Power over Darkness

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Matthew 9:27-34 (The blind and the mute)

INTRODUCTION: We are studying Matthew 8-9 together and our message series is called Ten Miracles of Jesus. So far we have looked at eight of these ten miracles, and today we come to the last two miracles in the series – the healing of two blind men, and the healing of a demon-possessed man who could not talk. (Read Matthew 9:27-34)

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One of the things we’ve learned in this series is that each of Jesus’ physical miracles also has a spiritual meaning. Each of the various physical diseases Jesus heals represents a different aspect of sin in our lives. For example, leprosy represents the uncleanness of sin. Paralysis represents our powerlessness in the face of sin.

So, what does blindness represent? Blindness is a symbol of spiritual darkness – the state of being blind to God’s truth. Jesus came as the light of the world to free us from the power of darkness. But, as we will see, people preferred darkness to light.

There are no miracles recorded in the Old Testament of the blind receiving sight. This was something new that came with Jesus, and so this was a very powerful indicator that the kingdom of God had indeed come with Christ. In fact, there are more miracles of healing the blind recorded in the gospels than any other type of miracle.

So, let’s look at these two miracles together – the healing of the two blind men and the healing of the demon-possessed man who could not talk – and let’s see how they relate to each other and how they apply to us. What do these miracles mean for us today?

I. Jesus has power over spiritual darkness (27-31)
   – Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 1:1

First of all, the healing of the two blind men means that Jesus has power over spiritual darkness. Look at verses 27-31:

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. (Matthew 9:27-31)

I want you to notice five things about this miracle before we get into the spiritual meaning behind it.

First of all, notice that the two blind men following Jesus call him “Son of David.” This term, Son of David, was a title for the Messiah. The Old Testament made it clear that the Messiah when he came would be a descendant of David. This is the first time anyone addresses Jesus as the Son of David in the gospel of Matthew, although Matthew has prepared us for this from the very first verse in the gospel where he also called Jesus the son of David. (Matthew 1:1)

According to the Old Testament one of the signs of the Messiah is that he would work miracles, including giving sight to the blind. (Isaiah 35:5-6) Remember, there are no records of any blind person being healed in the Old Testament. And so, when you have two blind men following Jesus calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” that is a clear indication they believed that Jesus was the Messiah. These two men may have been physically blind, but they saw the truth of Jesus’ identity more clearly than all those around them.

Secondly, notice that Jesus doesn’t heal them right away but waits until they go indoors. This is not a public miracle before the crowd. It takes place during a private meeting with Jesus. When Jesus raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead, he put the crowd outside. When he heals these two blind men, he waits until they are away from the crowd inside.

Thirdly, notice the emphasis on faith again: “According to your faith will it be done to you.” This has been a common theme throughout this section on miracles. Jesus responds to faith – the faith of the leper, the faith of the centurion, the faith of the paralytic, the faith of the ruler, the faith of the woman with bleeding. And notice that it is not just faith in God that is required but faith in Jesus specifically. Jesus doesn’t ask them, “Do you believe that I can ask God and he will heal you?” No, he asks them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” It is not just faith in God, but faith in Jesus that counts.

Fourthly, notice Jesus’ physical touch. Jesus touched their eyes before he healed them. This has also been a common theme in these healings. Jesus often touches the person before he heals them. He touched the leper before he healed him. He touched Peter’s mother-in-law on the hand. He took the ruler’s daughter by the hand when he raised her, and the woman with bleeding was healed when she touched Jesus. I believe the physical touch shows us both Jesus’ compassion and his personal involvement in these healings. It may also have been an aid to the person’s faith who was being healed.

Finally notice also Jesus’ warning not to tell anyone. Jesus did the same thing with the leper back in Matthew 8:4. Jesus often told the people he healed not to tell anyone. Part of the reason was Jesus knew that as word spread, it would hinder rather than help his ministry. People would be more interested in his healings than his message. It would also accelerate his conflict with the Jewish leaders, and in God’s plan the cross was still years away. So, Jesus gives them a stern warning: “See that no one know about this.” They told anyways, and this became a hindrance to Christ’s work and message. Notice Matthew says they spread the news about “him.” The focus of their message was Jesus as Messiah rather than just their own healing.

So those are some of the particulars of this particular healing miracle. Let’s look at the spiritual meaning behind this miracle next – that Jesus has power over spiritual darkness.

   A. People prefer darkness to light
      – John 3:19-21

Part of the problem of spiritual darkness is the Bible tells us that people prefer darkness to light. We read Jesus’ words in John 3: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)

People prefer darkness to light because their deeds are evil. When Jesus came into the world, he came as light exposing the darkness. But the world rejected that light, because people do not want their sins exposed. This is part of the problem of spiritual darkness. People prefer darkness to light.

   B. Jesus offers light to those who walk in darkness
      – John 8:12; Acts 26:17-18; Ephesians 5:9

But the good news of the gospel is that Jesus offers light to those who walk in darkness. Jesus said in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Darkness in the Bible is a symbol of sin, rebellion and lostness, whereas the Bible tells us “the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:9)

Jesus offers light to those who walk in darkness. When Jesus commissioned the apostle Paul to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, he used these words: “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:17-18) Here the offer of light over darkness includes the forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ. What is the meaning behind Jesus healing the blind? Jesus has power over spiritual darkness.

