Matthew 9:27-38 Part 1

“Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened,

And the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then shall the lame man leap as a hart,

And the tongue of the dumb shall sing….”



What’s the context here?  Anybody know?  It’s Isaiah chapter thirty-five.  Any idea?  Listen:



“…for in the wilderness shall waters break out,

and streams flow in the desert.

And the parched ground shall become a pool,

And the thirsty land becomes springs of water –

In the habitation of dragons.”



The context here, of course – for the opening of the eyes of the blind, and the ears of the deaf being unstopped – is the Gospel of the Kingdom going into the nations.  Remember – we’ve spoken a number of times about the Gentile nations being characterized in Scripture as wastelands and deserts and wildernesses where demons and wild beasts have free reign.

And all of these things, of course, are somewhat metaphorical representations of the unchecked depravity and uncivilized Godlessness – the absence of Godly dominion – in the Gentile nations of the world.  Of course this was before the preaching of the Gospel.

And the coming of the King signaled the mercy of God to the world, because the Gospel of the Kingdom would flow into the nations like streams of water.  And everywhere the water goes – there springs up reeds and grass and fruit and order and civilization and law and Godly dominion – there springs up LIFE!

And listen again to Isaiah – a little later in chapter forty-two:



“Behold My servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles….”



And then, to this Servant He speaks directly – written by Isaiah:



“I the Lord have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will help You, and give You for a covenant of the people, for a Light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house! …  Behold the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.  Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth.… Let the wilderness and the cities therein lift up!  Let the inhabitants of the rocks sing!  Let them shout from the tops of the mountains!  Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare His praise in the islands….  And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight….  Hear, you deaf!  And look, you blind! – that you may see!”



So the rivers and fountains of the Gospel, flowing into the wildernesses of the nations brings hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind!  It makes darkness light to those previously sightless, and the deaf can sing a new song! – one that they’ve never heard! 

But where chapter forty-two of Isaiah extols the glory of the coming Gospel of the Kingdom to the Gentile nations, it also foretells the awful condition of the elect remnant of Israel (covenant people) at the time of Christ.  And that’s exactly what our passage this morning does – the Lord Jesus bringing light to the blind and speech to the deaf; and, in the same passage, the pitiable condition of the people.

The Law says, Leviticus chapter nineteen, verse fourteen:  “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear the Lord.”  And here was the Lord himself, the Word made Flesh, being moved to great passion to the condition of the people!  They were vexed and troubled, and scattered by wolves – having no shepherd; blind and dumb!  The whole nation had closed its eyes to the truth and stopped up its ears so that it couldn’t hear!  This is all in direct rebellion against the Law in Leviticus chapter nineteen!

Listen, as Isaiah continues here in chapter forty-two.  This is Israel, God’s servant, that Isaiah is writing about: 




“Who is blind, but My servant?  Or deaf, but My messenger that I sent?  Who is as blind as the Lord’s servant?  Seeing many things, you observe not; opening the ears, but not hearing… but this is a people robbed and stripped!  They are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prisons; they are for prey!  And none delivers; they are for spoil! And none delivers!”



Then Isaiah goes on to say that God Himself gave them over to be a spoil – and gave them up to be prey, because they didn’t walk in His ways and be obedient to His holy Law!  And he says that the Lord’s anger burns all around them, but they don’t even know it!  They’re blind, and deaf and dumb!

But you see, the Lord Jesus Christ has come to free the prisoners from sitting in that darkness – He causes them to see!  And He causes the deaf and dumb to sing a new song!  That’s what our text is about this morning! 

And that’s exactly what Isaiah prophesies in the very next chapter – chapter forty-three.  Listen.  This is the New Covenant promise of a Redeemer for Israel – A Redeemer for His elect remnant, and for the Gentile nations:



“But now thus saith the Lord that created You, O Jacob, and He that formed you, O Israel.  Fear not; for I have redeemed you.  I have called you by your name; you are mine.  When you passed through the waters, I Am with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.  For I Am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.  I gave Egypt your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.  Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honorable, and I have loved you; therefore, will I give men for you, and people for your life.  Fear not; for I Am with you; say to the north, ‘Give up’; and to the south, ‘don’t’ keep them back’; bring my sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth – each one who is called by My Name; for I have created him for my glory.  I have formed him; yea, I have made him.  Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.  Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled;”



So, you see, the whole context of our passage this morning is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning the New Covenant Church!  God called us “called, and elect, and loved, and sons and daughters, and precious in His sight, and redeemed, and assembled from the four corners of the earth!”  We are the blind and deaf of the nations who have been given eyes to see and ears to hear!  As we heard Isaiah say earlier – “then shall the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped – for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams flow in the desert!”

