GOSPEL: MATTHEW 9:27-35
When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us! And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed they spread the news about Him in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Jesus asks the blind men if they believe He is able to heal them. In proportion to their faith their sight is restored. In addition to not being followers of Jesus, the unbelieving Pharisees accuse Him of casting out demons “by the ruler of demons”, therefore implying His power is derived from an evil source-an accusation all the more ludicrous when considering that demons would not perform healing miracles by casting out other demons. These Pharisees suffered from something far worse than physical blindness—spiritual blindness, caused by their self-righteousness and jealousy of Jesus’ popularity. We all must pray that our faith be kept strong and our spiritual eyes be focused on Christ.
- What is happening in this Gospel lesson?
- Did the blind men use many words or long prayers to get Jesus’ attention? What was meant when said “according to your faith let it be to you”?
- What does this mean for our lives?
TO DO TOGETHER AS A FAMILY
- Blind Faith – Take turns blindfolding each member of your family. Give the blindfolded person a helper and a small task to do. Tell them they need to trust in their helper to guide them through the activity. At the end, discuss how difficult it was to let the other person be in complete control. This is much like our relationship with Christ. As Christians we are called to love Him and trust that He will guide us if we just have faith. What things cause us to not trust God’s lead?
- Clear Sight – Take a pair of non-prescription glasses or sunglasses. Have each member of the family try them on and notice how things look. This is clear sight—when we focus our life on God we see clearly. Next, take a piece of Saran Wrap and put it on each lens. Pass the glasses around again and notice how things are distorted. Continue adding layers of the Saran Wrap until you can no longer see out of our glasses. As you add layers to the glasses list different sins or passions that can act as layers that blind our spiritual sight. Discuss how spiritual blindness can keep us from seeing the truth and beauty of Christ. Discuss what things cause this blindness and how we can remove these blinding layers.
- According to Our Faith – If you had been one of the blind men, how much faith would you have had in Christ’s ability? Discuss as a family how we have the power through Christ for healing, but we often don’t have enough faith in Him. Pray for strength of faith.
What does it mean to “believe” in Christ? To answer this question Danish philosopher Kierkegaard uses the illustration of a poor swimmer who wants to keep a toe on the bottom rather than trust himself to the water. But he is not really a swimmer until he “ventures far out,” abandoning the support of the bottom. Faith is like lying on “70,000 fathoms of water,” he says, relying solely on the buoyancy of the sea.
Kierkegaard calls this the “leap of faith.” In order for the leap of faith to occur one must first come to an awareness of his finitude, of his insufficiency of his powerlessness, of his emptiness, of his aloneness. This may happen through sin, guilt, failure, death, alcoholism, sickness, insecurity, despair. One is suddenly brought face to face with the fact that he cannot maintain this “toehold” on the bottom of the sea, that he must make the “leap of faith,” that he must trust the buoyancy of the sea. And when he does, he experiences the glorious freedom of casting off onto 70,000 fathoms of water knowing that he is supported not by his own toehold but by God. – Taken from Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth by Anthony M. Coniaris
A CLOSING PRAYER
Lord, I know not what to ask of You. You alone know what my true needs are. Your love me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which may be hidden from me. I dare not ask for either a cross or a consolation. I can only wait upon You; my heart is open to You. Visit and help me in Your steadfast love. Strike me and heal me; cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence Your holy will. I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice. I put all my trust in You. I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will. Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me. Amen. – Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow
Children’s colouring sheet: Teaching and Healing: Matthew 9-27-35