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Matthew 20:29-34 by Robert Dean
Imagine that you are blind and poor and sitting in filthy rags on the side of the road when Jesus is passing by. The crowds try to shush you from calling out because you’re just a nobody. Listen to this lesson to see Jesus’ great love and compassion to the most undesirable as He stops and calls them. Find out the miracle He performed. See the significance of the blind men calling Jesus the Son of David and how only the Messiah could give sight to the blind. Learn that Jesus came to give light to all of us and we only have to trust Him to understand that light.

During this class Dr. Dean referenced Joel Kramer's (of blog entitled Passover—Led Like a Lamb. While you're on his site, also view The Sacrifice video for additional information.

Another video related to today's class:

Note: If you downloaded the MP3 file prior to 8:30 PM CDT on Sunday night, you may need to redownload the file due to a technical error.

Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:50 mins 21 secs

Jesus and the Blind Men
Matthew 20:29–34
Matthew Lesson #118
April 24, 2016

Opening Prayer

“Father, we come to you today because we recognize that we don’t think the way we ought to think. We don’t understand reality always the way we should understand reality, that the only way that we can have light is to submit to the light of Your Word, the light of Your written Word and the light of the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist prayed that it is in Your light that we see light—that it is in the illumination of Your Word that we are able to understand truth, but apart from the illumination of Your Word, we are left in darkness only to guess on the basis of limited data what reality consists of.

Father, we pray that we might be submissive to Your Word today as we study it, that we might reflect upon it, coming to a better understanding of who Jesus is and what He’s done for us, and that that might in turn be used by You to strengthen our faith, strengthen our spiritual life, and also to provide us with the training, the equipping that we need to communicate the gospel to others.

We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”

Slide 2

Open your Bibles with me this morning to Matthew 20. We are in the last paragraph of this section. Actually, as I have organized this material, this section that we’ve just completed, it began in Matthew 18:1 and extends down to Matthew 20:28, and then we have this section in Matthew 20:29–34, which is a hinge, or a transition, episode that Matthew brings to light here.

There are some differences between what Matthew says and what’s said in Mark and Luke. But it’s an interesting transition to help us go from what we’ve been talking about to what is coming up.

In the previous section, we saw a focus, a wrong focus by the disciples on what it would take to be great in the Kingdom. We saw this evidenced by the question they’re asking back in Matthew 18:1.

Then later on in Matthew 19, James and John got their mother to go to Jesus and ask if they could sit on the left and right hand of Jesus. So their focus was on who’s going to be the greatest in the Kingdom.

In relation to both of those episodes, that of Matthew 18:1 and that later on in chapter 19, Jesus uses the illustration of a child. Often this is misunderstood. We understand that the illustration is about being humble like a child.

But it’s not being humble like a child because children have some innate sense of humility. Anybody who’s raised children knows that that’s not true. The orientation of their sin nature is about as self-absorbed as it can get.

It had to do with this society. In that society a child had no significance, no status whatsoever. It was better for a child to neither be seen nor heard, and they were not of significance until they reached adulthood, depending on which culture—Greek, Roman, or Jewish.

We also saw in this section that there was a contrast between this attitude of a child and the rich young ruler. The attitude of the rich young ruler was not unlike that of the disciples in that he had an emphasis on his own status in this life and what that would mean in the next life.

He had three things that cultures then and cultures throughout history have valued: he was wealthy; he was young; and he had power. People worship all three of those things, and when you have them in combination, then that’s an even more deadly distraction to your spiritual life. That was his problem—not that he was not saved, but that he was saved, but did not have the right priorities.

So Jesus used him to further His teaching to the disciples, that the person who would be great in the kingdom is the person who would be concerned with service and not status, be concerned with forgiveness and genuine humility and not concerned with seeking position and power.

So Jesus closed that section with the last two verses that serve as the backdrop for what we’re going to see in the next section.