And that’s what we must bring to the text with us as we begin to read this morning.  And that’s what the Pharisees and the other leaders of Israel brought with them when they heard Jesus speak and watched Him perform the miracles on the blind, the deaf and the demon-possessed.  They brought with them the text from Isaiah that we just read – and they brought with them the knowledge of the texts we’re going to see concerning David’s great Son – from Psalm one hundred ten, and Jeremiah twenty-three, and Isaiah twenty-two, and chapter nine.  And in Zechariah chapter twelve – all of which deal with this text this morning – and all of which Matthew had in mind when he included these two blind men and this demon-possessed deaf man – neither of which are included in any of the other three Gospels.

And Matthew includes them because this is another important occasion in the Revelation of the Son of God/Son of Man/Son of David!  It is another occasion of the manifestation of the Redeemer of the world!  All He did can’t be written in all the books, but we have these glimpses – these wondrous flashes of Revelation when our eyes can be opened a little wider and our ears can hear a little better.  We were blind and deaf and dumb, but the west has here given up some sons and daughters – as God called to us from the text of Isaiah, seven hundred and fifty years before Christ was born.  And by his Spirit we heard – and we see.  And we are, right now, assembled as His Son – the New Israel, the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  And, assembled together as we are, we are the fullness of the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah chapters forty-two and forty-three.



“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness – rivers in the desert.  The beasts of the field shall honor Me – the jackals and the vultures; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people – My chosen ones.  This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise.”  (Isaiah forty-nine, verses nineteen through twenty-nine)



Matthew says, verse twenty-seven: “…and as Jesus was passing on by from there, there were two blind men following him crying out and saying, ‘Show mercy to us, Son of David!’  Now, when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him….”



So Jesus had just left Jairus’ house where He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, and two blind men began to follow Him.  Now, again, we don’t know how far it was back to Jesus’ house from the home of the magistrate, but these two blind men stumbled along behind Him all the way!  Rocks and holes and people – and every other kind of impediment you could think of in their way.  They probably followed the sound of the crowd around Jesus as He walked down the road.

And what they were doing was in the continual, repetitive tense – they were crying out to Him!  They were screaming at him!  The whole way!  However far it was, it was the whole way!  Among all the other loud sounds of the crowd – all more than likely trying to get Jesus’ attention – there were these screams from these two blind men way back in the back, and they wouldn’t let go!  They just kept it up!

And the exceptional feature of this encounter is that these two men address Jesus as “Son of David.”  “Son of David, show us mercy!”  Over and over – all the way home!  But Jesus moves on along down the street – seemingly paying no attention to them!  It looks as if He just disregards them!

And when He gets home, they’re still there.  And then He speaks to them!  And He says, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  And they say, “Yea, Lord.”  And He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”



“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the deep darkness of death, upon them hath the light shined….  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of Government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  (Isaiah nine, verses two through seven)



A Son – sitting on the throne of David – a son of David bringing light to those who live in the land of the deep darkness of death.  A merciful King who puts light in the eyes of men.

And yet – in the same context, only a few verses later, this:



 “…The Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day… for the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.  Through the wrath of the Lord of Hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire; no man shall spare his brother.  And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and not be satisfied.  They shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm.”



As the Son of David arrives on the scene, the people are darkened – and deaf and dumb – and demon possessed!  And, as verse thirty-six says, Jesus is moved to great emotion because these leaders had vexed and troubled and scattered the people!  Their eyes were blind – and they could not hear – because they had been jerked around by the preachers and teachers and leaders and ministers and politicians of Israel!  And, as Isaiah says, the Lord will cut off head and tail – i.e. leader and prophet – and all the branches and rushes – the common people, for all of Israel had closed their eyes and shut their ears to the truth!

The son of the great King.  King David’s Son.  The One of Whom David writes in Psalm one hundred ten:  “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand until I make You enemies Your footstool.”  This One is David’s great Son – the One Who will take dominion in the nations.  The One Who mercifully brings light to those living in darkness – those who sit in the prison of darkness, and upon whom no light has shined.

