Never Before (Matthew 9:32-33)

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

One would think that in our modern world, everyone who cannot speak or is mentally disturbed in some way is a victim of circumstance. We are taught to see their condition as entirely medical and clearly beyond the level of care all but the most highly trained can offer. Often it is, but that does not negate the fact that these conditions can also be spiritual in nature. Even if their medical condition is beyond us as a society, the spiritual condition has a remedy that all God’s people can put into effect. For the spiritual must always bow to the Name of Jesus.

Every disciple of Christ has His authority to cast out the demonic, and every disciple of Christ can at least pray for healing.

In our reading of Matthew to date, we’ve just seen Jesus find a home to rest in after raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead. Once there, two blind men asked to be seen. When He healed them, He warned them not to tell anyone, so His journey out of town could be unhindered by the crowds that sought Him everywhere He went. But when the formerly blind men left the house, they spread the news about Him all over. The result was a crowd waiting in the morning with at the sick and possessed. “While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.””

This is not just another case of Jesus casting out the demonic and speaking physical health into someone. It is a ministry to one who was considered beyond help, because a mute person is someone who has never had the ability to speak, or has lost that ability through physical damage. To ‘cure’ that would be to rebuild their vocal cords. If they’ve never spoken before, it would also require many, many weeks of speech therapy! Yet in one moment of power, Jesus casts out the demon, repairs the physical body and gives their ability to speak. It is a three-for-one spiritual healing!

The result of this deliverance ministry is not only another soul made completely well. It is also the amazement of the crowd. In fact, the crowd is so astonished they take note that this particular level of healing had never been seen in Israel. That was true. This kind of trifold healing had never been done before.

Israel had seen people raised from the dead (notably the widow of Zaraphath’s son whom Elijah raised, and the Shunammite woman’s son, whom Elisha raised), and Israel had seen a mute person speak again (notably Zechariah), and Israel had seen many demoniacs delivered (all of them by Jesus). But this case stands out even more than all those, because this particular fellow’s condition was thought to be totally beyond help. But as it turned out, Jesus was well able to speak peace and health to even this level of disability.

Our Lord is not limited by precedent. He can do what has never been done before. He can bring health to even the most hopeless of cases. He is as unlimited in ability to influence and change our world as an author is to influence and change the world they created on the page.

Our high and privileged calling is to do the will of God in the power of God for the glory of God.

J.I. Packer


The day is quickly coming when all disease, handicap and injury will be made moot forever. Praise God that all at once, the dead in Christ will rise, the mortal will put on immortality and the corruptible will put on incorruptibility. 

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