Matthew 20:34
So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) So Jesus had compassion.—Literally, and Jesus. It was not His purpose to meet the popular demand for signs and wonders, but compassion drew from Him the work of power which otherwise He would have shrunk from here. And then the two followed Him, glorifying God. In St. Luke’s narrative the incident is followed by the story of Zacchæus and the parable of the Pounds. Possibly (see Note on Matthew 20:30) they preceded it.

20:29-34 It is good for those under the same trial, or infirmity of body or mind, to join in prayer to God for relief, that they may quicken and encourage one another. There is mercy enough in Christ for all that ask. They were earnest in prayer. They cried out as men in earnest. Cold desires beg denials. They were humble in prayer, casting themselves upon, and referring themselves cheerfully to, the Mediator's mercy. They showed faith in prayer, by the title they gave to Christ. Surely it was by the Holy Ghost that they called Jesus, Lord. They persevered in prayer. When they were in pursuit of such mercy, it was no time for timidity or hesitation: they cried earnestly. Christ encouraged them. The wants and burdens of the body we are soon sensible of, and can readily relate. Oh that we did as feelingly complain of our spiritual maladies, especially our spiritual blindness! Many are spiritually blind, yet say they see. Jesus cured these blind men; and when they had received sight, they followed him. None follow Christ blindly. He first by his grace opens men's eyes, and so draws their hearts after him. These miracles are our call to Jesus; may we hear it, and make it our daily prayer to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.And touched their eyes - Mark and Luke say he added, "Thy faith hath saved thee." Thy "confidence, or belief" that I could cure, has been the means of obtaining this blessing.

Faith had no power to open the eyes, but it led the blind men to Jesus; it showed that they had just views of his power; it was connected with the cure. So "faith" has no power to save from sin, but it leads the poor, lost, blind sinner to him who has power, and in this sense it is said we are saved by faith. His "touching" their eyes was merely "a sign" that the power of healing proceeded from him.

Here was an undoubted miracle.

1. These blind men were well known. One, at least, had been blind for a long time.

2. They were strangers to Jesus. They could not have, therefore, "feigned" themselves blind, or done this by any "collusion or agreement" between him and themselves in order to impose on the multitude.

3. The miracle was in the presence of multitudes who took a deep interest in it, and who could easily have detected the imposition if there had been any.

4. The people followed him. They praised or "glorified" God (Mark and Luke). The people gave praise to God also (Luke). They were all satisfied that a real miracle was performed.

Remarks On Matthew 20

1. From the parable at the beginning of this chapter Matthew 20:1-16 we learn that it is not so much the time that we serve Christ as the "manner," that is to entitle us to high rewards in heaven. Some may be in the church many years, yet accomplish little. In a few years, others may be more distinguished in the success of their labors and in their rewards.

2. God will do justice to all, Matthew 20:13. He will give to every one of his followers all that he promised to give. To him entitled to the least he will give everything which he has promised, and to each one infinitely more than he has deserved.

3. On some he will bestow higher rewards than on others, Matthew 20:16. There is no reason to think that the condition of people in heaven will be "equal," any more than it is on earth. Difference of rank may run through all God's government, and still no one be degraded or be deprived of his rights.

4. God does as he pleases with his own, Matthew 20:15. It is his right to do so - a right which people claim, and which God may claim. If he does injustice to no one, he has a right to bestow what favors on others he pleases. In doing good to another man he does no injury to me. He violated none of my rights by bestowing great talents on Newton or great wealth on Solomon. He did not injure me by making Paul a man of distinguished talents and piety, or John a man of much meekness and love. What he gives me I should be thankful for and improve; nor should I be envious or malignant that he has given to others more than he has to me. Nay, I should rejoice that he has bestowed such favors on undeserving people at all; that the race is in possession of such talents and rewards, to whosoever given; and should believe that in the hands of God such favors will be well bestowed. God is a sovereign, and the Judge of all the earth will do that which is right.