These two blind men had discerned, by the grace of God, the true identity of Jesus, and had made the Biblical connections with King David.  And we can only assume – with reasonable and logical deduction – that since they knew of His descendancy from David, they also made the connection with the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel.  So even with all the boldness and urgency which they displayed with regard to their own mal-formed bodies, there also must have been great awe and fear in them of the One at Whom they were screaming.

But none of these things accounts for the fact that Jesus disregarded them all the way home.  Neither does it account for the fact that He warned them sternly not to report what had happened.

The options – reasons – which have been put forth for this are just too shallow and too unreasonable to be true.  For example, Jesus was not fearful for His Own life, as some would say.  That’s evident in the fact that He was going all over the region healing all kinds of illness and disease – and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom!  And not once is there indication that He had fear of the Scribes and Pharisees.  In fact, He used almost every occasion to blast them – both prophetically and in person!  Jesus worked miraculous things everywhere He went, and His fame even extended to foreign countries, as we saw earlier in this Gospel!  So to say that Jesus didn’t want it to be known that He was working miracles, and that He was being called the Son of God – or the Son of man – or the Son of David, is totally untenable!  Or to say that He was afraid that He would be taken too soon to the cross is too ridiculous to even comment about, since He is the God of Time!  Or to say that He was afraid they would try to make Him a physical ruler according to their own assumptions about the coming Messiah, also deserves no answer.  All He had to do if they tried that was to deny it and refuse to rule!

All the answers as to why Jesus disregarded them, and why He angrily warned them about reporting it, are inadequate and even inappropriate.  Of course Calvin and Henry and Lenski and all the Theological references would probably say the same about me, because I might not be right either.  And, again, I give you a different explanation with great fear.  I don’t like to get away from the common places and from the insights of our forefathers.

But there’s only one thing I can put forth as reasonable.  And the door to it swings on the Law as it’s found in Leviticus chapter twenty-one, verse sixteen – starting at verse sixteen:

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying:  ‘speak unto Aaron, Whosoever is of your seed in their generations that has any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of His God.  For whatsoever man he be that has a blemish, he shall not approach; a blind man, or a lame, or he that has a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, or a man that is broken-footed, or broken-handed, or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that has a blemish in his eye, or be scurvied, or scabbed, or has his stones broken.’”



And it goes on.  The point is here that no one is to enter the holy of holies to serve the Lord with the sacrifice – except a priest with no blemish.  Blindness precluded these men from approaching the sacrifice – and the Real Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, used this occasion first, to signify the distance between the holy sacrifice and sinful, blemished mankind – a chasm which is only bridged by faith.  And, secondly, since they approached the holy of holies as blemished and unclean persons, they imitated that which only King David had done!  All others in Israel’s history who, against the Law of God, approached the holy things in the temple, were immediately destroyed.  David, when he went in and ate the sacrifice, was not destroyed by God, for David represented the coming Messiah, the True Sacrifice – His Son!  And that’s what these men called Him - David’s Son, and the True, Unblemished Sacrificial Lamb, and the Unblemished Priest!

So the only explanation I can come up with is that Jesus was concerned with the welfare of these two men who became too knowledgeable of the Lamb of God – David’s Son, and who, with their evangelical fervor, would place themselves in grave danger from those who claimed that they were the true priests of Israel.  You see, it’s only logical that Jesus would be concerned with their welfare, not His Own.  For what man, having been cleansed of a terrible blight to His life and soul, wouldn’t broadcast the end of it to the world!

To me, only an explanation of such magnificent importance could do justice to a question of such staggering complexity.  And I offer it as a possible solution.

But one thing is, indeed, certain.  The Lord Jesus, in Revelation twenty-two, sixteen, says:  “I Am the Root and the Offspring of David.”  In other words, He is the source and the culmination of the Davidic line.  David had His source as King in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And the Lord Jesus Christ is the One in Whom the Race of David is preserved.  And within that whole concept of the Davidic line is the Godly rule and Dominion of the King over His entire domain.  You remember the rivers of water in the wastelands?  And the light shining where they live in utter darkness?  Listen to the words of the prophecy of John in Revelation twenty-two, which is the context of Jesus being the root and offspring of David.  This is the New Jerusalem.

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, the tree of life, which bare twelve fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face; and His Name shall be in their foreheads.  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever.”



Next Lord’s Day, part two – the deaf mute who had a demon, the sheep scattered, and the harvest which needed laborers.