Matthew 9:30b (NLT)
[Then their [the 2 blind men] eyes were opened, and they could see!] Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
TIME OF DAY:
Not specified in the narrative, I have set the time of day at late morning.
Sunlight from above & right can be seen on the top & right hand side of all characters & objects in this scene. Notice the cast shadows of the door canopy & rug on the walls, which is a product of the strong sunlight in this scene. Notice also the shadows cast by the stones in the walls.
from left to right: an unnamed family (husband, wife & little boy) near the doorway, Jesus, the 2 men who were previously blind, behind them is a bald, unnamed man. To the right is an unnamed woman in a striped dress. On the parapet of the house is a woman & her son.
This scene is set just after Jesus has left the synagogue rulers house, having there resurrected his daughter from death (See Matthew 09:18-26). It is also the fourth in the series depicting Jesus’ healing of 2 blind men.
I enjoyed drawing all those astonished & amazed expressions on the various people’s faces! This is also one of the few occasions when I have drawn Jesus with a stern look on his face!
I’m pleased with the lighting effects in this scene; notably the door canopy shadow which falls across the people on the left. I like the way the woman’s upraised hand is in the sunlight & contrasting strongly with the shadows behind her.
If you’ve seen the other Bible Cartoons in this set (Scene 06-08) you will know that I have represented the two men’s blindness by drawing them with white eye pupils. Notice in this scene that their eye’s are black, like everyone else’s, showing that they can see clearly now.
Jesus is holding up a finger in this scene, which (together with his facial expression) is my way of showing that he is giving a stern warning to the two men he has just healed of blindness. One of the men (in a sandy, orange outer robe) is just about to place his hand on Jesus’ arm; I imagine he is trying to reassure Jesus of their good intentions! The other man (in plumb coloured outer robe & pale turban) is already starting to walk away. I imagine he is heading into town to see his family & friends. We know from the next verse (31) that instead of listening to Jesus the two men went & told everyone they could about their healing.
Here are some other Bible versions which give various interpretations of the “stern warning” text:
The Message Bible version, verse 30: Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.”
The Amplified Bible version, verse 30: And their eyes were opened. And Jesus earnestly and sternly charged them, See that you let no one know about this.
The King James version, verse 30: And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straightly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
New Century Version, verse 30: Then the men were able to see. But Jesus warned them strongly, saying, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
[Bold emphasis added – MY]
Why did Jesus became very stern with the 2 men he had just healed?
In the previous chapter (Matthew chapter 8, verse 4) we have the reason for Jesus’ stern words to the 2 men who he had just healed of blindness. The beginning of Matthew 8 details Jesus healing of a leprous man. After the healing the Bible narrative reads…
Matthew 8:4 (NLT)
4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy . This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
Jesus often seems to have healed people’s ailments, but told them to present themselves to the priest (in the case of skin infections) rather than tell people about the healing. That was probably so that such a previously outcast person (a leper) could be welcomed back into society, once they had been vindicated as healed, by visiting the priest.
In the case of the two blind men Jesus healed, he might have told them not to tell people of their healing so that they might more fully dwell on their own healing, recognise the divine nature of their healer & also that they’re spiritual condition was thus improved into the bargain.
Jesus seems to have warned people not to tell of his healings, because that caused even more people to seek him out (”the crowds pressed in upon Him” – Mark 5:24 & Luke 8:45) and that hindered Jesus at His work. Although Jesus did indeed come to physically heal us, his primary reason was to declare the Good News & rescue us from eternal separation from God the Father upon our physical death. Ultimately that was fully & completely accomplished on the cross.
The Life Application New Testament Commentary, has this to say regarding the incident:
“Because these men believed, Jesus touched their eyes and suddenly they could see. The words because of your faith do not mean “in proportion to,” but “in response to.” This healing was a powerful example that Jesus was the Messiah. Healing of the blind had never occurred in the Old Testament or in Judaism before Jesus.
Jesus told the men not to tell anyone because he was concerned for his ministry. Jesus did not want to be known as just a miracle worker; he wanted people to listen to his words that would heal their broken spiritual lives. Jesus’ mission was to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. If crowds descended on him to see amazing healings and dead people raised, they would not be coming with the heart attitude needed to hear and respond to the gospel. Obviously the blind men would not be able to hide their healing for long. What, exactly, did Jesus expect? Jesus simply wanted these men to keep the details to themselves and think about them. He wanted them to worship quietly and treasure in their hearts what Jesus had done. He wanted them to focus on the spiritual aspect. Above all, he did not want more advertisement of his healing power. But the men could not contain themselves; they told everyone in that area what Jesus had done.”
Leviticus 14:1-32 (NLT)
1 And the Lord said to Moses, 2 “The following instructions are for those seeking ceremonial purification from a skin disease. Those who have been healed must be brought to the priest, 3 who will examine them at a place outside the camp. If the priest finds that someone has been healed of a serious skin disease, 4 he will perform a purification ceremony, using two live birds that are ceremonially clean, a stick of cedar, some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch. 5 The priest will order that one bird be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with fresh water. 6 He will take the live bird, the cedar stick, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop branch, and dip them into the blood of the bird that was slaughtered over the fresh water. 7 The priest will then sprinkle the blood of the dead bird seven times on the person being purified of the skin disease. When the priest has purified the person, he will release the live bird in the open field to fly away. 8 “The persons being purified must then wash their clothes, shave off all their hair, and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean and may return to the camp. However, they must remain outside their tents for seven days. 9 On the seventh day they must again shave all the hair from their heads, including the hair of the beard and eyebrows. They must also wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean.
10 “On the eighth day each person being purified must bring two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of six quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil, and a cup of olive oil. 11 Then the officiating priest will present that person for purification, along with the offerings, before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 12 The priest will take one of the male lambs and the olive oil and present them as a guilt offering, lifting them up as a special offering before the Lord. 13 He will then slaughter the male lamb in the sacred area where sin offerings and burnt offerings are slaughtered. As with the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest. It is a most holy offering. 14 The priest will then take some of the blood of the guilt offering and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified.
15 “Then the priest will pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand. 16 He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. 18 The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord.
19 “Then the priest must present the sin offering to purify the person who was cured of the skin disease. After that, the priest will slaughter the burnt offering 20 and offer it on the altar along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person who was healed, and the person will be ceremonially clean.
21 “But anyone who is too poor and cannot afford these offerings may bring one male lamb for a guilt offering, to be lifted up as a special offering for purification. The person must also bring two quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil for the grain offering and a cup of olive oil. 22 The offering must also include two turtledoves or two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of the pair must be used for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. 23 On the eighth day of the purification ceremony, the person being purified must bring the offerings to the priest in the Lord’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 24 The priest will take the lamb for the guilt offering, along with the olive oil, and lift them up as a special offering to the Lord. 25 Then the priest will slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering. He will take some of its blood and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified.
26 “The priest will also pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand. 27 He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord. 28 The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. 29 The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord.
30 “Then the priest will offer the two turtledoves or the two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. 31 One of them is for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, to be presented along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord. 32 These are the instructions for purification for those who have recovered from a serious skin disease but who cannot afford to bring the offerings normally required for the ceremony of purification.”