6 June 2021

Two healing miracles – Matthew 9:27-34

x

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

Jesus Heals a Demon-Oppressed and Mute Man

32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marvelled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

Opening discussion

Question 1: How do you respond when you hear stories of supernatural events or things that cannot be readily explained by scientific or medical understanding?

Question 2: What prevailing value systems, beliefs, cultural norms, education, upbringing etc. do you think condition, consciously or sub-consciously, your responses?

Our faith in Jesus

The principal characters in these two stories (the blind and demon-oppressed / mute men and their helpers) had faith in Jesus’ ability to heal them.

Question 3: What are the striking characteristics about their faith and how they demonstrate their faith (v27-29; 32).
      Think about what they do; what they say (blind men); and how they perceive Jesus.

Question 4: How does this match with how you see and approach Jesus both every day and when you have special needs such as illness? What do you understand by ‘approaching’ Jesus?

Question 5: Think of times when you, or your loved ones, have needed Jesus’ healing touch. How have you responded? What has been your expectation level? To what extent (if at all) do these two stories alter your perspective?

Jesus’ response

Jesus heals both the blind and demon-oppressed / mute men (v29, 33)

Question 6: What do we learn about Jesus from his healing of these needy people?
      Think about such things as what he responds to; who he chooses to heal; how he heals; what he says; how he comes across; what types of situations he intervenes in; what is his motivation; where he heals?

Question 7: Looking at the overall context of these two stories within the wider context of Matthew chapters 8 and 9, what is Matthew seeking to demonstrate in these two stories? How is this shown in these two stories by what small details Matthew includes … and equally by what Matthew makes no comment on and which we might expect some comment on?

Question 8: Given Jesus clearly has power and authority over disease and afflictions, why do you think Jesus does not intervene all the time? Many were healed in the Gospel stories and in the Book of Acts, but clearly many went unhealed.
       Think about this in the context of wider Biblical promises about the quality of life now and also after Jesus returns (e.g. Isaiah 35, John 10:10, Revelation 21:1-5).

Reactions to healings

No one questioned that the healings had taken place, as the evidence was plainly before them. But people’s reactions differed.

Question 9: What were the different reactions to the healings and what do their different reactions indicate about how we respond to Jesus?
      Think about the blind men v30-31; the crowd v33; and the Pharisees v34.

Question 10: To what extent do you believe that Jesus heals today? What makes you believe this either way?

Question 11: To what extent do you think that divine healing is reserved for / more likely to be received by certain groups of people (e.g. more faith; somehow less sinful / more deserving; more Godly society) and what makes you believe this?

Question 12: How do you respond when your prayers for healing (for yourself or others) seem to go unanswered? How does this affect your faith?

Question 13: To what extent do your distinguish medical intervention from prayer? Or do you see doctors and medicine as just another way by which Jesus operates?

Question 14: Have you tried using Jesus’ miracle stories / healings in your witness / evangelising? Was it helpful and what reaction did you get?

Demonic spirits and oppression

Demonic forces are a key element in this passage. The mute man is afflicted by them (v32) and the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being in league with Satan (v34) in how he heals. But no one here questions the actual existence of demonic forces and oppression.

Question 15: To what extent do you believe in the notion of demonic forces, powers and oppression, and spiritual attack?

Question 16: How might you seek to discern things as Satanic in origin … as distinct from otherwise natural occurrences (i.e. what are the characteristics of demonic oppression)?

Question 17: To what extent do you think there might be a relationship between spiritual oppression and physical conditions?

Question 18: How can we (individually and the wider church) seek to protect yourself / ourselves from demonic oppression in the first place … and then deal with it if we are under spiritual attack?