Slide 3

In Matthew 20:27–28, Jesus said, “And whoever desires to be first among you”—that is, whoever desires to be important or significant—“let him be your slave.”

Now that’s just not the format that we understand in any culture to the path to greatness. I don’t think the path to the presidency by any of the contenders right now is viewed as a path of being a slave of the nation.

Yet this is the path of Jesus. The same that is used here is used in Philippians 2:5–11 to describe Jesus. He was a slave, a DOULOS.

Then He said “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”—and there we have a shift from the word DOULOS to the word DIAKONEO, which means to be a servant.

Both of these aspects are brought out by the language that Jesus uses.

Then He said, “to give His life a ransom for many.”

What we see here is the idea of sacrificial service as part of the path to greatness. This is emphasized by Jesus.

So these two verses set up this transition, and it’s going to be followed in verses 29–34. This episode with the two blind men is used as an illustration of how Jesus is serving those who are in need, as He will heal the two blind men of their blindness.

It also is contrasting the self-serving status-seeking attitude of the disciples with that of these two blind men.

They are the lowest of the low in that culture. They are beggars; they are filthy; they’re unkempt; their robes are tattered; they haven’t been washed; and they stink.

Nobody wants to come close to them, but they gathered outside of the gates of cities because usually travelers were the ones who carried money, and that’s where they hoped to beg a few shekels off of those who are traveling so that they could survive.

But they are usually unseen. Notice the irony that those who are blind are not seen by those who are going back—sort of like when we do not look at those who are panhandling at the various intersections around the city. We just sort of look somewhere else—we don’t look at them.

That would have been the same kind of situation there.

So these two beggars represent those who have no place and no significance in society. But in contrast, Jesus is saying that we as believers, those who are disciples, need to be serving even those who have no status and no significance in their culture.

We should also note in terms of this transition that the blind men will call out to Jesus as the Son of David. We’ll notice that the people call Him Jesus of Nazareth, just a reference to His humanity. But the two blind men recognize that He is the Messiah.

They call Him the Son of David, and this a title that is used only three times before in Matthew, and it’s repeated in this episode for emphasis.

As we look at this we read that they cried out to Him (Matthew 20:30–31), “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David! And then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!’ ”

Whenever you see anything repeated like this in Scripture, that is for emphasis. So we have this clustering that takes place right now. We have two uses of the title “Son of David” here. Then we have two uses of the “Son of David” title in another clustering that takes place in Matthew 21. Then there’s another reference to it in Matthew 22.

So of the times that Matthew uses the phrase “Son of David,” five of them come up between the end of Matthew 20 and Matthew 22. That ought to tell us something in terms of the emphasis that is taking place in Matthew.

So we see that the use of that title here is transitioning us from what Jesus has been teaching the disciples in the previous three chapters to what is going to be the emphasis in the next several chapters.

And that is on His role as the Messiah, who is the greater Son of David—Who is coming to give His life to redeem those for whom He will die. He will die for the sins of the world and provide redemption.

Now as we look at this verse again, what Jesus says in verse 28, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served”—He uses this particular title.

This is His most favorite title to use to refer to Himself.

It comes from Daniel 7, and it’s clearly a Messianic title. Here He connects the dots again that the Son of Man is coming to give His life a ransom for many. This phrase is really important for understanding the nature of what Jesus is going to do on the Cross.

Slide 4

There are two Greek words that are used here that are of significance.

The first word is the word that is translated “ransom.” It’s the word LUTRON.

And the second is a preposition that is used here that is translated in English with the word “for.” This is a preposition that indicates substitution. There are two that do this in the Greek: There’s ANTI and there’s HUPER, and both are used to describe the substitutionary aspect of Christ’s death on the Cross.

In church history there are several views that have developed over time as to why Jesus died and what was the nature of the atonement. The view that is based on the Scriptures is the view that He came to give His life as a substitute.