5. It is our duty to go into the vineyard and labor faithfully when ever the Lord Jesus calls us, and until he calls us to receive our reward, Matthew 20:1-16. He has a right to call us, and there are none who are not invited to labor for Him.

6. Rewards are offered to all who will serve him, Matthew 20:4. It is not that we deserve any favor, or that we shall not say at the end of life that we have been "unprofitable" servants, but He graciously promises that our rewards shall be measured by our faithfulness in His cause. He will have the glory of bringing us into His kingdom and saving us, while He will bestow rewards on us according as we have been faithful in His service.

continued...

Mt 20:29-34. Two Blind Men Healed. ( = Mr 10:46-52; Lu 18:35-43).

For the exposition, see on [1332]Lu 18:35-43.

Ver. 29-34. Mark repeateth the same story, Mark 10:46-52, with several more circumstances.

1. He mentions only one blind man, and nameth him Bartimaeus, the Song of Solomon of Timaeus. He saith, the blind man was begging.

Mark saith, when Christ called the blind man, they said unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. He further adds, that Christ said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. Luke relates the same, Luke 18:35-43. He saith, As he was come nigh to Jericho. He mentions but one blind man. In repeating Christ’s words he saith, Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. Our Lord presently gives his disciples a demonstration of what he had said, that he came to minister, to serve even the poorest and most despicable creatures. Jericho was a city not far from Jordan, Joshua 3:16; it was taken, Joshua 6:1-27, and upon the division of the land fell within the lot of Benjamin, Joshua 18:21. Our Saviour took it in his way from Galilee to Jerusalem. Probably these blind men, or Bartimaeus at least, who alone is mentioned by Mark and Luke, hearing Christ was coming, sat first on the side of Jericho next Galilee, and then got him on the other side, as our Saviour was leaving the town. Which makes Luke say, as he was come nigh; and the two other evangelists say, as he went out of Jericho, he sat begging. Bartimaeus being (as it should seem) the most known, and the most famous, is alone mentioned by Mark and Luke. Matthew (naming none) saith there were two; which Mark and Luke deny not, but knowing only the name of the one of them, they mention only one. They speak to our Saviour under the notion of the Song of Solomon of David, by which they owned him as the true Messias; for that was a title by which the Messias was known amongst the Jews, according to the prophecies of him. They ask him for mercy; they continue in their cry, though the multitudes rebuked them, as possibly thinking they only came to ask some alms, and were too importunate, seeing our Lord seemed not to regard them. God sometimes trieth our faith by delays, how it will hold out, but he never frustrateth it. This minds us of our duty, to pray without ceasing. Christ stops, calleth them, asks them what they would have. They seem most sensible of their bodily wants, and answer, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. Jesus hath compassion on them, toucheth their eyes, (Christ sometimes, but not always in healing, touched the affected part), and (as Luke saith) he said, Receive thy sight. The miracle is wrought; they presently are able to see. Luke addeth, that Christ said, Thy faith hath saved thee. We have met with the same phrase before. I have made thee whole, but thy faith in me hath prevailed with me to do it. Their faith in his power was seen,

1. In their owning him as the true Messiah; so able to do it.

2. In their imploring his mercy, and going on in their cries of that nature, though they met with a rebuke.

Faith and fervent prayer do great things with God, because of his compassion. The prayer of faith shall save the sick, Jam 5:15. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, Jam 5:16. Nor is any man so mean and contemptible in the world, (these two blind men were beggars), but if they can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, if they will lie in Christ’s way, if they will cry unto him, and not give over their cries, they shall obtain at our Saviour’s hands greater things than these. This miracle gains God glory from the multitude, and from the blind man not only praise, but a resolution to follow Christ. This should be the effect of all salvations wrought for us. Mercy is then duly improved, when it bringeth forth in our hearts glory and praise to God, and engages us to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Saviour had wrought his former miracles in Galilee, where the witnesses of them were remote; he hath now two witnesses in the province of Judea, who go along with him towards Jerusalem, where we shall find him in the next chapter.

