this, so they call upon Him as the Son of David to fulfill that and to heal them of their blindness and restore their sight.

In the Scriptures we have several titles that relate to Jesus. Each indicates something about His purpose, something about His character, something about His person. When we look at these titles we need to recognize that some of these are talking about His derivation, His genealogy—descendant of Adam, a descendant of Abraham: the words "son of" in those first three titles indicates He is a descendant of Adam, Abraham and David. But within Hebrew there is also an idiomatic use of the phrase "son of" so that if you exhibit certain characteristics in your life, for example, if you were active then you would be called the son of action. In 2 Kings 6:32 a murderer was called the son of a murderer. It is not saying that his father was a murderer but that his life is characterized by murder. 1 Samuel 10:27 and Judges 20:13 there are different people called sons of Belial. In Luke 10:6 a person who was at peace was called a son of peace. Acts 13:19 a person is called a son of the devil. He was a devilish person. It was used to describe a sorcerer; he was characterized by demonic things.

Jesus was called the son of Adam in Luke 3:38, indicating His humanity.  He was a descendant from Adam, as we all are, and so the tile son of Adame He  emphasizes His humanity. This relates Jesus back to the original creation covenant that He is going to be the second Adam who will have success where Adam failed. The second title that we find in the Gospels is Jesus is called the son of Abraham, Matthew 1:1. He is a descendant of Abraham, is fully Jewish and is therefore related to the Abrahamic covenant. So the first title, son of Adam, takes Him back to the creation covenant, the second to the Abraham covenant, and the third title, son of David, connects Him to the Davidic covenant, 2 Samuel 7. It tells us that the Messiah would have to be a descendant of king David and would have to be qualified to take the throne of David and rule over Israel from Jerusalem. The term son of David is a strong messianic title. It is used in a number of places and is supported in various Old Testament passages such as Isaiah 9:6, 6; Jeremiah 23:5, 6; Luke 1:30-33.

He is called the Son of God. This emphasizes His deity. It is not a term of derivation and is not saying that God the Father generated Jesus as a human would generate a son; it is saying that He has attributes of deity. This title is used numerous times of Jesus, specifically in Luke 3:38, and in 1:35. He is called the Son of God.

He is also called the son of Man, emphasizing His humanity. It is also a title that is given to the Messiah in Daniel 7:13. Daniel saw in this vision that the Ancient of Days at some point in the future will give the kingdom to the son of Man. Then the son of Man will come to the earth and will establish His kingdom. That is yet future and takes place at the end of the Tribulation period when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth. At that point He will establish His kingdom. 

He is called the son of Mary in Mark 6:3, emphasizing His humanity and His relationship to His mother. The term son of Joseph is used in 1:45 as a reference to His adopted father.

Matthew 9:28 NASB "When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?' They said to Him, 'Yes, Lord.'" The focal point again is on faith: are they trusting Him? Not everyone who is healed by Jesus expresses faith. There are many situations where they have faith and it is not mentioned in the Scripture, or it is clear they don't have faith, but Jesus heals them anyway out of His deity in order to demonstrate His own credentials. But here Matthew is emphasizing the importance of their faith. It is not based on any sort of magic or talisman or anything like that, it is all based upon the right belief. 

Matthew 9:29 NASB "Then He touched their eyes, saying, 'It shall be done to you according to your faith'." He makes it clear that the issue is their faith.

Matthew 9:30 NASB "And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: 'See that no one knows {about this!}' Why did He tell them not to tell anybody? This isn't the first time we have seen this. Jesus is trying to keep a lid on things. He doesn't want the crowds to get too excited. He understands as it is stated in John chapter two that the crowds still have a political understanding of the Messiah from what they were taught by the Pharisees. They were thinking that they would have a Messiah who would deliver them from Rome. He is trying to keep a lid on things because He knows His ministry has to last a certain amount of time, and so it is a request here to limit that enthusiasm. He knows, of course, they are not going to do that and they did not do that, and as soon as He had left Capernaum … 

Matthew 9:31 NASB "But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land."

Then we come to the second example here, the casting out of a demon from the mute man.

Matthew 9:32 NASB "As they were going out [of the house], a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him."

Demon possession means that an evil spirit, a fallen angel, has taken up residence inside the body of a person and is controlling their mechanics, their physical body, and can either speak through them in some case or, as in this case, would not speak through them. There are different examples given in different situations but the Bible is not giving us a complete list of all the things that demons can do; neither is it giving us a list of symptoms that we can go to so that we can spot someone who is demon possessed. There are people who are deaf who are not demon possessed, there are people who are ill, paralyzed, or psychotic who are not demon possessed. Those symptoms might indicate demon possession, and they do; but in most cases they don't, they just have to do with other causes.

In a very brief account Matthew tells us that they brought this mute man to Jesus.

Matthew 9:33 NASB "After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, {and were} saying, 'Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel'."

Notice is doesn't say the demon was exorcised. That word exorcism is never used of what Jesus did or what the disciples did. That word is only used of pagan practices, not the practices of Jesus or the disciples. They cast out demons.