II. Jesus has power over the prince of darkness (32-33)
   – John 10:10

The mention of Satan in these verses from Acts brings us to the second spiritual meaning behind Jesus healing the blind. Jesus not only has power over spiritual darkness. Jesus has power over the prince of darkness. And we see this in the second miracle that is attached to the healing of the two blind men. Look at verses 32-33 with me now:

While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. (Matthew 9:32-33)

This seems an odd way to close out the ten miracles of Jesus in these two chapters. It is the briefest account of all the miracles described. We are given very little details of what went on. It’s almost like a little addendum.

This is also the first example of Jesus healing someone who was mute. But we already had a miracle showing Jesus’ power over Satan in the healing of the two demon-possessed men back in Matthew 8. So why is this miracle here then?

The very abbreviated nature of this miracle naturally draws us to connect it with the more detailed miracle that precedes it. And there is a clear connection between the two miracles. They both have to do with Jesus’ power over darkness. This becomes even clearer in Matthew 12:22 when Jesus heals a man who is blind, mute and demon-possessed. Jesus has power over spiritual darkness. And Jesus has power over the prince of darkness.

Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Satan only wants to bring harm to your life. Jesus only wants to bring goodness and light into your life.

Whenever we encounter demon possession in the Bible, the person is always affected in a negative way. The two demon-possessed men in Matthew 8 ran around naked and cut themselves. (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:5; Luke 8:27) The boy with a demon had seizures and threw himself into the fire. (Mark 9:14-27) Luke tells us about a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years. (Luke 13:10-13) And here in Matthew 9 we read about a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk. Once again, Satan only wants to bring harm to your life.

   A. Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers
      – 2 Corinthians 4:4

But Satan not only wants to harm your life physically. He wants to harm you spiritually as well. He wants to keep you from seeing the truth about Jesus. In fact the Bible tells us that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers. We read in 2 Corinthians 4:4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Have you ever wondered why people sometimes reject the good news of the gospel when you share it with them? It’s because of the prince of darkness. Satan has blinded their minds so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

   B. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil
      – 1 John 3:8

Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers, but the Bible tells us that Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil. 1 John 3:8 says: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8) Satan came to destroy God’s works. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s works. Guess who wins!

The demon-possessed man who was mute also carries another important spiritual lesson for us. Those who are blind to the truth certainly cannot speak the truth. But when Christ opens your eyes, he also opens your mouth to speak the truth of God into a dying world.

III. How will you respond to Jesus’ miracles and power? (33-34)

Matthew ends this account by giving us two different reactions to Jesus’ miracles – the crowd’s reaction and the Pharisees’ reaction. Look at verses 33-34 with me:

The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (Matthew 9:33-34)

The crowd’s reaction was one of amazement. The healing of the blind men – this was something new, something that had never been seen in Israel. The casting out of the demon who had made the man mute. This was also a new thing. The power and variety of the miracles Jesus was performing – nothing like this had ever been seen in Israel before. This was a sign of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God was here because the king was here. And the crowd was simply amazed at all that Jesus was doing.

So, the crowd’s reaction was one of amazement. The Pharisees’ reaction was one of rejection and unbelief. We’ll talk more about their reaction in a minute. But first I want you to see what Matthew is doing here. By sharing with us these different reactions to Jesus, Matthew is pushing you and me to make a decision as well.

In fact, we see several different groups of people represented in this passage. Each group has a different attitude towards Jesus, and each group requires a different approach as we share the good news of Jesus with them.

   A. Some people are already seeking Jesus
      – Encourage them to come to Christ

Some people are already seeking Jesus. They are like the blind men who came seeking Jesus to deliver them. We need to be sensitive to where people are at spiritually. Some people are seekers and spiritually ready to receive Christ. We need to encourage them to come to Christ who alone has power over darkness.

   B. Some people don’t know they are captive to Satan
      – Warn them; pray for them; bring them to Jesus

Some people don’t know that they are captive to Satan. They are like the demon-possessed man who was mute. Notice he didn’t come to Jesus on his own. He had to be brought to Jesus. There are many around you who are not seeking Jesus because they do not know they are captive to Satan. We need to warn them of their state, pray for God to open their eyes, and bring them to Jesus to be saved.

   C. Some people may have hardened their hearts towards God
      – Still pray for them; only God knows (cf. Matt 12:22-32)

And then some people may have hardened their hearts towards God. They are like the Pharisees who outright rejected Jesus. Remember Matthew 9 has been introducing the growing conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leaders which will explode into full force in Matthew chapters 10-12.

The Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (Matthew 9:34) They couldn’t deny the miracles, but they could still deny Christ. Later on, in Matthew 12 Jesus will elaborate further on this attitude towards Jesus, and he will relate it to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, a sin that will not be forgiven.

Some people have so hardened their hearts towards God that they want nothing to do with God or Christ. They may even blaspheme the Holy Spirit by attributing Christ’s power to Satan rather than God. They have crossed a line of no return with God where they can no longer be forgiven.

However, we don’t know people’s hearts, and so we can’t know for sure when someone has completely rejected Christ. And so, we can still pray for them to come to Christ because only God knows when someone has truly crossed that line.

CONCLUSION: This passage from Matthew teaches us that Jesus has power over darkness. He has power over spiritual darkness. He offers light to those who walk in darkness. He has power over the prince of darkness. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Jesus has power over darkness in your life, too. And so, you have a choice to make. How will you respond to Jesus? Will you be amazed at his power and seek his power over the darkness in your own life? Or will you double down on the devil’s deception and continue to prefer darkness to light?

Let me encourage you this morning. Seek the light of Jesus rather than the darkness of sin. Walk in the light as Jesus is in the light. Pray for those who are still in spiritual darkness and share the light of Christ with them.

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