They brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” Matt 9:32-33 NKJV
In Matthew’s previous chapter, Jesus had just opened the eyes of two blind men. They cried out to Christ, and followed him inside some kind of dwelling. Jesus touched their eyes and they were healed. He told them to tell no one, but they contrarily went everywhere telling people what happened. Apparently, just as they left, a demon possessed man was brought to Jesus. Whoever brought him apparently also left. Whether they had been following Jesus, or responded spontaneously to the healing of the blind men, we don’t know. What is clear is this; it was obvious to observers that the man’s muteness was caused by a demon.
How could they have known that? I suspect that the demon had manifested in some manner. Perhaps the demon spoke. It may even have claimed credit for the man’s condition or threatened him in some way. There was no debate about whether the man not as bipolar, schizophrenic, or suffering from some mental disorder. Such thinking wasn’t on the agenda in ancient times. They lived in a world in which the invisible spirit world was real, and the idea of an invading entity was not suspect. The demon made his presence known and the suffering soul was brought to Christ.
We don’t know what Jesus did to cast out the demon, how long it took, and if any dialogue took place as in other exorcisms Christ performed. It would be wrong to think that nothing of note happened just because Matthew was silent on the issue. Remember, at this point in the Gospel story, there was no understanding that anyone other than Jesus would ever cast out demons as he did, with a word. Christ had not yet given this commission or authority to his disciples. Consequently, since there was no interest in what methodology would be needed, Christ may not have performed this exorcism instructively. What’s important is that a multitude, which means a lot of people, saw this public exorcism or at least heard vivid accounts. They were awestruck. Unfortunately, by its avoidance of the miracle of exorcism, American Christianity no longer strikes awe and marvel in the hearts of people. That’s one reason our culture coarsens, our decency decays, and Beyonce’s Super Bowl bottom-baring performance solicited cheers instead of moral jeers.