This is almost a preview of coming attractions because in chapter twelve Jesus is going to cast a demon out of a man who is deaf and mute, and the Pharisees there are going to make a public pronouncement (Here it is private) that Jesus is casting out the demon by the power of Satan. This is the first time this idea occurs to them and it is stated in the text. 

Matthew 9:34 NASB "But the Pharisees were saying, 'He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons'."

The people who said that nothing like this had been seen in Israel get it, but the Pharisees don't. They don't want Jesus to be the Messiah because He doesn't fit their idea of a Messiah. Here we are seeing the opposition to Jesus mount. As a result of this, what we are learning is that the Pharisees are not on board with Jesus mission to bring in the kingdom. So if the Pharisees and the religious leaders of Israel have failed then who is going to carry out the work of the kingdom? And so the summary episode is important for addressing that issue and part of the transition to the next chapter.  

Matthew 9:35 NASB "Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness."

He hasn't gone to the cross yet; it is the gospel of the kingdom, which is "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". This is a summary statement that is parallel to Matthew 4:23. The only difference is that in that passage He talks about the fact that He went about Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all those who were sick and diseased that were brought to Him. That introduced back in Matthew 4:23 and this is like a bookend, it wraps up these two sections. Chapters four, five and six with the Sermon on the Mount tells us the words of Jesus; chapters eight and nine the works of Jesus. That is a summary unit.  

Matthew makes a point. After going through all of those miracles and those two previous discipleship episodes He brings it to a conclusion that doesn't have so much to do with the miracles, but it does have to do with the lack of workers. That is why Jesus needs disciples.

Jesus looks at the people in v. 36 and is moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. That is a common depiction of the failure of the leaders in Israel in Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the prophets: the people were like sheep without a shepherd. They are without a shepherd because the religious leaders are in failure. So Jesus looks at them and tells the disciples… 

Matthew 9:37 NASB "Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few'." Why? Because the ones who had been hired, so to speak, were all in rejection of the truth.

Matthew 9:38 NASB "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Who are the laborers? The laborers are those who are willing to take up the challenge to be a disciple. That is why Matthew has interspersed among these miracles these discipleship stories. 

Look back to chapter eight.

Matthew 8:18 NASB "Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side {of the sea.}[19] Then a scribe came and said to Him, 'Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." He is overly enthused, operating on emotion. He has never seen miracles like this; he wants to follow Jesus. Scribes are rarely talked about in a positive sense in Matthew.

Matthew 8:20 NASB "Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air {have} nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Some people have taken that to mean He just camped out all the time. But we are told He had a house in Capernaum. What He is talking about is that He doesn't have a permanent dwelling place and if you are going to follow Him you have to be willing to leave the comforts of home behind and go wherever the Lord directs you. What we have in this first example is an over-enthusiastic scribe who doesn't really want to follow Jesus, but he thinks he does. So Jesus is pointing out that there is a cost.

The second example is the under-enthused disciple. Matthew 8:21 NASB "Another of the disciples said to Him, 'Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father'." This is really a poorly understood example. [22] But Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead'." What is that all about? He is really trying to procrastinate his involvement with Jesus. What we have to understand in terms of Jewish burial customs is that when somebody died they needed to go into the ground very, very quickly. They were usually buried within 24 hours. They still are; Jews do not believe in embalmment. In a burial cave the bodies would be laid up on a shelf, wrapped up in various spices, and left for a year to decompose until all of the flesh was gone and all that was left were bones. Burial would go pretty quick, so when the disciple says, "Let me go first and bury my father," he wouldn't even be there if His father had just died. It is a quick procedure; he is not talking about that first burial. After the burial there is mourning for a week, and that seven-day period is followed by a thirty-day less intense period of mourning. Really the full mourning goes on for a full year and when the year is up they go in and collect just the bones and put them into burial boxes.

So what this man is probably asking is not just that he wanted to go home and bury his father tomorrow. What he is saying is that he needed to be gone for the next eleven months—the full mourning time, all the way to the time they put him into the ossuary. He is basically procrastinating. He is counting the cost and thinking it is too much for him. Why not just come back later?

We see in these examples Matthew is showing us that a disciple should not make an irrational, emotional decision to "Let's just go follow Jesus" because look at all these wonderful things. But a disciple should also count the cost because it is serious. So we need to be willing to make this decision, to follow Him whatever the challenges will be and whatever the cost will be.

There is still a need, and that need is related to the last verse of chapter 9. And that is still true. This was spoken in context in terms of Jesus' ministry at the beginning. In Matthew's Gospel it is expanding into the great commission at the end of the Gospel: that we are to go into the whole world and make disciples. We make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which relates to evangelism; and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, which is the instructional mandate for the local church. That is what we are about. And what individual Christians should be about is responding to that challenge and saying, Yes, I want to be counted as a student of the Word of God, as a disciple who will be trained and, in turn, replicate myself through baptism and through teaching others, getting involved beyond just coming to church, filling up a doctrinal notebook and knowing what the Bible says, and implementing it in a variety of different ways. In whatever situation God has put you in, that is your ministry.