Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 31: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
27. And while Jesus was departing thence, two blind men followed him, crying and saying, Have pity on us, son of David. 28. And when he had come into the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus saith to them, Do you believe that I can do this? They say to him, Yes, Lord. 29. Then he touched their eyes, saying, Let it be to you according to your faith. 30. And their eyes were opened, and Jesus threatened them, 530 saying, See that no man know it. 31. But when they had departed, they spread the report of it in all that country. 32. And while they were going out, lo, they brought to him a dumb man, a demoniac. 33. And when the devil had been cast out, the dumb man spake, and the multitudes wondered, saying, Nothing like this was ever seen in Israel. 34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils by the prince of the devils.
Matthew 9:27. And while Jesus was departing. The other Evangelists say nothing about these two miracles; for, as we have already said, and as John expressly affirms, (Joh 21:25,) they did not intend to record every action of Christ, but only to prove, by a brief summary, that he is the Messiah. Now Matthew relates that sight was restored to two blind men, but not so speedily as Christ was wont, on many other occasions, to grant relief to the wretched. While they cry to him on the road, he makes no reply, but, as if he appeared not to notice them, allows them to follow him to his lodging. There he at length asks them what they believe as to his power. Both by action and by words he intended to make trial of their faith; for he holds them in suspense, — nay, passes by as if he did not hear them, — tries their patience, and what root faith had in their heads. When he afterwards inquires if they believe, he pursues the same investigation. But it may be asked, if a man is convinced of the power of God and of Christ, is that enough to make him a believer? for such appears to be the meaning of the words,
28. Do you believe that I can do this? But from other passages of Scripture, it is evident that our knowledge of his power will be cold and unprofitable, if we are not convinced of his willingness. And yet Christ is satisfied with their reply, and applauds their faith, as if it had been all that could be wished. I answer, they had some perception of his grace; for they had already acknowledged him to be the Son of David; bestowing upon him this title as Redeemer of their nation and author of all blessings. He interrogates them, therefore, as to his power, and proceeds farther to inquire if they believe in good earnest. Faith embraces the mercy and fatherly love of God along with his power, and the generous design of Christ along with his ability to save. But as men commonly ascribe less than they ought to do to the power of God and the ability of Christ, there was good reason for proposing this question to the blind men, if they believe that Christ can do what they have professed with their mouth. Indeed, Christ wished simply to know if they were candid in yielding to him the honor of Messiah; and therefore he applauds their faith, because under that low and despicable appearance they acknowledged him to be the Son of David
29. According to your faith. Though the subject of the narrative is a remarkable benefit conferred on two blind men, yet from this declaration of Christ we may draw the general doctrine, that if we pray in faith, we will never sustain a refusal in our prayers. But if those two men, whose faith was small and imperfectly formed, obtained what they wished, much more efficacious will now be the faith of those who, endued with the Spirit of adoption, and relying on the sacrifice of Christ, shah approach to God.
30. And Jesus threatened them Either he wished to have other persons as witnesses of the miracle, or to delay the publication of it till another time. Their conduct in immediately proclaiming it every where is worthy of blame: for the notion entertained by some, that Christ forbade them for the purpose of exciting them the more, has been already refuted. There was, no doubt, some reason for forbidding it, which is unknown to us; and those men, through inconsiderate zeal, spread the rumor before the proper time.
32. They brought to him a dumb man It is probable that this man was not naturally dumb, but that, after he had been given up to the devil, 531 he was deprived of the use of speech: for all dumb persons are not demoniacs He was afflicted in such a manner as to make it evident, by visible signs, that his tongue was held bound by a wicked spirit. The exclamation of the multitudes, on his being cured, that nothing like it had ever been seen in Israel, appears to be hyperbolica1: 532 for God had formerly revealed his glory among that people by greater miracles. But perhaps they look to the design of the miracle, as the minds of all were at that time prepared to expect the coming of the Messiah. They intended, no doubt, to exalt this instance of the grace of God, without detracting any thing from what had formerly happened. Besides, it ought to be observed, that this was not a premeditated statement, but a sudden burst of admiration.
34. But the Pharisees said Hence it is evident with what rage and fury they were filled, who did not scruple to assail with wicked slander so illustrious a work of God. We ought to observe the contrast between the applause of the people and the blasphemy of those men. The saying of the people, that nothing like it ever happened in Israel, is a confession arising from a sense of the divine glory: which makes it the more evident, that those persons were utterly mad who ventured, as it were, to curse God to his face. We learn from it also, that, when wickedness has reached the height of blindness, there is no work of God, however evident, which it will not pervert. It is, no doubt, monstrous and incredible that mortal men should cry against their Creator: but there is so much the greater reason for dreading that blindness, which arises from the Lord’s vengeance on the wicked after long-suffering.
“Jesus leur defendit avee menaces;” — “Jesus forbade them with threatenings.”
“Que le diable qui le possedoit luy avoit ost, l'usage de parler;” — “that the devil, who possessed him, had taken from him the use of speech.”
“Il semble que c'est une facon de parler hyperbolique et excessive;” — “it appears to be a hyperbolical and exaggerated way of speaking.”