Week 62 | Sections 68, 69
From one house to another and then into his home town, Jesus continues to heal, teach and inspire people with the Gospel. Over and over people’s encounter with Jesus teaches us that faith can: set us free, move mountains, raise the dead, heal the sick, and allow us to more than we can ask or imagine – but what is to come from a lack of faith? What is the cost of unbelief?
Section 68 | Matthew 9:27-34
27 As Jesus passed by from there,1 two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, “Have mercy on us, son of David!”2 28 When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”They told him, “Yes, Lord.”3 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying,“According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 Their eyes were opened.4 Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land.5 32 As they went out,6 behold, a mute man who was demon possessed was brought to him.7¯8 33 When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The multitudes marveled, saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!”9 34 But the Pharisees said, “By the prince of the demons, he casts out demons.”10
54 Coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 Aren’t all of his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all of these things?” 57 They were offended by him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house.” 58 He didn’t do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
1 He went out from there. He came into his own country,11 and his disciples followed him. 2 When the Sabbath had come, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many hearing him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things?” and, “What is the wisdom that is given to this man, that such mighty works come about by his hands? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were offended at him.12 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.”13¯14 5 He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people, and healed them. 6a He marveled15 because of their unbelief.
- What is the difference between faith, belief, and understanding?
- When considering what God has done in your life, for what are you most thankful, and how have you expressed that in your life and ministry?
- For which Christian topics would you say you have faith but not understanding?
- Are there experiences, issues or problems that undermine your faith?
- Should one’s character or moral failings interrupt our faith in God?
- What hope does Mark 9:23-24 offer those who doubt and question Jesus’ identity, teachings, and ability to perform miracles?
- In our exhaustion, how do you find energy and joy to continue in ministry to others?
- What should our reaction be to the godly-results seen in the ministry of others?
- If you are experiencing success in ministry, how do you avoid vanity, pride, self-importance and other sins that detract from God’s work among you?
- God does not promise every member of your family will believe because you do. In fact Jesus said that some families will divide over him (Matthew 10:34-39). What are we to do when those we love do not yet believe?
Learning Objectives: faith, doubt, prayer of faith, healing, diligence, investment of time, witness, prayer, prophet, welcome, when to move on
Photo: The Pinewood Estate at Bok Tower Gardens, FL
- He had just left the house of Jarius who’s daughter Jesus had just raised from the dead (section 67).
- Having just heard of the two miracles Jesus just performed they called out to him with faith, and fervor. You’ll remember that “the line of David” is his legal lineage, significant to the readers Matthew was writing and significant to us all as the fulfillment of prophecy (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Isaiah 9:6-7; Rom 1:3; John 7:42; Matt 1:1; Matthew 22:41-45; 1Jn 4:9-10). In calling him such it could be thought that they were simply calling him by his legal name, but in light of their heritage and faith, it seems that it was also a profession of their understanding that he was the Messiah, the hope of Israel, who was more than able to heal them both.
- Their belief was sufficient for Christ to do for them what other had not been able to do. In an instant they were healed (Isaiah 35:5 Isaiah 42:7).
- We don’t know how long these two men had been blind, but imagine their first vision after such a time was the Lord Jesus himself! There’s another story of Jesus healing a blind man in John 9:6-7. and others mentioned in Matthew 15:29-31 (section 79a); Mark 8:22-26 (section 81b). One must consider the nature and importance of faith in matters of life, and ministry. For the faith of those to be healed read: Mark 10:52; Matt 8:13; Matt 15:28; Matt 9:22.
- As sternly as Jesus had told them not to tell anyone they went boldly telling everyone. Why did Jesus so often not want people to tell others? This seems odd to our hyper-connected capitalistic world, but for Jesus it was most likely his abhorrence of vanity. He was not seeking applause, votes, authority, or a crown – he was certain of his identity and calling. Their proclamation does not seem to be in contempt but exuberant gratitude.
- Leaving the house somewhere in Galilee intending to begin his return to his home town of Nazareth, he was stopped again by some people who brought another man who (by the definition of Hebrew text) was demon-possessed (this is the fourth person in four days). The man was so bound up by the demon that he was both deaf and mute.
- This man did not come to Jesus on his own accord. We don’t know however if he was unwilling, but others were certain Jesus could deliver him.
- Jesus was constantly active in ministry. In the last four days (sections 61-69) he has visited at least four towns and 1)delivered a demoniac in Galilee; 2)addressed the Pharisees; 3) spoke to the crowd in parables, explaining the nature and priorities of the Kingdom of God to his disciples; 4) crossed the sea of Galilee at night calming a storm; 5) delivered two more demoniacs; 6) healed the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years; 7) resurrected/revived a 12 year old from death; 8) healed these two blind men; 9)delivered another demoniac (4 in 4 days); 10) and began to teach in his home town where he was rejected rather than honored or received, but still healed a few sick people.
- The people seem to be comparing these recent events to other historic acts and stories they knew so well – stories of Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and the other heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11:1-40). Yet none of these compared to the glory, power, love, and truth which Christ was sharing.
- Just as they had four days earlier (see section 61 | Matt 12:22-37 / Mark 3:20-30). Their ongoing doubt and accusations seem to be fueled by envy and fear.
- Not Bethlehem where he was born but Nazareth, the town in which he grew up, where his family still lived. There is no record of Jesus ever returning to Bethlehem, though it could be one of the towns “in the region” which he visited.
- As Mary had “hidden and treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19,52) the people in Nazareth seemed to know him only as the son of Joseph and Mary. Even though Jesus had astounded the rabbis in Jerusalem at age 12 (Luke 2:42, 47) his own townspeople rejected him as the Messiah, scoffed at the report of miracles, and teaching. Some of his siblings may have been old enough to have been at the temple when Jesus stayed behind, most likely they were also invited to the wedding in Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle (John 2:1-11). His family would have been there when he turned the tables in the temple courts, but being completely man and completely God (incarnate) must have been confusing even for his siblings as it was for Mary and Joseph. As difficult as this may be to our western minds, we musn’t say, “I see miracles, so I believe and follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior”. Instead, faith evokes the reverse result/response, “Because I believe that Jesus is the Messiah, I believe he can set me free, empower me for ministry, and perform miracles.’
- According to the Apostle John, “not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5).
- Jonah too was a prophet and his job was to go preach to Nineveh, after doing so he was released. For Jesus to fulfill his mission he must be on the move, be incarnational, relational, experiential, intentional, missional.
- Jesus had to make a choice of what to do because the people from his home town rejected his message and offer of life abundant. Surely this is a heartbreaking decision for Jesus as it is for those in ministry today. Missionaries and church planters would do well to learn more about the importance of finding a house of peace (Luke 10:5-9) “Oikos Evangelism“ by Thom Wolf.