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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 20 - Verse 34

Verse 34. 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 them 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 long blind.

(2.) They were strangers to Jesus. They could not have, therefore, feigned themselves blind.

(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 one.

(4.) The men 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 CHAPTER 20

(1.) From the parable at the beginning of this chapter, Mt 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; others in a few years may be more distinguished in the success of their labours and in their rewards.

(2.) God will do justice to all, Mt 20:13. He will give to all his followers all that he promised to give. He will give to him entitled to the least, everything which he has promised, and infinitely more than he has deserved.

(3.) On some he will bestow higher rewards than on others, Mt 20:16. There is no reason to think that the condition of men 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 please's with his own, Mt 20:15. It is his right to do so—a right which men claim, and which God may claim. If he does injustice to no one, he has a right to bestow what favours on others he pleases.

(5.) 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 favours on undeserving men at all; that the race is in possession of such talents and rewards, to whomsoever given; and should believe that in the hands of God such favours will be well bestowed. God is a sovereign; and the Judge of all the earth will do that which is right.

(6.) It is our duty to go into the vineyard and labour faithfully, whenever the Lord Jesus calls us, and till he calls us to receive our reward, Mt 20:1-16. He has a right to call us, and there are none who are not invited to labour for him.

(7.) Rewards are offered to all who will serve him, Mt 20:4. It is not that we deserve any favour, 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.

(8.) Men may be saved in old age, Mt 20:6. Old men are sometimes brought into the kingdom of Christ, and made holy. But it is rare. Few aged men are converted. They drop into the grave as they lived. And to a man who wastes his youth and his middle life in sin, and goes down into the vale of years a rebel against God, there is a dreadful probability that he will die as he lived. It will be found to be true, probably, that by far more than half who are saved are converted before they reach the age of twenty-five. Besides, it is foolish as well as wicked to spend the best of our days in the service of Satan, and to give to God only the poor remnant of our lives, that we can no longer use in the cause of wickedness. God should have our first and best days.

(9.) Neither this parable, nor any part of the Bible, should be abused, so as to lead us to put off the time of repentance to old age. It is possible, though not probable, that an old man may repent; but it is not probable that we shall live to be old. Few, few of all the world, live to old age. We may die in youth. Thousands die in childhood. The time, the accepted time to serve God, is in childhood. There are more reasons why a child should love the Saviour, than why he should love a parent. He has done much more for us than any parent. And there is no reason why he may not be trained up to love him, as well as his parents. And God will require it at the hands of parents and teachers, if they do not train up the children committed to them to love and obey him.

(10.) One reason why we do not understand the plain doctrines of the Bible is our prejudice, Mt 20:17-19. Our Saviour plainly told his disciples that he must die. He stated the manner of his death, and the principal circumstances. To us all this is plain; but they did not understand it, (Luke.) They had filled their heads with notions about his earthly glory and honour, and they were not willing to see the truth as he stated it. Never was there a juster proverb than that, "None are so blind as those who will not see." So to us the Bible might be plain enough. The doctrines of truth are revealed clear as a sunbeam, but we are filled with previous notions; we are determined to think differently; and the easiest way to gratify this is to say we do not see it so. The only correct principle of interpretation is, that the Bible is to be taken just as it is. The meaning that the sacred writers intended to teach is to be sought honestly; and where found, that and that only is religious truth.

(11.) Mothers should be cautious about seeking places of honour for their sons, Mt 20:20-22. Doing this, they seldom know what they ask. They may be seeking the ruin of their children. It is not posts of honour that secure happiness or salvation. Contentment and peace are found oftenest in the humble vale of honest and sober industry— in attempting to fill up our days with usefulness, in the situation where God has placed us. As the purest and loveliest streams often flow in the retired grove, far from the thundering cataract or the stormy ocean, so is the sweet peace of the soul; it dwells oftenest far from the bustle of public life, and the storms and tempests of ambition.

(12.) Ambition in the church is exceedingly improper, Mt 20:22. It is not the nature of religion to produce it. It is opposed to all the modest, retiring, and pure virtues that Christianity produces. An ambitious man will be destitute of religion just in proportion to his ambition; and piety may always be graduated by humility.

(13.) Our humility is the measure of our religion, Mt 20:26-28. Without humility we can have no religion, He that has the most lowly views of himself, and the highest of God—that is willing to stoop the lowest to aid his fellow-creatures, and to honour God— has the most genuine piety. Such was the example of our Saviour, and it can never be any dishonour to imitate the Son of God.

(14.) The case of the blind men is an expressive representation of the condition of the sinner, Mt 20:30-34.

1st. Men are blinded by reason of sin. They do not by nature see the truth of religion.

2nd. It is proper in this state of blindness to call upon Jesus to open our eyes. If we ever see, it will be by the grace of God. God is the fountain of light, and those in darkness should seek him.

3rd. Present opportunities should be improved. This was the first time that Jesus had been in Jericho. It was the last time he would be there. He was passing through it on his way to Jerusalem. So he passes among us by his ordinances. So it may be the last time that we shall have an opportunity to call upon him. While he is near, we should seek him.

4th. When people rebuke us and laugh at us, it should not deter us from calling on the Saviour. There is danger that they will laugh us out of our purpose to seek him, and we should cry the more earnestly to him. We should feel that our eternal all depends or our being heard.

5th. The persevering cry of those who seek the Saviour aright will not be in vain. They who cry to him sensible of their blindness, and sensible that he only can open their eyes, will be heard, He turns none away who thus cry to him.

6th. Sinners must "rise" and come to Jesus. They must cast away everything that hinders their coming. As the blind Bartimeus threw off his "garments," so sinners should throw away everything that hinders their going to him—everything that obstructs their progress—and cast themselves at his feet. No man will be saved while sitting still. The command is, "Strive to enter in;" and the promise is made to those. Only who "ask," and "seek}" and "knock."

7th. Faith is the only channel through which we shall receive mercy. According to our faith—that is, our confidence in Jesus—our trust and reliance on him—so will it be to us. Without that we shall perish.

8th. They who apply to Jesus thus will receive sight. Their eyes will be opened, and they will see clearly.

9th. They who are thus restored to sight should follow Jesus. They should follow him wherever he leads; they should follow him always; they should follow none else but him. He that can give sight to the blind cannot lead us astray. He that can shed light in the beginning of our faith, can enlighten our goings through all our pilgrimage, and down through the dark valley of the shadow of death.

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