2009-03-26 - Two Responses
Matt 20:30 -31And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 31 The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" (NASB)
The crowd does something shocking here.
Jesus is passing by two blind men on the side of the road near Jericho. Blind people in that day were generally beggars. There was little or no place in society at that time for those who had lost their sight. There was not much in the way of work they could do and no hope of having their sight restored medically even for families of means. These beggars brought home what coins people would drop for them to sustain themselves. Jesus was followed by "a great multitude." The crowd got the attention of these men and they probably overhead either Jesus Himself speaking or people in the crowd speaking about Jesus. They begin to call for Jesus.
I'm told the word in verse 30 is grazo meaning desperate cry. The two were filled with a singular hope that the Jesus would heal them. The stories of other healings had no doubt preceded Jesus. If the two were not able to get Jesus attention their one chance to meet Him would be lost. They urgently address Jesus as "Son of David" in verse 31 - identifying Him as the Messiah. Do they already believe?
As they cry out for the Lord to get His attention, the throng of people walking with Jesus rebuke the two men telling them to be quiet. They either have no compassion for the two and do not want to miss what Jesus is saying or are so focused on what Jesus is saying that they are annoyed by the interruption. Neither is good. Both are selfish, but the second is more subtle. To be focused on what Jesus is saying is good. But to be focused to the exclusion of the needs of the two men, or to dismiss them because of their station in life is wrong. James later warns us not to favor one person over another (James 2:1-3).
Before we are too hard on the crowd have we done this - even unwittingly? Have we hushed our friends or family, our children, during a radio program or the like because we didn't want to miss something? Did they have questions they wanted to ask us? While it might be rude for them to interrupt, if they are asking urgently, could we be missing a chance to share the gospel with them? This might be a different perspective for some of us.
Look at Jesus' response:
Like 20:32-34 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" 33 They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. (NASB)
Jesus stopped, and He listened. The world in need cried out to Him and He answered, "What do you want Me to do for You?" I dare say this was not "maybe", but "ask and it will be given - pressed down, shaken together and running over." Imagine the courage it must have taken to ask for their sight back. The request was outside the realm of what was physically possible, but they asked! This was already Messiah in their hearts and minds. This was God in human flesh, making their request even more a bold request.
Jesus was "moved with compassion." Here is the correct response like the friends who tore through Peter's roof to bring their paralysed friend for healing. He could have spoken the words from where He was standing and restored their sight, but He honored them with personal contact. There sight was restored and their response was to follow their Messiah.
The response of the crowd, probably not all believers, was an uncompassionate dismissal. It was the antithesis of Jesus' response to the two men, and to those of us who know Him as Lord. Jesus gave us Him attention as we cried out to Him for salvation. We hold a treasure in our hearts beyond the worth of the diamonds and gold this world holds. The treasure was given to us with the command to go and share it - make disciples of others, and we can so easily miss opportunities to do exactly that because we don't stop, and listen.
Grace & Peace,