Monday in the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 9:27-34

Faith Heals Again

Matthew records this episode just after the events we read yesterday; that being the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and the raising of Jairus’ daughter.  Here is another miracle in which Jesus heals someone (in this case, two) where that person’s faith plays a crucial part.

As Jesus passes on from the village where Jairus lived (and his daughter, too!), a crowd continues to follow him.  It seems that Jesus never tired, although we know that he did often retire to pray.  While they are walking along, two blind men join the crowd, obviously knowing that Jesus is leading it.  Perhaps someone told them; after all, Jesus was hard to hide.  The Bible says that the two men were crying aloud; that is, they kept crying aloud and would not stop.  So would I, had I been in their shoes, assuming they had shoes, which they probably didn’t.  These two men are desperate for healing, just as the woman was, just as Jairus was, just as we often are.  What is exceptional about these two blind men is the way they addressed Jesus: “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”  Son of David is a messianic title, meaning that it was reserved solely for the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, whom God would send to save His people.  It was a major statement, and with political overtones.  Had any Pharisees or Sadducees been in the crowd, there might have been trouble.

What we note here is that these two blind men see more than many of the people in the crowd around them, certainly more than the religious leaders.  Granted, their condition makes them desperate to cry out for help, but that is exactly what we need sometimes, isn’t it?  We have to be brought to our knees before we cry out, before we confess, before we proclaim him, “Son of David,” “Lord,” “Son of God.”  So Jesus receives them in a house and asks them if they believe he is able to heal them.  They say, “Yes.”  Jesus touches their eyes, saying, “According to your faith, be it done unto you,” and they are healed.  I always want to be careful with passages like this and be sure to read them with the whole Bible.  In the first place, Jesus healed them, not their faith.  Jesus honored and rewarded their faith.  Secondly, we all know that physical healing in this life does not always occur – and it’s not because so-and-so didn’t have enough faith.  That is a terrible thing to say to someone.  What takes more faith: being healed, or living in obedience even with the disability?  This is why Joni Eareckson Tada is such a hero of mine: “He has chosen not to heal me but to hold me.  The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace.”  And that is genuine faith-healing.

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