It’s depicted in the Old Testament through the sacrifices, where when a lamb was brought into the tabernacle or into the temple, then the worshiper would place his hand upon the lamb. As he placed his hand upon the lamb, he would recite his sins.

So the symbolism is that those sins are transferred to the lamb, and then the lamb would be sacrificed and would be the payment for those particular sins.

There’s only one group of people today that still practice animal sacrifice. There are fewer than 900 of them. They’re called Samaritans. They come together every year, as they did this last week on Wednesday, I believe, which was the Samaritan Passover. Every year they have a sacrifice. They sacrifice the Passover lambs for Passover on Mount Gerizim.

If you want to see an excellent video of this, you can go to Joel Kramer’s website, which is, and he has a couple of videos there.

You might also want to Google or search it on YouTube, because someone alerted me to another app on my iPhone called Periscope, and you can go down to any area you want to.

If you went down on Wednesday to Nablus, right outside of Nablus there was a little dot with a “4” in it. If you tapped on that, it would open up, and there was a Jewish guy who apparently does these video blogs, and he was filming it live. So you could see an actual, live sacrifice.

If you’ve never seen that, it is quite sobering and quite compelling because it really brings home a lot of the aspects of what Christ did on the Cross for us.

You have this innocent animal that is being killed because you sin, and when you do the substitution and realize that Jesus died because you sin and I sin, it has a different impact on us than what we may normally think of. But the idea there is substitution.

It is not the governmental theory of the atonement, which was put forth by a number of people, Hugo Grotius for one, who was a lawyer in the Post-Reformation Period, that somehow this satisfies God’s righteous government.

It’s not a moral view of the atonement, which was put forth earlier by people like Anselm, that somehow we need to go and do likewise and be willing to give our life for whatever we believe the truth to be.

It’s none of those. The Bible says this is a substitutionary atonement.

The first word that’s up there tells us part of the dimension of this. There are two core Greek words that are used to describe the atonement. There’s the word AGORAZO, which refers to the marketplace, and it refers to buying something in the marketplace. It refers to a purchase of something. There are a couple of different compound words with AGORAZO.

Then used in parallel to it is the word LUTRON the noun, or LUTROO the verb. And this also usually has some sort of prepositional prefix with it, like ANTILUTRON, which emphasizes the substitutionary aspect. EXAGORAZO means to buy out of the marketplace.

So when you look at these, there are eight different words that are used in the original languages to describe redemption, basically or usually translated “redemption,” but each emphasizes a different dimension.

But the one thing that we ought to always remember is it’s a financial term. Whichever word is used, it’s a financial term, and it’s talking about paying a price, purchasing something. That price was paid when Christ died on the Cross.

Colossians 2:12–14 makes it clear that that certificate of debt, another financial term, was nailed to the Cross in AD 33—NOT when you trusted in Christ. Your sins weren’t paid for, and you weren’t redeemed when you trusted Christ as your Savior. You were redeemed when Christ died on the Cross. That’s the focal point.

That redemption is applied in terms of our regeneration when we believe in Jesus. But the redemption, the payment is actually paid for all. It’s a universal atonement. It pays the price for all, and for all sin at the instant of salvation.

But it is not universally applied. It is only applied when we trust in Christ, and at that point that redemption is applied, God regenerates us.

There’s this connection that occurs between regeneration that occurs as a result of the fact that THAT payment has been paid, so that redemption that is paid for at the Cross, there is a forgiveness, one kind of forgiveness that occurs because that’s been paid for.

Forgiveness means to cancel a debt, another financial term. But we understand that that actual forgiveness of sin occurs experientially when we trust in Jesus Christ.

So we’ve done this study, and if you want to go back to the Colossians series, study Colossians 2:12–14. I go through it in some detail.

But right now, as I pointed out talking about Joel [Kramer] and the video, what’s going on at the Samaritan Passover is Passover was just observed this last Friday evening. On Friday evening, according to the Jewish calendar, the 14th of Nisan began, which is when Passover is observed.