So Jesus had compassion on them,.... His bowels moved towards them as a man; he pitied their miserable and distressed condition, and discovered the tenderness of his heart towards them by some outward sign, by his looks, or by some gesture or another:

and touched their eyes; with his bare hand, without the use of any instrument or medicine. The Ethiopic version adds; "and said unto them, according to your faith shall it be unto you"; which seems to be taken out of Matthew 9:29. The Evangelist Mark relates, that "Jesus said unto him (Bartimaeus) go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole": not that the virtue of healing came from the act of faith, but from the object of it; his faith was not the cause of, nor the reason why, but the way and means in and by which he received the cure:

and immediately their eyes received sight; or, as the Syriac and Persic versions render the words, "that moment their eyes were opened": the cure was wrought at once, directly; a clear proof of the omnipotence of Christ, and of his true and proper deity: the words, "their eyes", are not in some copies: and are omitted by the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, which read thus, "they immediately saw". The Persic version adds, and they saw the world; the men and things of it, which they either had never seen before, or, at least, for a considerable time; which must be a very surprising and agreeable sight to them.

And they followed him; in a corporal sense they joined the multitude, and went after him to Jerusalem; partly to express their gratitude for such a wonderful favour bestowed upon them; and partly that they might be witnesses of the power of his deity, and the truth of his Messiahship, as they went along, and at Jerusalem: and in a spiritual sense; they became his disciples, they embraced his doctrines, believed in him as the Messiah, submitted to his ordinances, imitated him in the exercise of grace, and in the performance of duty: for, at the same time he restored their bodily sight, he gave them a spiritual one to look to him, and follow him, the light of the world, that they might enjoy the light of life in another world.

So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 20:34. σπλαγχνισθεὶς. Note the frequent reference to Christ’s pity in this gospel (Matthew 9:36, Matthew 14:14, Matthew 15:32, and here).—τῶν ὀμμάτων, a synonym for ὀφθαλμῶν, as if with some regard to style which the scribes might have been expected to appreciate, but have not (ὀφθ., thrice, T.R.). ὄμμα is poetic in class. Greek.—ἠκολούθησαν, they followed Him, like the rest, without guide (sine hodego, Beng.), so showing at once that their eyes were opened and their hearts grateful.

34. they followed him] It is probable that very many of those who had received sight and soundness of limb by the word or touch of Jesus followed Him to Jerusalem.

followed] Jesus Himself leads the procession. See Luke 19:28.

Matthew 20:34. Σπλαγχνισθεὶς, being moved with compassion) The compassion of Jesus was aroused by every human misery.—ἠκολούθησαν Αὐτῷ, they followed Him) with the multitudes mentioned in ch. Matthew 21:8, and without any one to lead them.[898]

[898] Sc. as formerly, when they were blind.—ED.

Verse 34. - Touched their eyes. Only St. Matthew mentions this action of our Lord; but in all other cases of the cure of blindness the healing touch of the Man accompanied the word of the God (comp. Matthew 9:29; Mark 8:23; John 9:6), and Christ did not now depart from his usual practice. Thus, as we have noticed before, he connected the cure with himself. He proved that his flesh taken unto the Godhead was life-giving, remedial, efficacious; and he confirmed the faith of the sufferers and bystanders by showing that there was no deceit or collusion. The other synoptists give Christ's assurance to the men, that the restoration of their sight was the reward of faith - a faith exhibited by the invocation of Jesus as "Son of David," by continued importunity amid surrounding difficulties, by confidence in his power and willingness to heal brought to a point by Christ's question, "What will ye that I shall do unto you?" They followed him. A fact only less remarkable than the miracle that led to it. The impulse of a grateful heart drew them along the road which the Saviour travelled. They may have accompanied him to Jerusalem, and joined the applauding multitude which escorted him to the holy city, and employed their new power of sight in observing that wonderful spectacle which the next few days afforded. One, at any rate, of these men, Bartimaeus, seems to have become known in the early Church as a devoted follower of Christ, and hence his name is recorded for all time in the sacred narrative.



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