Healing the Blind and the Lame
There is some very interesting background teaching commentary to an event we see after Yeshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In Matthew 21:14 it says, “And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.”(NASB). Not only does this material shed light on the significance of this action by our Messiah, but it also gives some thought-provoking insights into the ways Yeshua will deal with His people in the days to come.
Firstly we must look at the scriptural backdrop for this passage. In 2 Samuel 5:6-8, one of David’s first acts as King was the capture of the stronghold of Zion, but he was resisted in doing so by the Jebusites who were occupying the city. They taunted the coming King by saying, “the blind and the lame will turn you away“. Therefore after David conquered Zion, he laid down an ordinance forbidding the entry of those so afflicted into the temple.
According to traditional rabbinical literature, what this is referring to is an earlier covenant that was between the children of Israel and the Jebusites. If we look at references to the people who came from Jebus (Jerusalem), we see a number of important God-fearing individuals like Melchizedek, the priest and king who made a covenant with Abraham and Araunah (another King in 2 Sam 24:23) who sold the threshing floor so that David could build an altar to God (the future temple site). It is implied, therefore, that the Jebusites previously had some kind of faith in the Lord. Some rabbi’s taught that in fact there was a formal covenant between the descendants of Abraham and the Jebusites in the form of two statues, one which represented Isaac (a blind man), and another representing Jacob (a lame man). So when Joshua tried to capture the city, he was frustrated in his doing so by this earlier treaty.
So as the newly appointed King had come to take Jerusalem in 2 Samuel, he was reminded by the Jebusites of this fact. The Rabbi’s also said that although this past treaty had been broken by the occupiers of the temple site. (On the basis that they had fought against Joshua and the new Israelite king). These covenant “idols” had prevented the capturing of the walls. So when David had asked for volunteers to “take” the capitol, Joab first had to use the springs under the fortifications to destroy the idols. ‚ Hence it then freed the king to liberate Jerusalem and prepare Zion for the future temple.
If we then take a look at Yeshua’s arrival to the temple in Matthew and John, we’ll see a number of similar parallels. First, He too is resisted by the occupiers of the city (the Pharisees and Sadducees). Secondly, He too has to destroy the idols of commerce in the grounds, to establish the true worship of God. (Mt. 21:12) Thirdly, He deals with the lame and blind by the water springs in the city. Notice especially in John 5 and 9 that the two most prominent healings in Jerusalem are with a lame and blind person at the pools of Bethseda and Siloam.
I believe this teaches us a number of important lessons about the return of our King back to Jerusalem. ‚ In our time we will see a growing resistance by the leadership of Zion to the coming Messiah. Just as in Joshua’s and Yeshua’s time, the Jebusites and the leaders forsook the earlier beliefs for the sake of power. ‚ So too, some people of God will attempt to block the anointed one of Israel.
In His first coming, we see King Yeshua overturning this “idol” worship of money by the then leaders of Jerusalem (Lk. 16:14) who were blocking the purposes of the house of the Lord. ‚ Yeshua instead raises up disciples who were willing to be used. He symbolically broke the affliction of the blind and lame as a testimony against those who opposed God’s rule. David had excluded them as a witness against false worship, but the Son of David will include them as a greater act of true worship.
Blindness speaks to those who lack true spiritual vision. Notice in the Last Days Yeshua specifically says to the church of Laodicea that they are blind. In Revelation 3:18 He instructs them, “to buy”¦eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see“. I propose this shows us a time when Messiah draws near to establishing the Father’s House, that He will not only overturn the tables of the money changers and cast out the greedy in Zion, but will give spiritual sight to the outsiders. As in John 9 the blind will see, but the two-faced will become increasingly darkened in their vision.
The lameness spoken of is described in Hebrews 12:12-12, “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” In context, the passage is speaking to those who are undergoing the discipline of the Lord. They are not to give up in their walk of faith, even if for a period of time it is sorrowful. Yeshua said we must go through many tribulations in this world with the most significant being, of course, before His return. (Mt. 24:21)
So symbolically I believe this passage in Matthew 21 gives us hope before the Lord’s return. Just when the leadership of the Lord’s house begins to most vigorously resist His authority to rule, he will take “abandoned” believers to the springs of water; He will heal our blindness and lameness; He will raise us up with foresight and the ability to leap with Joy so as to enter into the true worship of God.