32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” (Matthew 9:32–34 (ESV)
Following Jesus’ healing of two blind men, people brought to Him a demon-oppressed man who was also mute. This was the Lord’s second encounter with demonic oppression (Matt. 8:28-34). This incident evidenced the battle between two kingdoms: the kingdom of light vs. the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of heaven vs. the kingdom of hell.
To be demon-oppressed (δαιμονίζομαι; daimonizomai) refers to a demon controlling an individual. The demon is in command of the person. In this particular case, it was a present and personal possession. The man was also mute (κωφός; kaphos). He was unable to speak. This is likely because he was also unable to hear.
Matthew recorded that Jesus cast the demon out. Resultantly, the man began to speak. The text does not tell us what he said. However, being able to now speak amazed the crowd. They marveled (θαυμάζω; thaumazo) and were astonished.
This miracle resulted in two opposite responses. The crowd continually said, ““Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” However, the Pharisees continually said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
The Pharisees did not, and could not deny a miracle had occurred. They did not and could not deny that Jesus performed the miracle. They claimed the miracle worker did so by the Devil’s power. They said Satan did it. This argument would become the Pharisees consistent response to Jesus’ healing ministry ((cf. Matt. 10:25; 12:22–37).
“This little episode too has a longer parallel later (12:22–24), where the accusation of collusion with Satan is developed and answered. Here this sinister new twist to the official hostility to Jesus is merely noted. Matthew normally distinguishes between demon possession and physical disability; here the one seems to have resulted in the other, but the language is still that of exorcism. The crowd’s reaction in v 33 sums up the impression which the miracles in chs. 8–9 have been creating,” explains commentator Richard France.
Do people today deny the obvious work accomplished by Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, they often do. Someone once told me that the changes occurring in my life, as a result of my conversion, were not the work of Christ. By me giving the Lord praise, the individual responded that I was not giving myself enough credit.
Individuals may not agree with us that the Lord is responsible for the providential occurrences in our life. However, that should not hinder us from declaring it to be so. Let us resolve to give the Lord praise and all the glory.
Soli deo Gloria!