So then yesterday evening at sundown, another day began: The Feast of Unleavened Bread began at that point. So we are in the middle of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread today.

Exodus provides us, the Passover provides us with further understanding of what redemption is; that is the biblical story. As I pointed out on Thursday night, one of the principles in Bible study is we don’t learn doctrine from stories.

Stories illustrate doctrine, but we learn doctrine, especially doctrine for the Church Age, from the New Testament epistles. But all of these stories, these narratives, these events that occurred are designed to illustrate all of these doctrinal principles so that we can understand them in a more concrete fashion.

At the time that the Lord delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, He redeemed them from slavery. That is the parallel—we talk about that often when we observe the Lord’s Table—that that is the parallel for understanding redemption, that just as they were purchased from slavery, literal slavery, so we are purchased from slavery to sin.

Slide 5

Exodus 6:6 says, “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem”—the Hebrew word there is ga’alredeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.’”

See, a price was paid by the Egyptians for the deliverance, the redemption of Israel.

Exodus 15:13, In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed; In Thy strength Thou hast guided them to Thy holy habitation.”

So the exodus there is the model. By looking at that, we see how God provided that redemption. And how did that, in terms of the Israelites, how was that exhibited? It’s exhibited by the death of the lamb, that sacrificial Passover lamb that was slaughtered for them on the afternoon of the evening before the 14th of Nisan.

So the sin penalty is paid. When we look at this verse back in Matthew 20:28, we see that Jesus says that. He emphasizes service, and then He says that that service is manifest that He will “give His life a ransom for many.”

Now if you were Jewish at that time, and you knew the Old Testament from memory, there is a passage that would come to mind. Probably doesn’t come to anybody’s mind here, but it would have come to their mind because this language is similar.

There’s no word for service in the section of Isaiah. From Isaiah 40 to 66, we call this the “section of the dealing with the suffering servant.” Although we don’t have the word “service” in Isaiah 53, we do have similar language.

Slide 6

In Isaiah 53:11, I want you to notice the term “many.” Jesus came to give His life a ransom for many. This would be brought up in the thinking of anyone who had memorized Isaiah 53.

He’s talking about the suffering servant, the Messiah, “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many.”

We’ve studied this recently in our study on Thursday night in relation to witnessing. “Righteous Servant” is the Hebrew word tsaddiyq, that justifies the verb form. So it is emphasizing the doctrine of imputation of righteousness and justification because in just a few chapters in Isaiah 64, Isaiah says “all of our works of tsdaqah, or righteousness, are as filthy rags.”

The problem is that we have a tsdaqah deficit. We have a righteousness deficit. We can never accumulate enough righteousness.

So the role of the suffering Servant was to die on the Cross to pay for our sins so that on the basis of His righteousness—that He is the righteous Servant”—the tsaddiyq Servant—“He shall justify”—or provide righteousness for—“many.” So Jesus says, I am coming to give My life a ransom for many.”

And Isaiah 53:11 goes on to say, “for He shall bear their iniquities.”

Verse 12, Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with strong, because He poured out His soul unto death.” (I would translate it “because He poured out His life unto death.”)

Nephesh (Hebrew) as well as PNEUMA in the New Testament also indicate life—“His life unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

So the term “many” isn’t limiting this. But those who hold to limited atonement try to say, “See, He died for the many, not the all.” If you do a word study on this, the term “many” is referring to the all. But it is this specific language that is used.

Jesus is illustrating the concept of service, specifically through these illusions to the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

Then He’s going to demonstrate part of what He is doing to serve to demonstrate this kind of service and this kind of humility as He enters into Jericho.

Geographically what has happened is Jesus has been down in the area of the Jordan, down crossing over from what is now Jordan back into Israel—what was then Perea—back into the area of Judea, and He’s come up from the Dead Sea, and He’s coming up to Jericho.

