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Freedom and release!

How did Jesus release the oppressed?

In healing the leper, he had proclaimed freedom for the prisoner and performed a miracle that only the Messiah could perform. Now he was going to release the oppressed. He was going to attempt the really impossible.

Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see” (Matthew 12:22)

What was particularly special about this was that this man was not able to be healed by traditional exorcism. The Jewish practice required the Rabbi to ask the demon its name and then order it to leave the person. Jesus himself employed this method in Luke 8:30.

“Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.”

But this man was mute and so no one could ask the demon’s name. So the Rabbis would have been flummoxed. Not so Jesus, who healed him anyway. When he did so he again revealed his true identity and the authority of the Messiah, for this, too, was considered a miracle that only the Messiah could perform. The reaction of the crowd was interesting.

All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" (Matthew 12:23)

Could this be the Son of David? The people were now wondering out loud. They understood the significance of what they had witnessed and “Son of David” was a popular name for Messiah.

So Jesus had proclaimed freedom for the prisoner and released the oppressed. Now he was going to recover the sight of the blind. But, again, this was to be no ordinary healing.

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:1-3)

This man had lived his whole life under a cloud, a life of accusation as well as sightlessness. But his affliction was to be used mightily by God, as the third verse showed. Jesus healed him with some spit and mud and on a Sabbath no less. The Pharisees were mightily disturbed and interrogated both the man and his parents. The parents were cagey because they understood the significance of this healing.

"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue." (John 9:20-22)

The parents knew that this too was a miracle that only the Messiah, the Christ, could perform, but did not declare as much out of fear of being excluded from the synagogue.

Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." (John 9:32-33)

There was no doubt that Jesus, through this and the other two miracles, had boldly declared his Messiahship. There was no doubt here. Jesus himself said us much to John the Baptist’s disciples, when they asked him whether he was the Messiah.

Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." (Matthew 11:4-6).

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