News of Jesus’ raising of Jairus’ daughter to life spreads quickly throughout the region of Capernaum after Christ touches her hand and performs the miracle (Matt. 9:25–26). Consequently, He is not able to get very far away from the synagogue ruler’s home before some more needy people seek Him out. In today’s passage, two blind men beg the “son of David” for mercy (v. 27).
Blindness in Jesus’ day was a common ailment in the Middle East and created all sorts of religious hurdles for its victims. No son of Aaron with a defect in his sight could offer up the bread of God (Lev. 21:16–21). Devotional writings — not Scripture — found among the Dead Sea Scrolls prohibited blind men from entering Jerusalem. Since God sometimes blinded His enemies in the Old Testament (Gen. 19:1–11), many first-century Jews believed personal sin and blindness were linked directly. The blind were frowned upon and routinely suffered poverty and rejection. In John 9:1–3, however, Christ teaches that blindness does not necessarily result from transgression, and, as we will see, He is faithful to the Mosaic law’s directives for compassion on the blind (Lev. 19:14; Deut. 27:18).
The two blind men address our Savior as the “son of David” (Matt. 9:27), because they understand the true identity of this Galilean carpenter. Restoring sight to the blind is among the Messiah’s tasks in Isaiah 42:1–9, and in using the messianic title “son of David,” the men express hope that Jesus is the Anointed One who will enable them to see. Notably, Solomon, whom Jewish tradition at the time calls a great miracle-worker, is the only king with the title “son of David” in the Old Testament (Prov. 1:1). Viewing Jesus’ power through the extrabiblical legends of their day, these men likely see Him as a new and better Solomon, David’s greatest son, who will never lose His kingdom (2 Sam. 7:1–13).
When the blind men enter the house with Jesus, our Lord has them confirm their belief that He is able to heal them. Like others before them, they are healed (Matt. 9:27–31) because their faith, according to John Calvin, “embraces the mercy and fatherly love of God along with his power, and the generous design of Christ along with his ability to save.”
The close connection of Jesus’ miracles to His work of bearing the sins of His people (Matt. 8:17) has led many commentators to look at His miraculous healings not only as real events but also as metaphors for what happens to us when Christ touches us spiritually. Even if we have never suffered physical blindness, none of us could see the Lord until the Holy Spirit opened our eyes. Pray that He would do the same for an unbelieving friend or family member.
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