Matthew 9:28 – When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied. NIV
The full context of this question is the following encounter that Jesus had with two blind men after a series of miraculous healings that included raising a little girl from the dead.
Matthew 9:27-31 – As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. NIV
Interestingly these two blind men had spiritual insight that many did not. They called Jesus, Son of David, which was a reference to the promised messiah that would come through David’s line. They had faith in Jesus’ power to heal which could have been based on the healings that Jesus had already done or their simple desire to see or both. They were not afraid to ask Jesus for help nor were they afraid to affirm His ability to perform the miracle required to give them sight. Jesus responded to their faith by granting their request. He asked them not to tell anyone, but they were so excited about receiving sight that they ignored His request and told anyone who would listen about Jesus’ ability to heal.
There are several applications in this question and these verses for today. Many of us have seen or heard that Jesus via the Holy Spirit worked changes and miracles in peoples’ lives. Most of us have things in our own lives that need changed, and we have no power of our own that can make those things happen. Do we ask Jesus for help? Or do we believe the lie that we are not worthy or important enough for God to care about our problems? These guys risked asking. We need to risk asking. James offers this admonition to early believers …
James 4:2-3 – You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. NIV
Many times we miss blessings because “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Please note a couple of things involved in asking. Some people rather than asking turn their frustration into conflict with others. A question one needs to ask oneself when involved in conflict is: “What expectations am I placing on others in this conflict that only God can solve?” Many times God can resolve conflicts if we take our situations to Him. He has the power to address people and situations in ways that we don’t. Most of us react to conflict in one of two ways, fight or flight. Early in my adult life, I tended to fight. I seldom backed down from an argument and would often use intimidation of one type or another. I wanted to be right. I wanted to win the battle. I learned that those sort of tactics do not usually get you what you want in the long run. Even if they do, then you have to deal with the guilt or remorse of your actions. Why not ask God to work in the situation?
The second thing involved in asking is my motive. Why do I want something? Is this simply a desire that provides personal pleasure? Is this something that I desire that is outside of God’s will for me? Sometimes I can answer those questions, but many times I can’t because I am biased. I will ask anyway, and leave the decision up to God. I believe that this is what Jesus patterned for us in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his death. His words:
Matthew 26:39 – Going a little farther, he [Jesus] fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.“ NIV
Jesus prayed this prayer three times that night, and He still went to the cross! He was neither afraid to ask His Heavenly Father nor was he afraid to submit Himself to His Father’s will. I can’t agree with people who say that praying “your (thy) will be done” shows a lack of faith. Jesus did it!
I suggest that we go boldly to the throne of grace with our requests believing that God is able to do whatever we ask. At the same time, we must be willing to submit our will to His. I have seen many “yes” answers to prayer in my lifetime, but I have also seen many answers of “not yet” or “no.” I still ask in faith and trust that my Father loves me and has the best in mind for me and for those for whom I pray. I still find it hard to receive a “no,” so the Holy Spirit still has more work to do in transforming me.