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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every outline posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

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


KEY VERSE: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. -- Matthew 11:5


INTRODUCTION: In many instances in the Bible, a messenger was designated to represent someone else, usually a person of some status. Often the messenger was a reliable servant (see Genesis 24) or more significantly a son (see Matthew 21:37). Rejecting the messenger's authority was the same as rejecting the authority of the one by whom he was sent.


When a king or high government official sent a messenger on a mission, it was customary to give the messenger a signet ring, seal, or special documents to prove the validity of his acting authority. When Nehemiah was sent to rebuild Jerusalem during the reign of Persian king Artaxerxes, he received his credentials -- official letters from the king that validated his authority to act on behalf of the monarch (Nehemiah 2:7-9).


The evidence of Jesus' authority (His credentials) as the Father's ambassador on earth was the miracles He performed. These authenticated His divine origin and His identity as the Messiah, "the one who was to come" (Matthew 11:2-5; John 14:11). – Adapted from David C. Cook Publishers, Bible-in-Life




Throughout His public ministry, Jesus showed compassion for those whom He daily encountered with physical afflictions. On one such occasion, as Jesus continued His ministry around Capernaum in Galilee, "two blind men" began to follow Him. As they went along, they cried out for "mercy" and addressed Jesus by the title, "Son of David" (Matthew 9:27). As the genealogy in Matthew 1:6 reveals, this title was meant to identify Jesus as the Messiah, a direct descendant of king David.


1. Power Over Darkness (Matthew 9:27-31)


A. Jesus is the Son of David. (Matthew 9:27)


And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. (Matthew 9:27)


As Jesus departed from the ruler’s neighborhood, two blind men followed Him, pleading for sight. Though deprived of natural vision, these men had acute spiritual discernment. In addressing Jesus as Son of David, they recognized Him as the long-awaited Messiah and rightful King of Israel. And they knew that when the Messiah came, one of His credentials would be that He would give sight to the blind (Isaiah 61:1).


B. Jesus Healed Two Blind Men. (Matthew 9:28-30)


And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. (Matthew 9:28–30)


When Jesus tested their faith by asking if they believed He was able to do this (give them sight), they unhesitatingly responded, “Yea, Lord.”


The two blind men revealed their belief that Jesus could heal them, (1) by their persistence in following Jesus (even when He went inside a house) and (2) by continually calling out to Him for "mercy." (3) It was also revealed by the titles they used for Jesus. They addressed him both as, "Son of David," His messianic title, and as "Lord," a reference to Jesus' deity. But the final proof was (4) the restoration of their sight, which was done, "According to [their] faith" (Matthew 9:27-30).


This is another remarkable case where the Lord charges these men not to tell anyone about what happened to them. He said the same thing to the leper. There are several reasons for the Lord to ask this favor, but one is made clear in this passage. The publication of His miracles caused the crowds to press in upon Him and actually hindered Him at His work.


C. Jesus was Praised by These Men. (Matthew 9:31)


But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. (Matthew 9:31)


In their delirious gratitude for eyesight, the two men spread the news of their miraculous cure. While we might be tempted to sympathize, and even to admire their excited testimony, the hard fact is that they were foolishly disobedient and inevitably did more harm than good, probably by stirring up shallow curiosity rather than Spirit-inspired interest. Not even gratitude is a valid excuse for disobedience.


2. Power Over Demons (Matthew 9:32-34)


A. Jesus Healed a Demon-Possessed Man. (Matthew 9:32-33)


As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. (Matthew 9:32–33)


We now come to another miracle in Matthew’s Gospel. Another demon-possessed man is healed. This is the third incident of demon possession recorded in chapters 8-9 of Matthew. Notice the reaction of the Pharisees.


B. Jesus Accused of Using Satanic Power. (Matthew 9:34)


But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. (Matthew 9:34)


The Pharisees did not deny that Jesus had caused the dumb to speak and the blind to see and the crippled to walk. What they accused Him of was that He did these things by the power of Satan (the prince of demons). This is what Jesus later labeled the unpardonable sin (Matthew 12:32). To attribute the miracles which He performed by the Holy Spirit to the power of Satan was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. While others were being blessed by the healing touch of Christ, the religious Pharisees remained spiritually dead, blind, and dumb.


The Ultimate Physician


Did Jesus really walk on water or simply use some nearby sandbars? Did He actually multiply bread and fish to feed 5,000 or just hypnotize the crowd into thinking He did? Was it miracle or magic?