Jericho at this time was a beautiful city. It’s not on the exact location of the ancient Jericho, that tel was there at the time, and as He is approaching Jericho, He would walk by the tel. It was about a mile from the new city. The city had been built a couple of centuries earlier, but it had really been transformed under Herod of course because Herod was quite the architect.

But this city, because it’s so beautiful, that area—if you’ve ever been there—is just barren, lifeless dirt, and there is nothing there. But Jericho is there because there’s a well there. So there was water there. And from the irrigation from that water, they grow date palms and many other things. So you have this oasis in the desert, and it stands out.

And the travelers that were coming to Jerusalem (because remember, we are one week from Passover), so these crowds that are traveling with Jesus are those who are making their religious pilgrimage, one of three religious pilgrimages demanded by the Law. They’ve come down from Galilee. They are coming up from the Jordan up to Jerusalem. And this is the last place you would stop.

It’s in the spring, this time of year, so it’s not too bad. Temperatures in Jerusalem right now are about, the highs are about 80°–84°. So if you’re down near the Dead Sea, the highs are north of 90°, probably in the mid-90°s. So before you make that walk, it’s not very far, it’s about the distance from here down to the George R. Brown Convention Center. It’s about 16 miles. You could probably walk that in about 4 to 5 hours if you’re in fairly decent shape.

But it’s not flat. You’re making about a 3,000 foot climb in those 15 miles, and that’s pretty steep. So you want to make sure you’re fairly hydrated, you want to make sure that you’ve rested before you begin. So people would stop in Jericho along the way to fill up all their water bottles and everything else, whatever they were carrying in order to make their way up to Jerusalem.

So they came to this city. One other interesting historical note is that Mark Antony gave Jericho to Cleopatra as a gift. You probably didn’t know that. It’s not spiritually significant, but it’s free of charge this morning.

Jericho was a beautiful, beautiful place. That’s my point. It had been developed by Herod the Great, and he had a palace there. So this is a gorgeous place, just a little bit separated from the old city, the old city, and the tel of Jericho.

Slide 7

So we read: “as they went out of Jericho.”

Now there’s a lot of debate over this because there are two different phrases that are used in these accounts, and people sometimes make a big deal about this—“See there’s a contradiction in the text.”

There are different ways to handle this. I’m not exactly sure which is the best way to handle it, but there’s two different ways.

One way is that when they went out of Jericho, the talk about that, Jesus has passed by the old city, and He’s headed to the new city. So when He’s coming out of Jericho, this would have taken place between the two, and depending on what you’re talking about either preposition “out of” or “into” would be valid.

Slide 8

What you have in Mark 10:46 is, “they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho.”

Luke says, “it happened as He was coming near Jericho.”

A lot is made of this, and I think there are a couple of different ways to describe it, and it could be that there’s also a process where they started calling to Jesus at one location and continued to follow Him to another location. So there are different ways that this could be resolved without thinking that there’s some sort of contradiction here.

Obviously, Jesus is approaching the new Jericho, going past the old, and as Mark tells us, there’s a “large multitude” with Him. He’s got His disciples and a great multitude. But Mark and Luke just talk about one blind man.

Mark names him; the other two accounts do not name him. Most people believe that the reason Mark names him is because he would be known among some people in the early church. “Oh, yea! We know Bartimaeus. We knew him; he was saved; he was part of the congregation there.”

So he’s named; he’s identified because this is a real person who lived and breathed and was known by people who lived in the area and were familiar with his testimony.

Now what happens is as we read the accounts, the blind men began to cry out to Jesus, they call out to Him, they clamor to Him.

Slide 9

Luke uses this word: BOAO, which means to cry out. It’s a synonym of the other word that was used. It’s used in places like Mark 1:3 where it describes John the Baptist, the one crying out in the wilderness. But it’s also used of Jesus when He screams out on the cross in Mark 15:34. So that’s a word Mark uses in other places.

