Jesus Restores Health
General Idea: Here, two blind men cut off from their society, and from the sight of the glory of God's creation, saw an opportunity. What they could not physically see, they saw by a vision that was stronger than what mere eyes could ever have beheld. Their vision of faith saw the opportunity to be healed, to rejoin the crowd that closed them off, and see wonders that had been hidden in darkness. They saw, by vision, what other eyes could not behold, and then took on the determination to advance by faith, even though they could not physically see. They were determined that no obstacle or intervention would stop them. Rather, they allowed themselves to be touched by God, and allowed Him to turn their lives of darkness into lives of Light.
Jesus responded by stopping, listening, and looking. He stopped what He was doing; He listened to their plea, and looked with His vision to see both where they were, and where they could be. This passage is a great comfort, as we see that our Lord is never too busy to stop for us. He is never too busy to listen to our prayers; He is never too busy to see us where we are, and be willing and able to take us where we need to be and go.
1. Two blind men: People who were blind and lame in those days had to make their living by begging for alms--similar to many Middle Eastern cultures today. They were barred from participating in normal society and occupations. Sometimes, for reasons of safety, and because of fear, others would think if they came in contact with their infirmity, they, too, might be cut off from their community and from society.
a. They would position themselves on busy roadsides, just as many do at airports and bus stations today.
i. To give alms to the lame was, and still is, considered a righteous deed; only the sickest people of society, the proud, and the arrogant, would refuse.
ii. The blind and lame had no social status. In order to grasp the attention of others so they would give, they had to create a scene, or at least cry out. Thus, their response to Jesus was normal.
b. What is extraordinary is that they knew who He was!
c. Mathew records two blind men; Mark and Luke each recorded one, and named him Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). Perhaps they singled out the one who spoke up, or perhaps these are two separate instances.
d. Luke adds that the crowd told the blind man; Jesus of Nazareth is passing by! Do not let Him pass you by!!!
2. Son of David refers to the title of the Messiah. Even without being able to see, these two blind men saw far more than their fellow Jews; they saw the real Messiah! They cried out in a loud and persistent way, a plea powered by faith and determination. They had to do this, as the crowds would have tried to shoo them away.
a. Most Jews expected a military Messiah who would kick out the Romans, or a politician to rally the people and bring back the glory-days of David and Solomon. They did not expect a God-man, who went to the people and took care of their needs. Yet, these two blind men saw through the falsehoods of their contemporary cultural desires to what the Word of God really taught.
i. These two men knew their Scriptures; what God was able to do, and what a real prophet could do by calling on God's power (2 Kings 6:18-20). They also saw a connection between the reports of Jesus being able to grant a real, lasting healing, and what a real Messiah would do.
ii. Most Jews looked to their traditions first, and only after that, a few would search their Scriptures, just as many Christians do today.
b. Even in the OT, God ruled over blindness and sight (Ex. 4:11; Prov. 20:12).
c. Luke adds your faith has made you well. The Greek is a reference to salvation, as, "has saved you." Faith is the means in which the gift is received. It is neither the magic wand, nor the reason in and of itself.
3. Brought Him a man, a mute, a person in the same social status and predicament as the two blind men. The crowd must have wondered--can Jesus do it again, and to this type of person?
a. Exorcism was something that did occur, but not all of the time. Also, Jesus did not say others could not do it, as He did not discount the reports of others.
i. David is the only recorded OT personality God used to perform an exorcism (1 Sam. 16:23).
ii. Elijah and Elisha also had done extraordinary miracles, including healings.
b. The crowds that followed Jesus were more into His miracles than into His real mission, who He really was, and what He really had to offer. Yes, the healings were mighty impressive. But, never forget why Jesus came. Our physical limitations are mere shadows to eternity and to what is really important!
c. The Pharisees said: Obviously, they had a hard time seeing faith in action, so they started gossiping in order to undermine Jesus, accusing Him of being the one who was evil. They did not deny what Jesus was doing. They could not discredit the validity of the healings and exorcisms, so they subscribed His means by claiming Jesus was Himself evil, and was using a bigger evil to get rid of a smaller one, as in witchcraft and sorcery.
i. Beelzebub (Greek Beelzboul) is a name for a heathen god of Ekron, Baal-zebub (2 Kings 1:2) and called Belial by Paul (2 Cor. 6:15). He is also called the prince of demons (Matt. 10:25; 12:24-27), which implies he is lord over hell, the chief CEO of hell.
ii. Rabbis still called Jesus and His follows servants of evil, and claimed that their miracles were from Sammael and Beelzebub, common names for satan in the "Testament of Solomon," an apocryphal, OT Book.