Physicians can cure many illnesses, both physical and mental. But only Jesus can bring about the healing that makes bad people good.


A noted psychiatrist recognized his own limitations in a conversation he had with British clergyman William Barclay. "All that a psychiatrist can do," said the doctor, "is strip a man naked until you get to the essential man; and if the essential man is bad stuff, there's nothing you can do about it. That's where you come in." Barclay later commented, "I think he meant that this is where Jesus comes in." -- Herbert Vander Lugt, Our Daily Bread, November 2, 2005




John the Baptist was in a prison fortress because he had courageously denounced the adulterous marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias (Luke 3:19-20). It seems that the Jewish leaders would have opposed Herod and sought to free John, but they did nothing. Their attitude toward John reflected their feeling toward Jesus Christ, for John had pointed to Jesus and honored Him.


It is not difficult to sympathize with John as he suffered in prison. He was a man of the desert, yet he was confined indoors. He was an active man, with a divine mandate to preach; yet he was silenced. He had announced judgment, and yet that judgment was slow in coming (Matthew 3:7-12). He received only partial reports of Jesus’ ministry and could not see the total picture.


1. The Request (Matthew 11:2-3)


A. John’s Expectation. (Matthew 11:2)


Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples. (Matthew 11:2)


Back in Matthew 4:12 it is recorded that John the Baptist was put in prison. So he has been imprisoned for a while now, but he has been kept informed about the movements of the Lord Jesus. John’s disciples have been watching Jesus and reporting to John. John is expecting any day for the door of his prison to be opened, because he believes that Jesus is coming immediately to the throne to establish His kingdom.


B. John’s Question. (Matthew 11:3)


And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3)


John’s question is a logical one. He has every reason to believe that the King would have assumed power by this time. He is definitely puzzled that the Lord is moving so slowly toward the throne. Notice Jesus’ answer to John.


2. The Reply (Matthew 11:4-6)


Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Matthew 11:4-6)


A. Jesus’ Answer is Based on Scripture.


The answer of Jesus is remarkable and can be understood only in light of the credentials which the Old Testament said the Messiah would have. This is a direct reference to Isaiah 35:4-6: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”


Essentially, John's disciples were told to report that the miracles the prophets predicted the Messiah would perform were being performed by Jesus: the blind see (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5), the lame walk (Isaiah 35:6), lepers are cured (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 17:11-19), the deaf hear (Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5), the dead are raised (Isaiah 26:19), and "the good news [the Gospel] is preached to the poor" (Isaiah 61:1).


B. Jesus’ Answer Points to the Future.


Now waters did not break out in the wilderness nor were there streams in the desert when Jesus came. Why? Because He did not establish the kingdom when He came the first time. But He was the King, and He had the credentials of the Messiah -- that is all Jesus is saying. John would recognize the credentials.


When In Doubt


John the Baptist was languishing in prison and questioning his faith. He may well have wondered: Is Jesus the Messiah? Is His word true? Have I believed and labored in vain for my Master? Is this dark place my final reward for answering God's call?


Perhaps countless questions make their way through your mind as well: Is Jesus really the Savior? Have my sins been forgiven? Can I trust the Bible? Will I be raised from the dead? Does heaven lie ahead? Is all that I believe a cruel illusion?


Most of us ask questions like these from time to time. I do -- especially on those dark days when circumstances bring sorrow and bitter disappointment, when it seems there's no storybook ending to our lives.


These questionings are not failures of faith but tests of faith and can be answered in John the Baptist's way: We must take our doubts to Jesus. In His time and in His own wise way He will restore the confidence our hearts desire.


Jesus didn't abandon John to his doubt. He sent word of the miracles He performed and the hope He preached (Matthew 11:4-6). As George MacDonald said of God's faithfulness: "You might as well say that a mother would go away from her little child lying moaning in the dark." – David H. Roper, Our Daily Bread, April 14, 2008


CONCLUSION: When the blind men received their sight, they became witnesses to God's power. When the man spoke who had been mute, people marveled. When John the Baptist needed proof of Jesus' identity, Jesus told him that the evidence of divine power was the miracles that He performed and John's disciples witnessed.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Believe in God and you’ll believe in miracles; believe in His Son and you’ll experience one!”


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REFERENCES: References used in this Bible study are the Scofield Reference Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, David C. Cook Publishers Bible-in-Life, Dr. Cliff Robinson Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, KJV Bible Commentary, Our Daily Bread, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Warren) Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament Ed. 4, (Warren) Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments,  and selected illustrations.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey


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