Slide 10

KRAZO is the word that is used in Matthew. It’s used of those who are in a desperate situation, or screaming out. For example, in relation to Peter, when all of a sudden he takes his eyes off the Lord, he starts to sink into the water, he cries out, he’s screaming out, “Lord save me!”

In Matthew 15:22 we have the episode of the Canaanite woman, the Gentile, who is crying out, yelling to be heard above the crowds that the Lord would deliver her demon-possessed daughter, that He would cast out the demon.

In Matthew 21:9, the crowds that are proclaiming Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem are crying out with a loud voice, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

We’re going to have a lot of fun when I get back from Israel going through Matthew 21, looking at the background into Psalm 118, the first of the Hallel psalms. Hallel is the Hebrew word for praise. So when you make it a command, it’s hallelu, and that means “praise.” It’s a command, second person plural command, “Y’all praise.” Then hallelujah is the objective or the object of the verb “praise God.”

So hallelujah is a command to praise God. It isn’t a command to say, “hallelujah” or “Praise God!” “Praise God!” is supposed to have content to it, but today, because there’s a lack of teaching, people don’t understand that praising God isn’t accomplished by saying, “Praise God!” It is accomplished by telling why you are praising God, what God has done for you, what God has accomplished for you.

So Psalm 118, the first of the Hallel Psalms, is where this comes from. To understand that is really important. It’s the Hallel Psalms that the Jews sing at the conclusion of a Seder.

We’re going to see a lot of insights. That first Sunday when I get back, which is the third Sunday of the month, we will be observing the Lord’s Table. I’m going to go through Psalm 118. That’s going to set up a framework for us to understand this.

What they’re crying out is, in the English, “Hosanna,” but in the Hebrew it’s hoshiana, which is like Yeshua. It’s a form of Jesus’ name, and it is from the verb “to save.” What they are saying when they say “hoshiana” is they are saying, “Save us, son of David!” That’s going to be interesting to look at, but they recognize that they’re crying this out in the same way.

Then in Matthew 27:50, Matthew uses this verb; Mark uses the other verb to describe Jesus’ screaming on the cross.

But what’s important as we look at this is what they are screaming. They are calling out to Jesus as the Son of David. They say, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”

This is one of Jesus’ titles, and it is the title that emphasizes His royal descent and His claim as Messiah to be a descendant of David.

Slide 11

It’s used 15 times in the Gospels as a specific title for Jesus. What’s interesting is that it’s used a couple of other times: Joseph was the Son of David, so that’s not a Messianic title. It’s used once in Jesus’ genealogies, which is more of a genealogical reference than it is a title.

It’s used 10 times by Matthew, more than any of the others. It’s used three times by Mark, two of them are in Mark’s account of this episode. And it’s used three times by Luke, also two times in this episode, and each used it one other time towards the end.

It is a title that emphasizes His royalty; it emphasizes that He has a legitimate claim to be the King of the Jews, and that He is the Messianic descendent of David. It relates Him to the Davidic Covenant that He is the One through whom the promise will come of the kingship and of the Kingdom. It connects Him to Isaiah 9:6–7 and Jeremiah 23:5–6, which connect the Messiah to the Davidic Covenant.

Now the first significant use of this title for Jesus in Matthew occurred in Matthew 9:27. It’s been used two times before. In Matthew 9:27 what’s the situation? Y’all ought to know this off the top of your head, right?

In Matthew 9:27 two blind men came to Jesus to be healed, and that’s the first time they say what? “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” It’s the same thing.

Now liberals come along and say, “Oh well, Matthew’s a little confused, and he’s conflating the accounts.” And that’s just because they don’t want to believe the Bible. But these are two totally different situations. That event occurs up in Galilee; this event occurs here. And in both cases there were two people.

Why did Matthew emphasize two and the other two Gospel writers only emphasize one? Interesting question. There are a couple of answers that are suggested:

One is that Matthew just increases the number for effect. That’s from folks who don’t really believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scripture, and so their idea is that Matthew is just emphasizing something. Usually the reason they suggest is that the Law said that something was confirmed by two witnesses, so Matthew wants to inflate the number to have this legal witness.