God calls us to be earnest, that is, to be pursuing a serious, deep rooted, and determined faith. It is a call to persist in our faith and determination, regardless of obstacles--physical limitations, spiritual depression, spiritual warfare, or our circumstances. If everything came to us instantly, there would be no growth, no appreciation, no maturity, and no faith. Faith requires resistance and struggle to make it flourish and grow. God is not the One Who always holds us back; it is usually our refusal to reach out and seize the opportunity. It is we who refuse to exercise our faith and grow. It is we who speak just a simple prayer with no earnest thought behind it, with no zeal or realization of God's mercy and grace. We get so caught up in our own struggles that we do not look past the crowd to call His Name. We do not realize that He will stop, look, and listen--just for us!
What we ask for in prayer is determined by our will and desires. When our eyes are on obstacles rather than the possibilities, on self and not on Christ, we may miss an opportunity as Christ walks on by, not responding because we do not have the faith to call out. We will miss His call, as our eyes are too preoccupied with the junk of life, or the busyness of our own will. What we seek can be wrong, and even be an insult to the One who created and loves us. We need to see with a vision that goes beyond our eyes, a vision of faith and determination, based on His Word and precepts rather than what we desire and think we need. Be the one who looks up and sees who the Lord really is, and be willing to call His Name. Be willing to surrender all to Him, as LORD!
1. When you were a child, how did you feel when your parents told you that you were too young to do something?
2. Who are the people whom society casts out of sight today? Why do they? Do you?
3. How does Jesus respond to the castaways of society? How is this model of response reflected in your life?
4. Why do you suppose those blind men saw more of Jesus than those who had real sight?
5. Jesus responded by stopping, listening, and looking. How has Jesus responded to you in these three ways? How have you seen Him respond to others in these ways?
6. How does it make you feel to see blind and lame people making their living by begging for alms? How do you respond to them? How should you?
7. Have you considered that the sickest people of society are the proud and arrogant? If you are not sure, look up the word, pride, in a concordance!
8. What do you need to do to make sure that Jesus does not pass you by?
9. Even without being able to see, these two blind men saw far more than their fellow Jews. Why do you suppose this was true?
10. These two blind men responded to Jesus in a loud and persistent way, a plea powered by faith and determination. How do persistence, determination, and faith go together? What happens when you take persistence away from faith? Have you ever done this? If so, what happened?
11. Can you name a few falsehoods from your contemporary culture that contradict what the Word of God teaches? Take some time and dig deeper-- beyond the typical Evangelical responses, to such things as gossip, pride, and how the church responds to others. What is acceptable behavior in church versus what is OK with God, such as dress, language, music, etc.?
12. Why do people find comfort in looking to their traditions first, rather than to Scripture?
13. Why do you think the crowd brought to Jesus this man who was possessed, and a mute?
14. Do you think that exorcism is something that should be practice more? Why, or why not? How do you balance demon possession with mental, chemical, and physical issues?
15. The crowds that followed Jesus were more into His miracles than into His real mission. How is this true today? What are some of the ideas from the crowds of today, such as people who claim to know Christ, yet, having no passion for His truth, chase after every new idea instead?
16. Why do some Christians attack their pastors and leaders when they do not like what is going on in the church, even if the leaders are following Biblical principles, and being righteous, while the people just "pew-sit?"
17. When Jesus comes to us, He may not heal us now, as our physical limitations are mere shadows to eternity and to what is really important! How can you have faith and take comfort in Him, even if He does not perform a healing or restoration in you?
18. Consider how Jesus responded to the castaways of society. Think through how you respond to this model in your life. How can Jesus' model be better reflected in you?
19. What can you do to be more earnest, that is, to develop a more serious, deep- rooted, and determined faith?
20. What can your church do, collectively, to keep all eyes on the possibilities and not the obstacles? (First, you may need to define what the obstacles are, and what the possibilities could be.)
© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com