Mat 9:27-31 Consider the numerous accounts in the gospels of Jesus healing the blind: see Mat 12:22, 15:30-31, 20:30-34, 21:14, Mar 8:22-26, 10:46-52, Joh 9:1-6; what is the spiritual significance that the blind were so often objects of Jesus’ mercy (Mat 9:27) and that He seems to have had a special compassion for them (Mat 20:34)? Cf. Joh 9:39-41. Have we the humility to recognize our own spiritual blindness and need for the Savior to open our eyes so we can see clearly in the spiritual realm? Cf. Rev 3:17-18, as well as the spiritual clarity with which the demons saw in Mat 8:29. What significance would the title “son of David” used by the blind men to address Jesus have had for Matthew’s Jewish audience? See Mat 1:1,20, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30-31, 21:9,15, 22:42. Who was the original son of David and in what ways did his reign foreshadow the kingdom that the promised Messiah would establish? See 1Ki 4:20-25,29-34, 5:5,17, 6:7,22, 10:1-25, 1Ch 28:19; cf. also Josephus’ description of Solomon in his Antiquities of the Jews 8:42-49 which reflected Jewish understanding of his greatness and the greatness they expected of the promised Messiah who would reign on the throne of His father David after the manner and according to the greatness of Solomon. In what way is the spiritual kingdom Christ established even greater than that of Solomon’s?
Upon what basis did Jesus heal the blind men? See Mat 9:29; cf. Mat 9:22, 8:13, Mar 10:52. What does this teach us about what the Lord requires from those upon whom He would have mercy (Mat 9:27)? What evidence do we find in Mat 9:27-28 of Jesus testing the faith of the blind men, and their persistence of faith to find healing? What does this teach us about our need to persevere in following the Lord with unwavering faith in order to obtain our petitions? Cf. Mat 15:21-28. Do we persist in following the Lord and crying out to Him to open our blind eyes even while He seems to ignore us? Are we so bold and persevering as to continue pressing after Him even when it seems as if He has retired into a private chamber and would not be bothered? What sort of people are more likely to persevere after the Lord in this manner: those who have no other hope, or those who, although they hope in the Lord, have other resources of their own with which they can “get by”? What does this teach us about why it tends more to be those who are poor, downcast and oppressed who experience the Lord’s saving power than those who are more affluent?
What did Jesus say to the men after He had healed them? See Mat 9:30. Why did Jesus “sternly warn” them to “let no one know about this”? See also Mar 1:42-44 and cf. Joh 6:15, 11:45-48, Act 5:36-37. Consider that the Greek word for “sternly warned” (embrimaomai) carries the sense of anger; in secular literature it meant to be moved with anger or indignation, to be very angry; see Mar 14:5 (“scolded”) and Joh 11:33,38 (“deeply moved”) for the other NT usages; what does this teach us about the danger Jesus associated with people’s misunderstanding of who He was as the Messiah and the Son of David? Cf. Mar 1:43-2:2. Consider the evangelistic zeal that so filled the hearts of those whom Jesus saved from their afflictions that they could not keep quiet about it even when commanded to “let no one know”; have we as much zeal to share with others what the Lord has done for us when we are commanded to do so (Mat 28:18-20)?
1. Antiquities of the Jews 8:42-49 42 Now the sagacity and wisdom which God had bestowed on Solomon was so great, that he exceeded the ancients; insomuch that he was in no way inferior to the Egyptians, who are said to have been beyond all men in understanding; nay, indeed, it is evident that their sagacity was very much inferior to that of the king’s. 43 He also excelled and distinguished himself in wisdom above those who were most eminent among the Hebrews at that time for shrewdness; those I mean were Ethan, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. 44 He also composed books of odes and songs, a thousand and five, of parables and similitudes, three thousand; for he spoke a parable about every sort of tree, from the hyssop to the cedar; and in like manner also about beasts, about all sorts of living creatures, whether upon the earth, or in the seas, or in the air; for he was not unacquainted with any of their natures, nor omitted inquiries about them, but described them all like a philosopher, and demonstrated his exquisite knowledge of their various characteristics. 45 God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and wholesome to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; 46 and this method of cure is of great force to this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demonic in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: 47 he put a ring, that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he warned him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. 48 And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; 49 and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed, may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so much of these matters.↩