When Christians speak of categories of people, we use many different labels:
- Lost or saved
- Christian or non-Christian
- Believer or non-believer
To call someone a non-believer is misleading. I’ve met many “non-believers” who actually do believe in something — it’s just not what I believe in. They might believe in …
- Will power
- The law of attraction
- Homeopathic drugs
- The Golden Rule
- Survival of the fittest
- Tony Robbins
In other words, they are very much believers — they just don’t believe in the same source of power that a Christ-follower believes in.
By nature, all of us are believers. I’ve never met anyone who held absolutely no beliefs. They might be strange beliefs or not-well-thought-out beliefs, but they were still beliefs.
In today’s passage, we meet two blind men who are following Jesus. To be blind in that culture was to be a social outcast. In both the Old and New Testaments, blindness was frequently regarded as the judgment of God.
For example, Jesus’ disciples once encountered a blind man and asked, “Who sinned that this man was born blind? Him or his parents?” It was inconceivable to them that it was nobody’s fault.
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” – Matthew 9:27-28
For many people in our culture, believing seems impractical. They think that belief is something that we only think about. We hold beliefs in our head like we hold ideas, facts, and trivia. That’s why many people would say to this blind guy, “Why don’t you quit praying and go do something?”
How do the two blind men answer? “Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Which raises a very important point: believers are willing people, not unwilling people. Unwilling people have to be convinced or assured of every detail. Unwilling people want to follow Jesus on their own terms. Believers, by nature, say “yes” to God.
Here are a few examples:
- Am I willing to believe Jesus will help me love my enemies?
- Am I willing to believe Jesus is right about forgiving others?
- Am I willing to believe Jesus can be trusted with my finances?
Abraham accepted the call of God even though he didn’t know the exact path it would take him down. He was willing. He said “yes” to God.
Fear and pride will cause us to say, “Not yet. Not now. Not ever.”
Like the two blind men, willing people just say, “Yes.” Before the blind men saw the results, they believed. Jesus hadn’t even healed them yet, but they believed.
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. – Matthew 8:29-31
All throughout the Bible, the healing of blindness is a sign of God’s sovereign power. It’s also one of the characteristics of the Messiah. Yet not everyone would recognize this …
32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 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.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” – Matthew 9:32-34
Don’t miss this: It’s possible to see Jesus in action and still not believe in him.
Believe it or not, I pass many blind people like the Pharisees every day. Some are driving cars or waiting in line at Safeway. Some wear glasses and some do not. Worst of all, many don’t even know they are blind.
Some are blind to the needs of those around them. Others are living with no vision for their life. Many of the walking blind fail to see God’s fingerprints, the imprint he has left on them.
Spiritual blindness may be the most insidious form of blindness. It means our lives are out of focus with God’s plan for us.
Dreams and opportunities look fuzzy and we just assume that everything is normal.
Whatever your challenge — whether physical, financial, or spiritual — do you believe Jesus is able? Do you believe he is sufficient?
When Jesus asks, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” he is not looking for an intellectual answer; he’s looking for confidence.
Whether it’s physical or spiritual blindness, a challenge at work, or trouble with your kids … God is not watching you go through a difficulty; he is in the difficulty with you. He is more than just an observer. He cares for you more than you could possibly imagine.
His power is available to you.
Are you willing to believe that?