In the Fulness of Time/Part 53
By: Dr. Thomas Figart
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2007|
|When Jesus cast the demon out of the mute (speech-challenged) man (Matt. 9:32-34), the crowd marveled—but the Pharisees accused him of using demonic power! How could the Pharisees denounce so bitterly what the multitudes received so enthusiastically?|
Messiah’s Power over Dumbness: Restoring Speech. Matthew 9:32-34
The Exorcism of the Demon. 9:32-33a
- Matthew 9:32-33a “As they went out, behold they brought unto him a dumb man possessed with a demon. And when the demon was cast out, the dumb spoke.”Just as soon as the two formerly blind men were leaving the house, now able to see clearly, someone else was bringing a demon-possessed mute to see Jesus. The word kophos is translated “dumb” here, and in 12:22, but in 11:5 it is translated “deaf” as it is also in Mark 7:32, 37. It comes from kopto, meaning “to beat, or pound,” and came to signify “blunted in speech or in hearing” according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, p. 367. Often a person born deaf is also dumb until he is taught to formulate sounds properly. However, this man’s muteness was caused by demon possession. There is no information as to the time of this possession, and it apparently did not affect him in any other way, such as it did with the maniac of Gadara.
Nor are we informed of the exact method Jesus used in casting out the demon. It is possible to assume that He used the same command as in Matthew 8:32, “Go!” The account is brief: “when the demon was cast out (ekblethentos, aorist participle) the dumb spoke.”
The Marveling of the Multitude. 9:33b
- Matthew 9:33b “and the multitude marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”
These last two miracles were apparently performed inside the house, so the multitudes were not present; yet there would have been an immediate witness to the reality of the miracles as soon as the men came out of the house. If these multitudes had been with Jesus most of that day they would have seen a number of miracles. This seems to be the case, since they were making note of the uniqueness and magnitude of the events they had observed. Lenski considers that all of the miracles in Matthew 8-9 were completed in a couple of days, and remarks: “In all the history of Israel nothing has ever appeared comparable to all that Jesus has just done” (Commentary on Matthew, p. 369). Considering the imposition of the plagues in Egypt by Moses, the miracles in Joshua and Judges, plus those of Elijah and Elisha, this is a wondrous accomplishment of Jesus, as He proved Himself to be Israel’s Messiah/King! How could the Pharisees denounce so bitterly what the multitudes received so enthusiastically?!
The Accusation of the Pharisees. 9:34
- Matthew 9:34 “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out demons through the prince of demons.”
Some scholars have deleted this verse, claiming that, because it is not in some manuscripts and because it is repeated in 12:24, it must have been added here later. But there is strong evidence that the verse is genuine. After all, Jesus did say in Matthew 10:25, “If they called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” He must have been referring back to this accusation in 9:34. A fuller discussion will be given to the longer context of Matthew 12:22-32.
It is ironic that the more proof He presented of His Messiahship, the greater was their opposition. In the fulness of time, the truthfulness of His claims will be made fully manifest when He returns in glory, judging all unbelievers with the very power at which they scoffed; only then, the result will be eternal fiery judgment in the Lake of Fire, when they could have been a part of His eternal glorious Kingdom, had they only received Him as their Lord!