“As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” ” – Matthew 9:27 (NASB)
“And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” – Matthew 20:30 (NASB)
Trying to count the number of people who were healed of their blindness by Jesus personally when He was on this earth will only be a guess. Today have two accounts of two blind men each in Matthew’s Gospel who were healed of blindness. These two accounts and a few others recorded include eight miracles of Jesus healing a blind person but certainly there were many, very many more. In these accounts four blind men were healed. For the first two, Jesus was in the region of Galilee. It is early in Christ’s ministry and He is very involved in healing all kinds of illnesses. The other two blind men were sitting on the road outside of Jericho. One of them desperately cried out to Jesus as he passed by. This was close to the end of Jesus’ ministry as He is approaching the completion of His mission. Sometimes we say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Or, “Seeing is believing.” When Jesus encountered these people who were blind, he asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” With affirmative responses we see a sign of “Believing is Seeing,” Seeing Jesus as the Messiah.
“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”” – Mathew 14:27 (NASB)
A very young boy arrived at his new home deep in an African jungle. He was asked what he was afraid of. “I’m not afraid of nothin’!” That first night, in the darkness, in his bed, under a mosquito net, the unfamiliar jungle sounds frightened him so he could not sleep.” Fear comes on us from what we don’t understand. Jesus using a few loaves of bread and pieces of smoked fish, created enough food to satisfy far more* than 5,000 people. Each disciple ended up with their own small basket of left-overs. Jesus sends them across the Sea of Galilee in their boat and He remained on shore. In the middle of the lake, a sudden storm blows in and threatens to upset their boat. The disciples, see Jesus approaching their boat walking on the surface of the lake. This wasn’t familiar and they cry out in fear, “It’s a ghost!” Jesus calls out to them, “Take courage, It is I; don’t be afraid.” Jesus says the same to us when we’re overcome with fear. Take courage, Jesus is with us. He’s promised to always be with us in all circumstances.
* The number of men was 5,000, not including women and children, who probably brought the total up to 20,000.
John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Jn 6:10.
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” – Matthew 6:27 (ESV)
“Don’t worry about it!” “I’m not worried, just anxious.” It seems we’re in for the worst of times and the best of times are gone forever. We know this isn’t true for we believe and trust Jesus for all outcomes. He promises we’ll have all we need. To worry is like withdrawing money from a bankrupt account⸺we get nothing. Worry, anxiety are the same. We really can’t get away with “we’re only anxious, not really worried.” Honesty will bring out the truth that anxiety is a cloak word. We might sometimes use “care” when we’re really anxious for something to happen or be over with. “When I ‘care’ over some concern” Or “When I’m eager for my child’s safe arrival home might I also worry?” We might say ‘I care’ when we mean ‘I have some worry’. The Greek uses the same word for ‘care’, ‘worry’, and ‘anxiety’. Trusting God is better than caring, worrying, or being anxious. Trust the outcome to God and it’ll be what it’ll be according to His will. We won’t live an hour more by worrying over unknown outcomes. Today, when we sense worry building, let’s trust in God’s promises.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” – Matthew 6:25 (NASB)
“These are the days of worry and fretting.” Is this true? Perhaps for many it is days of anxiety. If attention is given to “news” there is little reason to have confidence that all is well in our lives. We can’t begin to list all the “warnings” and “breaking news” flooding our broadcasts, newspapers, and online sources. Some translations use “anxious” as an alternative for “worry.” Our verse is much better understood in its larger context. “For this reason” indicates the connection with the preceding verses (Matthew 6:16-24). The connection between the preceding and the following passages, likely has this meaning: Since earthly treasures fail to satisfy, and setting the heart on them indicates forfeiting the enduring pleasures of heaven, the yearning for such earthly riches distorts our mental and moral vision, And, because a choice must be made between God and Worldly wealth, we are warned to not continue setting our hearts on mundane earthly things, such as food and drink to live, or on clothes to be dressed. Our promise is that life and the value of life in God is greater than what is needed to sustain our life which God provides.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30 (NASB)
We don’t see yokes on beasts of burden much if ever. But in many countries we still would. There was a time when every plowed acre used an animal in yoke. Single and sometimes two side-by-side in a double yoke. It is the double yoke that Jesus offered when he gave us this promise. He promised he was gentle, humble, and His yoke was easy and the burden was light. How can this be? The purpose of a double-yoke was to halve the work of towing or plowing. Two cattle pulling a plow or wagon made the job easier and lighter for both. Yokes were not only for agriculture but also used on slaves who worked towing a full cart. When two worked side by side, the stronger more experienced helped trained the weaker to do the job. In our Christian life we are in a yoke with Jesus. It is by His strength and power that we are able to accomplish what He commands us to do. When life is so very heavy and our burdens weigh heavy on us, remember the promise, Jesus is there giving us strength and ability to believe and trust Him.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (NASB)
Weary. Heavy-laden. Do not we all feel this way from time to time? in this passage. This is an open invitation from Jesus to all who hear—but expressed in such a way that the ones who will respond to the invitation are those who are burdened by their own effort of trying to be good enough to please God and “qualify” for heaven. The ‘rest’ that Jesus promises is rest from just that self-effort to be righteous enough through one’s own good works. Many will think and say “I’ve lived a pretty good life and I’m going to heaven.” A pretty good life will never be good enough. There is only one way any of us will find ourselves to be that good and that is through Jesus Christ who gives to us His righteousness. It is impossible for us to be good enough even though we’ve been better than pretty good. Jesus says, “Come to Me because I can give you rest from your weariness. I can lift that heavy burden off of you. And it is free.” He bought that rest for us when he was crucified without sinning and died for sinners⸺that’s us.
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:19-20 (ESV)
When Jesus was in his public ministry on earth he took advantage of things that happened each day to teach his disciples. This verse is from one of those times. A father had a boy who was possessed by a demon. Jesus’ disciples had attempted to heal the man’s son but failed. Now the father brings the boy to Jesus and pleads with Him. Jesus rebukes the demon and heals the boy instantly. The purpose of this teaching is not to encourage us to move mountains around. The real lesson which Jesus was teaching was about the nature of the faith which produces results. Jesus spoke of faith being as small as a mustard seed. Ever so small, the seed would produce great results. Jesus was saying that even if their faith was as small as a mustard seed, it would produce great results because the faith would be there. But the results of even such faith come from God and He is great. It is of when we make God – rather than ourselves – the object of our confidence that the greatness of God brings results, providing the faith is in our hearts.