Another suggestion is that he’s just conflating the accounts from the previous event to this event. In other words, Matthew is not really sure about the facts, and he’s not that clear, so he’s making mistakes. Neither of those first two options are valid.

The most likely explanation is that here, as in Matthew 9:32–33, Matthew is giving the full account to fit the purposes for his writing the Gospel. Luke and Mark tell the story a little differently to fit theirs, and they just focus on one of the men. But Matthew is speaking of two men both times. He speaks, I think, of both events because both events serve as two witnesses to this truth about Jesus.

But what is the truth about Jesus? Jesus is the Messiah who can heal the blind. In rabbinic thought at that time in the first century, when the Messiah came there would be false miracles, but only the Messiah could give sight to the blind, and only the Messiah could heal lepers.

So when Jesus heals lepers and when He gives sight to the blind, He is giving irrefutable proof through His miracles that He is the Messiah. This is an indictment upon the Pharisees for their rejection of Him.

I think by using two situations, that’s a double effect. In both cases, he emphasizes that there are two there, there are two witnesses. That also confirms exactly what happened, but we know that there were also other people who are blind that Jesus healed.

For example, in John 9 there’s a story of the blind man there that Jesus healed. So there were others that He healed, which gave evidence or supplied His credentials. Those credentials come out of the Old Testament.

Slide 12

In Isaiah 35:5–6 and Isaiah 42:7, we have passages that show that the Messiah would do this.

In Isaiah 35:5–6, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”

Then Isaiah 42:7, To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”

The idea here is that those who are sinners are in spiritual darkness. For those who are saved, if they are not walking by the Spirit, they can also live in spiritual darkness because they are not walking in the light of God’s Word.

As they cry out to Jesus, the multitude refutes them. The multitude is not very positive here. This is just a large group of people. It’s made up of some who are believers and some who are not. Probably most of them do not because in the Luke account, they simply refer to Jesus as “Jesus of Nazareth.” When the men ask them who’s passing by, they say it’s Jesus of Nazareth.

Slide 13

We’re told in Matthew 20:31 that the multitude tried to shut them up because they kept crying out even louder, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”

Slide 14

So Jesus hears them, and He stopped, in Matthew 20:32, and called to them and said, “What do you want Me to do?”

I think that because they called upon Him as the Son of David that they’re not like the blind man in John. The blind man in John wasn’t looking to be healed. The blind man in John 9 is an unbeliever, and he is receiving sight.

Often that is used as a paradigm for people who say, “See, first of all, God has to regenerate you and give you sight before you can believe.” That’s often a strong Calvinist position, but I think that’s a misuse of a narrative.

What we see here and in the Matthew 9 passage is that in both cases you have those who are already believers coming to be healed of sight. The demonstration point is that Jesus is the One who gives spiritual sight, whether it is to believers or to unbelievers. He is the light of the world. He is the One who illuminates us to spiritual truth.

Slide 15

So they ask for their eyes to be opened, and “Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.”

Just notice that he says, “immediately.” Jesus’ miracles weren’t processed miracles. They didn’t take two or three days, didn’t take two or three weeks, they immediately received sight. It was an immediate response.

Now to wrap up, I want to plug this into what the Bible teaches about life and light. I want you to turn with me to John 1. This is a great chapter. John could also be called the Gospel of Light because of the role that light plays in the Gospel of John. I didn’t want to put all of these verses up on the screen because it’s a lot of them, but I wanted to just read through this section to bring this point to bear.

John 1 in the introduction:

John 1 begins, “In the beginning was the Word”—and this is a reference to Jesus as the LOGOS—In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God”—indicating that the Word is fully God and “with God”, which means He’s also eternal—and the Word Was God.” They’re identical in essence but distinct in person.

