In Matthew 9, Jesus healed a paralytic, two blind men, and a mute man. Thematically, these miracles are important because the Old Testament highlights the healing of the lame, the blind, and the mute as signs by which to recognize the promised Messiah: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:5–6).
Fast-forward a few hundred years, and we see John the Baptist preparing the way for the coming Messiah. John began to doubt, however, when he spent time in prison, so he sent his disciples to ask if Jesus was the Messiah for whom they had been waiting.
Jesus responded with words reflective of Old Testament prophecies, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matthew 11:4–5).
When two blind men begged Jesus to have mercy on them, He healed them (Matthew 9:27–31). When people brought a demon-oppressed man who was mute, Jesus cast out the demon and the mute man spoke (Matthew 9:31–32). The word Matthew uses for “mute” could indicate that this man was deaf, mute, or both. Whatever the case, the man was unable to talk until Jesus cast out the demon.
The crowds who observed this healing were amazed because “never was anything like this seen in Israel” (9:33). Jesus was the Messiah who had come to bring restoration, to make everything new. The lame could now dance. The blind could behold their creator. Even the dead were being raised to life! Yet, sometimes things don’t work out quite like we expect. John the Baptist found this out the hard way after being thrown in prison for confronting sinful leaders. Many of us know the anguish of losing a loved one, going through a painful breakup, or getting fired from a job. Others of us live day in and day out with a debilitating disease that diminishes our energy. It becomes all too easy to wonder if and when God will bring renewal. Take your doubts directly to Jesus. Don’t be afraid to ask your tough questions. John, the very one who proclaimed the Messiah had come, expressed doubt over Jesus’s identity. Yet, what was Jesus’s response? He reminded John of his miraculous power.
We can trust the One who healed the blind, the deaf, and the mute to bring spiritual sight to blind hearts and provide streams of water in every wilderness.