Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Matthew 9.27-31 (Advent 1: Friday)

Listen to a reflection for Advent 1: Friday, 2 December 2022, on Matthew 9.27-31

Matthew 9.27-31
Jesus heals two blind men

As Jesus went on, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, ‘See that no one knows of this.’ But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district. 


Sometimes things happen to us that leave us feeling so excited that we just have to rush out and share our experiences with others. Sometimes, however, circumstances impose a tactical ‘news blackout’ upon us … no matter how much we want to share our excitement, we are asked to stop and respect a period of silence. When we are placed in that position we feel an intense degree of frustration; we feel unreasonably constrained; we feel that our right to share our personal joy has been taken away. In today’s reading two blind men have just such a straitjacket placed upon them by Jesus himself as he says: See that no one knows of this.

To be blind in Jesus’ time was not a good place in which to find oneself. Like widows and orphans, those who were blind were viewed as outcasts from society. Like lepers, their daily existence was dependent upon the charity of others. There were no caring services to ensure the establishment of a decent standard of living. Whether one was blind from birth, or whether the condition came on in later life, blindness led to isolation and poverty.

Today we hear of two blind men crying out: Have mercy on us, Son of David. Two men who could not have seen Jesus’ miraculous acts of healing must have heard of them and, having heard of them, they had faith in their reality, in their truth. They came to the Son of David, the promised Messiah, Jesus the Son of God and, in faith, they threw themselves upon his mercy. Then, recognizing the depth and sincerity of their faith, Jesus restored their sight. But that was not the end of the matter: Jesus sternly ordered them, ‘See that no one knows of this’.

Many commentators have reflected upon the possible reasons for Jesus’ offering such a ‘stern order’. But, today I would like to use this moment in our reading as a lesson for us all. The blind men whose sight had been restored did not have to broadcast the fact of their healing. Everyone could see the new life they had been given, just as they could see how that new life was being used. The two formerly-blind men could not contain their joy: they spread the news about [Jesus] throughout that district. Therein lies the lesson and the challenge for each of us. We have a relationship with Jesus and we benefit from his gracious love. But … how do we respond to that gracious love? Do we behave as though we have been told to keep it all a secret, or do we join the two men in today’s reading and spread the joyous news of all that Jesus has done, and continues to do for us?