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WORKS OF HEALING -

Matthew 9:27-34; 11:2-6

BACKGROUND:

Jesus was always more interested in teaching than in performing miracles. His first act upon overcoming Satan in the wilderness was to teach. This was highlighted by the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). As for miracles, Jesus used them primarily to illustrate His teachings...

The verses before us pick up in the middle of a section of Matthew devoted to Jesus’ mighty works (Matthew 8:1-9:34). But again, Jesus insisted on teaching as He performed miracles of various kinds. If one studies this section of Matthew’s Gospel, he will see that the miracles are recorded in three groups (8:1-17, o8:23-9:8, and 9:18-34), with interludes of teaching (8:18-22, 9:9-17)...

As we approach the miracles before us, let us make note that Jesus always required some demonstration of faith in connection with the miraculous act. Just as Jesus used humanly available means to fight the devil in last week’s lesson, He uses humanly available means here in performing miracles: success of the miracle is largely dependent on the needy person’s faith...

INTRODUCTION:

Our two passages today highlight the importance of faith and the importance of rightly understanding the Mission of Jesus on this earth. Many were disappointed in Jesus, including John the Baptist, because of a misunderstanding of the Mission. In truth, Jesus didn’t spend 33 years on earthly primarily to extend, enhance or preserve earthly life. But those closest to Him didn’t understand this. Time and again earthly desires clouded the spiritual vision of those who sought to follow Him...

Then there was the question of “authority”. Jewish teachers (called Rabbis), held they would confer this “right” on those who studied under them and accepted their theology. This was something of a parallel to today’s college degrees. Without that conferred authority, the person was not to be recognized...

But Jesus gave His detractors little choice but to recognize Him. After all His miracles were real, and His teachings sound...

CURE OF THE TWO BLIND MEN (Matthew 9:27-31)

Miracle stories in the Gospels general come in three parts: (1) The need for a miracle, (2) The miraculous act, and (3) the result. Look now at the miracle before us. These two men knew they were blind, and somehow knew that this need could be met by Jesus. That “act of faith” is all important. So they brought their blind eyes to Jesus and asked Him for mercy. Why mercy? Probably b ecause they not only knew they needed eyesight, but they also knew they had done nothing worthy of being healed...

Jesus began with the simple, but all-important question:”Do you believe I can do this?” (New Jerusalem Bible) When they answered in the affirmative, Jesus performed the Act. He touched their eyes, saying “According to your faith, let it be done to you.” Put simply, their faith in the Power of Jesus caused the miracle to take place...

What was the result? It was that the men told this story everywhere they went. It was their story, and they could tell it like no one else...

Cure of a Dumb Demoniac (Matthew 9:32-34)

In the preceding miracle, we observed two men who were very capable of communicating the Jesus acted promptly. Here, Matthew records not the reaction of the man himself (other than the fact that he spoke), but rather the reaction of onlookers. It was somehow clear to onlookers that this man was “possessed” with a devil (today we would say he was insane), and that removal of the devil (or demons) would cure his ailment...

Question (Matthew 11:2-6)

John was disappointed in Jesus. It could have been one of two reasons, or a combination of both. First, John had preached that “…the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire…” (Matthew 3:10). And at least from John’s point of view (he is now in prison), this was not coming to fruition. Secondly, John felt that if Jesus was the One of whom he had spoken, surely He would rescue John from Herod’s jail. This, too, was not happening. So John sent two of his disciples to pointedly ask Jesus if He was the One of whom John had so purposefully preached...

Jesus’ answer is in verses 4 and 5. Jews believed that in the Age of the Messiah, all sickness would be healed and all disease cured. There was not, however, any promise in either John’s or Jesus’ preaching that John would be delivered from jail. It was an invitation for John to praise God because He was doing good things for someone else...

APPLICATION OF SCRIPTURE:

A story is told of a widow woman who prayed earnestly one night that God would remove a tree that overhung her house and was destroying her roof. She could find no human to help, so she turned to prayer. The next morning, she peered out her window. The tree was still there. She remarked, “I didn’t think it would work.”

It takes true faith to access the Power of God. Miracles happen today, but we cannot bring them into our lives without true faith. Jesus’ “litmus test” in most cases was a question of the suffering person’s faith. It is true today. Pray all you want, but if you don’t have a deep and abiding faith that God can and will perform miracles, you will receive nothing...

Additionally, we must learn a lesson that John the Baptist hadn’t absorbed: God is good, even when He isn’t doing things for us; He is good when He does things for others: even our enemies. Our praise should be because God is doing great things. This would help make our praise unselfish....

A
 
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