(John 1:2) “He was in the beginning with God”—that is when the universe, the heavens and the earth, were created at the beginning, Genesis 1:1, “the LOGOS was with God.”

(John 1:3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Verse 3 tells us that He is thoroughly involved in creation.

Then in verse 4 we’re told, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Jesus’ life, His life illuminates mankind.

Then we read (John 1:5), “And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” It’s not understood by unbelievers.

When we read down (John 1:6), “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” So now we’re talking about John the Baptist.

(John 1:7) “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of”—what?—“the Light”—that is the Word (Jesus). He came as a witness to the Light—“that all through him might believe.”

(John 1:8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”

(John 1:9) That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” That is common grace. That is an illumination that is available to every single human being that comes from Jesus. Jesus’ presence into creation, the fact that God intruded Himself into creation and became a man illuminates all mankind.

We could spend a lot of time thinking about that. The implication of that is that the world is in darkness until Jesus came. There is a significant shift in humanity just because of the incarnation. The side effect of the incarnation as light was suddenly available to all mankind as it had never been for the previous 4,000 years. And that’s a phenomenal thought.

His light comes into the world, and then I want you to skip down or turn a couple of pages actually to John 3:19, and there John says—if you’ve got a red-letter Bible it’s in red letters, but I dare say no human being can determine when Jesus stopped talking and John started talking, but by verse 16 Jesus is no longer talking.

(John 3:19) This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

(John 3:20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light”—the light is available, free of charge—does not come to the light, lest his deed should be exposed.”

(John 3:21) “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

What we see here is that Jesus as the light of the world comes into the world. John 12:46, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness.” That believing in Him is the issue; not works, not doing, but believing in Him.

Slide 16

But Jesus is also the basis for illumination to believers.

In John 8:12, “Jesus spoke to them again”—talking to the crowd, he says—I am the light of the world. He who follows Me”—following Him is discipleship terminology, not the same as believing in Him as we’ve studied—He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

That’s what the Psalmist is saying. In God’s light we see light. This is talking about how we grow after we’re saved.

Slide 17

Then a great passage in Ephesians 1, Paul says this: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”—revelation is disclosing previously unknown truth that can only be learned from God—revelation in the knowledge of Him”—and he’s also praying that—the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.”

How many times do we pray to God that He would enlighten the eyes of our soul, enlighten our minds so that we can understand God’s Word, enlighten our minds so that we can understand how to apply God’s Word to our life, enlighten our minds so that we can continue to grow and mature?

But it is through the Lord Jesus Christ as the Light of the world that we have that initial illumination at salvation, and then ongoing illumination through God the Holy Spirit. That is a focal point.

So Jesus came to give light. He demonstrates that by healing the blind, which demonstrates that He is who He claimed to be: the Messiah.

Next time when I return from Israel, we will look at the next chapter where we get into the last week of Christ’s life on earth. That’s going to take a long time. So much wonderful stuff there. We will begin, as I said earlier, with an intro in Psalm 118.

Closing Prayer

“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things, to be reminded of our so great salvation, that we have a Savior who died as our substitute, He died in our place, He died for us and that by His death He paid the penalty for our sins. It’s paid in full. The issue is not that we have to go do anything to pay for that sin. It is paid in full. The issue is simply trusting in Him because the only way that that debt is applied to us is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus said in John 3:18 that the condemnation is for those who do not believe in the name of the Son of God.

If there’s anyone here this morning who’s never trusted in Christ, who’s unsure of their salvation, uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they would take this opportunity to make that both sure and certain. Jesus said, “Believe in Me.” He asked Martha “Do you believe this?” That’s the issue. Paul said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Father, we pray that You’d challenge each of us as believers, that we are to follow Jesus. We are to serve Him, we’re to be concerned not with our status in this life, but with our status and position in eternity, which means that we focus today on serving Him, on growing spiritually, and having an impact on the world around us by our willingness to communicate the Gospel to those who are desperately in need and serving one another in the local church.

We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”