Read Matthew 9:14-38
This section is unique as it begins with a rare encounter between John’s disciples and Jesus. Their question is straightforward.
The Pharisees fast.
Why don’t your disciples fast?
Solomon wrote that there was a time and a purpose for everything under heaven. Jesus told these inquirers this was not the time for sadness or fasting or other such religious things.
This was a taste of the wedding banquet to come. That is a time to celebrate. Soon enough, there will be time for sorrow and suffering, but not now.
“C’mon guys. Don’t you get it? God’s own Son is walking among you.”
You don’t hang your head when your team scores a touchdown.
You eat turkey and dressing at Thanksgiving dinner, not beans and rice.
And as most husbands can relate to, “You are not wearing that shirt with those pants.”
There is a time and a purpose for everything under heaven and with Jesus walking the earth, the time had come to bring hope to the captives, sight to the blind, and good news to the world.
Next we see an unnamed local official come to Jesus. He said that his daughter had died but he had the faith that Jesus could heal her. Jesus was on the way to heal her when a woman who had suffered from severe bleeding reached out and touch the outer garment that Jesus was wearing.
She thought if she could just touch it, then she would be healed.
She was right.
Don’t we wish we knew what type of cloth that was that Jesus was wearing? Wow, I would like to get a few yards of that.
Actually, we have a few yards of that same material. We give them out as prayer blankets. What is the material?
It is 100% pure faith.
Jesus felt the tug on his clothing. He turned and told the woman, “Rejoice, your faith has made you well!”
Jesus continued on his way and arrived at the home where people had gathered to mourn for the young girl and comfort her family. Jesus sent everyone outside and remarked that the girl was not dead, only asleep.
That was enough to shift the topic of gossip from what did this family do that God would condemn this young girl to just who does this guy think he is.
You know the story. Jesus takes her hand. She got up. The news of this spread like wildfire.
Two blind men followed Jesus from this place. That had to be a trick in itself considering that there were plenty of people with unimpaired vision that were surely trying to follow him as well. Maybe the two blind men just followed the noise of the crowd.
But the blind men cried out over the crowd and Jesus heard them.
They had called Jesus the Son of David. They were blind but surely had eyes to see the coming of the Messiah.
Jesus asked them if they believed that he could heal them.
They answered: “Yes, Lord!”
Jesus told them that they would be healed in accordance with their belief.
Both could see. Do you ever wonder if maybe one of these guys had 20-20 vision and the other had perhaps 20-40 eyesight? Do you think that both believed completely?
Just food for thought.
These two men knew that the Messiah had come and that he could heal them. They should have asked Jesus to heal their hearing as well.
Jesus told them not to tell anyone but they told everyone they ran across.
Sounds like a couple of 21st Century Christians: We accept the wonderful gift of God’s grace then do just the opposite of what he says.
Sometimes, I can only use the most technical of theological terms to describe this sort of behavior.
Jesus then cast a demon out of a man who could not speak. The man could speak and the crowds were amazed, but the Pharisees now outwardly opposed Jesus.
They said that he had made a deal with the devil. They refused to profess that Jesus was doing the work of God even though they should have been the first to recognize what was going on.
The blindness of the Pharisees was now fully evident.
How does Jesus respond?
He keeps on healing, and healing, and teaching. He has compassion on the people who seemed to live like lost and scattered sheep.
So many were ready for a shepherd, but those charged with shepherding Israel had made protecting their jobs and status more important than the care and feeding of the sheep.
Matthew ends this section with these words of Jesus:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Today the harvest remains plentiful and we would surely enjoy some more help. But we who are called and who follow Jesus will continue to fish for men, sow seeds, and proclaim good news for we know that we serve the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God.
Jesus is Lord!